Fruit salsa is OK with chips, but the sweetness really shines when you pair it with a savory meat, such as grilled pork or salmon.
This coriander-cumin salmon from Kanchan Koya’s “Spice Spice Baby: 100 Recipes With Healing Spices for Your Family Table” (Spice Spice Baby, $35) benefits from the bright flavors of the salsa. You can make the salsa as spicy as you prefer, and though you can use frozen fruit, the mangoes at local grocery stores are perfectly ripe and inexpensive right now.
Spiced Salmon with Mango Salsa
I adore fruit with fish and meat — mangoes with salmon, peaches with pork, prunes with chicken, pears with lamb, and so on. The spice, citrus and chile are the bridge between the fruit’s sweetness and the meat’s umami flavors. The results are scrumptious. Serve this with a side of white rice and guacamole.
— Kanchan Koya
For the fish:
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
For the mango salsa:
1 cup chopped, ripe mango
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lime juice
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with the salt and spices. Place in an ovenproof dish or sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, depending on how rare or cooked you prefer.
While the fish is cooking, mix together the salsa ingredients. Taste and adjust the salt and lime. Spoon the salsa over the cooked fish and serve right away. Serves 4.
Lin gives detailed instructions about how to roll up thin slices of apples, and although yours might not look quite as good as his, it’s still a fun technique to practice, especially with the fall holidays coming up.
When I know I have to bust out an impressive dessert, I opt for something like this show-stopping tart, which only requires a little bit of dexterity. Despite the way it looks, this recipe isn’t too difficult, but it’s always a gorgeous presentation dessert for dinner parties. The best part is that it looks like you spent a lot of money at the fancy-pants local bakery. Act all indignant when your guests ask you where you bought it, but secretly know that it actually didn’t take too much effort.
— Irvin Lin
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup dark rum
For the browned butter filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 large vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the apple roses:
2 1/2 pounds (about 5 medium) red-skinned firm apples, such as Braeburn, Gala or Jonagold
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the crumble topping:
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Make the crust: Combine both flours, the sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Toss the butter cubes with your hands to coat, then squeeze until they flatten out, squeezing and tossing until the dough starts to resemble crumbly cornmeal with bits of butter still in flattened chunks. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rum, then drizzle the liquid over the flour-butter mixture and fold together. As the dry ingredients become moister, work the ingredients together with your hands until they come together and form a dough. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle a little more flour into it. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more rum or cold water. The dough should be soft. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, but don’t worry if isn’t perfect. This dough is really forgiving. Fit the dough into a 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. This recipe makes a little more dough than necessary, so if you need to, use the extra dough to patch up any holes or tears. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork all over, then line with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights. Freeze the lined pan for about 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Set the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until very lightly golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Let the crust cool on a wire rack, and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Make the browned butter filling: Combine the butter, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and star anise in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pan, then add the vanilla pod as well. Add the nutmeg and orange zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and starts to brown and turn fragrant. Once the butter starts to brown, turn the heat off and let the residual heat bring the butter to the right point. You don’t want to burn the butterfat, you just want it golden brown. Discard the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and vanilla pod. Let cool to room temperature.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter, scraping the brown bits at the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Pour the filling into the crust.
Here’s how to make the apple roses: Cut the apples by placing the apple on its bottom and slicing down near the core, but not close enough to get any seeds. Rotate the apple 90 degrees and slice down again. Repeat two more times until you have a rectangular core, which you can discard, and 4 apple chunks with skin on them. Place the apple chunks flat side down on the cutting board and cut thin lengthwise slices with a sharp knife (or use a mandoline). Each slice should have one flat edge and one rounded edge with a thin piece of red skin. Place the apple slices in a large microwave-safe bowl with the lemon juice. Toss to coat to prevent the apple slices from turning brown. Slice all the apples, continuing to toss the apple slices with the lemon juice as you go. Add the sugar and butter and toss to coat.
Microwave the apple mixture for 1 minute. You don’t want to completely cook the apples, just soften them enough to make them pliable. If they are still too crisp and break when you bend them, cook in additional 15-second increments, testing until they are bendable. The amount of time will depend on how thick you cut the apples and how powerful your microwave is.
Starting with the thinnest, smallest piece you can find, curl the apple slice, with the skin side at the top, into a spiral, forming a rose-like shape. Wrap another, larger slice around the first slice. Build a rose with as many slices as you can. Use a spatula (or the side of a large chef‘s knife) to move the apple rose to the filled tart crust. The filling should help hold the apple roses together. Repeat with the rest of the apple slices, until you have tightly filled the entire surface of the tart. Any gaps in the tart where the roses don’t quite fit can be filled with extra apple slices and smaller roses.
To make the crumble topping: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and stir together with a fork. Drizzle the butter over the dry ingredients and toss until crumbs start to form and stick together. Sprinkle the crumble in a ring, about 1 inch wide, around the edge of the tart on top of the apples.
Bake until the apples are a rich golden brown and the filling has set and looks puffy and slightly golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before releasing the tart from the sides of the pan. Serves 10.
The event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia Street, will include tons of live music and free samples, but you can also buy jars of locally made salsas. Not all the salsas and hot sauces are super hot, but you’ll find plenty of those, too. Admission is free with a $5 cash donation to the Central Texas Food Bank, or three non-perishable food items.
Several restaurants will be selling their salsas at the festival, but to find one of my favorite salsas in the city right now, you’ll have to head over to Loro, the Uchi/Franklin hybrid on South Lamar that is becoming known for its ample parking and frozen mango sake slushies.
I’m partial to the gin and tonic slushy myself, but it’s this tangy, spicy, sweet salsa that I keep thinking about.
The restaurant serves the bright green dip with fried wonton chips, but if you can find the Pantai soybean paste at an international market, you can make a version of it at home and serve it with whatever kind of chips you like. The pineapple fish sauce is an infused ingredient they make at the restaurant, but regular fish sauce is fine.
Loro’s Green Chili Salsa
3 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/3 cups chopped green tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Pantai soybean paste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pineapple fish sauce
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai chile peppers, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
Salt to taste
Melt sugar in a saucepan with a splash of water. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend, or for a more similar texture to Loro’s, use an immersion blender to combine. Salt to taste.
She adds a frozen butternut squash puree, which adds sweetness to balance the taco seasoning. The cup of taco sauce that she calls for is the smooth, tangy jarred salsa that will add flavor without the chunks of tomatoes. If your kids love salsa, just use their favorite, and don’t hesitate to use only a few tablespoons if you’re worried about it being too spicy for your tastes.
Everyone always assumes that because I write a food blog (and now a cookbook!), my kids must be fabulous eaters. Wrong! I have picky, picky eaters. Right around 18 months, each of them started rejecting nearly all healthy foods. I’ve felt everything from frustration, anger, shame and embarrassment over it. Yet on my good days, I realize their palates are still expanding and they won’t be like this forever. Case in point: My son now eats salads! Victory!
So I carry on, trying and sneaking: trying new foods, and when that doesn’t work, sneaking them into their meals. Cue this cheesy, one-pot Mexican pasta with squash, which sort of melts into the ground turkey, creating a slightly sweet counterbalance to the spicier Mexican flavors. Obviously, the best part about this dish is you can make it in about 30 minutes in one pot. The first time I made this, my oldest and youngest gobbled it up. The stubborn middle child? Well, we had a 1950s-style showdown. She sat there, crying, begging for a treat, resisting even one bite. Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all.
— Siri Daly
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning
1 (12-ounce) package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
8 ounces uncooked pasta of your choice
2 cups chicken stock
1 (8-ounce) jar taco sauce or salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring, until crumbled and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and cook, stirring often, until well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the squash, pasta, chicken stock and taco sauce, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Stir everything up, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the pasta is al dente, 12 to 15 minutes.
Add the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and the scallions, if desired, and serve. Serves 6.
With the school year upon us, it’s time to stock up on easy recipes that you don’t have to think about too much.
This chicken pasta is from “Family Table: Farm Cooking From the Elliott Homestead” by Shaye Elliott (Lyons Press, $24.95), and although it’s not quite a one-pot dish, it’s easy enough to make while you’re helping kids with homework or unwinding from the day. Omit the peppers, shallots and/or tomatoes if your family is on the picky side.
2 tablespoons butter
4 boneless chicken thighs or 2 boneless breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 shallots, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cream
1 pound fusilli pasta or pasta of choice
2 small tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat butter in a large cast-iron skillet. Add chicken thighs or breasts and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate to cool. Into the hot skillet, add the shallots and bell peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened.
Cut the cooled chicken into strips and place the chicken strips back into the skillet with the shallot and peppers. Add the cream cheese and cream, stirring gently to combine. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
During the last 10 minutes of simmering, boil the pasta in a pot of water until al dente. When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, then add to the skillet. Combine the chicken mixture and the pasta, stir in the diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.
If we ever needed cold summer soups, it’s in August, when even the grass and trees are parched. The cold soup that probably comes to mind is gazapacho, the Spanish soup frequently made with tomatoes.
You can find plenty of gazpacho without tomatoes — often called “white gazpacho” and made with cucumbers, almonds and sometimes green grapes — but for a creamy pink gazpacho, check out this recipe from Adam Fleischman, founder of Umami Burger, whose new book is all about that savory “fifth taste.”
To increase the amount of umami in this recipe, Fleischman roasts the tomatoes and adds sherry vinegar when blending the ingredients. Like soy sauce, sherry vinegar is a quick way to add depth of flavor to a dish, and you’ll want to adjust the quantity according to your own tastes. He recommends letting the soup chill overnight to develop even more complexities, but I love the taste and texture of freshly made gazpacho and would serve it after letting it chill for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
The tomatoes are blended with the other vegetables to make a smooth, creamy, pink gazpacho. Tomatoes have the most umami flavor when they’re ripe, and are at their peak umami right off the vine. If you can find tomatoes on the vine at your farmers’ market or grocer, grab a bunch and put them to good use here. I roast the tomatoes for a more complex flavor; it’s an extra step, but worth it. The sherry vinegar is an umami sidekick that will amplify the umami.
— Adam Fleischman
2 pounds very ripe tomatoes
3 slices pain de mie, country loaf or other bread, crusts removed
1/2 medium onion, peeled
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
Pimentón (smoked paprika) or red pepper flakes, for garnish
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the tomatoes on all sides, then roast until their skins start to blister and they start to collapse a little bit, about 30 minutes. Don’t overcook and dry out the tomatoes; you want some of their liquid in the gazpacho, too. Peel the skins off the tomatoes and discard. Remove the seeds, then chop the tomatoes coarsely. Place the tomatoes in a blender and set aside while you prep everything else.
Place the bread slices in a bowl or casserole dish and pour in just enough sherry vinegar to soak the bread. Meanwhile, dice the onion, cucumber, garlic cloves and bell pepper. If you prefer a chunkier soup, reserve half of the diced veggies, refrigerate, and mix in at the very end before serving. Otherwise put all of the veggies in the blender with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar, the sugar and a big splash of water to thin it out.
Blend everything for a few seconds, then blend in the bread, in batches if everything doesn’t fit in one go. Add more water if the gazpacho is too thick for your liking, or another tablespoon of olive oil if the soup isn’t emulsifying and coming together.
Cover and chill the gazpacho in the fridge overnight. The next day, taste and readjust the seasonings. If you reserved half of the diced veggies, add them in now. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a pinch of the pimentón or red pepper flakes. Serves 4.
Willis first had this tart treat at Crook’s Corner, a Chapel Hill, N.C., restaurant that serves a traditional lemon icebox pie baked in a saltine crust. In some places throughout the South, saltine crackers are commonly used instead of graham crackers for icebox pies, including key lime pie, but it wasn’t an ingredient I’d seen used that way until I saw this recipe in Willis’ cookbook.
I made the pie for a birthday party last weekend, and it was absolutely delightful. The crackers gave a surprisingly light and crunchy texture to the crust, and it wasn’t too savory, especially for this filling that is so sweet, even the whipped cream doesn’t need any extra sugar.
Lemon Icebox Tart with Saline Cracker Crust
Just like graham crackers, saltine crackers can be used for a nice pie crust, but you have to crumble them finely enough to stick together when you add the butter — but not so fine that the crust loses all the cracker texture. This pie doesn’t have as much filling as you might be expecting from a lemon icebox pie, but it is extra sweet and tart, so you need the whipped cream layer on the top to balance it. If you place the whipped cream on the pie when it’s still warm, it will melt, so follow her instructions on cooling the pie first.
— Addie Broyles
1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers (about 68 crackers)
8 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Zest and juice of three lemons (About 1/2 cup juice)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
In a large plastic zip-top bag, use a rolling pin or skillet to crush the saltine crackers into small, fine pieces, but not so much that it becomes powder. (You can crush them directly in the package or in a bowl with your fingers.) Place the cracker crumbs into a large bowl and mix in the melted butter and sugar.
Press the saltine mixture into a pie pan, using your fingers to press the mixture into the sides and a measuring cup to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Chill for 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees while the crust is chilling, and then bake it for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, mix together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lemon zest and juice. Whisk carefully so that you don’t introduce air bubbles into the filling.
Remove the crust from the oven, and pour the filling mixture into the hot crust. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes to set the filling.
Place the pie on a wire rack and let it cool to the touch. Once completely cool, refrigerate for an hour.
When ready to finish the pie, place the chilled cream in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until the cream holds soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream on the pie. Use a chef’s knife to cut the slices of pie, and wipe the knife before each cut to keep the slices clean. Keeps for two days in the fridge. Serves 8 to 10.
If you like to get a head start on dinner by preparing batches of food on the weekend, you might already have a copy of “Fix, Freeze, Feast,” a book by Kati Neville and Lindsay Ahrens that came out about a decade ago to show cooks how to fill their freezer with ready-to-cook meals.
The basil-balsamic marinade in this recipe can double as a salad dressing if you have extra — remember, don’t reuse the marinade that the pork has been sitting in. The authors suggest using leftover pork with leftover rice to make a quick stir-fry. Then you can wrap the pork and rice in a flour tortilla and add shredded cheddar cheese, black beans, chopped scallion and sour cream for yet another meal that started from the same original batch of loin chops.
The marinade in this recipe is also our best-loved salad dressing. Make an extra batch to serve over salad greens — you may never buy commercial dressing again. You may substitute 6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves for the pork chops, and when it’s time to cook them, heat over a grill or in a broiler until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 degrees.
— Lindsay Ahrens
12 pork loin chops, boneless or bone-in (6 to 8 pounds)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons dried basil
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
To pack it up: Three 1-gallon freezer bags, labeled
Divide chops evenly among freezer bags. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce and honey. Divide marinade evenly over chops. Into each bag, measure 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon garlic and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Seal and gently shake each bag to combine contents. Freeze. Food will stay at optimal quality for up to 3 months in freezer.
To cook: Completely thaw one freezer meal in refrigerator. Prepare on an outdoor grill or indoors under a broiler. If cooking outside, grill chops, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a chop reads 145 degrees. Discard remaining marinade.
If cooking in an oven, arrange chops on an ungreased broiler pan. Broil chops under high heat, 5 inches from heat source, turning frequently, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a chop reads 145 degrees. Discard remaining marinade. Makes 3 freezer meals with 4 servings each.
We kicked off our “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipe series earlier this summer with family friendly breadsticks that pair with any meal.
But a family cannot live on breadsticks alone. Here’s a lemon rosemary chicken and rice dish that would go well with those breadsticks or by itself.
Not in the mood for asparagus? Leave it out or use broccoli or green beans. To trim asparagus, bend the spear to find where the woody end begins. The asparagus will snap into two pieces, dividing the tender asparagus from the tougher root. “Juicy chicken, nutty jasmine rice and crisp-tender asparagus are cooked in a rosemary lemon sauce that will blow your mind,” author Donna Elick writes in “The Simple Kitchen.”
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups chicken stock
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand 6 inches above the skillet, add the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is browned on the outside, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes. We are going to cook it some more, so it’s OK if it is not cooked through yet.
Add the rice, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken stock and lemon juice. Stir to combine, cover and bring everything to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, and then stir and add the asparagus.
Cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serves 6.
Pad thai has become a dish as universal as sesame chicken in many parts of the United States, but it’s not a dish that many people make from scratch at home.
This recipe is from Caroline Hwang’s “Stir-Fry: Over 70 Delicious One-Wok Meals” (Hardie Grant Books, $19.99), which shows you how to make the base sauces for more than 70 stir-fry dishes, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai favorites that may or may not already be on your radar.
This recipe from Hwang includes making your own nuoc cham base sauce, the salty-sweet dipping sauce that is often served with spring rolls or vermicelli. This pad thai recipe only uses some of the sauce, so you’ll have extra for other uses. If you don’t want to make it from scratch, you can buy it at grocery stores and international markets.
Chicken Pad Thai
You can find tamarind paste in many large grocery stores or some smaller international markets. The recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of the nuoc cham sauce.
— Addie Broyles
For the nuoc cham base sauce:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
For pad thai:
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons nuoc cham base sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into slices
1/2 small onion, sliced
6 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
2 eggs, beaten
12 ounces cooked, skinny rice noodles (from 5 ounces uncooked)
To make the nuoc cham sauce: Combine all the ingredients together and store in a jar or container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To make the pad thai: Combine the tamarind, sugar, nuoc cham and 1/4 cup of water and set aside.
Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat, add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Set aside. Add the remaining oil and eggs and swirl in the wok. When the eggs are no longer wet, add the noodles and sauce. Stir to combine. Add the chicken and vegetables and stir-fry until well combined. Serves 2.