The Brave Cook

My first steps into sewing and fashion design from urban Berlin!

Archive for the tag “tomatoes”

My type of salsa!

The month is not even over but I’m already short of money. I was thinking what to do to avoid spending even more money for food this week. I took a look into my fridge to check what I could use up. I had tomatoes, onions, garlic and a lot of vinegar. The first thing that came to my mind was a salsa, but not the typical salsa in the form of a dip or sauce. I wanted to make something more like antipasti, an appetizer to be eaten with bread. One more thing I had at home were physalis fruits, so the idea came up to make a half spicy, half sweet salsa. Of course, I will tell you what I did differently when preparing my salsa. Please keep in mind that my recipe is only for a small bowl of salsa. If you want to prepare more salsa, you need to multiply the ingredients according to your needs!

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 roughly chopped tomatoes, stems removed
  • 12 chopped physalis
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 cayenne chilis or jalapeno pepper
  • 3 – 5 black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley or other herbs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar

Instructions

Peel the husks off the physalis fruits and rinse well in cold water. Roughly chop or quarter the physalis fruit.

Start with chopping up 4 – 5 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the onion, the garlic, the olives, the parsley and the chilies in the same way, chopping them in chunky pieces and combining all the ingredients in a big pot. Set aside some of the seeds from the chilies if you don’t want your salsa to be too spicy.Now add the sea salt, cumin, lime juice and a 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar into the pot with all the other ingredients. You can also use fruit vinegar and mix it with red wine. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until everything is simmering and tender. To make a salsa dip or sauce puree with an immersion blender and cook everything for another 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to be slightly thickened.

To make a chunky “antipasti” salsa like I did, don’t use an immersion blender. Simply cook the ingredients for 20 – 30 minutes, then separate from the vinegar and put into a mortar if needed.Salsa is really easy to make and you can prepare it in so many different ways and tastes! I could save some money by simply using up everything I had at home and turning it into this colorful appetizer. Serve it with some bread or use it as a substitute for a salad!

The Brave Cook

Where’s the spaghetti?

It’s squash season and everybody is preparing different dishes made with squash. Of course I had to buy my different sorts of squash too! I love to choose the most beautiful ones and to keep them at my window as long as I haven’t prepared them yet. Depending on the size and the shape of the squash I decide what I want to do with it. Maybe I should grow my own squash to see how it will look like. Not everyone likes the taste of pumpkin and I can understand that, but there are different sorts of squash and I wanted to start with a spaghetti squash. I don’t know if there is another english name for this squash but that’s how we call it here in Germany. The reason why it is called like that is because it has fibers inside that resemble spaghetti noodles. Is it not beautiful?

The best way to prepare a spaghetti squash is to make a salad or a stew. Since my spaghetti squash is so big I decided to make a salad and a soup with it. I took a huge sharp knife and cut it in half. It’s really not as easy as you may think. It takes some strength to split it in half. One half will be boiled in a pot and the other half put into the oven. I have done this only to compare both ways of preparation and to find out if there is a difference in taste. To forestall the question about the difference in taste: Yes, it is! Squash that is heated in the oven is softer than squash boiled in water. At least that is my experience.

You can decide if you want to remove the inner part with the seeds before heating it or afterwards, but when you put it into the oven it is better to remove the inner part at first. Heat the oven to 180 C and bake it for 40 minutes. The other half can be boiled in a pot also for 40 minutes.

In the meantime you can chop the other vegetables for the salad. Of course, you can choose whatever vegetables you like to mix with squash. I always go for what is in my fridge. I took a zucchini and some tomatoes, because my plan was to use the second half of the squash for a soup. When the vegetables are chopped you can start preparing a simple chicken broth for your “noodle” soup. At the same time the chopped vegetables can be fried gently in some olive oil or sesame oil.

I have seasoned the zucchini and the tomatoes with some special rose salt, giving it a strong aroma. To use simply salt may seem boring, but sometimes too many spices take away the original flavor of the vegetables.

The spaghetti squash should be ready by now and it is time to take one half out of the pot and the other out of the oven. Be careful, because the squash is still very hot! Now take a fork and scrap the fibers out of the squash, they should come out like short spaghetti.Of course the squash fibers do not taste like spaghetti at all, but it is a great alternative to pasta. If you invite guests you can surely surprise them with spaghetti squash, because a lot people did not have the chance to take it yet!

The last steps are simple! Put the fried vegetables on the squash and drizzle some lemon juice or some oil on the salad. You can eat the squash salad warm as well as cold.

Do not forget to use the other half of the spaghetti squash for your chicken soup. Basically you can use the same vegetables for your soup or prepare others. Put them on the spaghetti fibers and pour the soup other it. I was surprised how good it tastes, the perfect replacement for noodles!

There are a hundred ways of preparing squash, so other squash recipes are on the way! Enjoy your warm salad and soup during this beautiful fall season.

The Brave Cook

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