Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cranberry Salsa

How?  How have I not posted my recipe for cranberry salsa yet?  It's so, so good.  The original came from a friend's sister about 8 years ago, but I have tinkered with it substantially over the years to make it just right.  I make it almost every Thanksgiving/Christmas. 
This salsa is really good, and rather unique.  It's sweet and tart, but also a little spicy and on the savory side.  It's actually kind of hard to describe, but I love it, and most of the women who have tried it love it as well.  For some reason most guys don't like it, but I did bring it to a potluck the other day and one guy came up to me to tell me that he loved it, so there are obviously exceptions!
I always serve this salsa with tortilla chips, but think it would also be great served over cream cheese with crackers, in the style of the traditional low effort but mind blowingly tasty cream cheese and jalapeno jelly appetizer.  It would also be an interesting alternative to cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving or on turkey sandwiches.  It would also be a good appetizer recipe to make if you expect vegan guests and want something different from regular salsa.
Quick Note:  The onion can get very overwhelming in this salsa, you really do not want very much.  A quarter of a small onion doesn't sound like a lot, but stick with that amount, at least the first time you make it!  Also, don't just dump everything into the food processor at once or you risk over processing the cilantro and cranberries.
Cranberry Salsa
leafy parts of 1 bunch of cilantro
12 oz cranberries, rinsed and any icky ones picked out
1 granny smith apple
1/4 small red onion (take the "small" part to heart!)
1 jalapeno, veins and seeds removed
3 Tbsp lime juice
2/3 C sugar
Pulse cilantro in a food processor and then dump it into a large bowl.  Add cranberries to food processor and pulse until they're finely chopped.  Add to the bowl with the cilantro.  Cut apple, onion, and jalapeno into large chunks and place in food processor with lime juice.  Pulse until as chopped up as you'd like.  Add to bowl with the cilantro and cranberries, then stir in sugar.
Let salsa sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving so the flavors can marry, then serve with tortilla chips.
Yield: about 3 cups of salsa

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From Scratch Tuna Casserole

I came upon this tuna casserole recipe on BBC Good Food a while back and decided to give it a whirl.  Tuna casserole is my go to "sick food" when I have a bad cold or something.  It's just cozy, I guess!  My husband is usually the one who ends up making it and he's made this for me a few times now.

This recipe is a little different from the norm because you make an actual sauce instead of using a can of cream of blank soup, and it uses corn instead of peas.  You can definitely use peas instead, though, or go on and add 8 oz of them in addition to the corn, why not?  

My version is pretty loyal to the original, but I add garlic and cut the cheese into cubes instead of shredding it.  Shredded cheddar kind of disappears into the casserole, but cubes give you little pockets of melty cheesiness.

For the pasta, you can use pretty much anything.  I think of egg noodles as being the traditional tuna casserole pasta, and that's very good, but it's also good with macaroni, penne, fusilli, shells, or other short shapes.  I'd stay away from something long like spaghetti or very tiny like orzo, but pretty much anything else is good.  Whole wheat pasta works nicely, too.  

If you're looking for a decent whole wheat pasta option, I have tried a lot of them and the company Bionaturae makes by far the best.  Many of the other brands are pretty gross.  DeLallo makes pretty good whole wheat pasta as well, but Bionaturae tastes almost like regular white pasta.  I've taken to ordering bulk packs of 6 lbs of Bionaturae on Amazon because only one local store sells it, they only have penne, and it's $4 a pound at the store.

From Scratch Tuna Casserole

1 lb short pasta of your choice
8 oz frozen corn
4 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 C milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
10 oz cubed cheddar
1/4 C minced fresh parsley
2 cans tuna, drained

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 by 13 dish and set aside

Boil pasta in salted water and add the frozen corn when the pasta is 2 or 3 minutes from being done.  When the pasta is a little less cooked than you'd prefer (it will continue cooking in the oven), drain it.

While the noodles cook, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium and add garlic.  Saute the garlic for a minute or so, but don't let it brown.  Increase the heat to medium-high, add the flour and saute for a couple minutes longer, until you have a nice, smooth roux.  Pour in the milk 1/4 C at a time for the first cup, stirring well after each addition until the sauce is completely smooth.  After the first cup of milk has been added, you should be able to add the rest of the milk all at once.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens.  Continue cooking and stirring for 2 or so minutes longer.  Remove pan from heat and add the salt and pepper.

Stir sauce into cooked noodles.  Stir in tuna, parsley, and cheese cubes.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Spread pasta in greased baking dish.  Bake 20-30 minutes, until hot and golden on top.