Friday, June 29, 2007

Salsas and Sauces

Today I'm giving several recipes for Salsas and Sauces, all require no cooking and are very easy to make. Salsa is just a chunky version of a sauce, a relish falls between the two and sauce itself can cover anything from dips to mayonnaise. So here goes.

Spicy Tomato Salsa: serves four
This can be made up to 24 hours ahead of serving.
1 lb (450g) fresh ripe tomatoes OR 1 can plum tomatoes
1 shallot
2 cloves of garlic
1 handful of basil leaves
2 tblsp olive oil
2 green chillies, seeds removed then diced
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and halve the shallot and garlic. Put into a food processor with the basil and pulse until finely chopped.
Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the basil mixture, pulse again until finely chopped. Turn the motor to slowest speed and slowly pour in the oil. Season to taste. Put into a bowl, stir in the prepared chillies. Serve at room temperature.
Tip: instead of the chillies, you could add a few drops of Tabasco to taste.

Pineapple Relish: serves four
Good eaten with grilled or barbequed chicken and also with bacon.
1 400g can of pineapple pieces (crushed)
2 tblsp light muscocado sugar
2 tblsp wine vinegar (pref. white)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
Drain the pineapple but reserve 4 tblsp of the juice and put this juice into a saucepan with the sugar and vinegar, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Season with salt and pepper. Put the pineapple, garlic, onions and chillies into a bowl and mix well. Pour in the sauce. Allow to cool then stir in the basil.

Almost Smooth Satay Sauce: serves 4
Drizzle over grilled or barbequed chicken or use as a warm dipping sauce for skewered chicken.
7 fl.os (300ml) coconut cream (or thick coconut milk) unsweetened
4 tblsp peanut butter (pref. crunchy)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
few drops of Tabasco to taste
Put the coconut into a saucepan and heat gently until just warm. Stir or beat in the peanut butter until well blended. Do not boil. Add the W.sauce and Tabasco to taste, pour into a bowl and serve warm.

Red Bean Chilli Dip: serves 4
Serve warm with a bowl of grilled pitta bread or corn tortilla chips.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tblsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 - 2 tsp. hot chilli powder
400g can red kidney beans
3 oz (75g) Cheddar Cheese, grated
Fry the onions and garlic in the oil for about five minutes until softened. Drain the beans, keeping the liquid. Keep back 3 tblsp beans and mash the rest with a potato masher (or puree in a food processor if you want a smoother texture). Put the mashed beans in a pan with 2 - 3 tblsp of the bean liquid. Heat gently stirring to mix the ingredients. Finally stir in the cheese and the whole beans you saved. Heat through for a few minutes until the cheese has started to melt. Season to taste. Put into bowls, serve warm.

Basil and Lemon Mayo: serves 4
Great with salads, jacket potatoes and chips.
1/2 pint (300ml) mayonnaise
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
handful of basil leaves, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Stir everything together, put into a bowl and serve chilled.

Stilton Salsa Dip: serves 4
Eat as-is with ripe pears, or add more yogurt or milk to make a salad dressing
5 oz (150g) Stilton (or any blue cheese), crumbled
5 oz (150g) cream or soft cheese
5 tblsp Greek yogurt
salt and pepper
Put the Stilton crumbs into a bowl and using a wooden spoon work them into a soft mixture together with the cream cheese. Slowly beat in the yogurt until you have the consistency you require. Season to taste (plenty of black pepper, only a pinch of salt). Serve chilled.
Tip: For additional crunch, stir in some finely chopped walnuts.

Sweet Pepper Salsa: serves 4
1 yellow (sweet bell) pepper
2 tomatoes
3 tblsp finely chopped parsley
1/4 pint (150ml) Greek yogurt
1/4 pint (150ml creme fraiche
sest of 1 lemon (optional)
Remove core and seeds from pepper then finely dice the flesh. Deseed the tomatoes then finely dice the flesh.
Blend the yogurt and creme fraiche together, stir in the parsley followed by the pepper and tomatoes. Put into a bowl, garnish with lemon zest and chill before serving.
Variation: omit the pepper and substitute chopped avocado and diced cucumber.

Spicy Carrot and Orange Salsa/Dip:
Serve with breadsticks, wheat crackers and/or crispy tortilla chips
1 onion
3 carrots
grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 tbslp curry paste (mild or hot to taste)
1/4 pint (150ml) natural yogurt or creme fraiche
1 -2 tblsp lemon juice
few drops of Tabasco, to taste
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Peel and grate the carrots and onions. Put these in a pan together with the curry paste, orange rind and juice. cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly then put into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Leave to cool completely. Stir in the yogurt, basil, enough lemon juice and Tabasco to your taste. Serve as soon as possible at room temperature (best kept no longer than a couple or so hours after making).

Methinks aubergines should soon be coming into season, so will leave you with this final dip:
Velvety Aubergine Dip: serves 4
Wonderful spread on slices of toasted French bread, or crostini.
1 large aubergine
1 small onion, or 2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tblsp olive oil
1 handful parsley, chopped
5 tblsp creme fraiche
few drops of Tabasco to taste
juice of one lemon, or to taste
salt and pepper
Place the aubergine on a baking sheet and place under a preheated grill and cook, turning occasionally, for abot half an hour until the aubergine is soft and the skin has turned wrinkly and blackened. Remove from heat, cover with a clean towl and leave for 3 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the prepared onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Peel away the skin from the aubergine and mash the flesh into a puree. Stir in the onion, garlic, creme fraiche, parsley and add Tabasco , lemon juice and seasonintgto taste . Serve in bowls warm or cooled down to room temperature.
Variation: to make the classic baba ghanoush cook 3 aubergines as above to the puree stage, then blend in 2 tblsp tahina (sesame seed paste), 2 crushed garlic cloves, and 3 oz (75g) yogurt. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Pour into bowls and garnish with black olives and chopped parsley. Drizzle a little olive oil over before serving.