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Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing ItWith the exception of this past warm weekend– a farewell gift from summer as it left– my mind has been drifting towards cool-weather comfort food.  You know, those meals that you can settle in to and cozy up with in the evening.  I’m ready for less running about, more family meals at the table, and that smell that you greets you at the door and permeates the house– when you know something delicious awaits you for dinner.  Yes, I’m ready for fall food.  I’m ready to eat hot soups and sip hot drinks.  I’m ready to braise things again.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Enchiladas may seem like an odd place to start, but for me, it’s a perfect seasonal-transition meal.  It’s warm, substantial, and very much a comfort food.  I intended to share this really quick enchilada sauce with you last year, but didn’t get to it.  If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’m a big proponent of making homemade sauces.  It takes just a little extra effort, and the results are almost always worth it.  They taste so much fresher than store-bought jars, and I like having control over exactly what goes into them.  This homemade enchilada sauce is no exception.  It tastes delicious and comes together in a matter of minutes.  This is a quick enchilada sauce, made from already ground spices, which works well for weeknight meals.  I have a fantastic recipe coming up later in the week for you that uses this sauce. It’s a perfect meal for those crisp, autumn nights.  Be well, everyone.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

 

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

(makes 3 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

3 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 bay leaf

15 ounces organic tomato sauce (plain)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 dried bay leaf

kosher salt, to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bay leaf and blend ingredients together with an immersion or regular blender. Season with more kosher salt, if necessary.  At this point, the sauce is ready to use.  Refrigerate it to use later in the week, or freeze for another time. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by to say hello or just to peek around!

Laurie

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

It has been a busy couple of weeks around our household lately.  School started for both of my kids and I’m happy to report that they are really loving it. Honestly, getting back onto the swing of things wasn’t that difficult despite the transition from late summer bedtimes and laid-back mornings around the house.  And I suddenly have a bit more free time now, which has fallen perfectly in-line with canning season! That wonderful time of the year when I dream of tomatoes. I’ve been busy in the kitchen stocking up on salsa, sauces, and plain tomatoes for the winter. Two more boxes I picked up from the farmers market this weekend are waiting for me as I write this. But, I wanted to share this ridiculously delicious recipe with you before I dive into chopping my day away again.

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

I was never exposed to tomatillos while growing up.  In fact, I didn’t really ever buy them before I moved to Minnesota.  Now, I just love them and making salsa with them is a no-brainer.  However, we’ve been getting a beautiful bag almost weekly from our CSA, so I wanted to do something a bit different, because how many chips can a girl really eat?  Kidding…I can eat A LOT of chips.  Pork and tomatillos are a perfect combination together– the tang from these little green gems is perfect.  This stew could not be easier to make or more satisfying. The flavors are bright and the pork is tender, yet doesn’t need to cook all day long, which makes it a bonus for a weeknight meal.  I love to serve it with a scoop of brown rice on top, but it can be equally satisfying if you prefer it without grains.  If your family loves heat, preparing it with jalapeños in the sauce would be ideal.  We put them on the side, because…kids.  I really hope you make this stew– it’s perfect with the changing weather.  Now, if you’ll excuse me– I need to get back to my little tomato factory.  Hope you are all well!

Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Tomatillo and Pork Stew

(serves 4)

2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and tomatillos cut in half

1 bulb (yes, the entire bulb) garlic, separated into cloves

1 large white onion, chopped into large pieces

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 1/2 pounds – 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted then ground with mortar and pestle OR 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

fresh cilantro, jalapeño,and lime for garnish

olive oil, salt and pepper

1 cup uncooked brown rice, cooked according to directions, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the tomatillos, onion chunks, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, then broil for 2-5 minutes until slightly browned.  Keep a watchful eye.

Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and begin browning the meat in two batches, so as to not to overcrowd the pan.  When meat is done place it all back into the Dutch oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

In a large food processor, place the contents of the roasting pan, plus 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, and ground cumin seed and pulse a few times.  You don’t want the mixture to be completely pureed– a little texture is nice.  Add the mixture to the browned pork.  Stir.  Bring almost to a boil on the stovetop then immediately place in the oven.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until the pork is tender.  Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve immediately with a scoop of rice, jalapeño, more fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Preserved Lemon | Relishing It

I finally did the thing that’s been weighing on my mind for the last year.  I turned 40 years old on Tuesday.  My apprehension wasn’t about the number itself, or the accumulation of tiny wrinkles gathering under my eyes– it was heavier than that.  Those are superficial things that I can live with.  Instead, my dread has been a bit more existential.  Knowing that other inevitable changes are coming, like my children growing up, my parents aging, and that my limited time here is diminished with each passing year.  Those are the things that are harder to accept.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Preserved Lemon | Relishing It

But now that 40 has arrived, I’ve decided to do my best and be optimistic.  I’ll focus on the positives instead of dwelling on future loss.  I’m surrounded by  wonderful friends, and have been lucky enough to be born and married into two incredible families.  I get to spend every day with my best friend and love of 23 years, and we have two sweet children.  I’ve been fortunate with my health.  Right now, things are good by pretty much any standard.  I’m a lucky, lucky gal and I know it (and don’t think for one second that I didn’t knock on my wooden desk as I wrote that sentence).

Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Preserved Lemon | Relishing It

I’ve also decided to tackle new challenges.  My kids are at an age that I now have more time to pursue my own interests.  I’m ready to learn new things.  I want to take up pottery, learn to play the guitar and violin, to knit, and to read more.  I want to become more patient.  Mostly, I want to consciously be in the present, rather than always waiting for some vague future to just “happen”.   I also want to continue to learn new and exciting things about food and photography– this is the stuff that thrills me. Preparing the food, taking photos, and writing this blog make me very happy. I love connecting with all of you.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Preserved Lemon | Relishing It

With that little essay out of the way, there’s really no subtle segue into a recipe post, so I’ll just throw it out there– today I made simple, roasted smashed potatoes.  They’re kind of a hard one to name, but hopefully the photos help you out a bit. These little gems are all about texture, texture, texture!  Soft and pillowy on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside.  I love to pick them up and snack on them, but they also pair well with a burger or steak.  Throw any herbs you fancy on them, but I particularly love the rosemary/preserved lemon combination.  So, so good!  Enjoy these potatoes over the weekend and thanks for listening to me ramble.

The Recipe: Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Preserved Lemon

about 2 pounds of small yukon gold potatoes (halve or quarter larger ones)

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus fresh sprigs for serving

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

extra-virgin olive oil

good sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Begin by steaming the potatoes until they feel done when a knife is inserted into them– about 15-20 minutes (depending upon how big your potatoes are).  Remove from heat and continue to let sit in covered pan just to be certain they are fully cooked.

Dry the potatoes off if any water remains on them.  Then place them on the prepared baking sheet and gently smash them down with a fork.  You don’t want the potato to completely fall apart, but you do want some of the inside to be exposed– that way more crevices can become crisped.  Drizzle a few glugs of olive oil over the potatoes, then the chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until they have become a beautiful golden brown (check the bottoms, too).   Remove from oven and top with more olive oil, more rosemary, preserved lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

One of my favorite summer meals is panzanella.  If you’re not familiar with this little dish, it is simply a bowlful of seasonal vegetables with homemade croutons or bread and a dressing of some sort.  And it is wonderful.  This fresh version with tomatoes and peppers is one that I make frequently.

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Today I wanted to create something just as pleasing, but a bit different.  I wanted to be both delicious and satisfying as well as be loaded with vegetables.  I know I’ve preached this before, but eating vegetables is key to keeping me feeling good, so I really try to pack them in throughout the day.  One of the vegetables that I wanted to rely on for this receipe is eggplant.  Why eggplant?  Well, because I can’t stop buying it at the farmers market– it’s just so darn gorgeous.  I have a weird relationship with this vegetable.  I don’t generally love the flavor, and at times I find the texture to be a bit…unique.  I needed to find a way to appreciate it, aside from the aesthetic, because admiring its beauty while it sits unused on my countertop is a bit wasteful.  And the other recipes I’ve tried have just seemed ho-hum or so loaded with other unhealthy things that it kind of defeated the point of eating healthy.  So that’s why eggplant.

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

Thankfully, not only did I find a way to use it, I found a way to actually enjoy it!  This panzanella is everything that I wanted it to be.  Using small globe-like eggplants worked well in this recipe.  The seeds are smaller, which appeals to me.  The vegetables became tender and delicious when roasted.  Tossing them with homemade croutons, a red wine vinaigrette, and feta was a beautiful combination.  The feta melted slightly against the warm vegetables.  It was magical.  The smashed garlic cloves become soft and buttery.  Roast whatever vegetables you have on hand– it will work.  Change up the cheese, if you want.  Goat or ricotta salata will work well, too. Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant | Relishing It

The Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Panzanella with Eggplant

(serves 2)

about 10 small eggplants, diced

1-2 red peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces

handful of small cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1 hot pepper, optional

olive oil, salt, and pepper

1/4 – 1/2 baguette, cubed

Feta, goat, or ricotta salata cheese crumbles, to garnish

For the Vinaigrette:

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

about 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  On a large baking sheet with parchment paper, toss the eggplant, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic cloves together with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, toss the cubed baguette with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread on another baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake on the bottom rack until just crispy, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Make the vinaigrette by mixing the garlic clove, mustard, thyme leaves, and red wine vinegar together.  Then whisk in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

When the vegetables are done roasting, mix them together with the homemade croutons.  Then toss everything with the red wine vinaigrette.  Re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve with feta crumbles on top and even a few more thyme leaves.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

“Millions of peaches, peaches for me.  Millions of peaches, peaches for free”.  My apologies for putting that song in your head, but I end up humming it every time I make this wonderful sangria.  And while the comical stylings of the band The Presidents of the United States of America (I’m really showing my early 90’s musical roots here) may not be your thing, this drink will be.  If only peaches were free…if only.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

It’s hard to not like sangria, to be honest.  What’s not to love?  Delicious wine spiked with fruit or fruit juices, sometimes sugar, sometimes bubbles. Yes, please.  Making sangria can be a bit like painting on a canvas.  There are so many colors and choices for your creation.  I enjoy both white and red sangria, but in either style fresh herbs are the key for me.  They give it a little more complexity that so many other versions seem to lack.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

I’ve also recently been experimenting with fresh juices in my sangria.  We have a Breville Juice Fountain Plus and I like to put it to good use.  You may think you’ll waste a lot of the fruit by juicing it, but the truth is, you don’t.  I had almost no pulp when I juiced two peaches for this recipe– the only thing that was discarded was the peel. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a juicer, summer is the perfect time to do it!  There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables to experiment with. Of course, if you don’t have a juicer, you can simply peel the peach and purée in a blender– that method will work just fine.  I wanted to create an herby, mostly naturally-sweetened sangria.  Some recipes require a lot of sugar, but I’d rather avoid that if possible.  The addition of chamomile is subtle, but lovely.  And the fresh thyme works magically with the peaches– they’re a wonderful pairing.

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

Using fresh juices in addition to chunks of whole fruits helps the flavors meld a bit quicker than just using whole fruit exclusively. It is something you should definitely try before the summer is over!  Enjoy the sangria and for goodness sakes, share some with your *neighbors!

*Speaking of neighbors– shout out to my neighbor Allison and her lovely mother, Shirley for gifting me the gorgeous antique platter in the photos– thank you!

Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme | Relishing It

The Recipe: Happy Hour: Peach Sangria with Chamomile and Thyme

(serves 4)

1 bottle of sparkling white wine, cava, prosecco, or regular white wine

3/4 cup fresh peach juice/purée (from 2 peaches)

1-2 bags of chamomile tea (steeped in 1/2 cup hot water, then cooled)

handful of fresh thyme sprigs

1/2 tablespoon superfine sugar (more or less to taste)

fresh raspberries and peach slices

ice

Begin by steeping the chamomile tea in hot water.  Refrigerate to cool completely.  Juice the peaches by either using a juicer or peel the peaches and purée in a blender.

In a large glass pitcher, add the sparkling white wine, peach juice, chamomile tea, fresh thyme sprigs, and  1/2 tablespoon superfine sugar.  Stir together well and even bruise the thyme with a wooden spoon to release the flavors more.  If time allows, let the flavors meld for 20 minutes or so in the refrigerator.  Then add the ice, fresh raspberries, and peach slices.  Serve in a glass over ice.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

I’ll get to the corn salsa in a minute– but first I want to talk about beer!  Admittedly, I’ve been drinking too darn much beer this summer.  Not at one time– nothing like that.  But this summer, more than any other, it’s just been so easy to sit outside with Radd in the evening and visit over a beer or two.  I suppose it’s partly to do with our mild weather– not too hot, not too humid.  It has been perfect, which is excellent for my happiness.  And while I probably don’t need those calories at the end of the day, instead of stressing, I’ve decided to embrace it.

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

So what have I been sipping on?  Mostly farmhouse ales and saisons.  Two that I love are Saison Dupont and a local farmhouse ale from Liftbridge called Farm Girl.  Speaking of local beer, I’ve also been enjoying a few others like Bent Paddle’s Paddle Break Blonde and Steel Toe’s Size 7 IPA.  Now before this post turns into an essay on local beer, let me just say this– our craft beer scene here in Minnesota is just incredible right now.  So many wonderful breweries and taprooms, and I’ve been testing them out like it’s my job.  I’m owning it, I don’t mind saying.  A few other great summer favorites (not local) are Leffe Blonde and Pyramid’s Apricot Ale.  There, that’s my beer confession.

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

So what goes smashingly well with summer beer?  Yup– chips and fresh corn salsa.  I love salsa of any variety– tomato, tomatillo… but, there’s something about fresh corn salsa that wins the salsa competition for me.  I would choose corn every time.  It’s fresh, slightly sweet, spicy, and loaded with that citrusy lime/cilantro flavor.  Not to mention, it is simple to make– so simple that it’s somewhat silly to even give a recipe.  But, I think the same can be said for most summer fare– fresh and simple and that’s just fine.  So, get out your chefs knife and start cutting up that corn.  Then pour yourself a glass of cold beer and soak up some summer fun.  Cheers!

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

The Recipe: Fresh Corn Salsa

6-8 ears of fresh corn, cut

1 large red onion, diced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds/ribs if heat is a factor)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

juice of one lime

kosher salt

In a medium-sized bowl mix all of the ingredients.  Add more lime juice to taste.  Season appropriately with salt.  You may need more salt than you are used to — corn needs a bit to bring out its wonderful flavor.  Let flavors meld for a bit before serving.  Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Salsa | Relishing It

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

Happy Hour: Whiskey Sour | Relishing It

It’s Friday, which means it’s practically happy hour!  Today’s cocktail is one of my very favorites.  It’s actually a drink that we enjoy both in the summer and the winter.  Right now we’re enjoying them outside on the patio with plenty of ice.  The lemony-bourbon flavor is a perfect combination– it’s smooth and doesn’t have a strong alcohol taste.  But, what I love most about this cocktail is the froth.  That creamy, silky froth makes this drink darn-near perfect.

Happy Hour: Whiskey Sour | Relishing It

We get requests from our friends and family for this recipe all of the time, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s a winner. I honestly don’t even try to order this one when we’re out anymore because I know I’ll be disappointed– Radd has perfected it.  This version really is the best I’ve ever had.  Full stop. It doesn’t involve a long list of ingredients, but it does involve a few careful steps, which I’ll explain below.  Follow these steps and you’ll achieve a perfect whiskey sour complete with a dreamy foam-top.  You’ll see.  And you’ll love it.  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone–cheers!

Happy Hour: Whiskey Sour | Relishing It

The Recipe: Whiskey Sour

(serves 1)

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)

1 ounce simple syrup

1/2 egg white

3-4 drops of Angostura bitters

Use a small strainer to collect the pulp and seeds from the freshly-squeezed lemon juice.  Next, in a shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and 1/2 egg white.  Shake furiously (without ice) for 10 to 15 seconds in order to work the egg white into a nice froth.  Add sufficient ice to the shaker and shake again until chilled.  Pour into an Old Fashioned glass over ice.  Add a lemon twist and 3-4 drops of Angostura bitters to the froth.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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