Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kirchhoff Menu & Activities: Week of July 21, 2014

We're back, and I'm feel less than creative. Between all these cardboard boxes and prepping for my baby sister's baby shower (this Saturday) and getting ready for mine and G's Vegas trip next weekend, there' a lot going on. As always, biting off more than I should chew. But can't help the timing of it all. Looking forward to the calm days ahead in August. By then, there should be some order in the house, and I'll be able to find stuff. Then the girls and I can get creative and fun!!

Kirchhoff Menu & Activities
Week of July 21, 2014

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Activities
M: 

A:

E:
M & A: girls to school (Frozen dance camp) | unpack MB + closet | groceries | prints from Staples | favors for shower | Groovy’s | gate signs for shower

E: diaper hot air balloon for shower
M: Lowe’s (cacti garden) | splash park play date

A: library | assemble cacti

E: 
M: girls’ dentist appt.

A: unpack living room | Costco | snow cones

E: 
M: girls to school | prep/make food for shower | unpack craft room

A: hair appt.

E:
M & A: baby shower

E: bike rides
M: church

A: Grayson’s bday party

E: thank you letters
Meals
B:

L:

D:
B: Cheerios | strawberries | cheese

L: @ home

D: clean ‘frig night
B: egg | Nutella toast | strawberries

L: picnic lunch

D: spaghetti | salad
B: oatmeal with berries

L: out

D: brown sugar salmon | broccoli | rolls
B: egg | Nutella toast | strawberries

L: @ home

D: clean out ‘frig night
B: quick cereal

L: @ shower

D: Asian chicken thighs | green beans  | rice
B: biscuits & gravy

L: BBQ

D: grilled lamb chops | rosemary potatoes | asparagus
Last Week’s Keepers

Won’t Make Again 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fiery Salsa: A recipe for my Aussie friends {But You Can Use It Too}

As a native Texan, it was difficult coming to Australia and adjusting my palette. Even cilantro - called "coriander" here - wasn't exactly the same. Different soil, minerals, water, etc. make that happen. 

Plus, there are few Mexican joints here, but most don't really taste like what I consider Mexican or Tex-Mex. (They try really hard though!) The best ones, Mad Mex and Guzman y Gomez, are set up like a Chipotle or Freebirds. Then there's the one actual restaurant chain that almost nails the flavors but costs $30-40/person. Eek. So I set out to make Mexican food - other than tacos - at home for the first time ever when we moved here. I now regularly make my own red enchilada sauce, tortillas, taco seasoning, etc. But salsa was something I missed. At night, before going to bed, my night-time craving is chips and salsa. ("Is" is correct grammar there because "chips and salsa" is all one thing to a Texan, not two separate things. And by "chips," I mean tortilla chips, not fries.) I couldn't shake the craving.

Here's what a typical Texas grocery store shelf of salsas looks like:

In specialty grocery stores, there can be double or triple this amount. Dozens and dozens of choices. People are very picky about their salsa. Chunky or restaurant-style. Jalapeños or chipotle peppers? Mild, medium, hot, extra hot. Beans and corn added in? It's covered. Want a savory sweet option? Peach salsa is delicious. National and local brands are there as well as imports from Mexico.  (I should also note that there are just as many tortilla chip options as well. Blue, yellow, or white corn. Circles, triangles, rectangles, or scoops. Thick or thin. Etc. There truly is a difference.)

Thank goodness I found that Australia carries Mission brand tortillas, tortilla chips, and salsa. They also have Old El Paso and Doritos brand salsa as well, but those were awful - like eating flavored tomato paste. However I still missed the restaurant style kind of salsa. That kind is usually runnier, not thick. And it's fresh, not boiled down and jarred. And many times it is served warm. 

A great friend of mine who I've known since elementary school married an Aussie years and years ago and has lived in Queensland for roughly a decade. Even after that long, a native Texan still gets a hankering for Tex-Mex. Her solution is to just to make her own salsa, which is awesome! When she visited us here in Perth several months ago, she showed me how to make her Fiery Salsa. She learned it from a friend, and that friend is the person who named the recipe. It's easily adaptable and fun to make. So here's the unofficial run-down on this yummy recipe.

You'll need:
  • red bell pepper (called a "capsicum" here). You could use red or green, but it'll make the salsa brownish.
  • 1 large or 2 small onions. Peel off the outside dead layers. 
  • 2 tomatoes. 
  • a jalapeño if you can find one. I found mine labeled "small green chili" near the peppers, but they're not there all the time. It's much spicier than the jalapeños at home, so be careful. Another option is to not include a jalapeño and use canned chipotle chilies instead. I found a can at Farmer Jacks for about $7. Used one and froze the rest.
  • coriander/cilantro
  • salt

Throw the capsicum, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeño if you're using it on an open flame (hence the name "Fiery Salsa") on the BBQ.
Grill until charred on all sides.
Then clean the BBQ so you're husband won't know you touched his precious while he was a work.
Okay...I was really eager after this and didn't take many photos. Put the cooked capsicum (remove stem), onions, tomatoes, teaspoon of salt (to start), and a handful of coriander in a food processor. Pulse.

Use a parring knife to cut slivers at a time from the jalapeño or chipotle pepper (or whatever it is you're using for heat) and add to the salsa. Pulse it again and give it a taste. Add more salt, cilantro/coriander, and/or heat source until you've achieved the taste you want.

This is what it'll look like. Mmmmm....
Serve with Mission tortilla chips. They're real deal. Not too salty or thick. They'll showcase the salsa the best.

You can add this this by tossing in corn or beans. You could also grill a peach or nectarine with the rest of it and add that in for a killer combo. If you like your salsa chunkier, don't pulse as much. If you like the "tomato paste" kind of taste, simply put the salsa in a pan and boil some of the liquid down. Watch the salt if you do it that way though. One time, I made mine a little too spicy, so I put in a little bit of sugar to off-set that. It was great that way, and now I always add at least a pinch of sugar. There are so many ways to personalize this recipe.