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Category: Recipes

  1. Tuesday, October 7

    Cozy Chicken Mole Rojo

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    The first time Nate and I tasted mole sauce was at a Mexican restaurant in Arlington, MA when we were in college. My roommate and best college friend Estela was from Juárez and was always educating me on what good Mexican food was. One such dish was mole, which she described as a savory “chocolate” sauce served over chicken. When Nate and I spotted it on the menu that night so long ago we knew we had to try it, and we loved it. Sadly, we’ve hardly eaten mole since then. It’s not a dish you generally find served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and we had no idea how to make it…until now! (If you live in the Bay Area, Lulu’s serves both green and red mole and they are both divine.)

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    I finally sat down to figure out how to make a red mole sauce on my own and it turned out so so so good. This recipe is great for about a million reasons, but I’ll just share a few. It’s a crockpot recipe, making it very hands off. You just blend most of the ingredients together, dump it over chicken in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy! Traditional mole sauces can take days to prepare, but the crockpot actually helps speed up the process. (That’s probably the first time a crockpot meal has been described as speedy!) This red mole sauce is quite rich and full of flavor, but not too spicy, so kids can enjoy it, too. However, you can definitely add cayenne pepper for more heat. Heat is good. And the richness from the unsweetened chocolate counterbalances the heat of the peppers beautifully. Lastly, this recipe for chicken mole rojo is healthy! I originally developed it for Disney and had to follow strict dietary guidelines, all of which I met in this recipe.

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    And, if you have kids, just tell them they are eating mud and they will eat every bite of their dinner. It’s like magic.

    (>> Find out more…)

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  2. Friday, October 3

    Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Granola Bars to Celebrate Fair Trade Month + A Delicious Giveaway

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    October is Fair Trade Month and I’m so excited to help support the cause! Plus, I have a completely delicious dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bar recipe for you. Basically there’s a whole lot of goodness going on in this here post. Before we get to the fair trade chocolate granola bars (mmmmmm….), let’s talk about fair trade for a moment and meet some of the farmers!

    fair trade dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars from @janemaynard

    There are a lot of labels on our foods these days. Gluten Free. Organic. Cage Free. Natural. GMO-free. The list goes on and on and ON. With so many labels, it’s easy to stop seeing them when you’re shopping. But one label that I always notice is the ‘Fair Trade Certified’ label. And, when I do see that label, I try to stop and think about the people behind the label, the farmers benefiting from that product.

    Miguel & Lucia, Fair Trade Divemex farmers (from @janemaynard)

    Two of those people are Miguel Romero Martínez, 22, from Tlapa, Guerrero, and Lucía Simón Mariano, 18, from Veracruz. Miguel and Lucía have an adorable two-month old daughter named Dulce Yamilet. Miguel’s family has been living permanently in the Chula Vista II residential area within Divemex’s La Veinte Agricultural Complex in Culiacán since 2006, while Lucía first came to Sinaloa with her parents in 2010. Divemex is a produce cooperative in Mexico that grows bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Both Lucía and Miguel are now employees, have an apartment of their own and currently Miguel is the recipient of a Fair Trade-sponsored employee scholarship as he studies open adult junior high school.

    The Martinez-Hernandez family, whose first language is Nahuatl and originally come from Tlapa, Guerrero, is one of the most successful cases of migrant families from Southern Mexico, with numerous family members employed by Divemex and recipients of Fair Trade-sponsored scholarships. Currently, two family members receive open adult education scholarships while two others receive stipends given to children of employees. All must keep a monthly B+ average in order to maintain the scholarship status.

    Divemex family From Left to Right: Miguel Romero Martinez (22, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient), his wife Lucía Simón Mariano (18, employee) with two-month old daughter Dulce Yamilet, Floriberto Romero Martinez (16, Junior High School scholarship recipient as child of employee), David Romero Martinez (20, employee), Andres Romero Martinez (24, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient, and only indigenous member of the Ten-person Fair Trade council at Divemex), Ana Martínez Peralta (family matriarch and employee), Heidi Hernandez Martinez (8, elementary school scholarship recipient as child of employee) and Felipe Hernandez Guerrero (employee, father of Heidi, and step-father to the four young men). 

    Don’t you love seeing their pictures and hearing just a small part of this family’s story? It’s kind of amazing. Plus, in learning about this family I discovered that fair trade doesn’t just apply to non-perishable goods but to produce, as well. Very cool!

    fair trade barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark for granola bars by @janemaynard

    Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies (which I will also be giving away in just a minute) and challenged me to use some of the ingredients in a recipe. As I was gearing up to make our weekly supply of granola bars, I decided to change the bars up a bit. So, here’s the deal. We love our chocolate chip granola bars so much I can’t bring myself to change the flavor. But, this week, I decided adding more chocolate would not be a bad choice.

    dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars by @janemaynard

    I added fair trade cocoa powder from Lake Champlain Chocolates as well as barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark with sea salt to the granola bars instead of boring chocolate chips. The result was SPECTACULAR. As I was making the granola bars, I realized that I had fair trade brown sugar, fair trade coconut oil and fair trade vanilla to use in the recipe as well. These granola bars are pretty soundly fair trade!

    fair trade dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bars by @janemaynard

    Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky commenters will get the same package of fair trade goodies I received, including products from Equator, Guittard, barkTHINS, Lake Champlain Chocolates, LÄRABAR, Traditional Medicinals, Dang Foods, Numi Tea, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Eco Lips, Alter Eco, Badger Balm, Third Street, Celestial Seasonings, SunSpire, Nourish Organic and the book Where Am I Eating?.

    Here’s how to enter the giveaway!

    Time for granola bars! Happy Fair Trade Month!

    (>> Find out more…)

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  3. Friday, September 26

    How to Make an Airplane Birthday Cake + Friday Show and Tell

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    Okay, so there’s a lot of “mom stuff” I don’t do. I’m not crafty. I don’t make baby food from scratch. I am a terrible gardener. The list goes on and ON. But I do absolutely love making my kids’ birthday cakes. Every year they tell me what they want and I figure out a way to make it happen! For Owen’s 3rd birthday he requested Ripslinger from the movie Planes, or as Owen put it, “the green bad guy plane.” I was a little nervous but I pulled it off! The best part was Owen loved it and today he’s asked multiple times to see pictures of the cake. (That splash sound you hear is me turning into a puddle on the floor.)

    how to make a kids airplane birthday cake by @janemaynard

    how to make a kids airplane birthday cake by @janemaynard

    This cake was one of the easier ones I’ve done, so I have to share the step-by-step with you. Here’s how to make an airplane birthday cake!

    • Bake a 9″x13″ standard cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in this linked post) and it made for a nice tall cake, which gave the plane more height. I doubled the frosting recipe in that same post, which gave me enough frosting for the crumb coat and final coat with a bit left over.
    • After you bake the cake, freeze it. Once it’s frozen, make one cut as shown in the diagram below, then flip one of the pieces so it lines up with the other piece perfectly when you stack them.

    template for cutting a 9x13 cake for an airplane shape by @janemaynard

    • The fat end of the triangle you created is the front of the plane – the smaller end is the back of the plane. Shape the front to round it off. Once the cake was done, I wished I had also angled the back end of the plane down a bit so that the entire plan had an upward slant towards the front of the plane, instead of just parallel to the ground (know what I mean?). Feel free to play with the shape or just keep it super simple like I did.
    • I used one of the pieces of cake I cut off the front when shaping the nose of the plane to create the cockpit on top.
    • Frost between the layers, and then follow the directions in my cake-making guide post for frosting (freezing cake, crumb coat, etc.) The beauty of this cake is you only need ONE COLOR OF FROSTING! Save a bit of white for the window, but other than that you can just make all the frosting one color.
    • For the wings and things, I used cardstock! Just cut them into the shape you like and then stick the shaped wings and things right into the cake. You can get colored cardstock or just color white cardstock with a permament marker the color you want he wings to be. (Since I was making Ripslinger, I also made the flames out of cardstock colored with permanent markers and stuck them to the side using frosting as glue.) Don’t worry, no marker transferred to the frosting anywhere!
    • The propellors were 2 popsicle sticks colored with black Sharpee marker, broken in half and then stuck in the front. I should have put a black circle of frosting or a Junior Mint on the front in the middle of the propellors. I didn’t, but you can!
    • White frosting and black piped frosting made the window in the cockpit, and chocolate chips, stuck pointy side in, served as the eyes.

    Show and tell time! I just have one quick share today. I put together a really fun post for Babble of CRAZY stuff my friends’ kids have eaten. It’s pretty awesome. Be sure to click through and check it out!

    As usual, feel free to share anything you like in the comments, it’s show and tell after all!

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  4. Tuesday, September 23

    Perfect Barbecue Chicken Pizza

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    In case you’ve been wondering what it takes to make a perfect barbecue chicken pizza, well, today is your lucky day.

    how to make perfect barbecue chicken pizza from @janemaynard

    So, what does it take? If you’ve eaten at pretty much any pizzeria that serves good barbecue chicken pizza, you probably already know the answer: cilantro. Also, mixing gouda cheese in with the mozzarella is pretty much your ticket to pizza heaven.

    Also #2…can we go back to the whole naan-bread-as-pizza-crust trick I recently discovered? I am completely and totally addicted and have been making pizza like it’s going out of style. Nothing beats my homemade crust (detailed post coming one day soon, I promise!), but, seriously, the naan bread thing is KILLER.

    Without further ado, the non-recipe recipe for PERFECT barbecue chicken pizza. Enjoy!

    5.0 from 1 reviews
    Perfect Barbecue Chicken Pizza
     
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    Cilantro is the key to truly killer barbecue chicken. Also, gouda. You're welcome.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Good barbecue sauce (I use one a sweet BBQ sauce for flavor contrast)
    • Grilled chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • Thinly-sliced red onion
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese
    • Shredded gouda cheese
    • Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
    Instructions
    1. Spread pizza crust with barbecue sauce. Scatter chicken and red onion evenly then top with mozzarella and gouda cheeses.
    2. Cook pizza until cheese is melted and bubbly. After taking out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
    3. Enjoy!

     

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  5. Tuesday, September 16

    Baked Stuffing-Coated Chicken: Only 3 Ingredients to Pure Deliciousness!

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    My mother-in-law Pat claims she’s not a good cook, but I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Some of my very best cooking tricks, tips and recipes have come from her. And some of my favorite non-recipe “recipes” come from her. Pat has a knack for making easy-to-prep food taste really good.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard

    Today I’m sharing one of those non-recipe recipes. It is seriously beyond easy with only 3 ingredients. The recipe is a little old school, i.e. there is canned cream-of-whatever soup involved. I rarely buy canned soups, but I certainly do for this chicken recipe! The chicken comes out so tender and juicy, and the stuffing cooks perfectly, soft and yummy where it touches the chicken with a nice crunch around the outside.

    recipe for super easy and delicious baked stuffing-coated chicken, with only 3 ingredients, by @janemaynard (>> Find out more…)

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  6. Tuesday, September 9

    Quick and Delicious Naan Pizzas (Baked or Grilled)

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    A few months ago I was thinking that naan bread would make a good crust for quick pizzas. I wrote it on my “to try” list and then ignored the list all summer. Then, this week, I picked up the America’s Test Kitchen magazine “6 Ingredient Recipes” (which is on newsstands now until October 20 and it’s great!) and guess what they had as one of the recipes? Naan pizza! I decided to finally get my act together and give it a try.

    naan pizza, baked or grilled, from @janemaynard - easy and delicious!

    This past Sunday I was planning to make homemade pizza. I have really perfected the pizza-making process (not to brag or anything) and was looking forward to having pizza for dinner. (Here is my crust recipe – I will also be doing a full post about making homemade pizza soon, so keep an eye out.) But Sunday ended up being really busy as well as ridiculously hot. I simply didn’t feel like turning my oven on at 550º F for 2-3 hours. So, I broke out the naan bread and fired up the grill!

    naan pizza, baked or grilled, from @janemaynard - easy and delicious!naan pizza, baked or grilled, from @janemaynard - easy and delicious!

    Naan bread works perfectly as a pizza crust. Following the technique below, it gets nice and crispy on the bottom but still has some chew, and it’s just so quick and easy! Making the naan pizzas on the grill worked beautifully, but I also cooked one in the oven and that worked great, too. If I had to choose I would go with the grill, but you can’t lose either way!

    Naan pizzas are also a great lunch option – I made one for myself yesterday in the toaster oven and it was quick and painless!

    For the record, I love my homemade crust more. But these naan pizzas are still pretty amazing and are perfect for when you need a good homemade pizza cheat!

    naan pizza, baked or grilled, from @janemaynard - easy and delicious!naan pizza, baked or grilled, from @janemaynard - easy and delicious!Pizza flavors pictured: Barbecue Chicken (BBQ sauce, chicken, cheese and cilantro tossed on after cooking) and Honey Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onion

    (>> Find out more…)

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  7. Wednesday, September 3

    Apple Bavarian Torte: My Favorite Apple Dessert

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    Confession: I’m not that into fruit pies, cobblers or crisps. I mean, they’re okay but not my first choice. Nate, on the other hand, goes weak in the knees over a good apple crisp and loves those other fruity desserts almost as much. That’s really saying something because he rarely goes weak in the knees over food. This is just another of the many ways in which he and I are complete opposites! (Shout-out to the ever wise Paula Abdul.)

    apple bavarian torte from @janemaynard

    But there are a few fruity desserts that I can get on board with. This Apple Bavarian Torte is one of them. The recipe has been hiding on my blog since Day One, but I have never written a post about it or photographed it for you. Honestly, I’m usually making this torte late the night before Thanksgiving so photographing has never been an option!

    apple bavarian torte from @janemaynard

    Since autumn is in the air I decided it was a good time to finally give this apple recipe the attention it deserves. It is SO GOOD. Even this apple dessert hater loves it.

    apple bavarian torte from @janemaynard

    A friend named Sarah gave me this recipe nearly 15 years ago. (Sarah is also the one who gave me the pizza crust recipe that I still use to this day. I sure am glad I met Sarah!) Sarah got this apple Bavarian torte recipe at a Pampered Chef party and that’s about all I know about it. Well, besides the fact that it’s amazing.

    apple bavarian torte from @janemaynardapple bavarian torte from @janemaynard (>> Find out more…)

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  8. Tuesday, August 5

    S’Morritos! a.k.a. S’Mores on the Grill! a.k.a. The Best Way to Serve S’Mores to a Crowd

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    The last night we were in New Hampshire this summer we were planning to build a fire and make s’mores. But then we got lazy and didn’t feel like doing the whole fire thing. But we did still feel like doing the whole s’more thing, especially since we had amazing chocolate bark and homemade coconut marshmallows from the Granite State Candy Shoppe that needed to be s’morified stat.

    s'morritos aka s'mores on the grill by @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!

    I was suggesting that maybe we just microwave a few s’mores. This does not make for the very best s’mores in the world but the technique works when you find yourself in a s’more emergency, which I’m sure happens all the time. My sister-in-law Hannah, however, suddenly had a stroke of genius, and that genius was quickly named the S’Morrito (she’s good with words like that). The grill was still fired up from dinner and she figured wrapping s’mores up in foil (s’mores that look like burritos…s’morritos…get it?) and throwing them on the grill should work pretty well. It actually worked great.

    s'morritos a.k.a. s'mores on the grill from @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!s'morritos a.k.a. s'mores on the grill from @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!

    Not only is this a great way to make s’mores, but it’s an especially great way to serve s’mores at a party. Here’s what I recommend:

    • Set up a s’mores bar, complete with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows, as well as a bunch of pieces of aluminum foil and a Sharpee marker.
    • Everyone then makes their own s’mores, wraps the uncooked s’mores in foil and puts their initials on the foil with the marker.
    • Put all of the completed s’morritos on the grill and, voila, s’mores everyone can enjoy at the same time!

    s'morritos a.k.a. s'mores on the grill from @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!s'morritos a.k.a. s'mores on the grill from @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!

    As for the taste, I’m sure some of you have questions. Yes, s’morritos taste good. Yes, the warmed graham cracker is actually totally and completely wonderful. Yes, the marshmallow gets a little browned on the edges even in the foil. Yes, your s’mores will be totally gooey but who cares because they’re supposed to be. Yes, the marshmallow and chocolate heat very evenly. Yes, I may never make s’mores the old way again. (Fair warning: the s’mores are hot and super gooey when you first take them off the grill. If you let them cool for 5-10 minutes, they become less so.)

    s'morritos a.k.a. s'mores on the grill from @janemaynard - a great way to serve s'mores at a party!

    S'Morritos!
     
    Prep time
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    S'Mores on the Grill - a great way to serve s'mores to a crowd!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • Graham crackers
    • Chocolate of your choice (I've stopped buying Hershey's bars and we use Dove chocolates now - it's just that much better. And, if you really want to go gourmet, buy some super fancy chocolate like we did in NH. It's kind of amazing.)
    • Marshmallows
    • Foil
    Instructions
    1. Heat grill on low. (If you want to try this in your oven, go for around 400º F)
    2. Place graham cracker on the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Layer with chocolate then marshmallow then another graham cracker. Wrap carefully so you don't break the crackers inside.
    3. Place on grill chocolate side UP, close grill lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Open grill, flip s'morritos then cook for another 2-3 more minutes. (Experiment with the time based on how hot your individual grill gets.)
    4. Remove from grill, unwrap and dig in.
    5. The s'morritos are especially gooey when it comes to s'mores since everything is warm and melted. You can dig in right away, but you've been warned. If you let them cool for 5-10 minutes, they may be a bit more manageable. If you decide to eat them hot off the grill, be sure to lift them out of the foil by lifting from the bottom so as to avoid squishing all the good stuff out before you even take a bite!

     

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  9. Sunday, July 20

    Week 391 Menu + Dinner at Veladora

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    Hello! We are home from vacation and I am getting back into the cooking groove! After such a long break I am actually really looking forward to it.

    review of veladora restaurant by @janemaynard

    Before we get to this week’s dinner plans, I need to tell you about the dinner that Nate and I had last night. Today is our 15th wedding anniversary (TIME FLIES! Happy anniversary, Nate!). Last night Veladora at the Rancho Valencia hotel in Rancho Santa Fe hosted us for dinner to celebrate. There are no words for how wonderful our evening was, but I’m going to give it a try! (Seriously, in the time it took for us to drive off the hotel property we must have said, “That dinner was awesome!” twenty times.) First of all, the food. Ahhh, the food. Nate ordered prime rib cap and I was treated to scallops. Both dishes were unreal. The rib cap was a beautiful cut of meat cooked to perfection, and my scallops were paired with three different corn sides that complemented the scallops beautifully. All of the food we had was wonderful, right down to the 18-year old balsamic vinegar for dipping the focaccia. Chef Matt came out to meet us at the end of our meal and it was so interesting talking with him about the food, how the menu is developed and modified with the seasons, as well as his own career path. Beyond the food, the serving staff was stellar and the restaurant itself was beautiful. The best part was that, despite the high caliber of the restaurant, we felt comfortable and relaxed, thanks to both the setting and the staff. Oh, and they gave us a little gift on the way out the door that was, of course, a tasty treat. It was truly the perfect way to celebrate our latest life milestone. Thank you, Veladora, for a night we will not soon forget.

    Despite the fact that I pretty much don’t want to eat any other food ever after Veladora, real life dictates that I still have to feed my family. So, back to the weekly menu!

    weekly dinner plans from @janemaynard including FREE printable menu and shopping list!

    MONDAY:
    – Caprese salad with crusty bread
    Stewed green beans

    TUESDAY:
    Taco night

    WEDNESDAY:
    Grammy’s Orange Chicken
    – Rice and veggie

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    – Takeout night

    SATURDAY:
    – Chicken on the grill
    Corn on the cob and watermelon

    SUNDAY:
    – Quiche
    – Spinach and strawberry salad

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    Big THANKS to all of you who continued posting menus the last few weeks while I took a break. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

    As usual, please share your menu for the week! Plain or fancy, we want to see it all!

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  10. Wednesday, July 9

    Serrano Salsa

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    I’ve mentioned my wonderful neighbor Ari a few times. She is from Mexico and gives me tips for cooking Mexican food that make my life happy. The latest is a recipe for salsa that she got from one of her aunts the last time they visited family in Mexico.

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Ari and I were sitting by the pool and she said, “My aunt made some salsa. It’s my favorite. And it’s soooo easy.” She then told me how to make this magical salsa. I asked her to repeat it a few times and then, of course, emailed her later to ask her to write it down. This is basically what happens every time she shares a recipe with me – I make her repeat it a million times and then have to call her and/or email her multiple times before I get it down. Don’t you wish I was your neighbor? ;)

    serrano salsa by @janemaynardserrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Okay, so, for real, this salsa is easy, simple and delicious! It has a rich, smoky flavor and the perfect amount of heat (well, at least I think it’s perfect). Most of the kids didn’t try it because they were scared it would be too spicy, but my brave little Anna dug in. She described the salsa as hot and then proceeded to tell us how she has a “sensible tongue.” It was so cute. In terms of “hotness,” I would consider this a hot salsa. Depending on the heat of your particular serranos and what your final proportion of tomatoes to chiles is will determine exactly how hot it ends up being, but, even with those variations, it’s a spicy salsa. My dad, my sister-in-law and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. I can’t wait to make this salsa for Nate when we get home from traveling!

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    I’m sure you could add onions and garlic and cilantro and yummy stuff like that. But, honestly, the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity, so just go with it!

    Serrano Salsa
     
    Prep time
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    My friend Ari shared this recipe with me - her aunt made it for her in Mexico. Enjoy!
    Author:
    Serves: 1 cup
    Ingredients
    • 3 tomatoes (my tomatoes were a little smaller than normal, so I used about 9 tomatoes)
    • 3 chiles serranos
    • salt, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down in a pan. (I used a non-stick pan and would recommend that.)
    2. Cut off the stems of the serrano chiles and place them whole in the pan with the tomatoes (no cutting or seeding necessary!).
    3. Cook the tomatoes and chiles over high heat to burn them. Ari said about 3-4 minutes per side, but I think it took mine more like 5-10 minutes per side. You will see little brown and black spots on the tomatoes and chiles when they are ready to come off the heat. You cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a pan with the chiles (chiles are complete with seeds). The tomato skins will also start to peel off.
    4. Remove from heat, put everything in the pan in a blender and blend well. Season with salt to taste, probably about ¼ - ½ teaspoon.
    5. As Ari said, "Habemus salsa!"

     

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