Zucchini Salsa (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

No tomatoes?  No problem!  How much have you missed salsa?  I can't even tell you how much better life is now that this salsa is here.  I'm going to put it on everything!  (Especially an AIP taco bowl that I'll post later this week.)  After looking everywhere for a nightshade free salsa and not finding one - I knew i was going to have to make my own.  If you're skeptical, don't be.  I'm not the biggest fan of zucchini but this salsa is great. 

Makes 1 pint.

Zucchini Salsa

splash cooking oil

2 zucchini, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

juice of one lime

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup water

In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add zucchini slices and garlic.  Cook until browned and very soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to blender and blend with cilantro, lime juice, onion, salt and water.  

Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing (GF, DF)

It's that time of year!  Salad time!  How great was it to indulge during the holiday season?  I LOVED it but it's time to get back to healthier, more sustainable ways.  Like everyone else, I'm back to the gym and eating right.  I had a satisfyingly long day of batch cooking this past Sunday, making lots of yummy and healthy things.  Like vegetables!  You remember vegetables. 

I also made an especially good peanut dressing. 

There's going to be a lot of leftover cabbage.  I shredded one red and one green head of cabbage and stuffed half into a gallon sized freezer bag, pushed all the air out of it, sealed, labeled and threw it in the freezer for another time.  Cam and I like to make a quick stir fry midweek with ground turkey, shredded cabbage and a simple sauce.  

Serves 6. 

Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing

for the dressing

1/3 cup tamari soy sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

for the salad

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, shredded

5 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

To make the dressing: heat tamari, peanut butter, water, brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and vinegar in a small pot and whisk until smooth and sugar has dissolved.  Cool.  

Compose salad and serve with dressing. 

Spicy Blackened Tomato Sauce

This recipe makes about 4 pints of spicy, flavorful tomato sauce.  I had a grab bag of fresh-from- the-garden tomatoes (Thanks, Mom!) like plum, cherry and regular so feel free to use whatever you have.  I kept out one pint for dinner and the rest are labelled and headed for the freezer.  If  you do not like it SPICY, halve or omit the chile flakes.  

Spicy Blackened Tomato Sauce

small splash high heat oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 yellow onion, peeled, quartered

4 pounds tomatoes, cored as needed

1 teaspoon chile flakes

1 handful fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss garlic cloves and onion in a small splash of oil.  Arrange on large baking sheet.  Place in oven.  

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over high heat.  Once HOT, add tomatoes, starting with your larger ones if using different types.  Turn tomatoes as needed, letting them blacken on each side. Transfer them to the sheet tray in the oven as the are ready.  (They are ready when the have black spots on each side, the skin starts to peel or they start to cook down.)  Once all the tomatoes are seared and in the oven, let it all roast 30 minutes.  Everything, including the garlic cloves should be very soft and blend-able.  

Remove tray from oven and transfer contents to a heat proof bowl.  Add chile flakes, basil and olive oil.  Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Serve while hot or let cool completely, portion, label and freeze. 


hot sauce

We had a bit of a hot sauce showdown around here last week.  I really wanted to make hot sauce after seeing the spicy pepper selections at the union square green market and the brooklyn kitchen.  I couldn't decide if I wanted it roasted with onions and garlic (left) or thin and vinegary (right).  With the husband's help, we made both.

If you have made hot sauce before you already know about the eye watering, cough inducing, curse evoking hot pepper fumes.  Work in a ventilated kitchen, utilizing any window, fan or gas mask you may have.  And consider wearing gloves.

Use any combination or peppers you like.  I added 1/2 an orange bell pepper to hot sauce 1 because I'm a wimp.  For a spicier taste, omit bell pepper.

Hot Sauce 1

1/2 lb hot peppers, stems removed, roughly chopped

1/2 of 1 bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons (or so) water

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup white vinegar

In a blender, puree peppers and salt, adding water as necessary.  Transfer to a jar, cover and let stand at room temperature over night.  Add vinegar and let stand at room temperature,  covered 48 hours.  Puree mixture in a blender and strain into clean jar or bottle.  (I like a little bottle outfitted with a speed pour top.)    Store in fridge up to 6 months.

Hot Sauce 2

3/4 lb hot peppers, halved, stems and seeds removed

2 cloves garlic

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

drizzle olive oil

6 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup water, plus more if needed

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange peppers and garlic on baking sheet.  Roast about 20 minutes.  Set aside.  In a pan with medium low heat, saute carrot and shallot in drizzle of olive oil until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.   Transfer to blender and add garlic and peppers.  Add vinegar, salt and water.  Puree.  Add more water if needed to help with blending.  Strain into  clean jar or bottle.  Keep in fridge up to 6 months.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

Bleu cheese dressing is the best dressing. ever.  It's very easy to make.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

1 cup bleu cheese (like gorgonzola or roquefort), crumbled

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonaise

1/2 cup sourcream

juice of half a lemon

fresh parsley thyme and chives, diced

black pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl.  That's it.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tomato Sauce

Lasagna needs a homemade sauce. This is a very easy tomato sauce that takes no time to make. While it simmers you can get started on cooking the pasta and prepping the veggies. These recipes make enough for a 9"x13" Lasagna. I like to double the sauce recipe and freeze it in muffin pan molds, its always nice to have some on hand.

Quick Tomato Sauce Olive oil 4 garlic cloves, finely diced 1 shallot, finely diced Red pepper flakes Dried oregano 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes Fresh Basil Fresh Parsley Salt and Pepper

Add a bit of olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallot for about 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes in your hand or puree in blender and add to pot. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Vegetable Lasagna About 9 cooked normal lasagna sheets Tomato Sauce 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 egg yolk 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated Mozzarella cheese, grated Splash olive oil 1 brocoli floret, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 1 yellow squash, chopped About 5 cremini mushrooms, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute vegetables for a couple minutes until vegetables reach crisp/tender texture. In a large bowl combine vegetables and all except 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Set aside for now.

In another bowl combine egg yolk, ricotta and parmesan. Set aside.

Ladle half remaining tomato sauce into lasagna pan. Smear around. Lay single layer of noodles. Spread half ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle layer of mozzarella cheese and spoon on half the vegetables. (I added a couple shakes of red pepper flakes for spice and threw in some salt, pepper and torn basil leaves for extra flavor. There can never be too much basil.) Repeat noodles, remaining ricotta, mozzarella and remaining vegetables. Layer rest of noodles, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake for 45 minutes.