Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer is for Snacking

Here are two recipes that taste really good outside, while sitting around a fire pit and drinking a margarita. Stock up on chips.

Hot Salsa
4 vine ripe tomatoes
1/2 medium onion
2 scotch bonnets
1/2 medium poblano
6-8 slices jalapenos from jar (or one fresh pepper)
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp coarse salt
juice from 1/2 lime

1. Deseed and quarter the tomatoes; cut onion in to manageable pieces.
2. Deseed and coarsely chop peppers.
3. Place all ingredients through salt in food processor.
4. Drain excess liquid if necessary and transfer to a bowl.
5. Add lime juice and mix well.

For best flavor, let this salsa hang out for a few hours. You'll notice that it has a sudden, intense heat, then gradually mellows out.

The second part of the recipe duo is a rich and creamy chili bean dip that compliments the salsa by relieving the heat. You'll want to save this recipe for football season, when it will taste even better while watching the Patriots get their butts kicked.

Hot Chili-Cheese Bean Dip

1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
dash or two of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can fat-free refried beans (you won't miss the lard, trust me)
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
cooking spray
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients from tomatoes through chiles in a large bowl. For an extra kick, add more cayenne pepper and throw in some chopped jalapeno.
3. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray, add mixture and top with cheese.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melty and perfect.

You'll notice that there is no picture of the bean dip, which I regret. Sometimes it's hard to take pictures when you're hungry.

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