Saturday, July 20, 2013

Food: Garden Fresh Salsa

Cooking (and Reading) with your family

I could not believe I LOVED this salsa.  Normally I don't like vegetables and this salsa has all the ingredients I stay away from: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, vinaigrette dressing...  But this combination is prize winning.  And the best part I had many of the ingredients right in my refrigerator, fresh from the garden.
This salsa is simple enough for children to make.  Adults should supervise the chopping but the combining and measuring is well within even primary aged children's abilities.
For more recipes to make with young readers look for this book.

For more recipes to make with young readers look for this book.  Chop Chop: The Kids' Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family, by Sally Sampson with photographs by Carl Tremblay (Simon and Schuster, 2013).

The following recipe for Garden Fresh Salsa is from our family recipe book and is simple (and fun to make) -- chop, add, and mix - in any order you wish:
Click on recipe card to access a printable copy.
  • 2 1/2  to 3 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn (The small bag of Bird's Eye corn should have had 3 1/3 cups [5 servings of 2/3 cups] but it ended up lucky to have a full 2 cups as there was a lot of frozen water chunks in the package).
  • 1 cup black beans (I just put in the entire can - the rest would have just gone to waste.)
  • 3/4  cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped granny smith apple - about 1/2 the apple - so I sliced the other half and dipped in caramel, a great treat while I was cooking.
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup red onion - saved some red onion slices for on my favorite salad: salad greens (fresh kale tonight), red onion, strawberries, and chopped nuts - Ken's Foods Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing.
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing  (I used Panera Balsamic Vinaigrette, but you could make your own using this copycat recipe -
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Chopped cilantro (I bought a fresh batch and used my food processor to chop it up.  Had plenty so I put the rest in a jar to use in the next few days.)
  • Salt to taste (I completely omitted this ingredient - so add as you wish.)
  • Mix together. Chill and stir often
  • Serve with tortilla chips.

On the Road: Independence and Oelwein

A great little shop in Independence
and a Quilt shop in Oelwein - a relaxing day

In Independence:

Headed out north up I-380 from Robins Iowa.  Very soon (approx. 16 miles) we were at exit 43 headed north (on IA-150) to Independence in Benton County.   First Street is the main street in Independence so it was a quick turn left, a couple of blocks down the street, and we were in front of The Little Red School House (1300 1st St W  Independence, IA 50644; phone 319-334-7199).
The Little Red School House is pure county, woven table runners, candles, charming chairs, tables, vases.  One of my favorites was this glazed rope pot with the alphabet embedded into the glazed finish.

Right next to the Little Red SchoolHouse is another distinctly different shopping - a very contemporary shop features larger scale furniture, pillows, artistic wall decor and even some elegant jewelry.

 The building next door is spacious and inviting -- but as contemporary as it's companion store is country.  Visit the Little Red SchoolHouse online.  After choosing a couple of small items, but feasting our eyes on many more -- and gleaning some wonderful ideas for future projects we got back in our car and headed east of 1st street to connect up again to IA-150 and headed north to Oelwein. 

On to Oelwein:

In Oelwein, we found LouAnn's Quilt Garden (21 E Charles St. 50662, phone 319-283-5165).  A fine selection of fabrics for quilters.  Not as much novelty fabric as I would have liked.  There was a wonderful jungle animal collage fabric made into a baby quilt -- loved it.  Sadly they were out of the jungle material but the backing was a very very soft plush fabric and I could not resist.  I purchased pink and green -- and will find a project for it soon.

 We ended the day with lunch at Leo's Restaurant a block or two over from the Quilt shop.  My shredded beef sandwich - shredded beef piled high (I opted to have it sans onions and tomatoes) on a hoagie bun, was excellent but almost too much for lunch.  Very tasty though.  Cheryl's lunch was equally delicious.  A nice interlude in a small town.

 A nice day overall.