Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bandito-like Salsa with A Creamy Surprise

The town of Springville might not have a lot, but what we DO have are TWO pretty darn good Mexican food restaurants, La Casita and Joe Banditos.  Now, nothing beats a cheese crisp and a margarita (virgin for me) at La Casita, but Banditos has everyone beat in the salsa-and-chips-department.  While this recipe isn't an exact replica, it's pretty darn good.  You can serve it plain or dollop in some creamy goodness as pictured below.   

1 (14 oz.) can S&W Mexican Stewed Tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes with jalapenos
1 (14 oz.) can whole tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
1 clove fresh garlic
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro
salt to taste (may take about 1/2 tsp. or more)
2-3 chopped green onions
Throw all ingredients except cilantro in to a blender and pulse until chopped and well mixed (don't puree or blend it too much).  Throw in the cilantro and chopped green onions and pulse once or twice to just slightly chop.  Serve with chips!  If you like more heat, throw in a seeded, chopped jalapeno.
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c. salsa
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Mix cream cheese until smooth.  Stir in sour cream.  Stir in salsa and cheese.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Serve alone with chips, or add a big scoop to the center of a bowl of salsa and serve together.

Strawberry Pineapple Shortcake & Homemade Pound Cake

Today was one of those days when I just had to throw things. I had some leftover fresh pineapple in the fridge and decided to throw it in with some strawberry shortcake I was making. While I was at it, I threw some almond flavoring in the whipped cream instead of vanilla. Next I threw some coconut in the oven and toasted it. Then I threw it all together in one big giant yummy stack of goodness. I should throw things more often.

Start with your favorite base: Pound cake, homemade biscuits, plain white cake, angel food cake, or (tsk, tsk)those twinkie-like little round things you buy at the grocery store.
Chop strawberries and sprinkle with sugar (I use about 2 cups strawberries and about 1-2 T. sugar). Allow to sit for several minutes and stir the mixture every now and then.
Chop pineapple (I use 1 cup) and stir in with the strawberries.
With a mixer, beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar, and ¼ tsp. almond extract on high until stiff peaks form.
To assemble: Place base on a serving plate, pile the fruit mixture on top. Dollop with flavored whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut and a pretty slice of both strawberry and pineapple.
 1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream
Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and sour cream.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into a greased 8 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (do the toothpick test to check it).  Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan. 

Almond Torte

My dear friend Karen, an awesome teacher and fellow foodie, just announced that she is moving to Texas.  I have been in mourning...and denial.  This torte is one of the most delicious recipes that she shared with me.  I will think of her every time I make it.  Here's to Karen and to almond extract!

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
dash salt
1 cup melted butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp. almond extract
slivered almonds to sprinkle on top
Mix all ingredients except the slivered almonds together.  Pour in to a greased and floured 9 inch springform pan.  Sprinkle with sugar and slivered almonds.  Bake at 325-350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour (do the toothpick test). 
Serve it plain or with chocolate sauce, strawberries, and whipped cream. 

Mini Fruit Pizzas

I've been making this fruit pizza for years and it is a favorite!  You can serve them pre-assembled, or you can do a fruit pizza bar and let each dinner guest frost and assemble their own.  Either way, they are a hit!  If you are in a hurry, you can use the refrigerated Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough.


1 cup butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. milk
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and milk.  Chill dough for at least an hour, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into rounds using the top of a glass.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes.  Let cool. 
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) cool whip
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Slowly fold in the whipped topping. Spread on cooled cookies and top with your favorite fruit!
sliced bananas
sliced pineapple
sliced strawberries
mandarin oranges
sliced kiwi fruit