Thursday, July 28, 2011


This burger is super juicy and the caramelized onions are soooo worth the wait.

Before making your burgers, work on the caramelized onions first. Cut a large onion into rings and with a tablespoon of vegetable oil cook covered on med-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes depending on texture preference. 

1 lb ground beef
1/4 C bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Lawry's seasoning
some pepper
1 Egg
1 1/2 tsp of yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcester sauce

Mix all ingredients with your hands and make into 4 patties. Grill.

For extra love always butter and grill the buns you are using on both sides. That adds so much extra flavor. Add lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese (whatever you want). Top the burger with caramelized onions

** There is a tendency to smash the burgers during grilling so that the burger will cook more quickly. Don't. When you smash a cooking burger, you release too many of the juices and can end up with a dry burger.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Salsa Salsa!

We are so thankful to our Lord about the abundance of tomatoes this year. We planted about 6 tomato plants and all of them are just hunched over because of all the weight of carrying so many tomatoes. So needless to say I am trying my hardest not to waste any of them. I am going to try to make more and more salsas, and dishes that use a lot of tomatoes.

Here is a recipe of a basic red salsa that can be used on anything.

* 5 to 6 tomatoes depending on size. This is your base. You always want to have more tomatoes than anything else
* 2 to 3 Jalapeño peppers. The more jalapeños you add the hotter the salsa will be. You want salsa to accentuate your food, not to make you tear up and clear your sinuses. A little bit of a runny nose is okay, but you do want to enjoy the food.
* 1 onion. You do not want too much of onion flavor so one will usually do
* 2 garlic cloves
* I added a small poblano pepper, it adds a smoky flavor to the salsa. It is not needed to make a good salsa
* 2 dashes of Salt 

Controlling Heat: Make sure you seed all the jalapeños before blending or mashing. You can do this before you boil or after. Do not rub or touch  your face after handling jalapeños. The oils will sting. If you prefer, you can wear gloves while handling them or wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and boil. Make sure the water covers all the vegetables. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the skins on the tomatoes are falling off and the jalapeno peppers are an opaque green. Remove all the vegetables including the garlic from the water, and  place in a blender or remove the water using a colander and return the vegetables to the pot. This depends on the texture you prefer in a salsa. I like having chunks of tomato and jalapeno when I eat salsa, some prefer to have a more velvety texture to theirs. So if you prefer the velvety texture, place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, adding cilantro and salt to taste. This is where the art of making your own salsa comes in. Adjust the taste of your salsa by adding and removing ingredients. If you want a more textured salsa, just smash all the ingredients together with a potato masher or you can use a "molcajete" which is a mortar and pestle made out stone. Adding salt and cilantro to taste.

This salsa tastes so much better when it is served temperature hot.

I love love love to use salsa on over-easy eggs. The taste of the tomatoes, peppers and garlic just go splendidly with the yolk of the egg. Eating it with a warm flour tortilla is just heavenly!

Storage: Store any leftover salsa in an airtight container. For best taste always re-heat salsa in a skillet using a tiny bit of vegetable oil.

You can use this salsa on eggs, on sandwiches, on hotdogs as a relish, as a dip, to add taste to any meat dishes, and anything else you can think of. I even know of some people that add a little bit to their spaghetti sauces.

** Also salsas are a good way to control your sodium intake. Usually when you add salsa to things, you tend to use less salt because of the flavorful taste that salsa adds to food! Try it. Add salsa to your food instead of salt and notice that you don't really need to add any more salt to what you are eating. 

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Virgin's Lover - Book Review

The Virgin's Lover is a book about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Lord Robert Dudley. The setting takes place just after the death of her sister Queen Mary. It also gives details of the life of Amy Dudley, Robert's wife. Again, Philippa Gregory is an outstanding storyteller, but the characters frustrated me throughout the book. Although Elizabeth was known for vacillating when it came to decision making, this Elizabeth in the book was a bit annoying and so unsure of herself. In the book, some of the most powerful sayings that Elizabeth was known to have said were said by Sir William Cecil, her adviser. In her book, Ms. Gregory puts to rest any rumor of Elizabeth's virginity since there are several love scenes throughout the book with Robert. Nothing, too steamy thankfully. I don't like to envision Queen Elizabeth as wanton or whorish, but she is portrayed her that way in this book. She is outright evil and heartless in some scenes. But maybe I just have a romantic's view of the Queen.

Lord Robert is portrayed as an ambitious, hypocritical, heart-swooning jerk - which I believe to have been true. He is easy to hate and scheming and it is annoying just how much power he has over Elizabeth. He gets what he deserves though.

Sir William Cecil is portrayed well. He was a list maker and always kept pushing Elizabeth to marry. In his heart he would have preferred a king to rule England instead of a woman. Although he had his biases, his true heart was for England and he counseled Elizabeth as best he could. I just believe that Elizabeth listened to him a lot more than what the book says.

Amy is a simple farm girl that is deeply in love with her husband. She is also frustrating to read about just because she is just so simple. The author does great in letting us see just how frustrating it was to live with her. She is the victim in the book and you feel really bad for her. 

The book ends with the death of Amy. I will not say how she dies but Ms. Gregory does a great job in ending the book and tying any loose ends.

This is not the best book Ms. Gregory has written. I only kept on reading because I wanted to know how Amy died. I was happy with the ending and it made it worth the read. I see Queen Elizabeth in a different light though. She was indecisive, used foul language, but I don't think she was wanton.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to read an interesting twist to Amy's death. If you hold a romantic view of Elizabeth's virginity and strength, this book is not for you. It will frustrate you and make you want to throw the book away.

Rating: 5 stars out of 10

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mexican Monday - Carne Guisada

I know that this is Tuesday, but I didn't have time on Monday to post this. Sorry!

Carne guisada is almost a stew, but it is eaten more like a very juicy meat. Homemade flour tortillas are perfect for this meat because you can sop up all the yummy juices with them.

1.5 pounds stew meat
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1 medium onion chopped
1 tomato roughly chopped
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of Lawry's seasoning (or favorite seasoning)
pepper to taste
3 C of water
6 oz. tomato sauce

Saute meat and garlic in vegetable oil on med-high heat in a dutch oven or large deep pan with cover. Saute for about 3 minutes and then add onions, tomato and flour. Saute until onion begins getting tender about 6 minutes. Keep scraping the flour from sides of oven/pan.  Add in all spices and seasoning and stir for another 2 minutes or so. Then add water. Keep stirring and scraping sides. Once the meat has simmered for about 20 minutes, add tomato sauce and stir. Cover and let simmer for another 40 minutes until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.

** If sauce is too soupy add some more flour, if too thick add more water. **

You can top with cheese

We ate our carne guisada with some homemade gorditas! Frankly, there wasn't too much conversation going on.

Hope you enjoy!