Sunday, March 30, 2008

White Sauce for Chicken

We call them Beer Butt Chickens. Other people call them other things. But they're the chickens you cook on the grill, impaled on a 1/3 full beer can with your choice of spices and flavorings. The crowning touch, however, is White Sauce. Our friend who normally makes it moved to Denver and when we got her recipe, we adjusted. It happens. But if you have baked/grilled/roasted chicken? This can't be beat.

White Sauce for Chicken
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon pepper
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
Put it all in a jar and shake it up. Well. The originator of this insisted on WalMart mayonnaise and nothing else, but WalMart mayo is a little too mayo-y for me. So I stick with Kraft.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Polish Pork Roast

Every Easter - okay, not EVERY Easter, but every Easter that I feel like it - I make a big-ass Polish Throwdown of a Feast.

Mushroom soup? Check.
Pierogi from scratch? Check.
Imported* Kielbasa? Check.
Various imported* Polish delicacies that I can neither pronounce or accurately identify?
Galubki? On the good years - Check.
Pork roast with root vegetables? Oooo...Mmmm...Check.
Poppy seed cake? Check.

*Imported from Chicago, that is.

Easter Pork Roast
Feeds 4 as the star of a regular meal or 6-8 as a part of The Feast

1 Pork Tenderloin, trussed, 2-3 lbs.
Rendered grease from 4 strips of bacon (or reserved bacon fat)
2 tsps Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Caraway seeds

1 Large onion
4 Carrots
4 Stalks Celery
2 Parsnips (turnips if you MUST)

1 Hour Ahead
Season roast with salt, pepper, allspice and caraway. Let roast come up to room temperature.
Rough chop vegetables.

Show Time
Preheat oven to 375.
Brown roast in bacon grease in the roasting pan, if possible.
Set roast aside.

Add one half stick butter, 1 additional tsp allspice and 1 tsp marjoram to the pan.
Sweat vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Return roast to pan and nestle among vegetables.

DO NOT ADD LIQUID. This is not pot roast. This is an expensive holiday roast.

Tightly cover roasting pan and place in oven. Count on 30 minutes per pound of meat, but check with an instant read thermometer and make sure it reads 170 at the thickest part.

Remove roast to platter, tent with foil, let rest.
Strain out vegetables, add to platter.

Make a loose roux with 2 Tbsps butter and 1 Tbsp flour. Brown roux. Add liquid from roasting pan. If gravy is too thick, thin with chicken stock.

Serve. Bask in accolades.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sour Cream Pound Cake and no, that's not Jaba the Hut

Eight years ago we moved into this house, the "emergency" house, for one year. I was 44 years old and seven months pregnant and things weren't going well.

I'm still sitting here. The thought of moving makes me physically ill. But one of the reasons this isn't the worst place in the world to live is a few of the neighbors...namely, the one who brought me this cake when I moved in. It is the best pound cake I have ever tasted and I don't even eat cake. It's easy, doesn't need refrigeration and is better the day after you make it. Just put it in a carrier and hide it for one day and're the star.

Houston Town Road Pound Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
Spray tube pan with Pam; dust with flour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix sugar, water and eggs, add cake mix; scraping sides of bowl. Add oil, sour cream and softened cream cheese. Beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping down sides. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake on middle rack of oven for 54-56 minutes. Turn out immediately onto a cooling rack. Do not refrigerate; but keep covered in a cake server for best taste.

THEN. Several years ago my mother-in-law gave me a cake pan with matching carrier. I took one look at that cake pan and thought, "That ain't gonna happen." Have you ever SEEN so many nooks and crannies? For stuff to stick to? Finally used it this weekend and honey, that cake popped right out of there and was beautiful. Just lovely.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

How a Reuben can save your life.

This early Easter stuff is messing with my timing...last week was St. Patrick's, this week is Easter and The Not Nice Child has a birthday next weekend. There's not enough of me to go around but right in the middle of my franctic juggling came...this. Reubens with the leftover corned beef. Thank you, Lord.

I found seeded rye bread at the local grocery. I had chopped the corned beef, then reheated it and drained it on paper towels. Drained the kraut. And then we made this:

Russian Dressing
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 heaping tablespoon minced red onion
1 heaping tablespoon minced dill pickle
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated horseradish
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, sour cream, parsley, onion, pickle, lemon juice, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Makes about two cups.

We actually got a sandwich maker for Christmas and oh, my goodness! Spread each slice of bread with the Russian dressing, then layer the corned beef, kraut and Swiss cheese. Spread the outside of the slices with butter and grill. Lovely, just lovely.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You did WHAT to St. Patrick's Day?

The first thing I did was the wrong day...the 17th was a Monday so my buddies came Saturday night. We had the Seafood Bisque and even though crab was on sale I threw in crawfish too because...I like it that way. I DID do homemade Irish Cream and oh, honey. It was a hit. The Potted Cheese was a hit. The corned beef, cabbage and potatoes were hits. But where I normally make bread pudding? I didn't. I can't remember why I didn't; I just know I didn't. Instead we had banana bread, with goat cheese spread. Not sure why or at what point I decided this was appropriate but there wasn't any left so it must have worked! Didn't it?

The trick to banana bread is really, really ugly bananas. We are NOT talking speckled here; those babies have to be black. Ugly black. Smelly black. Throw-away black. It's a color in the Crayola box, trust me.

Best Banana Bread
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large bananas
1 stick butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2-1/3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir soda into buttermilk and set aside. Cream bananas, butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, soda mixture, spices and salt; mix. Then add flour and beat just until smooth. Fold in nuts. Bake in a WELL-greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for one hour.

Goat Cheese Spread
1 3 oz package goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme...lemon thyme is best
1 teaspoon orange zest
Blend ingredients with a fork. Serve as a spread for banana bread.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Potted Cheese

Last year I made potted cheese with cheddar and beer and while it was okay, the texture wasn't right. This year I went with port and according to the people who ate two containers-full and took the third home with them, this works. So here, just in time for St. Patrick's Day, is a really easy appetizer.

Port Wine Potted Cheese
10 ounces sharp cheddar, diced and at room temperature
3 ounces room temperature goat or cream cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup ruby port
1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cheeses, mustard and pepper and process until smooth. Pour in the port and sort of mix it in with a spoon...I just turned on the processor and spewed it all over the countertop...and process until blended. Add the green onion (I didn't have any so I cut chives from the garden) and process in short bursts just until they're finely minced. Serve with crackers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Black&Tan, Irish Cream, raw eggs and who wants to live forever anyway?

For some reason, I agreed to cook Irish for some friends tomorrow night. They don't have kids. Their house is clean. They know where the Bundt pan is. Why the HELL I agreed to this, I can't remember.

My Some-Timers is getting worse...I make mistakes typing I never made before. And this morning I'm standing in front of the beers in the grocery store and my mind...went blank. A Black & Tan. I know the black is Guinness stout. The tan part? I was clueless. A liquor rep showed up but that wasn't his product and he didn't know, either. The check-out girl didn't know. My friend I called didn't know. The store manager I grew up with didn't know. I need more educated friends. Or a better class of drunks. So I bought the Guinness and came home and looked it up and, for all practical purposes, it's pale ale. There were a couple of discussions about the difference in a Black & Tan and a Half&Half, but for my purposes we'll stick with whichever pale ale is on the shelves when I have to go back tomorrow. If we're lucky, it'll be Bass.

The directions seem to depend on where you are when you order the drink. In Ireland, it seems both beers are just poured into the glass. To layer them, there is actually a Black&Tan make your own you bend a spoon bowl back. But the light beer goes in first...poured heartily so as to build a nice head. Then the dark beer is poured over the spoon, onto the edge of the glass so as to "float" this layer over the bottom layer.

I think I'll let everyone get pretty far into the bottle tomorrow night and then set them to pouring. If I drink more than they do (that's a joke), I may bring out the spoons, some needle-nose pliers and this picture. This ought to be interesting.

THEN, there's the Irish Cream. Why didn't I buy Bailey's? I can't remember. But at eight o'clock this morning I'm in the kitchen making Irish Cream and the recipe wants me to combine the first four ingredients, heat them, beat an egg yolk and stir in one-fourth of the hot mixture, then stir the egg mixture into the rest of the hot mixture and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.

Good Lord. It's just salmonella. The whiskey and rum will kill it. (They do in eggnog because I've ALWAYS made it that way.) So I just put everything in a jar and shook it really well and put it in the refrigerator. I'll serve it in little chocolate tasting cups and everyone will be so impressed and if they get sick well, it was probably the Black&Tan.

Which brings us to another thing. I don't like Irish whiskey. So I'm using bourbon. From Kentucky. I think most of the people in Kentucky got there from Ireland so...I'm not too far off the mark. The Maker's Mark.

Anyway, here's what I ended up with for Irish Cream. I need to remember to go by and pick up some chocolate milk for the kids so they'll stay out of this.

Living Dangerously Irish Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 can Eagle Brand
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 egg yolk
1 cup Kentucky bourbon
1/3 cup gold rum
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon Madagascar bourbon vanilla

Beat the egg well, put all ingredients in a jar and shake well. I'm guessing the Irish were too poor to have nutmeg (I know MY branch was), but I think I'll grind a dusting over each serving.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our Bad

Stephen over at Stephen Cooks is a great friend of ours.

Because we're practically BFFs we totally did not even think to redirect you to his site (well, we did, but upon closer inspection it is a little hard to see).

You know, friends borrow shoes and jewelry and you never really thank them appropriately.

To remedy that, let me just ask you to go over to his site and show him some love.

Click here and give him a smooch.

What's for supper? Toasted Ravioli & Mini-Burgers!

Oooh. Potluck worked out last night!
We had cheese ravioli a couple of nights ago, and had some un-sauced leftovers. And so, because it seems like every time the weather gets above 55 degrees someone around here starts squalling for grilled hamburgers, last night we had toasted ravioli and mini-burgers.

I don't get the mini-burger thing but then, maybe that's why I'm not a marketing genuis. And the problem last night was that while I had the mini-burgers, I didn't have the mini-buns. So recipe hunting we went and things worked out beautifully! We snacked on the ravioli as soon as The Big Boy got home, then he and The Not Nice Kid grilled the burgers.

Toasted Ravioli
16 large square cheese ravioli (mine were already cooked)
2 eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pecan meal
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Vegetable oil for frying

Mix breadcrumbs with pecan meal and seasonings. Heat vegetable oil in skillet, to about 350 degrees. Dip the ravioli in the egg wash, then the crumb mixture and ease into the hot oil. Fry until lightly browned, turn and brown the other side and drain on paper towels. Serve with marinara sauce or, since we didn't have marinara sauce, pizza sauce works!

Mini-Burger Buns
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg

Mix cream, buttermilk, water and sliced butter in a mixing bowl. Microwave just until warm and butter has softened. Using dough hooks, mix in 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, salt and egg. Mix until combined, then add remaining flour one cup at a time. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let it rise for about 45 minutes. Then punch it down, divide into 24 balls and put them on lightly greased baking sheets. I flattened them to where they sort of looked like biscuits, but next time I think I'll leave them a little fatter. Let rise another 30 minutes, then bake for 12 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

These were so GOOD! I actually cut the salt to one teaspoon and added 1/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese. And according to several recipes I looked at, if you use instant yeast you can skip the first rising.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Focaccia...this one WORKS

After the pizza debacle, I wanted one of the recipes I go back to over and over. Instead, here's this one from StephenCooks, that I found last week and am currently in the process of having engraved in stone.

This recipe rocks and the reason is...that real life thing. See where it calls for 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 and 3/4 cup water? I set out the measuring cups and had reached the point where I had poured in one cup water and was getting ready to add the other when there was this...wham. And the sound of breaking glass. After I got through dealing with the kid who is NOT allowed to kick a soccer ball onto the top of the house because if you DO, you might hit the storm window and BREAK IT, I came back and finished the recipe. Only I added 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup water. That's backwards. THEN, I realized that I don't have a CLUE what instant yeast is. I normally either use yeast from the Mennonites or that stuff in the three-pack. I don't have TIME for a lesson in yeast so I dumped in a package of plain yeast.

This. Was. So. Good. Cutting rosemary and bringing it into the kitchen at this time of year is sensory overload...I haven't smelled anything that lovely since the basil froze. The leftovers went into a bag in the freezer and the kids are making lunchbox sandwiches out of it this week. So, put this in your file because it really is a keeper.

Quick Rosemary Focaccia from StephenCooks
5 C all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached)
4 tsp SAF instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 T fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
1/2 C olive oil + more for baking
1-3/4 C warm water (about 105 - 110º)
coarse salt
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tsp water

Place the flour, yeast, sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and half the rosemary (if using) in the food processor bowl. Process in a few bursts to mix. With the processor running, slowly add 1 cup of the water, then the 1/2 cup olive oil and finally the remaining 3/4 cup water. Process until the dough coalesces into a ball and starts riding around on the blade. Turn out on a floured board and knead a few strokes. Dough should be relatively stiff but still pliable. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place 'til doubled, about 1-1/2 hour.

Place the baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450º. Punch the dough down, divide into 2 balls and flatten each ball to a disk about 8 - 10 " in diameter. Place on a corn-meal covered board or peel, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour.
When the dough has finished the second rising, use your forefinger to poke deep dimples all over the loaf, about 1-1/2" apart. Drizzle olive oil over the loaves, scatter on the remaining rosemary (if using) and slide them onto the stone. Bake 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375º and bake 20 - 25 minutes more, until the bread is a nice dark golden brown. Two minutes before the bread is done, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with the coarse salt.
Allow to cool on a rack for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:Yeast. If you are using regular yeast in the foil packets, dissolve one packet yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water and mix in the sugar and a tablespoon or two of the flour. Allow to stand for about 20 minutes, 'til a good head of foam has developed. Then proceed with the recipe, omitting sugar from the flour mixture, adding the yeast mixture to the flour in place of the first half-cup of water, and reducing the amount of flour by 1 tablespoon.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

That character thing again

It snowed here Friday night and snow in Alabama ranks right up there with...rewriting the constitution. So the kids and I brought out the blow-up bed, put it in front of a window, raised the blinds and opened the drapes and turned on the outside lights. So that everytime we woke up during the night, we could see the white flakes hurtling down through the light.

God throws you these little moments so that, during the course of REAL LIFE, you don't throttle your offspring.

Last night we decided to make homemade pizza. Not complicated, on-the-grill, roast up some vegetables pizza; For some reason we've never owned a pizza stone and last week we were re-gifted with one so...homemade pizza it was. The Nice Kid went online to find a good dough recipe and a little while later I realized she was making the dough and coming back into the den to look at the computer every 60 seconds. When I asked why, turns out the computer wouldn't print out her recipe. When I asked why again, it seems she had disconnected the printer to hook up her iPod and had forgotten to reconnect the printer. (When I fixed everything this morning, I got three color copies of a recipe for pizza dough.)

Then I realize she's making the dough with her hands instead of using the dough hooks and she's not skilled enough at this yet to approach the dough from a well-floured vantage point and we have the mess from HELL all over the kitchen but hey, it's just pizza dough. Bread, water and yeast are pretty hard to mess up.

Why do I still say things like that?

The dough didn't rise. Or, didn't rise in the time it was supposed to. The package had been opened and there was 1/8 teaspoon missing, and that shouldn't have made an enormous difference but still...the dough wasn't rising. We ate something else and then about an hour later I looked and the dough had made some progress so we decided to go for it.

Mistake number one: "Sprinkle the surface generously with cornmeal" isn't a suggestion and you need to make sure your child understands the extent of "generously." Mine didn't. So when we got ready to slide the pizza onto the heated wasn't budging. It could be lifted in sections but we didn't want sections, we wanted a pie. Didn't work that way. After a few hilarious moments while she juggled the hot stone and I disfigured sections of pizza, we just scooped and prayed. We had a...lumpy...looking concoction but think about it: Bread, sauce, pepperoni and cheese. We're having a loaf. A foccacia. This will work.

Into the oven. We played with the temperature and timing a little so that the thick parts had a chance to at least get done, without totally burning the thin spots. It looked pretty good. Not showpiece good but in-your-mouth good.

Mistake number two: Double check. Double check about forty times because I don't care how much time and effort and good flour and happy oil you put into bread of ANY gotta have salt. And believe it or not, salt is secondary for taste because it's FIRST for texture. And somehow, in the not-printing-out-the-recipe and the not-paying-attention and the trying-to-also-talk-to-Carrie Ann-on-the-phone, TNK forgot the salt.

She announced it wasn't that bad...sort of like a pretzel pizza. The Not Nice Kid ate the pepperoni off the top.

I mixed a drink.

So here, not building character in any form and wasting about ten dollars worth of pepperoni and cheese sits...The Lump Who Came To Dinner.

The kitchen still looks like a hurricane came through and I have no idea how to get this stone clean but as they headed out the door for church both kids announced..."We're going to try again tonight!" I hope there's extra bourbon.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Blue Cheese Chips

Truthfully, this isn't a recipe either. I'm just passing on a concoction and a view on missing out.

I have a friend whose husband is all about some...appearances. Severely about appearances. So one of the things I enjoy about going to visit them is...whatever Bon Appetit or Gourmet or the NYT had to say about good living, last week? They're in. And I learn a lot of fun stuff.

At the same time, the big kids in this family work for a major restaurant chain. Now, this chain uses artesan cheese, organic greens and never-frozen, slaughtered-to-order Angus beef but it is still...a chain. And some people, particularly my acquaintance in the Big City, have carried conspicuous consumption snobbery to the point that they wouldn't be caught DEAD in a chain restaurant. No matter what.

Last spring I stopped by Chain Restaurant to see one of the kids. While I was there, he brought out a new dish they were introducing and honey, it was Luhve. Luhve at first bite. Blue Cheese Chips. Last fall, I was in the Big City and my trendy friends took me to the trendy Place of the Moment for lunch. We ate in high-backed leather-covered booths, with exposed ductwork and lots of chrome and windows. Lots of really skinny people in really skinny-people clothes, watching all the other skinny people. I sat my fat and happy self in my slippery booth and studied the menu. Drank out of a too-small glass but hey, I guess you stay that skinny you down-size everything. And the newly invented "specialty" of the house was...Blue Cheese Chips. And so I'M thinking...the high end version! If these were so good in the Chain, then just imagine the possibilities here! So I paid about $22 for an appetizer of Blue Cheese Chips and guess what? They didn't get it right. So here's the recipe/directions for how to do it right. And Single Guy doesn't even need separate instructions.

Blue Cheese Chips

1 package kettle-fried potato chips...the thicker and crunchier the better
1 recipe/jar thick Alfredo sauce
Really good blue cheese
Bacon, fried really crisp and crumbled

Pour the alfredo sauce into a pan and warm it. In an oven-proof dish, spread a thick layer of chips. How many depends on how many people you're feeding...I fed the four hearty eaters in this institution with about 2/3 of a bag. Place the chips in a 350 degree oven for five minutes...just to heat through and crisp up. Remove from the oven, pour the warm alfredo sauce over the chips, sprinkle with the blue cheese and crumbled bacon and return to the oven. Heat for another 5-7 minutes, to warm the blue cheese.

My friend made this with half a jar of bottled alfredo sauce. I made a sauce with one stick butter, one cup cream and one cup Romano cheese.

The problem with the high-end Blue Cheese Chips? The sauce was a blue cheese sauce, instead of Alfredo. Blue cheese is so strong, you can't really get enough in the sauce to thicken it up, and when it melds with the cream you lose that sassy bite. The Alfredo in the Cheap Version has just the right smoothness to complement the blue cheese sprinkles and then, of course, there's BACON. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gringo Burritos

This is not a recipe. I'm not pretending it is, but every damn time I make it Hubster says, "This is one of my favorites!"

Never MIND the Beef Burgundy that takes half a day to prepare, or the 47 ingredient wallet-breaking Portuguese Fish Stew (future post).

This is economical, meatless (good for Lent), fast and not counting the sodium content, reasonably healthy.

Gringo Burritos
Serves 4

One small packet of Vigo brand Spanish rice, cooked as per instructions on package
One can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Four large flour tortillas
Olive oil or butter
Two cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Salsa, taco sauce or whatever Mexican American condiment you have on hand

Preheat oven to 350.

While rice cooks, place two tortillas on baking sheet. Brush with oil or butter - make SURE edges are coated. Evenly sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.

Put tortillas in oven for approx 4 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and edges are NOT browned.

While tortillas cook mix drained beans into cooked rice and remove from heat.

Remove tortillas and put next batch into oven.

Place 1/2 cup of bean and rice mixture on cheesy tortilla, offset from center and top with taco sauce. Fold short edge of tortilla over rice, fold over side edges and roll up like an eggroll or a, you know, burrito.

Do the same for remaining burritos and serve with choice of condiments and guacamole salad.

Chunky Guac Salad
Two avocados
Two minced garlic cloves
Juice of 1 small lime
1/2 tsp of chile powder
Any addition you like such as diced tomatos, minced red onion, cil-UGH-antro

Cut avocados lengthwise, twist open, remove pit. With the edge of a paring knife slit avocado meat - in the 'shell' - in a crosshatch pattern. Remove avocado chunks with a spoon and place in a bowl. When each shell is empty and garlic lime juice and chile powder to the bowl and stir just to combine. Serve along side Gringo Burritos.

PS - No, it is not your imagination, I dumbed-down this post for Elementary Cooks of the Male Persuasion (ECMPs). My apologies if you were offended.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mango Salsa

I have a nephew who can create, as opposed to just cook. (Me? The only creating I do involves errors and you just pray that I err on the side of good taste. Which I sometimes do and where my best ideas seem to come from.) So when The Nice Kid comes in last week and announces she's been invited to her friend's family's annual Mango Feast, I knew I had an IN.

My nephew originally created this to serve alongside fish at an upscale restaurant we used to have here. Now, we just make it in mass quantity, get out of the kids' way and hope there's enough for everyone.

J Miller's Mango Salsa

3 mangos diced
1 apple diced
1 onion diced
1 each of green and red bell dice
2 small tomatoes diced and seeded
1 fresh jalepeno seeded and diced
Generous amount of chopped cilantro
Garlic, salt, and pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Honey to taste

My dad is up at all hours of the night and he orders some weird stuff off late-night TV. And actually, some of them work. (Gorilla Glue was originally on paid programming.) One of the things he got me was one of those onion dicing box raise up the lid, put your food on the metal dicing grid and push down the top. Beautiful little dices...and I put everything in this recipe through that dicer. It was so pretty! All the uniform little perfect squares...I'd be OCD except I can't get it right.

Then, of course, I didn't have any honey. We have beehives at the farm and that's where I usually get my honey...except there is some sort of little foreign mite destroying all the native honeybees and last year my dad let the mites get an advantage. You have to keep these small flaps, treated with a substance that destroys the mites, over the entrance to the hive. And everytime a bee brushes through it, the mites die. Sad state of affairs, especially when the bees were here FIRST.

ANYWAY. I didn't have honey so I used a teaspoon of molasses. It worked. The only complaint, as usual, was that there wasn't enough!