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      Back in the day we had recipe contests that celebrated onions because we packed Onion Bags with our blocks for temporary storage.  But the government has been concerned about plastic bags and also bags with pull closed loops, so we gave them up.  And we haven't had a contest in a long time.  But here are the recipes.  If you have a recipe for something unusual, we'd like to hear about it. 

Archie's MilSpec Salsa

This is to make a batch of Fresh Salsa Cruda.

Collect the following:

6 fresh Poblano peppers - not Anehiems.
3 Jalapeno peppers or 2 habeneros or 1-2 scotch bonnets.
8 large tomatoes - and/or 12 romanos
1 Large/ 2 medium yellow or red onions
1 big or 2 little bunches of scallions
6-8 tomatillos
2 little tomato paste cans or thick tomato juice
1 good bunch of cilantro
2-3 sections of garlic
Enough decent corn or flour tortilla chips for all
1 six of Mexican beer  


Plan (A):  Open a beer. Use Poblano chilies and a couple of jalapenos. Poblanos are shortish, fattish, thick fleshed and dark green. They have an excellent chili flavor. Peel them by roasting under a broiler until the skin blisters. A salamander is most effective. Don't over do it as the chili flesh will overcook and go mushy. After roasting put 'em in a plastic bag for a while as it will help loosen the skin. Peel off the skin under running water, it does not have to be anywhere near a perfect job. Gloves prevent later problems. When you wash up, get under the finger nails.

or (B): Drive around until you find a roadside roasting operation.  Ask yourself if you want Salmonella. 

then (C): Skin the tomatoes by briefly plunging them in boiling water.... 60 seconds each ought to get it. These can be regulars or romanos or a mix. Ripe if that can be had. Now you need - Onion, green onion, garlic, and fresh Cilantro. Also tomatillos. They provide a citrus snap. Forget about skinning them, it can't be done. Chop it all up and plop it together. Reserve some of the chilies and all of the really hot peppers to balance the heat at the end. Refrigerate as soon as finished. Here are the tricks:

1. THE CHOP. The size of the chop is important when it comes time to put it on a chip. If the pieces are too big then you can't get the whole range of ingredients on a single Tostitos. Also the chips will break while scooping. Too small is not visually appealing - The colors get submerged in red and a decent amount will not stay on the chip. It also looses that luxurious feel on the palate. De-stem the cilantro a bit and chop the remaining leaves and stems to release the flavor. A rough chop here so you can see it in the mix. Get a lot of the green parts of the scallions.

2. THE HEAT. Here you have to think about how many of the chili ribs and seeds (where the majority of the heat resides) you want as you are chopping. The seeds will be mostly clustered right under the stem while the ribs are like the good old Green Bell. Poblanos are medium to hot. Sometimes I also roast and throw in a couple of Jalapenos as boosters. Mad dogs use habaneros or scotch bonnets. The use of either will change the overall flavor and may cause a violent reaction among your soon to be former friends. Have that second beer in arms reach during the testing phase. Blood curdling screams are acceptable culinary observations.

3. THE SNAP. Cilantro is important. It has to be fresh NEVER dried. Don't be goosey about using it. Chop it rough including the stems. The tomatillos provide a citrus background that is subtle, but very important.

4. THE BALANCE. The onion, green onion, tomato, tomatillo ratio is something to fiddle with. Essentially we have tomato with onion salsa not onion with tomato. Garlic is good, however the desired effect is a Poblano Chile/Cilantro dynamic in a tomato/onion base with helpers. Careful with salt.

5. THE CARRIER/BINDER. This is a problem. Your freshly assembled salsa will look great. It will look worse in an hour, "breaking," when the water comes out of the tomatoes. On the one hand the water looks bad and can cause the salsa to slide off the chip exactly one inch from the tip of your tongue and onto your shirt. Women wearing a dcollet will be miffed, unless of course you are alone together and on good terms. On the other hand liquid is needed to suspend the "stuff."  One way is to squeeze out the chopped tomatoes and substitute some thickish tomato juice. Also, tomato paste can be used for the same effect. Be careful with this part as too much TJ or paste can submerge the target flavors. Commercial outfits use thickeners and binders such as xanthan gum. A variation is to strongly de-water the salsa by wringing it in a towel and serve it as relish or vegetable course with dinner. Great with a good steak! Use a decent chip. Now you know why the stuff is expensive and tedious to make.  In addition you know now why a chili loving society HAD to invent those roasters on the sides of the roads. A food processor is a must for any sort of scale production.

6. Now you know why the stuff is expensive and tedious to make. In addition you know now why a chili loving society HAD to invent those fresh roasters on the sides of the roads. A food processor is a must for any sort of scale production.

7. NO-NOs - Tabasco, black pepper or any other heating agent is an abomination unto the chili god (who, incidentally, lives in Hatch, New Mexico). Any sweet fruits or other veggies - Are there no purists anymore? Use a decent flour or corn chips - not potato chips. Do not let your salsa get warm without being eaten, the flavors will muddle. The difference is much like that between a cool Clausen and any other pickle.

8. THE ADVENTURE CLUB. Leeks instead of onions for that European twist. Use all jalapenos - this will be some hot. Run it all through a vegetable liquefier for a refreshing summer drink.

9. ATMOSPHERICS. Music? - who else - anything by The Hot Chile Peppers. Second choices - Carlos Santana - Roy Orbison. If available roast the chilies over an open fire of Pinon logs. Dreamy odors. Consume it in the hot tub with a friend.

10. CANNING - As if for tomatoes. A little lemon juice on top helps preserve the color. It's not the same, but doing a hundred quarts at a time can get you through the winter.


1.  It is sooooo annoying to hit the store, buy some nice Poblanos, but get told that they are Pascillas at the checkout stand. They are not. Both Kroger and Safeway do that out here in Colorado. I have actually seen only one actual Pascilla which I bought in Denver at Avanza Market. Get your learn on here: http://www.chetbacon.com/peppers/Hotpeppers.html

2.  Xanthan gum can be bought at some grocery stores. It is expensive, but goes a long way. It is able to thicken both hot and cold materials. More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthan


Ginger's fresh Salsa

3 ripe tomatoes
1 Vidalia Onion from Georgia (ok so it doesn't have to be a Vidalia, but they are the best)
2 banana peppers
2 Serrano chili peppers
1 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs lemon juice
1-3 tea dried cilantro (depending on how much cilantro you like)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
mix together and let chill for at least 4 hours.

This is great with fajitas, in omelets, tacos, with chips, and one of our favorites breakfast burritos!


Anitha's Ridge Gourd Chutney

Ridge gourd chutney:
Ridge gourd - 2
oil - 2-3 tbsp
Split black gram dhal - 2-3 tbsp
Red chilies - 3-4
Asafetida - a pinch
Tamarind - size of a marble
Salt - to taste

Method :
Fry dhal, red chilies, asafetida and tamarind in 1 1/2 tbsp of oil until the dhals turn golden brown. Set aside. Fry the chopped up ridge gourd in the remaining oil for a few minutes. Add a
little water. Cover and cook till tender and till all the water has been absorbed. Now, grind the vegetables along with previously fried mixture in a blender. Also add salt. Do not add excess water. Makes a spicy chutney.

wooden blocks

Kathy's Zing Sauce

As the dictionary defines condiment as "something used to give additional flavor to food," I definitely think this qualifies! A few ice cubes of Zing Sauce will add flavor to blah soups
and perk up flat sauces. I tried it in an uninteresting black bean soup and the result was complete transformation! Every cook can use such a condiment on hand! Moreover, I have found it useful when cooking for a relative on a restricted diet because it avoids problem ingredients.

3 lbs red tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup frozen onions
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
3 tsp butter
3 tsp millet (or all-purpose) flour
juice of 1/2 a lime 
pepper to taste

Place peeled tomatoes and salt in a food processor and puree. Place mixture in a saucepan. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a
sieve to get a watery broth.

In a skillet melt butter and add flour. Stir until mixed. Gradually add tomato broth. Bring to a boil and boil to desired thickness. Remove from burner, add juice of 1/2 a lime and
pepper to taste.

Pour into an ice tray and freeze. Use to flavor soups and sauces. It could also be poured over chicken.


Michelle's Hot Dog "Relish"

2 large ripe tomatoes
2 to 3 fresh cucumbers
1 large Vidalia onion
salt, pepper

Dice tomatoes, cucumbers, onion into medium size chunks. Toss together and season with salt, pepper, and any other favorite seasonings (I also like to use Morton's "Nature's Seasonings").

Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Best on grilled hot dogs. Also nice on burgers, tacos, grilled pork chops, or all by itself in a toasted whole wheat pita pocket!
Sandy's Maple Syrup

Find or obtain the following stuff:
1. A Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Big Leaf Maple, or Box Elder.
2.  A five gallon plastic bucket with a lid.
3. A 4 inch long stainless steel or copper Nipple, 3/8 in diameter (OD).
4. about 5 feet of plastic tubing that fits tightly over the end of the nipple.
5. An electric drill with a 11/32 bit.
6. a Large Pot.
7. Some small (1/2 pt.) canning jars or freezer containers.

  (In Indiana) begin to work when the sap begins to rise around the first week in March.  About 40" off the ground, drill a hole directly into the tree about 3 inches being sure to clear the hole.  Insert the nipple about 1-1/2 inches or until it is firmly and tightly lodged.  Drill a slightly oversized hole for the tubing in side of the bucket a little below the line of the edge of the attached lid.  Make a drip loop in the plastic tubing so that rain won't enter and attach the other end of the tubing to the nipple inserted into the tree.  Simply put, use the tubing to drain the nipple into the covered bucket.

   The sap will run for the next three weeks or so.  It will run fastest on a warm day following a cold night.  At it's peak, you should be able to obtain about 2 gallons of sap a day from a large tree.  Empty the bucket into your pot and start boiling.  The sap has to be reduced a great deal, and two gallons will make no more than about 1/2 pint - more from some trees than others.  The boiling can be ignored until you get fairly close to the end at which time the heat should be reduced to avoid burning the sugar.  If you want to filter the stuff, we use a metal coffee filter salvaged from an automatic coffee maker and do the filtering before you get to the final stages. The cost of boiling it is high, but I think it's probably less than buying the stuff which costs a fortune in the grocery store.

The syrup will be reduced to a honey consistency if you go too far, so stop while it is still syrupy.  Remember that it is thinner when hot and will thicken as it cools.  They say that the sap from the Box Elder is the best.  My Maple is a Black Maple, and the syrup is very fine indeed and a nice medium amber. 

   Remove the nipple when you are finished (copper will eventually poison the tree) and plug the hole neatly with a tapered wooden plug.  Keep your syrup refrigerated or frozen as it will spoil.  Potentially, you might can it, but I've not done this myself.


Nona's Perugian Ravioli (Umbrian Style)

3/4 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Ground Pork
1/4 lb Ground Veal
Olive oil
2 Eggs
1/3 cup of Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup imported Romano Cheese
3 tsp grated Lemon (or orange) Rind
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Packets of Frozen Spinach

1. Saute the garlic in olive oil, then add the meat and cook slowly. Set aside.
2. Separately cook spinach according to directions.
3. Drain spinach well and squeeze out remaining liquid
4. Mix spinach and meat in a bowl
5. Add beaten eggs.
6. Add cheese
7. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of bread crumbs
8. Add 2 or 3 tsp grated Lemon Rind
9. Mix, and let stand covered overnight in the refrigerator
Note if the consistency appears too dry add more eggs and olive oil, if too moist add more breadcrumbs

3 1/2 cups of flour
3 Eggs (beaten)
1 tsp oil
2 tsp water

Mix flour, eggs, water and oil in an electric mixer fitted with dough hooks
Add additional water/oil as needed

  It's easiest to use a Pasta Machine to make Pasta 1/8 to 1/16 thick.  Alternately, roll out two rectangular piece of dough about 1/8 to 1/16 thick, plop down some of the ravioli mix in a rectangular patter for 2" or 1-3/4 inch squares, lay the second sheet of pasta over the top, and cut apart the rectangles.  There is a special rolling pin for this and there are corrugated cutters available that pinch the edges, but a knife and a fork for joining the edges is low tech and works. Boil in a large pot of water for about 4 minutes and drain.

Any nice Italian sauce is good for pouring on top. Garnish with plenty of Basil.


Sandy's Mango Chutney

This recipe makes quite a bit of Chutney.

Collect the following:

15 Peaches
15 Mangoes
6 Papaya
1 box of raisins
Fresh Ginger
Candied Lemon Peel
Cinnamon sticks
Red pepper
Dark brown sugar
2 sweet onions
2 Moreno Peppers

1. Wash and defuzz the peaches and chop into thumb sized pieces

2. Outsmart the Mangoes as follows.  Along the seam side, cut around the pit to get a palm sized oval.  Using the tip of your knife, cut the meat into 1/2 inch cubes like ice cubes. Pop the half inside out and nick off the cubes.   Do the same to the second half and cut off any remainder from the pit.  There's less mango to a mango than you would suppose.

3. Scoop out the seeds and chop the papayas.

4.  Mix the fruit with 2 tablespoons of ginger, 1/4 cup of candied lemon peel, chopped pepper and onion, and add a cup of raisins.  Cook in a pot with 3 cups of brown sugar and 3 cups of red wine vinegar.  Add a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of cumin, and a teaspoon of curry.  When the mixture begins to boil add a spice bag made of 2 cinnamon sticks, 20 whole cloves, and a teaspoon of coriander seeds. Simmer for 20 minutes and then remove the spice bag. 


I like this best with curried lamb and rice.  Good side dishes are fresh pineapple, peanuts, shredded coconut, pickled watermelon, and some genuine Greek olives.  The only hard part is finding the candied lemon peel. You can make it, but that's a whole different problem.  I leave that for you to discover. 


candied lemon peel

Chantel's Spring Snack

Gather the following:

1.  A bunch of Spring Onions
2.  A large ripe tomato
3.  2 Spring Potatoes
4.  2 cloves of garlic
5.  Salt and pepper
6.  Tsp. of extra virgin olive oil

Saut the crushed garlic in a small frying pan. Slice or dice the potatoes, and add when the oil is hot. Cut the tomato and onions into thumb sized pieces and add to the mix just as the potatoes begin to soften. Salt and pepper to taste, then roll up in a fresh tortilla. Kiss somebody you like and tell them:

 "I spell my name . . . D_a_n_g_e_r!"


Pat's Dynamite Rice-Sausage Casserole

Fry 1 lb. sausage drain off excess fat. Add 1/2cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped green pepper, and 1 cup chopped celery. Cook with green pepper sausage until tender, then add 1/2 cup uncooked rice, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 1/2 cups of milk, and 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (optional). In a casserole, bake closely covered for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, and bake 20 minutes longer uncovered.


Page's Pico!!

  Gather together:

1 bottle of Tequila
1 bottle of Cointreau
1 bottle of Margarita mix
1 onion
4 ripe tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh cilantro ( a few         tablespoons crushed or chopped)
1 jalepeno (or haberno if you like things hot)!!
1 clove garlic (minced) or more if you  love garlic!
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice ( don't forget to rub the lime on the rim of your margarita)
1 tsp. salt or you can just salt to taste

     Mince or chop the tomatoes and onion into small cubes. If you want to skin the Jalepenos, hold them in a pair of pliers, and roast them over a burner, peel the skin, then chop into small pieces. The seeds have a lot of the heat, so remove the seeds if you don't like it really hot. Leave them in if you do! Put in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix it up! Store in fridge! Great as a dip for tortilla chips. My husband loves it on his Huevos Rancheros. Fabulous on fajitas!! Great appetizer with chips to go with your favorite Margarita!

   Make the Margaritas by filling a glass with ice, adding 1 1/2 ounces of Tequila, 1/2 ounce of Cointreau, half a teaspoon of sugar, and reducing the whole thing to mush in a blender. Salt the rims of the glasses.  Drink four of these quickly.  Time to rock and roll!

                       wooden blocks