Icy Spicy Gazpacho

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Well…it is May and the dog days of summer have arrived, bringing soaring temperatures with them. May is my least favorite month here, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The other eleven months are favorites though, as the climate here is just about perfect year round. If you can make it through May, I’d say you’ve got it licked! If you can’t stand the heat don’t turn on the stove. That is why this gloriously good version of Gazpacho reigns as a summer soup. There is no need for turning on a stove because there is no cooking involved! Cooking no…chopping yes, but worth every knife stroke.If you’re too hot and burned out to chop up the ingredients, then by all means  throw everything into a blender and blend away. If, on the other hand, you’ve got an air conditioned kitchen and a sharp knife…do it the clown’s way…by hand. The results, I, and those to whom  I’ve served it,  think are sublime. Serve it icy cold. Best to start preparing this refreshingly zingy, tangy, chunky, spicy, cold, wonder of a summer soup early in the day, so it has plenty of time to chill out in the fridge. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

1 qt. bottle Clamato juice

16 oz. can whole tomatoes

1 cup minced onion

2 cups minced celery

2 cups minced green pepper

2 cups diced cucumber

3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press

1/2 cup sliced green olives

juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce( I used a habanero hot sauce)

Garnishes: Crumbled bacon, garlicky croutons, sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro sprigs

Directions:

Empty the tomatoes into the bowl of either a food processor, or a blender. Pulse briefly, just enough to have a small, chunky, consistency. Pour into a medium to large bowl. Add the Clamato juice. Finely dice the onions, green peppers, and celery. Add to the tomato mix. Peel the cucumbers, slice lengthwise and remove the seeds.(I use a serrated grapefruit spoon). Dice the cucumbers and add to the bowl. Add the olives, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, hot sauce, lime juice, cilantro, vinegar and olive oil. Stir to combine and taste to adjust seasoning. Cover and chill till really cold. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with diced avocado, garlicky croutons, crumbled bacon, a dollop or squiggle of sour cream and sprigs of cilantro.

Yield: 3 qts.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

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This sensational sauce is exactly that because of it’s versatility. Use it on huevos rancheros, add it to chicken enchiladas, or simmer browned, cubed, pork in it, for a scrumptious Mexican stew served over rice. This recipe yields 3 cups of sauce, so if you want less, just cut it in half.

Ingredients:

6 cups tomatillos

1 bunch fresh cilantro, or about 1 1/2 cups, washed

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large Spanish onion, peeled, cut into quarters

2 serrano peppers, stems removed

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Place the tomatillos in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the papery skins become loose. Remove from heat and drain.Cool and remove the skins. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, serranos, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan, and simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use in a favorite recipe, or refrigerate for later use. I’ve found that this sauce doesn’t freeze particularly well, but keeps well, refrigerated, for several weeks.

Yield: 3 cups sauce

Candelaria has arrived!!!!!

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Each year Kitchenclown awaits the arrival of Candelaria. It is an annual event, which is held here, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on the stunning grounds of Parque Juarez. Plant and flower vendors, from across Mexico, bring their wares to the park to sell them. Hundreds of tourists and residents turn out for the event, and young boys follow them with wheelbarrows…waiting to load up the buyer’s purchases and roll them to their cars , where they will be unloaded. This dazzling event usually begins on the 1st of February, but because most of the vendors were already set up and the Kitchenclown likes to avoid crowds,KC took in a sneak preview today.Here are a few of the stunners on display. Feast your eyes!

Three Things Pasta Sauce

Three things go into this velvety sauce. Count em’. Three things is all you will need to turn out this remarkable sauce, originally published in one of Marcella Hazan’s early cookbooks. You will also need pasta, so make that four things..

1 lb. pasta of your choice

1  28 oz. can  good quality, Italian, peeled whole tomatoes

1/2 peeled large white onion

1 stick of good quality butter

salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan cheese….optional, but recommended

Place the onion and butter into a medium saucepan.Add the tomatoes. Cover,  and simmer over low heat  for 45 minutes. Stir often, breaking up the tomatoes by smashing them against the side of the pot. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Do not overcook. Drain. Remove onion from sauce and discard. Pour sauce over pasta, toss to coat and serve. Simply, very simply, delicious!

Yield-4 servings.

Vegetarian Chile

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You’ll never miss the meat in this hearty, heart warming, heart-healthy version! It is chock full of good-for-you vegetables and protein- rich beans and is sure to please on a cold winter’s day. Irresistable, when served with my cheesy, hot from the oven, cornbread, for sopping up the goodness of it all.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large zucchini, sliced in half horizontally, and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 10 medium sized portobello mushrooms, cut into thick slices and cut in half
  • 1 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into cubes
  • 2  16 oz. cans tomato puree
  • 3   8 oz.cans black beans, drained
  • 2  8 oz. cans garbanzo beans
  • 2 Tbs.cumin powder
  • 3 Tbs. chili powder
  • 3 !/2 teas. salt
  • 3/4 teas. chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 2 teas. sugar
  • 1 teas. garlic powder
  • 1 teas. onion powder
  • 1 bottle dark beer
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder, or( if you can get your hands on it) 1 or 2 Tbs, grated  Oaxacan   cooking chocolate
  • Garnishes:
  • 2 cups grated cheddar, monterey jack or oaxacan string cheese
  • 1 bunch scallions,  washed and sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 16 oz. container sour cream

Directions:

In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.Add the diced red and green peppers,  the onions, and eggplant, and cook until onion is translucent, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, portobellos , garlic and tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cans of tomato puree, the spices, the herbs, salt, sugar,  beer , cocoa powder, or chocolate, and the beans. Give it all a good stir, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour over low heat, stirring frequently. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of scallions and cilantro and plenty of grated cheese. Serve immediately along with the Cheesy Cornbread. Buen Provecho!!!!!!!

Yield: 8-10 servings

Mexican Tuna Salad Tostadas

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This Mexican tuna salad makes a great snack, and is a refreshing change from the usual, mayo-laden version. You may either heap it on to a crisp corn tostada, or use tortilla chips for dipping it.

1 pkg. corn tostadas

2 packages of tuna, packed in water, or 1 can of tuna, packed in water, drained.

1 tomato-diced

1 haas avocado- pitted, peeled and diced

1 carrot- peeled and grated

1 bunch fresh cilantro- washed and finely chopped, or about 1/4 cup

1/4 red onion- finely minced

1 jalapeno- seeds and veins removed- finely minced

1 lime- juiced

1 tbs. hellmann’s mayonnaise

2 tbs. seasoned rice vinegar

1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce, or your favorite hot sauce. (sriracha just happens to be my favorite)

salt and pepper to taste

directions:

mix all ingredients (except tostadas), together in a small bowl, and top the tostadas with it. yield- enough for 2 hungry snackers, or 4 not so hungry ones.

 

Clown down!

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Kitchen clown tripped over one of the canine units in residence (who has since been  banned from the clown’s kitchen), landing on her face. Kitchenclown is now sporting a black eye to bring in the new year. Quite a fashionable addition to the nose, don’t you think?