Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella Recipe

Heirloom Tomato SaladThis heirloom tomato salad is ridiculously easy to make, and it’s so refreshing and delicious! How can you go wrong?

Upon seeing an overload of heirloom tomatoes at the market, I was inspired to make this summery, Italian side dish. It works really well as a side dish for some roasted chicken or as an appetizer or salad course.

This dish is a slight variation on Jamie Oliver’s “Tomato Mothership” recipe from Jamie at Home. If you’d like to watch the original video, he describes some of the preparations in greater detail.

Heirloom Tomato Salad – What you’ll need:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of various heirloom tomatoes, the more variety the better.
  • 1/2 to 1 pound fresh mozzarella balls (depending on how much cheese you like)
  • 1/2 pound mixed Mediterranean olives
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Heirloom Tomato Salad – What you’ll need to do:

Chunk the tomatoes into various sizes and shapes. This will give the heirloom tomato salad a rustic, homemade appearance.

The next step is very important:

Put the chunked-up tomatoes into a colander and sprinkle them generously with kosher salt. Give them a toss and sprinkle on a bit more salt. Let them drain in the sink or into a bowl for 20 minutes. This will remove the excess water and seriously intensify that delicious tomato flavor.

Next, transfer the tomatoes into a big salad bowl, and finely GRATE one garlic clove over the tomato mixture.

Add the mozzarella balls and olives, and then add the oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle generously with the extra virgin olive oil and give it a splash of vinegar. Then give the whole mixture a thorough toss.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving to let the flavors mingle.

NOTE: If the mozzarella balls and/or olives are already marinated, you may need to use less olive oil when assembling the salad.

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Hearty Chili with Sausage and Beef Recipe

Chili with cheese and FritosAfter being told by several people that I should enter my chili in a chili cook-off, I finally did earlier this year… and took first place. Now, before I accept your applause, you should know that there were only two other contestants in my apartment complex’s chili cook-off, but I still say it was a victory nonetheless! Thank you, thank you…

Now I fully realize that this particular chili preparation would be disqualified from an authentic Texas chili cook-off. I’m sure ya’ll know they don’t allow no beans in their chili down in the great state of Texas. Only meat and sauce (gravy) are allowed. Them beans is Yankee food.

I however like the beans and the big chunks of stewed tomatoes; they make the chili more interesting in my opinion. Not to mention, the addition of all those beans helps me feed more people with one batch! The more “authentic” chili recipes use cubed stew meat, usually beef, sometimes pork. The more basic chili recipes use hamburger meat. This recipe uses and mixture of lean ground beef and country style hot sausage.

Ole Bull Chili – What you’ll need:

Hearty chili ingredients

1 lb. Zesty Hot Sausage
1 lb. 90/10 ground beef
2 large/3 small poblano peppers, diced
3 Anaheim chiles, roasted and diced
3 jalapeño peppers, diced
3 habañero peppers, whole
1 white onion, chopped
3 large cloves minced garlic (~1 tbsp)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 can diced tomatoes w/ jalapeños
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 tsp Tabasco
2 bay leaves

Chili seasoning

2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp Mexican chili powder
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Fresh ingredients for chili

Ole Bull Chili – What you’ll need to do:

In a large enameled cast iron dutch oven, brown the sausage and meat in a bit of canola oil or light olive oil.

Then add the peppers, garlic, and onions to the pot. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the spices (except the bay leaves) to the pot, and continue cooking until peppers and onions are soft.

Then add the canned tomatoes, habañero chiles (cut in half), ketchup/hot sauce, tomato paste, beans, and bay leaves.

Simmer for at least 45 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and habañero chiles before serving.

Since I was born in Dallas, I like my chili topped with Fritos and smothered in cheddar cheese, with maybe a dash or two more of Tabasco.

Chili with cheese and Fritos

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Mind-Blowing Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole de MasterChompGuacamole de MasterChomp

Over the years I’ve received countless compliments about my signature guacamole recipe, so I thought I’d share it. Enjoy!

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m picky about my guacamole, but let’s face it — some are better than others. There are so many variations, and there is certainly no one correct preparation. Cilantro or no cilantro? Chunky or smooth? Spicy or mild? I urge you to adjust your guacamole recipe to suit your own tastes, but if you’re looking for a starting point, this may be it.

My recipe incorporates some roasted chile and garlic, which gives the guacamole a very rich, earthy flavor. I opt to use a few sprigs of cilantro, but be warned: a little goes a long way. If you insist that you don’t like cilantro, I would wager that there was too much of it in whatever dish you were eating when you decided you didn’t like it. I urge you to try it again, but just just the bare minimum amount. Don’t tell the supermarkets, but instead of buying a whole bunch of cilantro, I tear off a couple sprigs and hide it in the plastic bag with my chiles.

Oh, and there’s also a secret ingredient, which won’t be so secret after I publish this recipe…

Guacamole – What you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small tomato, diced (or half a big tomato)
  • 1 quarter of a white onion, finely diced (or half of a small onion)
  • 1 jalapeño chile
  • 4 cloves of garlic (3 if they’re big)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise or sour cream*
  • 1 lime
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of cilantro, chopped (optional)

Guacamole – What you’ll need to do:

Roast the jalapeño and the garlic cloves with the paper still on in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally.  When the chile and garlic cloves are splotchy-black on the outside, remove them from the pan. (Should take about 15-20 minutes.)

Put the chile in a bag, or a bowl with plastic wrap on it.  This will steam the chile and the skin will come off easier.  Wait about 10 minutes and then remove the charred skin and seeds, and dice the chile.

When the garlic cools, the roasted cloves should come right out of the paper.  Mash the roasted garlic into a paste.

Remove the avocado flesh from the skins with a large spoon and mash with the roasted garlic.  You can use a big spoon, a fork, or a potato masher for this. I’ve even seen some people use a fancy Avocado Masher.

Douse the avocado mixture in the juice of half a lime for flavor and to prevent browning.

Rinse the diced onion under cold water and shake dry. Then add the diced onion, tomato, cilantro, and roasted chile. Mix it up then add the final touch – the mayo (or sour cream).

Give it a final mix until it’s all combined, then cover with plastic wrap DIRECTLY on top of the guacamole, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.

¡Salud!

*secret ingredient

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