Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Back in my college days, I’d buy those gallon sized pasta sauce jars and packages of tortellini for quick meals. It was all about convenience and it never occurred to me that I could actually make a tomato sauce. The concept was unapproachable. Today there are very few jarred sauces that fall into my good foods list so I have to make my own.

A homemade tomato sauce is about the easiest thing to create. Throw all the vegetables into a pan and let it simmer for a bit and you’re done. This sauce was inspired by Spanish tapas. It has an extra garlic kick so feel free to scale it back if you’re not a fan. I made a Cod dish, baking the fish half way for 10 minutes, then pouring over and continuing to bake for 10 more minutes. It would fabulous over potatoes, other root vegetables or zucchini noodles.

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce
Serves 6
Spicy tomato sauce to pour over fish, veggies or gluten free gnocchi.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  2. 1 cup yellow onion - chopped
  3. 6 tbsp garlic - minced
  4. 1 cup red pepper - chopped
  5. 3 cups tomatoes - seeds removed and chopped
  6. ½ cup water
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  2. Sauté onions with 1/2 tsp salt until they turn translucent and then add garlic. After 3 minutes toss in the tomatoes and red pepper. Add in 1/2 cup of water and all remaining spices. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and remove pan from heat. Make sure to take out the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender and purée the majority of the sauce. You can also pour it into an upright blender.
  4. Serve warm and pour sauce over food of choice.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/
Spicy Spanish Tomato Sauce

Greens Greens Greens

Southern Greens
Greens, black eyed peas and pork are always eaten on New Year’s Day. In folklore, the Southern tradition goes back to the Civil War. Union troops pillaged the land leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens. Southerners had to survive on these humble foods. Beans represent coins or closed circles signifying the end of one year and good luck in the next. Greens represent wealth and prosperity. And since pigs root forward as they eat, pork is eaten to symbolize a positive direction in the upcoming year.

Black eyed peas can cause me a bit of stomach upset so I opted out of making a big batch this year. Instead I’ll eat just one for food fortune! 

Wishing you all prosperity, good health and love in 2015.

Southern Greens

Southern Greens

Makes 6 servings.

12 cups water
1 ½ lbs smoked ham hocks
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tbsp salt
2 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce
1 bunch collard greens – about 15 large leaves
1 bunch kale – about 15 large leaves
1 bunch red chard – about 15 large leaves
1 tbsp coconut oil

►In a large pot, bring water to boil over high heat. Add ham hocks, seasoning and hot sauce. Turn down heat to medium low and cook covered for 1 hour.

►Make sure to wash all greens thoroughly. Remove stems by either cutting out with a knife or with your hands. Hold the stem in your left hand and strip the leaf in the opposite direction with your right hand. Save the stems for another dish. Roll up each leaf horizontally and cut into 1 inch slices.
►Add greens and the coconut oil to the pot. Stir together and cook covered for 45 minutes on medium low.
►After cooking, remove the ham hocks and cut off all the meat to add back into the pot. Reserve the bones in your freezer for making broth, have in mind that your freezer needs to be int he right temperature if not it will go bad, so make sure yours is ok and if you need to get one read more here for more solutions
►Serve as a side dish or main meal.

Southern Greens

Stacked Pear Salad

Stacked Pear Salad

Christmas came early this year. We had a pre-Christmas celebration with my family in south Florida last week. It was 75 degrees and clear, blue skies everyday. My body soaked up the sun, the humid sea salt air and the therapeutic beach sounds. The hubby and I were grateful to be out of the winter chill and have a peaceful place to relax.

I spent a few Christmases down there as a kid, yet it’s still odd to see palm trees decorated like candy canes. Going from the northeast to the tropics numbs the holiday spirit a bit. We managed to keep the Christmas music playing as a reminder that it’s still December. I was so disoriented until I heard “White Christmas” playing.

The highlight was our special Christmas dinner, surf and turf style. We stood in line for over an hour to buy the perfect lobster tails. The guy selling them had a solo operation in a parking lot. Fresh caught in the morning and selling it all by noon. Word spread fast that he had the freshest seafood in town and we were willing to wait.

It was just four of us for dinner so I wanted to make this Stacked Pear Salad for a showstopper dish. We needed a light salad to begin our heavy meal. The tangy dressing matches perfectly with the pear’s sweetness. I baked the pears slightly to soften them a bit. Otherwise, I think they’re too hard to enjoy. Everyone loved it and it may have stolen the spotlight from the lobsters.

Stacked Pear Salad
Stacked Pear Salad
Makes 4 servings.

4 ripe Bosc pears
2 cups arugula
½ cup sweet onion – thinly sliced
optional: ½ cup Maytag blue cheese or goat cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette
3 tsp raw honey
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

►Combine all vinaigrette ingredients except the olive oil. Allow to sit for a minute. Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk together.

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
►Using a paring knife, core each pear from the bottom. Make sure to remove all seeds. You may need to cut a flat bottom to ensure the pear stands upright without falling. Slice each vertically into four sections. Then stack back together and place in a baking dish. Bake 7 minutes until just slightly soft.

►To assemble, place the bottom pear slice onto a salad plate. Top with arugula, onion and drizzle with dressing. Repeat until all sections are stacked. If you include cheese, you can use it like a glue to keep the sections together.
►Serve immediately.

Stacked Pear Salad