5 Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

pineappleDo you have a trick to choosing a ripe pineapple? My grandfather was a grocer and passed along some of his tricks of the trade. Picking a pineapple is one of them. First, look for one that’s a little more yellow and light green than dark green on the outside. Pull on a stem from the very center of the leafy top of the fruit. If it comes out easily – i.e., no effort – proceed. If you have to give it a hard tug or it truly resists, put it back and move onto another. Finally, flip the pineapple over and smell the “butt” end of it. If you can smell the sugar inside, that baby is ripe and ready to eat! I happen to really love pineapple – it’s my favorite fruit – and I also love that I think of my Zadie (and his heavy Boston accent on the word sugar — “shug-ah”) every single time I walk by those babies in the store.

We had fish tacos for dinner. I seasoned some fresh tilapia with cumin and smoked paprika and it came out amazing. But the real winner was this incredibly simple, 5-ingredient salsa with fresh pineapple as the centerpiece. It was so light and springy/summery – and offered the perfect amount of crunch and acidity, but also sugary sweetness, to balance out the seasoning and soft, silkiness of the fish. It would also be delicious as a salad on its own (My Tiny Sous Chef put it on her tacos AND on the side to scoop up in big spoonfuls), or with chips, or on top of grilled fish or shrimp… etc. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
* 3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal, dark and light green parts (but not whites)
* 1/2 an English seedless cucumber (or a couple of smaller Persian cukes), diced
* 1/4 of a ripe pineapple, cored and diced
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Prep the cilantro, green onions, cucumber, and pineapple and toss together in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the top and mix again. Taste and add more lemon if you think it needs it — and try not to just eat heaping spoonfuls before serving. Enjoy!

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Cucumber, Avocado, and Feta Salad

It sure doesn’t feel like May around here. It’s been dreary and rainy and cold forever. I’m pretty sure my Vitamin D has reached severely deficient levels thanks to these last 3 months or so of where-are-you-sunshine? But I know it’s coming. I just know it. A glimpse here and there, no matter how brief, has me completely reassured that a good gross-hot summer is just around the corner. I don’t know where that corner is, or how to get myself there more quickly, but when I get there, and I get around it, I’m going to need to change my clothes three times a day. I just know it. And I’m preparing for it by reintroducing summer-feeling foods into our meals. Like this very simple, happy, bright, light, fresh salad. Just a few basic ingredients and you’re good to go. I didn’t, but add in some fresh herbs (dill or parsley would be perfect) and it’ll be even better. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 English (seedless) cucumber, diced
* 1 ripe avocado, diced
* crumbled feta cheese (as much as you like)
* juice of half a lemon
* 1T olive oil
* lemon pepper, to taste

WHAT TO DO
Prepare your cucumber and avocado and add them to a bowl. Top with feta. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle olive oil on top. Finish with a little lemon pepper (regular black pepper will work just fine, too). Toss carefully to mix. Serve. Preferably with a tall, cool mojito (amiright?!).

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5 Ingredients: Twice-Roasted Smashed Baby Potatoes

Sometimes leftovers just have to be turned into something else in order to get eaten. That’s how this little side dish came to be. twiceroasted2But it’s a total winner – no reason to reserve it for leftovers alone – you can plan to make it… amazing! This would have been a Quick Side, but if you don’t have already-roasted potatoes on-hand, you have to do a little extra planning and work. Just a little ahead-planning is all you need, and if you forget to pre-plan, just do the first roast and save them to actually eat the next day so you can quick-roast them and be good to go!

My mother in-law made these delicious simple roasted baby potatoes last week – just an easy basic roast: olive oil, salt, pepper, roast until fork-tender. I planned to serve the leftovers alongside salmon this week, but that meal did not come to be. I didn’t want to waste them – they were delicious. But they weren’t going to get eaten in their original form without a little reinvention. The double roast makes the extra tender and delicious on the inside, but also crispy on the outside. I finished with a 2-minute quick broil and it sealed all that delicious goodness in. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb baby potatoes (we used a combination of golden and red)
* olive oil
* salt
* pepper
* grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 425F.

Wash and dry your potatoes, then place them in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Then lay them on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to mostly cool.

Once the potatoes are handle-able, use a fork to lightly squish them down a bit – not so hard that they break apart, but just enough to slightly flatten them. If the olive oil is mostly absorbed and cooked in, drizzle just a bit over the potatoes, then sprinkle them generously with Parmesan cheese.

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Return the smashed potatoes to the oven and roast another 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and turn the broiler on high. Broil just 2 minutes and serve hot – YUMMMMM.

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Made by Kid: Easiest-Ever Skillet Cornbread

cornbread5This is a very basic cornbread recipe. Nothing fancy – just straightforward, simple, and so so so tasty. I had every one of these ingredients in my pantry. And it’s ready in 30 minutes. AND.

The ONLY steps I handled in the preparation had to do with the oven – putting it in and taking it out. This is a PERFECT recipe for your tiny sous chefs! Also for you, but seriously, this is a great kid-friendly recipe. Anyway, it’s awesome, so here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 stick of butter
* 1 1/2C milk
* 1 egg
* 1t salt
* 1 1/2t baking powder
* 1/4C sugar
* 1/2C all purpose flour
* 1 1/2C ground yellow cornmeal

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 425F.

Cut the butter down into quarters and reserve one. Put the other three quarters in a microwave-safe dish and melt in the microwave. Use the last quarter of the stick of butter to butter the living daylights out of your cast iron skillet (if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use another oven-safe skillet with a flat bottom and high sides).

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Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on the lowest speed for about 20 seconds, then on a medium speed for 20 seconds.

Pour the mixture into your buttered skillet.

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Bake 25 minutes at 425.

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.