Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

It's almost here!

Cinco de Mayo, the day of celebrating the attack of French and Mexican traitor soldiers on that fateful day in Puebla in 1862.

Growing up in Texas, this is an important day for quite a few pockets of the community. This one battle and victory is contributed as the force that allowed the United States army to become the most powerful in the world at the time. A mere 14 months later, the U.S. army pulverized the Confederates at Gettysburg, thereby ending the Civil War. Crazy, right? My dad's history lessons just came out there.

Anyhoo, back in Texas, we celebrate war and bloody victory the natural way, through parties and food. (Okay, slightly a joke.) Don't ask me how, but I've managed to live 27 years in (mostly) Texas and have never made salsa. I know, I know, it's embarrassing. But I'm only more embarrassed if I let one more year go by without having even tried. Even the pastor at my home church makes salsa, and his spanish accent is way more country than my own (and his salsa is darn spicy!). So here we go. If you've lived anywhere in the South/Southwest, you know that there's a lot of pressure when you attempt to make your own salsa. Perhaps that's why it's taken me this long. But let's do this thang.

Cinco de Salsa
Time to make: 15 min; makes 3 cups
3 roma tomatoes
1/3 cup white onion
handful of cilantro, ends trimmed (1/3--1/2 cup)
1 serrano pepper, deveined and seeded
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

1) slicing step: Slice tomatoes into quarters, slice onion into chunks, roughly chop cilantro, and merely devein and seed pepper.

2) chopping step: Because I was using our small food processor, I made the salsa in steps. First add the onion and cilantro and chop for 30 seconds or until well chopped but not liquified. Then add garlic, pepper and tomatoes, and process until desired consistency (chunky--less chopping, liquid--more, duh).

3) tasting step: Pour all chopped ingredients into a medium bowl and stir. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Season more to taste. Ole

Spicy Limon Corn Salsa (not pictured) 
This recipe was originally given by a family friend, but I've simplified it. It makes a great salsa/garnish or a wonderful veggie side for a summer cookout. Double the recipe if you're making as a side--it'll go quickly! It took my first trip to Central America to learn that they did not have lemons anywhere to be found! Bummer. HOWEVER, limes are not only everywhere, the latin people use it as a staple in cooking. I quickly understood the difference between the lemon and the limon. Sabroso!
1 12 oz. can kernel corn, drained
1 green pepper, chopped into tiny bits
(optional, for a less spicy version) 1 red pepper, chopped into tiny bits
2 green serrano or jalapeno peppers, deveined & seeded, chopped into tiny bits
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1 TB sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 

1) Combine veggies and peppers in a large bowl, tossing. Add lime juice, salt and pepper.
2) Season extra to taste (more heat--add 1/2 pepper; less heat--add more bell pepper or corn; more citrus/sour--add lime; more bite--add salt). Stir well and let marinade in fridge for 1+ hours. Great to make ahead of time (night before) for a party.


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