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Six Fresh Salsas and Guacamole

Cilantro waiting to be picked

I lived in Texas for almost 10 years and when I left I learned that the fresh salsa I got in every local Tex-Mex restaurant was a luxury that I could not live without.  I set out to create not only a good basic salsa that I could whip up anytime but also fun variations that would keep the salsa tasting new and different whenever I made it.  Plus the best benefit is once you have fresh salsa all you need is a few ripe avocados and you have instant guac. Making salsa is about portions and tasting as you go. If it looks like it has too many onions add another tomatoes, if it tastes flat kick it up with some garlic, salt, or lime.  Trust your eyes and pallet to know what you need to adjust.

I am spoiled having a you-pick hydroponic farm close to home that I get most of my fresh veggies & herbs from and this time of year is almost the end of the season for Cilantro so it was time to get in my last “harvest” and enjoy the results.

1. Basic salsa:

6-8 Tomatoes (I like plum or roma)

2 Small white onions

3+ Cloves of garlic

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 Fresh jalapeño

1 Lime

Salt & pepper

Ground cumin

This is simple! Dice up the tomatoes removing most of the seeds, it does not have to be perfect but if all the seeds and liquid end up in your salsa it will be a little to watery.

Next give the onion a nice small dice and micro plane the 3 cloves of garlic into the bowl.  If the garlic is really week or strong you will want to adjust the amount. Rinse, dry, and chop the cilantro into the bowl.

Seed the jalapenos and remove the ribs.  If you like hot feel free to add extra jalapenos or step up to a spicier pepper.Add half the juice and zest of the lime. Add at least ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper. Ground cumin is a favorite flavor of mine so I will start with about ½ teaspoon and adjust from there.  Let rest at least an hour or two in the fridge for best flavor, stir and adjust spices before serving.

Variations:

2. Southwest Salsa
Add an extra jalapeno
1 small can rinsed and drained black beans
1 small can rinsed and drained whole kernel corn

3. New Year’s Salsa
Change white onion for red/purple onion
1 small can rinsed and drained black eyed peas for good luck

4. Italian Salsa (use for Bruschetta)
change cilantro to basil
change lime to lemon or balsamic vinegar
remove jalapenos and cumin

5. Tropical Fruit Salsa (great on grilled fish)
half the amount of tomatoes
1 mango diced
1 cup diced caned or fresh pineapple or diced avocado

6. Fire Roasted Salsa (let the grilled veggies cool before you add to the fresh ingredients)
Grill the onions & jalapeno or poblano pepper
Add one ear grilled corn and removed from cob
2 pinches ground chipotle chili pepper

Guacamole

I normally only make guac with the basic or fire roasted salsa (before I add the corn). Cut your avocados in half (I figure one avocado per person), remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.  Squeeze more lime over the avocados as you work so they will not brown, add about a ¼ teaspoon salt. 

Mash to the smoothness you like then scoop in salsa (about 1/4 cup per avocado) and mix gently until the taste is better than what you can get at your favorite Mexican joint.   

Serve as soon as mixed up with tortilla chips and a cold Corona, enjoy!

My family ate it all before I could take a picture of the full bowl.

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