Today is one of those mornings when the sky is blue, the birds are chirping, and I kinda wanted to leap out of bed singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling..." (You know the rest.)
At least that's how I felt after about five snooze bars and a cup of coffee.
But when the sun is shining like this and the summer is quickly approaching, it makes me want to tell y'all about my two favorite homemade salsa recipes that are a snap to whip up. My friend Cathryn was in town last week, so that gave me the occasion to make 'em, as did the huge shipment of mangos we got from the organic delivery people. (I'm not sure that mangos are either organic or local, but that's another conversation.)
The first is my avocado salsa -- no, not guacamole, avocado salsa. It's salsa because instead of mashing everything, it's chopped and cubed like salsa. And the secret ingredient, for texture and crunch, is cucumber. There are a few extra steps to make sure that it doesn't turn into soupy mush, but you can skip those if you're in a rush. Here's the recipe...
Tanja's Avocado Salsa (My name is on it because this is 100% my recipe)
2 large, ripe avocados (we Californians prefer Haas, but any will do)
1/2 a large, red onion (we'll use the other half in the mango salsa)
1 serrano pepper or 1/2 a spicy jalapeno (I like serranos because they're more predictable than jalapenos)
1 juicy lime
1 large cucumber (any variety)
a handful of fresh cilantro (optional)
2-4 ripe tomatoes (depends on size, enough to make about a cup chopped, once the pulp and seeds are removed)
Chop up the onion first, place it in a bowl and juice the lime over it. Let that sit while you do the rest, to let the citric acid "cook" the onion and mellow it out some. Peel the cucumber, cut out the seeds and pulp, cut it into strips and then chop the strips into 1/4" or so chunks. Chop the tomatoes, removing seeds and pulp, into similar size pieces. Place the cucumber chunks and tomatoes pieces in a strainer over the sink, sprinkle with salt, and let them drain for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, chop up the serrano or jalapeno into tiny tiny pieces and add to the onion/lime mixture. After the 20 minutes have passes, chop up the avocado into 1/4" or so pieces, add the cucumber and tomato mixture, and then add the onion and pepper mixture minus most of the lime juice (I use a fork or slotted spoon). Getting some of the lime is good, but you don't want the salsa to get soupy. If you are using the cilantro, chop it up and gently fold it into the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy with chips, on tacos, or any other way you can think of!
Cilantro mojito anyone? (What? We were out of mint and wanted mojitos. They were kinda awesome!)
And now for salsa dos. The mango salsa. This is a new though very basic recipe for me, unlike the avocado salsa which has been a specialty for years now. But seriously, I've learned that you can really put anything in a salsa, and there's a decent chance it will be delicious. I use lots of citrus in this, making it a very juicy salsa, so it's not perfect for chips. It's much better on tacos or burritos, or at least on nachos with some beans. Yum.
2 large, ripe mangos
1/2 a large, red onion (other half from the avocado salsa)
1 serrano pepper or 1/2 a spicy jalapeno
2 juicy limes
1 tangerine (optional)
a handful of fresh cilantro (optional)
Just like with the avocado salsa, I like to chop up the onion and let it soak in lime juice for a while. Or, in this case, I actually chopped the whole onion one day and let half of it soak overnight. That mellowed out the onions even more and made them turn this cool pink, pickled color. Nice. Oh, sorry. Back to the recipe. Peel and chop the mangos, chop up the serrano or jalapeno and mix together gently with the onion. Add the cilantro, chopped up, if using. Cut the skin off the second lime and the tangerine and gently cut out the segments of fruit and lightly chop them. Mix them into the salsa, add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Perfection on chicken soft tacos.
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