Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Moms Restaurant Style Salsa

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My mother is the queen of salsa. Every time she makes a batch its a little bit different because she forever tweaks the recipe here or there. She's an intuitive cook and not a recipe follower. Sometimes this is infuriating. For example, I swear she used to use lime for tomato salsa (lime for salsa, lemon for guacamole) but she tells me no, it's always been lemon. I'm not so sure. I think either would work well here.

The baby helped on our big salsa making day
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She's roasted tomatoes and added a touch of cinnamon and spicy reconstituted smokey peppers and a squeeze of orange and dash of clove for a salsa made specifically for pairing with easter ham. That was delicious. She sometimes adds more or less of a certain ingredient, but one precaution she always takes is to sample the jalapeno alone (she straight up cuts a piece off and pops it into her mouth) to see how hot they are. Jalapenos are really unpredictable. Some are not spicy at all, like a bell pepper and some will really burn. If a pepper is particularly hot, she might not include the white parts or seeds in the salsa. My mom likes things hot though, so this doesn't usually happen. Also, sometimes she'll use serrano pepper instead of jalapeno. Play around and have fun.

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I started my "training" for my 5k this spring. Woo-hoo! The weather is warming up and the clouds are giving way to sun. Salsa, it seems will start to be mandatory in these parts really soon.

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Moms Restaurant Style Salsa
makes about 4 cups

10 roma tomatoes
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced (or 1/4 of a larger onion)
1/2- 1 jalapeno, chopped in big chunks (test a piece plain to see how hot your are before adding)
1 fat garlic clove
1/2 head of cilantro
1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Boil whole tomatoes, onion, and chopped jalapenos and simmer until tomatoes skin starts to burst, about 5 minutes. Transfer it all into a food processor and add 1/2 head of cilantro, garlic, juice from 1/4 a lemon, and spices. Pulse until blended and taste. Salsas final flavor will very depending on your ingredients so add more salt of jalapeno or lemon if desired.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

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My sister is going to kill me for this post. I made her this smoothie last time she was over and lets just say she wasn't a fan. Not because its not awesome, but because she's completely sick of avocados. Normally I would tell you that you can't taste the avocado in this smoothie but it's not true. See, the way this smoothie ends up tasting has everything to do with the kind of avocado you start with. A perfectly ripe, green flesh, soft but still firm avocado will be the best option. However, avocados have such a short life and cycle through their stages so quickly you don't always have this option. Bottom line is if you use an over ripe, florally avocado then you will indeed pick up those tastes in the smoothie. Similarly, if you use a very green underripe avocado, you'll taste it. Now that being said, it's not a bad thing unless you happen to hate avocados. But I'm guessing if you hate them this recipe won't be on your "must make list" anytime soon.

The case for avocado smoothies- When this smoothie is good, it's REALLY good. The avocado makes the smoothie thick and silky, not unlike a pudding consistency, and it actually tastes a lot like chocolate pudding. I love that. Other times, when the avocado is less than stellar, it still has that thick consistency but will have a slight aftertaste. This doesn't bother me in the least but it's something to consider.

The texture wins me over every time. I love it. Feel free to play around and add more sweetener if desired to get your desired outcome.

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I drink this for breakfast. that way I can use raw cacao powder without a problem. Raw cacao tends to keep me up at night so if I make it then, I'll use regular cocoa powder. Nowhere near as good for the body, but when you want a chocolate smoothie, you want a chocolate smoothie.

This drink is loaded with minerals and antioxidants from the cacao, sugar free since stevia is used, contains healthy fats from the avocado and supplies a healthy dose of calcium in the form of coconut milk. It's sure to keep you full. Cheers!

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
serves 1

1/2 a medium avocado (sometimes I use a whole avocado)
2 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon stevia
handful of ice
splash of vanilla

Blend all until silky and smooth. Drink right away