Tag Archives | salsa

Home Again, Salsa, and Upcoming Book Events

quick homemade salsa

I landed in Philadelphia right around 12 noon on Tuesday afternoon. It was almost exactly two weeks to the minute since I’d left and while the book tour was gloriously fun, returning home is always the best thing of all.

I’ve spent the last day and a half reacquainting myself with home, unpacking bags and folding laundry. I also have done quite a lot of cooking in the last 48 hours. I made a goodly amount of jam and pickles while on the road and helped assemble a meal or two in the company of friends, but there was little true cooking and I missed it.

overhead salsa

And so, I’ve made several rounds of breakfast eggs. I roasted every sad bit of vegetable in the fridge and made soup for dinner last night. I prepped a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough for the freezer (we bake them a couple at a time in the toaster oven as an after dinner treat). And I peeled two wrinkly tomatoes that I’d left to ripen several weeks ago and made a little batch of salsa.

For lunch today, I toasted a couple of corn tortillas and folded into them black beans, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and generous scoops of the salsa. If a batch of spring salsa sounds good to you (Cinco de Mayo is Monday, after all), the batch I made is essentially the same as this one, only with shallots in place of the onions, and some red chili flakes instead of jalapeño (we didn’t have any). Remember, homemade salsa always tastes better if you make it at least an hour or two before you plan on serving it.

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Just because I’m home doesn’t mean that the book tour is over. Truly, things are only just picking up. Here’s where I’ll be over the course of the week and a half!

  • May 3 – Philadelphia: Demo and book signing at Fante’s Kitchen Shop, 1-3 pm.
  • May 4 – Philadelphia: Tasting and book signing at Headhouse Square Farmers Market, 10 am – 2 pm.
  • May 6 – Broomall, PA: Demo and book signing at the Marple Township Library, 7:30-9 pm.
  • May 10 – Philadelphia: Demo and book signing at Greensgrow, 10 am – 1 pm. Demo and book signing at Occasionette, 5-8 pm.
  • May 13 – Manhattan: Strawberry jam class at The Brooklyn Kitchen’s Manhattan location. 6:30-8:30 pm. $65.
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Happy New Year + Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

black-eyed pea salsa

I hope everyone had a good holiday season! I spent Christmas out in Portland, Oregon with family and got plenty of quality time with my parents, uncle, sister, brother-in-law, and my newly walking nephew (he’s in that sponge stage, where he’s learning as fast as you can say the words. It’s incredible).

I got back to Philadelphia a few days ago and promptly came down with Emmett‘s cold (13 month olds cough in any direction they’re pointed, including straight into your face). Other than an exploratory mission on Sunday to Costco to use our new membership cards, Scott and I have barely left the apartment in days. Oh, how I’m tired of this tradition of mine to end the year mucus and congestion.

black-eyed pea salsa

 

In the hopes of forging different New Year traditions that have nothing to do with NyQuil, kleenex or throat lozenges, I made a very simple take on a classic “good luck for the New Year” dish. Black-eyed pea salsa.

It’s essentially Texas Caviar, but a version that omits bottled salad dressing and is scaled to fit into a quart jar (because who doesn’t like a salsa that can be made straight into a jar?). It’s good with tortilla chips and even better on top of salad greens and a little crumbled feta (if you’re trying to inject a little bit of healthier eating into your new year).

black-eyed pea salsa above

 

As far as New Year’s hopes and resolutions go, my plan is to keep the year simple. To find a little peace where I am instead of always having my eye on the next thing. To stop tying myself into knots of struggle and let things move in flow and at their own pace. And to remember how incredibly lucky I am to have such a vibrant community of friends and readers out there across the world (thank you all for being part of that!).

And on to the recipe…

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

tomatillo composite

Just after I graduated from college, but before I moved to Philadelphia, I spent a period of four months working as a personal assistant for a very wealthy woman who lived in Portland’s west hills. I sort of tumbled into the job, in the synchronous way that I typically do (true thing, I rarely look for jobs, for better of for worse, they just appear) and while it wasn’t always a rousing good time, I picked up a slew of useful life lessons. One thing I saw demonstrated again and again was the fact that money is rarely the key factor in a joyful life.

My boss, who lived in a gorgeous home, had a doting husband and everything she could possibly want (in the material sense) spent her days in misery. When she wasn’t actively unhappy herself, she was doing everything she could to stir up dramas among her friends and spread a sense of unease and insecurity in others. In stark contrast was her maid. Teresa was working for her on a tourist visa from Mexico and spend her days scrubbing that 7,000 square foot house from top to bottom (about every third day, she came to the end and then turned around to start the process again) and cooking food for my boss and her husband. In the evenings, she sat alone in her room, watching TV and working on needlepoint.

And yet, she was never anything but completely cheerful. We spent a lot of time together during the four months I was there. She didn’t speak any English and all I had to offer was my high school Spanish. And yet, we became friends. She taught me how to find my way around the house, a handful of new words and how to be happy no matter what the situation. And she taught me how to make this tomatillo salsa.

Sometimes she blanched the tomatillos and sometimes she roasted them. I liked the roasted salsa better. We’d eat it quesadillas, with a bit of shredded chicken and pepper jack cheese. So delicious. She never used exact proportions for the salsa, instead she just cooked by feel and adjusted the seasonings at the end to make sure everything was balanced.

With tomatillos showing up in abundance at my local farmers markets lately, I thought this might be a good recipe (and story) to share. I also thought we could all use a break from the boiling water canner (I know I need a short rest from chopping, picking and jamming).

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