There are many things I love in life. Two come to mind in regards to this specific topic though, and let me tell you they are high up on my list of loves. They are hosting people, and all things Mexican. I love Mexican food. I love my friends. I love combining my loves, and having friends over to eat Mexican food. In a perfect world, my days would consist of lots of time with my best friends, and my nights? Bathing in a mound of Lone Star chips and salsa. Ok, maybe not bathing (inevitable spikes and spices in all the wrong places). But let’s just contextualize this with one of our combined favourite movies – Wedding Crashers. Remember Vince Vaughn’s rant about how much he loves maple syrup and finds multiple uses for it? You get the point. Replace that with sweet, garlicky salsa.
So, naturally, when the Ottawa chapter of the nutshell girls and I decided to align our schedules for a night of vino, snacks and chats at my apartment – I thought it would be wonderful to make a special batch of homemade salsa for my little chickitas to try. At the end of the day, when making salsa you must remember the world really is your oyster. I highly suggest finding a recipe that looks pleasing to you, and tweaking it throughout the process to make it just right, and just yours. Here is a ballpark recipe for what I chose to add to my salsa for my little ladies to savour.
1. When it comes to the tomato base of your salsa, it’s really up to you and what kind of consistency you prefer. I like mine partly chunky, as opposed to pureed, so I bought two cans of Unico diced tomatos. If I had the time or energy I would have chopped fresh tomatoes from the vine – but time is a luxury when hungry little nuts are about to ring your doorbell in one hour.
3. Pour your diced tomatoes into a mixing bowl, and mush them around until you get the proper consistency for your batch. Once you’ve done that, drain the extra juice into the sink while holding back the chunks with a large mixing spoon. As you continue to mix and add lime juice, you’ll need to drain more out throughout the process to avoid a watery snack.
5. Dice 2 small cloves of garlic. Throw them on in.
6. Cut your jalapeno the long way, and de-seed the whole thing – if you plan on adding the spicy element. (I consider this essential). I discovered I probably could have added some more, after my taste-testers decided they were “wild” not “mild” salsa eaters. Dice it all up and throw it into the mix. Keep stirring throughout the process.
7. Depending on your audience – half of the population likes it, half doesn’t – chop 1/4 of a cup of cilantro into very small pieces. Throw ‘er on in.
8. Dice up 1/2 or a whole mango (in my case) into tiny, tiny cubes. Toss those in.
9. Now, for the finishing touches. Squirt in, at your own discretion, your lime juice. I added about 2 tablespoons of the liquid to give it that special tang. Then add salt and pepper to your taste. Sprinkle just a smidge of cumin in. If you find it’s a little spicy or tangy, feel free to add a touch of sugar to soften the mix.
10. Give the batch one big stir, and boom-bada-bing-bada-boom – Hola delicious Mexican snack! For the carb-conscious gals dipping into salsa out there, cut some jicama (a root veggie known as the “Mexican Turnip”) into strips and roast it with some pepper and olive oil. Or, slice some cucumber the long way and use that as your dipping tool. Otherwise, whip out the tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a party, in a nutshell. Bon appetit!