XOXO, Salsa Girl

The Dish on All Things Salsa


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XOXO, Salsa Girl reports from Aisle 1

I would NEVER sneak away from my job responsibilities as a bagger at the local grocery store. Bagging is a serious task and I hold tremendous weight within my corporation.

If I were to ever to such a naughty thing as slip away and record myself from the condiment aisle, I would record it for your viewing pleasure.

….Which is precisely what I have done.

Watch this short report from Aisle 1, and help me to embrace my awkwardness.

I realize that it may not mean a tremendous amount to all of you, but I feel exponentially rebellious for filming this short clip.

Additionally, I feel that this could be the start of a great weekly VLOG report from various locations within the grocery store. If I feel so inclined, I could even make my way from Aisle 1 to Aisle 17 and document my adventures. This could even potentially win an Academy Award.

So, look forward to that. Possibly…

I’d like to keep my job through all of this, but we’ll see.

XOXO,

Salsa Girl


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Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are out and the Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival is in.

Last night, I joined fellow chile pepper  lovers, salsa connoisseurs, beer drinkers, and some hipster downtown folks for the First Annual Roosevelt Row Chile Pepper Festival in Phoenix. Vendors of all varieties gathered on an open lot within the Roosevelt Arts District to honor chile peppers as they got roasted–while the attendants got toasted (on beer).

As I could not partake in the draft beer and margarita extravaganza, I opted to take shots instead.

LunchaLibre had their food truck crew serving shots of “agua de salsa.” This was by far the most innovative and unique shot I have ever taken. I mean…it is the only shot I have ever taken. But that is besides the point.

As someone who literally drinks hot sauce and salsa, I didn’t even hesitate to try the corn tortilla foam and strained salsa water concoction.  The experience of gulping back the emulsified tortilla chip while simultaneously tasting tomatillo salsa was comparable to what I imagine it would be like to taste Willy Wonka’s Flavor Changing Gum.
As for the actual salsa at the festival, Barrio Cafe had the best batch, hands down. They came equipped with a “salsa de habanero con nopales.” Nopales is the Spanish term for prickly pear cactus, and they are often used in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Yes: the salsa had cactus mixed right into it. Truth be told: THIS IS THE SALSA I VOTED FOR.

The base of the salsa is nothing more than tomatoes, garlic, habanero peppers and spices. Chef Julio Marta of the Barrio Cafe says that they add the nopales (prickly pear cactus, with the spiky nettles removed) to their tomato sauce just before serving. The salsa mixture is cooked, but the cactus is left fresh. Prickly pear is comparable to a green bean in both texture and size, and the taste is similar to a very bland green bell pepper.

They make it seem so simple, but my guess is that cleaning and preparing a cactus for consumption is no smooth task. Puns.

In addition to plentiful salsas from notable local restaurants like Gallo Blanco and Macayo’s,  some booths came equipped with other dishes and dips. I took a particular liking to the spicy Japanese and Serrano pepper hummus that  Gabriel Hernandez, general manager of Carly’s Bistro  brought to sample.

If there is any dip that give salsa a run for its money, it’s hummus. Hernandez and I spent about 10 minutes discussing the basics of hummus, the difference between toasted sesame oil and tahini, and the randomness at Carly’s Bistro. I have been a regular at Carly’s for quite some time, and it was great to learn that:

a) Carly indeed exists

b) The menu is entirely random for no good reason–except for that it can be.

For dinner, I enjoyed a delectable shredded beef torta (Mexican sandwich) with strawberry and jalapeno salsa and jamaica glaze  from the totally rad crepe shop, Jobot. Come to find out, flor de jamaica is the term used in Latin America for hibiscus flower. It was a beef sandwich with strawberries and flowers…Peace, Love, Jobot.

The festival itself was a great tribute to the world of “all things salsa.” Those who enjoy chile pepper festivals are my type of people. If you don’t believe there is a group following for everything, you need to attend a festival like this one.

Food brings people together. Salsa brings awesome people together.

XOXO,

Salsa Girl


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Salsa Girl’s identity is REVEALED

Who is Gossip Girl?

We still have no idea.

But who is Salsa Girl?

That I do know.

I know I promised that I would dish out all things salsa in secrecy, but truthfully, I am too vain to stay hidden.

Let me introduce myself to you in my natural habitat: the kitchen. Allow me to reveal my dorky personality through a daredevil stunt. Today, I show you that my dedication to chile peppers is real. Watch below to see me casually snack on a jalapeno pepper in my totally chic downtown apartment.

XOXO,

Salsa Girl


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The REAL Pico de Gallo

THIS JUST IN:
We have it all wrong.

 

My manager Fatima Gasca just informed me that pico de gallo is not what we think it is. Although she may be wrong, I trust her word about Mexican food.

Instead of the fresh and uncooked chunky tomato concoction we thought it to be, pico de gallo is actually a mixture of fruit, vegetables and citrus.

I’m sorry….WHAT?

I had no idea. I suppose I should have expected this was a potential. As a self-proclaimed Spanish speaker, I should have given the translation some extra thought. But instead, I just focused on eating it.

Fatima claims that the true pico de gallo, which actually translates from Spanish as “Rooster’s Beak” consists of:

-Cucumber

-Jicama

-Mango

-Pineapple

-Papaya

-Orange

-Chile Powder

-Salt

 

You better believe I’m trying it soon.

 

Either way, I felt it was my moral obligation to let all of you know this so we can all take some time to reflect on our cultural mishap.

 

XOXO,

Salsa Girl


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“Fire Roasted Salsa” Tutorial

Allow me to save all of you from making the same mistakes that I did. Many months back, I decided to act independently and attempt salsa creation without any guidance.  I must have cried enough to fill a bathtub when I first attempted salsa-making. Although the tears may have been from the jalapeño seeds I wiped in my eyes, I still want to prevent anything like that from happening to you.

SO, while I guarantee nothing, I wanted to provide this quick tutorial for salsa preparation. I realize that very few people know how to create a batch of salsa that legitimately resembles the appearance and taste of that which you can find in restaurants and stores.

Using just SIX simple ingredients, a classic concoction of spicy peppers, tangy tomatoes and zesty garlic can be achieved. That is a Salsa Girl guarantee.

Watch this video to learn how to: cook and blend tomatoes, roast and chop chile peppers, and how to eat the salsa the “Salsa Girl” way. Which is, of course, straight out of the bowl with a spoon.

ENJOY!

XOXO,

Salsa Girl


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Holy Guacamole!

Not all fat things are bad things.

Exhibit A: AVOCADOS

As if I needed more motivation to eat them, even intense nutritionists like Lauren Talbot have dedicated entire blog posts to validating the importance and benefits of the fats found in avocados.

I used to think that guacamole was simply just a collaboration of store-bought salsa and avocados. My guac recipe got great reviews, but I knew I had not been following proper avocado code. So, I decided to get seek some guacamole guidance.

To begin, I asked one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, On The Border, what their recipe was for their special “made-to-order” appetizer, Guacamole Live! I figured that their recipe would be a good springboard for learning how to authenticate mine.

Next, for more culturally authentic guidance, I turned to my manager at Fry’s Marketplace, Fatima Gasca, who knows all the inside scoop on the traditional Mexican cuisine.

As it turns out, Fatima was born and raised in Uruapan, Michoacán (in Mexico), where avocado farming flourishes. What are the chances of that? I went to her for a slice of avocado and she gave me the whole tree.

Fatima ate avocados almost daily in Uruapan.  When I asked her if she kept up with her daily intake when she moved to the United States, she laughed and commented on the outrageous pricing of avocados in grocery stores here. Fatima says that back home in Uruapan, she could buy 20 avocados for only about $1.

Pricing may stop Fatima, but it can’t stop me.

…So with the 7-ingredient Guacamole Live! recipe, courtesy of Justin Bucknell, general manager at On The Border:

(Avocado, Tomato, Jalapeno, Red Onion, Cilantro, Lime Juice, Salt)

and the Duarte family recipe (Fatima’s family in Mexico):

(Avocado, Tomato, Jalapeno, Serrano Pepper, White Onion, Lime Juice, Salt)

I found a way to combine the two into what I (very creatively) named HOLY GUACAMOLE.

 RECIPE

-7 avocados (obviously in excess, since it is me we are talking about)

*Cut in half, scooped out of the shell, and mashed

**Be sure to save the pits and store them in the final product for a longer shelf-life

-2 whole vine ripe tomatoes, chopped

-1/2 red onion (chosen from On The Border’s recipe)

-2 chopped jalapenos and 1 serrano pepper (from Fatima’s advice)

-1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

AND

-2 tsp salt

MIX ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER AND REFRIGERATE BEFORE SERVING.

HOLY GUACAMOLE. I couldn’t stop eating it. I polished off the whole batch in two sittings.

XOXO,

Salsa Girl

**The plastic wrap is used to preserve the freshness of the guacamole…for the whole two minutes that it stays in my refrigerator uneaten…


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Mama’s Homemade Green Chile Beef

Naturally, as a college student, I showed up to my house this weekend with a full load of laundry and an empty stomach. You know: just doing my duties as a financially unstable student. But I really do feel terrible going home on the weekends and scavenging through my mom’s refrigerator.

However, when it comes to her Green Chile beef, I feel no remorse.

Sitting right at the front of the refrigerator this weekend was a gallon-sized tub of a succulently shredded beef dish that we have unofficially named “Green Chile.” Creatively named AND completely irresistible.

About every two or three months for the past…well, forever, my mom has worked her matriarchal magic on beef shoulders to create this Green Chile beef dish. Being the charitable woman that I am, I thought I would do you all a favor and share her recipe.

Don’t be afraid to try it out–there’s truly no way to mess it up. Plus, with directions as detailed as my mom provides, confusion is impossible.  Sarcasm.

So here is how my mom told me to make her famous “Green Chile”…Luckily, I’ve seen her make this dish before, so I could understand her shortened mom-style recipe. Allow me to do you all a favor and translate that conversation.

INGREDIENTS:

-Beef Chuck Shoulder or Rib Roast

-Onion Powder

-Garlic Powder

-1 yellow onion, medium

-2 cloves garlic, whole

-1lb roasted hatch green chiles

-1 can (14.5oz) chopped tomatoes

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a crockpot, combine:

-5lbs Beef Chuck Shoulder or Rib Roast

-Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, use enough to season beef

2) Cook the beef on low heat in the crockpot for 8-10 hours

3) Remove the beef from the crockpot and shred using a fork. Reserve the liquid.

4) In a large pot, over medium-high heat, combine the chopped onion and can of crushed tomatoes with the shredded beef and reserved beef liquid

5) In a blender, combine the green chiles and garlic until liquified

6) Add the spicy-blended-chile-and-garlic-sauce (yes, that is its official culinary name) to the shredded beef, onions, and tomatoes. Stir.

7) Cover and let simmer for 1  hour.

Serve Green Chile in a tortilla, under a fried egg, in a salad, or even just “as is” with your fingers. That’d make you hardcore like me.

SALSA GIRL SAYS:

Green Chile Beef is best complimented by Chachies Medium Salsa. I eat this stuff by the spoonful, and I certify that it is the perfectly refreshing compliment for this dish. Chachies is “pico de gallo” style salsa–meaning the tomatoes, onions and peppers are all left uncooked, fresh, and chunky.

You’re welcome.

XOXO,

Salsa Girl