Going Verde

One week of celebrating our anniversary in Mexico City and one week of battling gastroenteritis (unrelated) later, it’s now March 18th. This marks exactly 1 year since Sarah and I discovered via the voodoo magic that is the Match algorithm, that we’d be spending our next few years in sunny recently sleet and snow-covered DC. Yesterday, another cohort of medical students discovered the next destination on their journey. It was also of course St. Patrick’s Day! So we’re going green.

Unfortunately, I’m not sharing any traditionally Irish recipes, but allow me to reminisce a little about our Mexico City trip and share some good pictures. I’ve mentioned before that one of my food heroes is Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. So I have a rule that on any international trip, I actively seek out “bizarre” foods. Sarah has half-joked that she should start a photo album of “Dennis Eats Things.”Mexico City definitely did not disappoint. I ate/drank an assortment of insects in various forms, ant larvae, fresh coconut water, and pulque (fermented agave drink) in addition to consuming a small-child’s-weight worth of all the typical tacos, quesadillas, tlacoyo, huaraches, tamales, elotes that dotted the streets.

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One delectable and inescapable element of Mexican cuisine is the sauce or salsa. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a taqueria that offers a dizzying selection that you can shameless slather on your platter of tacos. I haven’t yet started trying to recreate every single one we encountered, but here’s a twofer to get started.

IMG_0402

Roasted tomatillo salsa (back) and Avocado cream salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

  • Tomatillos                 4, remove outer husk and rinse well
  • Jalapeno                     1, remove seeds to reduce spice level
  • Garlic                          2 cloves
  • Cilantro                      1/4 cup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt                              To taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic cloves on a large foil sheet. Drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle of salt. Fold foil so that all contents are nicely wrapped in foil package. Place foil package into oven for 30 minutes. This should be enough time to lightly char the tomatillos and jalapeno. Afterward, quarter the the tomatillos. Remove the stem from the jalapeno and seed if desired. Add tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic cloves, and cilantro to a food processor and blend until desire consistency. Add salt to taste. My favorite part of this recipe is that you can taste the change in flavor as the salsa cools. I recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before serving but letting it rest for even longer results in the best flavor.

Avocado Cream Salsa

  • Avocados                 2, pitted
  • Jalapeno                   1, remove seeds if desired
  • Tomatoes                 2, medium
  • Garlic                        3 cloves
  • Cilantro                    1/4 cup
  • Lime                          1, juiced
  • Plain yogurt            1 cup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt                             To taste

This particular salsa is probably one of my favorites. It is the nice cooling and refreshing foil in the myriad of spiciness. Start off exactly the same as the previous recipe (or do both at the same time). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large foil sheet, place jalapeno, tomatoes, garlic and drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap contents in foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prep the avocados by removing the pit and cutting the flesh into cubes. You can cut a cross hatch pattern while it is still in the shell and scoop contents into a food processor. Remove foil package from oven when ready. Quarter tomatoes and remove stem from jalapeno (seed if desired). Add tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro into food processor.  Blend until smooth. Add plain yogurt. Blend until smooth. Add salt and lime juice and blend once more. That’s all.*

D

*You may have noticed in the picture that my avocado cream salsa has some red specks of seasoning sprinkled on top. Sarah and I can home with a small jar of sal con chapulines aka grasshopper salt 😉

 

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