somethin’ spicy!

I showed you a little somethin’ sweet the other day so I thought I’d throw in somethin’ spicy to restore balance.  Before this, I’d never made fresh salsa–for shame; I know.

The ingredient list was short and simple.  Everything but the spices, mentioned later, appears in the photo above.  (Butter not included).  I used two vine-ripened tomatoes, which makes all the difference for flavor; a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, a jalapeno, and the juice of one lime.

I wasn’t sure everything was going to fit, but with careful stirring I managed.  It probably helped that I used only half of my onion.  The recipe called for a small one and I had a large one, so I figured including just part of it ought to even things out.  Good thing too; the whole mess might have spilled over if I’d tried to cram in anything else!  Thank goodness lime juice barely takes up any room.

When it came time to taste-test, I realized I was out of tortilla chips.  (Who planned this kitchen escapade, anyway?)  I substituted a cracker, which didn’t taste quite right with the salsa but at least allowed its flavor to dominate so I could adjust as needed.  After the vegetables I added cilantro, salt & pepper, and cumin, per the recipe.  I think I could have handled another jalapeno, or maybe half of one, but again with the bowl-was-full factor….

After everything mingled in the fridge for a day it tasted even better, which motivated me to cook an appropriate accompaniment: chicken flautas.  You really don’t even need a recipe for this: in a large bowl combine shredded or chopped cooked chicken, diced onion, and feta cheese.  You could throw in any spices you like, too.  I don’t add salt because the cheese is quite salty, but fresh-ground pepper and minced garlic don’t hurt anything.

Fold or roll this mixture up in tortillas–use corn tortillas for real crackly crunch or flour for a lighter crispness–then fry those guys in hot oil.  I’ll be honest, I don’t know the temperature; I’ve just learned to recognize when the oil is ready by radiating heat, ripply lines, and smell.  In case you’re wondering, I use canola oil.  To use it economically, I usually pour in enough to halfway cover the flautas, then flip them once to finish.

One tip: it helps to pin your tortillas closed with a toothpick so the filling doesn’t escape while they’re frying.  Just remember to remove the toothpicks before serving.  (No; I don’t think you’re dim.  Iforgot when I made these and almost ate some splinters.)

The flautas are great with a variety of sides–black beans, melon or grapes, avocado, you name it.  This time, though, I chopped up some Romaine lettuce, hit it with a dollop of hot refried beans, and lavished it with homemade salsa.  I almost couldn’t finish this meal, it was so filling, but it was a great lunch.  Usually I come home ravenous for dinner but my tummy was a happy, happy camper well into the evening with flautas and salsa to hold it over.

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2 Comments

  1. Mmmmmmmm… I have made salsa before and couldn't believe the difference between homemade and store bought! Although, I'm not really sure why I was so surprised… Those flautas look delish. Must try those soon. :)www.sunshineblossomsetsy.com

    Reply
  2. You bet! Sometimes I wonder if the effort we put into homemade things is what convinces us they taste better, but in this case I'm with you: it was definitely the ingredients that made the difference.

    Reply

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