Today’s forcast: Mostly typical with a chance of afternoon a-typicality. I’m hoping for a pleasant mix of the usual and unusual. I wouldn’t want to bore you with trite details about things I need to do, such as pay the bills, or water my plants…you already know all about such things. I’m talking about a “Mary Poppins” version of everyday; the highlights of normality, such as…
Xylophones and hand drums played in synch by 8-year-olds…funny stories told by my students, such as “ It’s my dad’s birthday today. I have a poisonous frog. I need to make sure that I keep the tank closed so that my dad doesn’t get poisoned, because it’s his birthday.”…blue jeans after work… a new version of my tried-and-true pasta… Glee on a Tuesday night…Playing un-fetch (Luca hasn’t quite figured out the “bring it back” part)… playful banter with the Mister, and… reading books in bed.
I always find a few bits of the unexpected wrapped up in the everyday as well.
Random tulips popping up in the middle of my front lawn…a good hair day…staying up past 10 on a weeknight…government holidays…spur-of-the-moment dates…girls’ nights…a perfectly tidy house, camping trips, sun showers and…desserts.
What is your typical salsa? Does it come from a jar, or do you find it in little dishes at Mexican Restaurants? Do you make it yourself? (if so, do share…) Tomato-based? A bit of onion, chiles and cilantro? Yup. That sounds like my typical salsa too.
Now here is an a-typical salsa: Mangoes, firm but sweet and ripe, diced into neat little cubes. Avocados, neatly chopped to mimic the mangoes. Red onion adds color and crunch. Two kinds of minced chiles, for two different kinds of heat. Lime, to wake up the mellow butteriness of the avocado. Cilantro, because who doesn’t like cilantro? (Oh.) Cumin adds depth and ties everything together. After a bit of tweaking (salsa is never an exact science), there will be a magic moment when everything locks into place. Trust yourself…You’ll know.
Simple fried tortilla chips will make you wonder why you have never made your own before. So simple! When hot, they are reminiscent of popcorn. Sprinkle with sea salt, and have a little taste to admire your work. If your dinner guests aren’t already surrounding the chips and salsa waiting to pounce, invite them to partake while the chips are still hot.
- 3 medium avocados (ripe but not too soft), halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 2 medium to large mangoes (ripe, but not overly soft), peeled, cut away from the pit, and diced
- 1 small to medium red onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
- 1 small habanero pepper, minced (use more or less to taste)
- ½ to 1 jalapeno, minced
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro, tender upper stems and leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (or to taste)
- homemade tortilla chips for serving (recipe below)
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently toss together, being careful not to mash the avocado. Taste and adjust the lime juice, cumin and salt to taste.
- 1 dozen (or more if desired) white or yellow corn tortillas (stale tortillas work best), halved twice to create 4 equal triangles
- olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil (enough to fill a dutch oven or medium saucepan with 1 inch of oil)
- salt to taste
- Place a few layers of paper towels on a plate.
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat to 350˚F, or until the oil shimmers. You will know your oil is hot enough when you drop a tortilla in and it immediately bubbles and begins to float to the top. Fry until crisp and beginning to turn golden, about 2-3 minutes (It will take a bit of trial and error to know when to take the chips out of the oil.)
- Remove tortillas with a skimmer or spatula to the paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.