Fiesta con mi Familia de Cuatro

We love food.

All kinds.

Seriously, we’re not picky eaters, especially when it comes to trying new foods. Fortunately, Chicago offers us a wide variety of cuisines in many ethnic neighborhoods. We can enjoy Indian, Vietnamese, Israeli, and Polish food less than 10 minutes from our home. I have so much fun introducing Evie to new things. She is surprisingly adventurous with food!

One of our favorite kinds of food is Mexican. However, I don’t really care for typical Americanized Mexican food. I love simple flavors of fresh produce, so whenever a craving for south of the border fare strikes I head straight to my own kitchen.

I’ve wanted to post these recipes for a while now, but because I never follow a recipe I have a hard time specifying how much of each ingredient I use. These dishes are very intuitive for me – a little more or less of one ingredient based on my mood or the quality of the produce or who else is eating with me. Tonight I made an effort to keep track of how much of each ingredient I used. Fortunately, these recipes are quite flexible!

Tomatillo Salsa
7 tomatillos, husks removed, sliced in half
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1 lime
handful of cilantro
1/4 cup white onion, diced

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add tomatillos cut side down, garlic cloves and jalapeno. Roast in the skillet until a dark char forms (15-20 minutes total), turning occasionally.

Transfer to a blender and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add salt to taste, juice of one lime, and the handful of cilantro. Turn blender on and process until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and stir in the onion.

Pico de Gallo
5-7 medium tomatoes, diced
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
handful of chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
1/4 cup onion, diced

Mix all ingredients together. Chill.

2 avocados, halved with peel and pit removed
1-2 garlic cloves
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
1/4 diced tomatoes, if desired
1/4 cup white onion, diced
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of half a lime

In a bowl or authentic molcajete, make a paste with garlic and salt by rubbing the two ingredients together (I smash the garlic into the salt using the pestle from the molcajete. If you’re using a bowl, mash the garlic and salt with the flat side of a knife). Mash in avocados until they reach your desired texture (I like it mostly smooth with some yummy avocado chunks). Fold in jalapenos, onion, tomato (if using), and lime juice. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Homemade Tortilla Chips
I much prefer the taste of homemade tortilla chips when compared to typical store-bought versions. My homemade chips are light and crispy and fresh – the perfect accompaniment to my salsas and guacamole. Bonus: a large pack of locally made tortillas sells for $0.59 at my grocery store, 80% less than bagged chips!
Corn or flour tortillas
Vegetable oil

Cut tortillas into triangles (each tortilla will yield 6-8 chips). Pour oil into a pan and heat over medium. Carefully drop tortilla triangles into hot oil. Turn once. Total cook time is 30-40 seconds. Remove from oil and sprinkle with salt immediately.

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2 Comments for this entry

  1. Esther says:

    Yum! I already make Pico de Gallo, and I'm going to try the Tomatillo Salsa. It looks delicious!

  2. Munchkie'sMama says:

    You can make your own tortillas and save even more. We are huge fans of Mexican food and miss all of the great places we could go to in the Chicago area.

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