Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baked Tortilla Chips and Several Salsas & Dips

To make your own tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges (stack them and do several at a time).  Spread out tortilla wedges on a baking sheet.  Brush each with olive oil (or use an olive oil spray).  Bake until crisp, 8 – 10 minutes.  (you can sprinkle the wedges with salt, cumin, etc before baking if desired).

Tomato Salsa

1 – 2 jalapeno chilies (add more if you like it hot!)
couple of garlic cloves, peeled
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted have the best flavor)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 - 2 tablespoon lime juice
salt to taste

In a small ungreased skillet over medium heat, roast the chile(s) and garlic, turning regularly, until they are soft and have some brown spots, about 10 minutes for the chile(s), 15 minutes for the garlic.  Cool until you can handle them, then pull the stem(s) off the chile(s) and roughly chop (remove the interior seeds if you want a milder flavor).  Peel the skin off the garlic.  Scoop garlic and chile(s) into a food processor and pulse until quite finely chopped.

(Note: don’t have a food processor?  – just chop everything as finely as you can)

Add the tomatoes with their juice and pulse until you have a coarse puree.  Remove to a serving dish.  Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.  Taste and season with salt (start with about ½ teaspoon).

Spicy Black Bean Dip

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (remove seeds and interior ‘ribs’)
couple of garlic cloves, crushed (or pressed thru a garlic press)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot sauce (my favorite is Frontera Chilpotle Hot Sauce) or ground chili powder
3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed under cold water)
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Saute until onion is soft (about 5 minutes.  Add cumin and hot sauce (or chili powder) and sauté another minute, stirring.

Add cooked beans and mix, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add contents of pan to a food processor along with lime juice and salt, process until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasons if desired.

(Note: a blender will work here also.  If you have neither food process or blender, see next recipe…)

Shortcut Spicy Bean Dip

1 can refried beans (I like black refried beans with no added salt)
2 – 4 tablespoons of prepared salsa
2 minced scallions
¼ cups chopped cilantro

Mix together and serve.  The dip can also be heated in a low oven (or microwave).


2 ripe avocados preferably the black-skinned Hass
1 jalapeno chili, interior ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)
1 - 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 small tomato, chopped

One at a time, run a knife down through each avocado, starting at the top, until you reach the pit; continue cutting around the pit until you reach the point you started.

Twist the two halves of the avocado apart.  Remove the pit and discard.  Scoop the flesh into the bowl with the chilies.  Mash coarsely with the back of a spoon or an old-fashioned potato masher.

Add chopped jalapeno, salt (start with ½ teaspoon), and lime juice -  stir to combine, then taste.  Add more salt and/or lime juice to your taste.  Serve with a garnish of fresh chopped tomato.

Mango & Avocado Salsa

Fruit and avocado are a magical combination, the acidity of the fruit is a wonderful contrast to the buttery lusciousness of the avocado. 

2 large ripe avocados
1/2 to 1 fresh jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish (optional)
about 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 medium ripe mango, diced (see note below!)
Salt to taste

Cut the avocados in half, running your knife around the pit from stem to blossom end and back up again.  Twist the halves in opposite directions to free the pit, and pull the halves apart.  Dislodge the pit, then scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl.  Coarsely mash the avocado using the back of a large spoon or potato masher.   

Add the jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice.

 Mix in the diced mango and season with salt.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs.  Serve with tortilla chips, slices of cucumber or jicama.

(Note: if you don’t know how to cut up a mango, do a search on the web – its far easier to watch then to explain with words – don’t be afraid – mangos are worth a bit of effort!  Don’t like mango?  - use any fruit that has some acidity – such as kiwi or pineapple.  Fruit such as strawberries, cherries, peach, nectarine, plum can also be used; you may need a touch more lime juice.  Also, you can buy difficult to deal with ingredients (such as mango) at many salad bars.)

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