Winter Time Salsa

This Fall  I cooked some delicious Mexican food with my friends Hector and Julio.  We made a bunch of tamales, short rib tacos, chicken with an incredible mole, rice . . . what DIDN’T we make?!  And we made a bunch of yummy salsas.  From that party emerged Culo de Fuego — A couple times a month, we make two salsas and share them at brunch at work.   We’ve had tomatillo avocado salsa, habanero salsa, corn and black bean salsa, a smoky chipotle salsa, salsa fresca, queso — pomegranate –cucumber, and I can’t think of what else.   It’s been delicious and fun and mind opening.

winter salsa


I am not a fan of winter tomatoes, so I tend to avoid salsas  that contain them, but I was so hungry for a tomato salsa for shrimp tacos the other night that I decided to make one from canned fire roasted tomatoes — it. was. AWESOME.  I use canned marzano tomatoes all year round for Italian sauces — why not Mexican?  Super fast — super delish.

  • 2 14 ounce cans fire-roasted canned tomatoes puréed
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper (jarred), packed
  • 1 4-ounce can green chiles (these are not spicy, just add great flavor)
  • ½ small red onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), packed
  • 6 medium green (spring) onions, cut in two inch pieces
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 small jalapeños, seeded (if you like a spicier flavor, leaves the seeds in)
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar (I just like the taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice.
  2. Combine all ingredients except reserved tomato juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off until all ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. I like it a bit chunky, but if you like a smoother salsa, just keep pulsing. If you like a thinner salsa, add a small amount of the reserved tomato juice and pulse one more time.
  3. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with chips, tacos, or just drink it!

Korean Fried Chicken Wings with Ginger Soy Glaze

  • 2-3 lbs chicken wings (tips discarded, and wings cut at the joints-washed and patted dry)
  • 1 cup of Wondra flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Soy Ginger Glaze 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced ginger
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey or corn syrup
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic chile sauce
  • optional: 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

First prep the chicken wings, wash, and pat dry with paper towel. In a mixing bowl, combine about 1 cup of Wondra flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken wings in the flour mixture to get a fine light coat.

Heat some cooking oil in a deep fryer or a deep frying pan to about 350 degrees. Fry chicken wings, in batches if necessary, about 5 min. Remove, place on a rack and allow to cool.

Now in a small saucepan, add the water, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, chile, sugar and bring to boil. Then add the honey/corn syrup and reduce by half and it will be a thick maple syrup like consistency and set aside.

Re-fry the wings until crispy golden brown, about another 5-8 minutes. Drain on frying rack or paper towels. Dredge or brush on the soy ginger glaze. We also like to finish with some toasted sesame seeds on top.

Chile Corn Cakes

Chile Corn Cakes

Serves 4

4 T. olive oil

¾ c. flour

¼ c. yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 t. baking powder

½ c. red bell pepper, chopped

½ c. yellow cornmeal

2 c. fresh corn kernels

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ c.. milk

2/3 c. yellow onions, chopped

1 T. unsalted butter, melted

1 T. chili powder (New Mexico,

or California)

2 T. cilantro, chopped

1 t. cumin, ground

¼ c. chicken stock

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 T. of the olive oil and sauté the peppers, corn and onions for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.  Add the chile powder and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the chicken stock and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Into a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add the cornmeal, egg, milk and butter.  Stir until very smooth.  Add the corn mixture and cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat some vegetable oil.  In large dollops, add the corn batter and sauté until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Cook in batches, adding oil as necessary.  Serve with additional with sour cream mixed with lime zest and 1 t. lime juice.

Saigon Garlic-Lemongrass Chicken Wings



Great appetizer or light entree — terrific flavor! Be sure to let the wings marinate at least 4 hours — and 24 hours is even better!

12 whole chicken wings (2 ½ to 3 lbs)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¾ c. chopped shallots
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and sliced.
2 T. sugar
1/3 c. Asian fish sauce
3 T. fresh lemon juice
3 T. vegetable oil
¼. Finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts, for garnish
¾ c. chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Rinse the wings under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut tips off.  Make two or three deep slashes to the bone in the meaty part of each wing.  Set aside.

2. Combine the garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass and sugar in a food processor until it is finely chopped. Add the fish sauce, lemon juice, and canola oil, and continue to process until the mixture is a smooth puree.  Scrape into a large bowl (I used a 13 x 9” glass dish), add the wings and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but preferably 24, turning the wings occasionally.

3. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

4. When ready to cook, drain the chicken wings.  Grill, turning several times with tongs until the thicker wing sections are no longer pink near the bone – 12 to 16 minutes in all.  Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro.  Serve immediately.
The Barbecue Bible, Steven Raichlen

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