Fresh, fresh fiesta!

24 Mar

Last night we had a mini, semi-impromptu fiesta!  My aunt was coming to spend the night before heading on to a meeting, so we (in the spirit of “the more the merrier”) invited my brother, sister-in-law and little niece to eat with us and add to the chaos I happily call family fun.  An extra pound of ground turkey for the tacos, another package of tortilla shells, and we were set.

Two recipes I’ve had in my back pocket for a while inspired the fiesta theme – The Barefoot Contessa’s Guacamole Salad and the Pioneer Woman’s Restaurant-Style Salsa.  They were both received – and gobbled down – with rave reviews.  The guacamole salad is entirely made of fresh ingredients – a clean eater’s dream.  The salsa, while it involves several cans, still manages to taste like you grabbed the tomatoes and peppers from your backyard garden to put it together.

It’s spring!  The sun is shining and the grass is greening!  Wipe down your patio chairs, light up your fire pit, and have your own fiesta!

This Guacamole Salad is so fresh and so satisfying.  The vegetables are added in perfect ratios so you have just the right amount of tomatoes vs bell pepper vs black beans vs avocado.  And if you, like I do, love black beans and avocados with a strange passion, this dish will really, really hit a high note.  The dressing is aaaaamazing.  I want to toss it on a salad with tortilla strips and shredded cheddar and corn.  Maybe I will, in fact.  The lime keeps the avocado from turning that gunky brown – even your leftovers will look good the next morning!

Guacamole Salad

Guacamole Salad
from The Barefoot Contessa

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeding, 1/2″ diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. red onion, small diced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh jalapenos
1/2 tsp. freshly grated lime zest (from about 1 lime)
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (a couple limes)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 avocados, seeded, peeled and 1/2″ diced

Place tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapenos and lime zest in a large bowl.  Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and cayenne, and pour over vegetables.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate.  Just before serving, cut avocadoes and fold into salad gently.  Check seasoning; serve at room temperature.

The Restaurant-Style Salsa has a sassy little kick and a bright hit of cilantro.  I could eat bowlful after bowlful.  Our group of 5 (heavy eaters, we’ll all freely admit) nearly finished off the entire large batch.  I had set some aside in a jar and was going to send it home with my brother, because he dearly loves chips and salsa in the evenings, but… I forgot?  The good news for him is that I’ll probably be making this salsa on a weekly basis as we head into warmer weather, so he’ll have many more chances to enjoy it.

Restaurant-Style Salsa

Restaurant-Style Salsa
from The Pioneer Woman

1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
2 10-oz. cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (I used one mild and one original)
1/4 c. chopped onion (I used white)
1 jalapeno, quartered and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
juice of half a lime
1/2 c. fresh cilantro (I used 1 cup)

Into a large, 10-12 cup food processor, add the whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro.  Pulse several times until you reach the consistency you like.

As easy as that.  I can’t wait to try it after the flavors have melded together overnight.  Hello, brunch idea.  Eggs and salsa…

The Could-Have-Been-Given-Away Jar

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