Tag Archives: Cinco de Mayo

Queso Fresco Salsa [Recipe]

If you like your salsa chunky and cheesy, here’s an easy one that’s perfect for Cinco de Mayo. This recipe is one that I make regularly for parties and family gatherings (and was featured on Saveur.com last year). I don’t remember where I first got the basic salsa recipe, but I pretty much just combined that with a classic chimichurri mix, and added crumbled queso fresco cheese at the end.

Cooking w/ the Twins! 2/3/10Ingredients:
4 cups cherry tomatoes (or any small)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 Jalapeño Chiles, de-seeded (if needed) & sliced thin
2 limes, juiced
1 medium jicama, peeled and diced
4 ripe tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 pound queso fresco cheese, chopped or crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking w/ the Twins! 2/3/10Instructions:
Heat up the broiler.

Put the tomatoes (make sure they are dried) onto a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and rub all over tomatoes, then add a bit of salt and pepper.

Broil until the tomatoes just burst, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Remove tomatoes from oven and let them cool.

Combine garlic, jalapeno and lime juice into a large bowl, then whisk in vinegar and olive oil.

Depending on if you like your salsa chunky or smooth, you can either place ingredients in food processor or mix into same bowl.

For the salsa we made (in photos), we blended all the broiled tomatoes, as well as half the remaining ingredients in food processor. We then blended in the remaining ingredients and the cheese at the end.

If you want the salsa chunky, then add all ingredients into bowl and mix by hand. If you like it super smooth and juicy, then blend in food processor (or blender) until you get the consistency you want.

Taste and season the salsa with salt or pepper if needed.

You can eat right away, but it will taste better if given time in fridge. Make sure to cover tightly.

Cooking w/ the Twins! 2/3/10

Enjoy!

Featured on Saveur.com

Many more recipe photos on Flickr!

Originally posted 2/5/10

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Casa Vega

Casa Vega restaurant in Sherman Oaks has always meant “pure comfort” to me. Peter and I have been regulars since 1994 (when I moved from San Diego), and for years we ate there at least once a week. That was before the smoking ban came into effect (not that either of us ever smoked), and before hungry patrons were forbidden to drink cocktails outside.

They’ve never taken reservations, and back then we didn’t mind sitting out in the waiting area for an hour or more, because the covered patio felt like an extension of the inside bar. We always had the same drink; Two large “Tres Generaciones” Margaritas on the rocks.

After making our way into the actual bar, we’d wait a bit longer and loved watching the crowd. It was such a wild mix of people: Studio execs (like Peter), families with small kids, single gals and guys on the prowl, and a fair share of San Fernando Valley’s aspiring porn stars.

Our favorite tables were (and are still) one of the wall booths in the back right, larger dining room. If you’ve never been, and like people-watching, they’re well worth waiting for. From there, you can keep an eye out for whoever is coming into the dark room, and over the years we’ve spotted (to name just a few); Jennifer Aniston (several times, pre and post Brad), Mickey Dolenz from the Monkeys, and the one and only (“give-me-another-margarita-so-I’m-brave-enough-to-say hi”) George Clooney.

After settling in our booth, we never had to pick up a menu or actually order our food. The waiter would look at us and say, “One Casa Vega salad, one carnitas combo to share, flour tortillas, and a chile relleno on the side, right?”

Our love for the restaurant extends throughout our family. When my brother Greg visits from Scotland, the first place he wants to go in ALL of Los Angeles (straight from the airport) is Casa Vega. It’s legendary even in far away Bridge of Weir and Glasgow, although like most locals he refers to it as simply, “Vega”.

On the afternoon of 9/11, like everyone, we were glued to our television re-watching the footage and listening to a frightened America shut down. Our good friend and neighbor, Nelson, was with us and we sat around in tears, holding our dogs and feeling helpless.

After awhile I just got angry and didn’t want to sit home and cry anymore. I jumped up and said, “That’s IT… we are NOT going to stay here and be afraid… we’re going to Vega”. Thank goodness they were open. It was early (5pm or so) and there were only a few other people in the bar. Slowly, the restaurant started filling up and although the mood was somber, the camaraderie in the room made it okay to be out getting drunk and socializing on such a horrible, tragic day. Nothing could take away the shock of what happened earlier in the morning, but that meal at Casa Vega was one of the most comforting I’ve ever had.

Admittedly, the food isn’t pretty to look at, but it is ooey gooey delicious. We’ve spent many a crowded Cinco de Mayo there and no matter what the occasion, we never stray from our favorite dishes: One Casa Vega salad (a crisp tortilla with chorizo, spiced beans, lettuce, tomato, beets and parmesan cheese), one Carnitas combo to share (tender pieces of seasoned pork, served on a bed of shredded lettuce with freshly made pico de gallo), flour tortillas, and a chile relleno on the side. And of course at least two “Tres Generaciones”Margaritas on the rocks. Now, that’s pure comfort if you ask me.

My Favorites at Casa Vega, MyLastBite.com

Casa Vega
13301 Ventura Blvd (at Fulton Ave)
(818) 788-486
Website

Cinco de Mayo 

Bridge of Weir, Scotland

Tres Generaciones Tequila

My brother Greg

Our friend Nelson

More Vega Photos 

Dining Date: Since 1994

6 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)