Wednesday night is absolutely my favorite night of the week. It’s the one evening that I get to cook for my niece and nephews, but more importantly it’s the one night a week that I sit down at a family dinner table. If Peter and I aren’t dining out, we’re usually eating in front of our computers. Bad, I know… but it’s the truth.
I’m VERY close with my sister Janet’s kids, and if I didn’t have them around, I’m certain I’d feel an emptiness in my life. Peter and our rowdy band of pups are great (totally our “kids”), but there’s nothing that makes me happier than being “Aunt Jo”.
Chace & Kindal (twins, 14) love to help me in the kitchen and big brother Cody is always the first to clean up the dishes, which makes it a terrific group effort.
There’s nothing better than the kids serenading me with guitars (or ukulele!) while I’m getting dinner ready. I taught them how to play them years ago, and of course they’re both better than me now! Cooking and playing music together is a weekly ritual that I hate to miss, and never ever take for granted.
Recently, the twins wanted to learn how to make my “Queso Fresco” salsa. It’s one that I’ve made over and over again for parties and family gatherings. I don’t remember where I first got the basic salsa recipe, but I pretty much just combined that with a classic chimichurri mix, which made it my own.
Now, it’s our family salsa recipe, and the twins made it together last night. It’s so good that my sister eats it like gazpacho soup!
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
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.
Many more recipe photos on Flickr!