avocado tomatillo salsa & fresh pico de gallo.

here’s my ideal situation:

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chips, guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, a creamy green salsa, and beer with lime.

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this avocado tomatillo salsa is inspired by the most delicious green salsa in town at rosita’s mexican grill in the greenlake neighborhood of seattle. my relationship with rosita’s runs deep and holds a very special place in my heart of the first years i lived in seattle.

my friend ashleigh and i were even in a very embarrassing tv news spot about rosita’s when we were having happy hour there once. the news guy had us talk to the camera about why we love rosita’s (my worst nightmare already - i am famous for awkward word vomit and i belong behind the camera, folks). Then after we had finished our margaritas & food he CAME BACK to ask us to record it ALL OVER AGAIN because his sound was off (double whammy nightmare post-margaritas).

all that to say…rosita’s green salsa is incredible and i wanted to try and recreate it at home. i’m not even 100% sure what is in their salsa, but the version i came up with was very goooooood.

i have a very vague guacamole recipe from like 4 years ago here on my blog. i will have to redo that guacamole post to make it more specific because it deserves it’s own spotlight!

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while i was at it, i wanted to add a super fresh pico de gallo recipe to my arsenal!

so i made all three recipes last friday afternoon, just in time for a weekend trip to visit my bestie and her hubs. there were rave reviews of all three items and we even did a funny little taste sesh to put their taste buds to the test to see how many flavors they could identify. v wild friday night! this is how i know i’m getting older….lol. but it was fun!

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there’s soooo much chopping involved here - making all three of these items at once is a labor of love.

i’d recommend putting a show up on your device and the time will fly as you chop chop chop away. the time spent is worth it for all these super delicious flavors that are ideal to share with a group or at a party!

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Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large tomatillos, peeled and rinsed and cut in half

  • 3 large garlic cloves, kept in their skin

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup water (+ 1-3 TB extra)

  • 1 TB diced jalapeño

  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded & diced (optional, for extra heat)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion

  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • juice of 1/2 a large lime + some pulp

  • 1 TB. white vinegar

  • 1 medium avocado (I used 3/4 of a large avocado)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place the cut tomatillos cut side down on the foil. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves on the tin foil as well. Roast the tomatillos and garlic for about 15 minutes, until very fragrant and tomatillos begin to brown and bubble. Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins; discard garlic skins.

In a large food processor, add the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño, serrano pepper, olive oil and water. Process for a few minutes, until very well combined. Add the chopped cilantro, white onion, salt, vinegar and lime juice and process on high for a few more minutes until you can barely see the cilantro bits.

Finally, add the avocado to the food processor and run until the salsa is very smooth. Add 1-3 tablespoons of water until the salsa reaches desired thickness.

Chill in an airtight container before serving. Enjoy within one week.

Fresh Pico de Gallo

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yields about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 red roma tomatoes, diced and some seeds & juice removed

  • 1/2 cup of diced grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup finely minced white onion

  • 1 cup finely minced red onion

  • 1/2 a large jalapeño, finely diced

  • 1 serrano pepper, diced

  • 1/2 cup finely diced cilantro

  • juice of 1/2 a large lime, plus extra to taste

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra to taste

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions-

Chop and dice all the vegetables as instructed and add to a large bowl. Toss thoroughly with a spatula. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice and toss with a spatula until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add extra salt or pepper as desired.

Chill in an airtight container before serving. Enjoy within 3 days.

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garlic & cilantro shredded pork tacos.

+ the works!

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taco taco taco!!!

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i really think i could live on tacos alone. so many possibilities. what’s not to love?!?!!

peter is the regular meat chef in this house and he’s really good at marinating & grilling, etc. but i took it upon myself in the new year to learn how to meat mo betta.

my usual tricks pretty much consist of thawing out frozen chicken and cooking it in a pan with garlic, salt & pepper. or cooking sausages in a pan. and that is getting oooooold and lame real fast.

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i’m in love with tieghan gerard’s half-baked harvest cookbook - she has so many delicious looking meat recipes and different methods of preparing meat. i’m just learning everything from her at this point. and it’s working out famously.

last week, i made her marinated chicken for gyros and this pulled pork! both meat methods were delish and you could adapt the meats into a lot of different recipes.

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and the best part is…….learning to meat is super easy.

marinating is key…and all that really entails is a little bit of planning ahead and waiting around.

you can marinate this pork for just 2 hours at room temperature - i did it overnight in the fridge for about 24 hours and then cooked the pork in the dutch oven for about 4 hours.

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the result is fall-off-the-bone, succulent & super flavorful pork that you can use in tacos, sliders, sandwiches, burrito bowls, on rice…you name it! i just finished eating this pork for about the 6th day in a row and i wasn’t tired of it, which is huge for me! i enjoyed it in different formats to switch it up.

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these types of tacos are my favorite. after watching salt, fat, acid, heat on netflix, it makes so much sense why certain foods and flavors just taste good. ya got yer salt in the pork and the cotija cheese. ya got yer fat in the pork and avocado. ya got yer acid in the pickled red onion, jalapeño, and lime. ya got yer heat in the hot shredded pork. also, heat in the sense of spiciness from the jalapeño & hot sauce. and i’ll take it one step further and say the cooling effect of the hot sauce + sour cream is also a pleasing flavor experience. aaaaand fresh cilantro to boot.

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taco about flavor overachievers.

i’m excited to carry on my meat-learnin’ journey and not be afraid of it. one of my goals for 2019 is to make a new type of food or recipe i wouldn’t normally make, each week - i’m doing pretty good so far.

it’s sooooo cool when you make a new thing and actually learn something and a new door opens up to wherever….. i remember when i first made tortilla soup in a blender - my mind was blown - but also, i think that should’ve been obvious? it’s funny to reflect back on the littlest things in life that just started to * click * in your brain. you just have to try stuff to figure out that cooking is cool & fun and super liberating once you’ve gotten a bit comfortable in the kitchen.

you live you learn…thanks, alanis!!

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Garlic & Cilantro Marinated Pork Tacos

Total Active Time: 30 minutes, Total Time: 5-24 hours

Serves 6-8 people

(Pork Marinating Method adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, Cuban Mojo Pulled Pork Tacos)


Ingredients:

  • 3 pound pork shoulder

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro

  • 2-3 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 2/3 cup sour cream + 1-2 TB hot sauce of choice, or lime juice

  • pickled red onion slices

  • avocado slices

  • cotija cheese crumbles

  • jalapeño slices

  • fresh cilantro

  • lime wedges

  • tortillas (my favorite are La Tortilla Factory Handmade Style Yellow Corn + Wheat)

Instructions-

To make the pork marinade, combine the olive oil, garlic and cilantro in a blender and pulse until super finely chopped. Place the raw pork shoulder in a large heavy duty zip-lock freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and set on a plate or in a loaf pan. Marinate the pork for at least 2 hours at room temperature, or in the refrigerator overnight.

Begin quick-pickling the red onions a couple hours before you’d like to use them - ideally pickle them for at least 24 hours.

Remove the pork from the fridge 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pork in a Dutch oven and discard the bag of marinade. Add 1 1/2 cups of water (I would also use a light beer for this step). Cover and place in the oven. Roast for 3-4 hours, or until the pork falls off the bone and shreds easily. Don’t let the liquid in the Dutch oven reduce to lower than 1 inch - add 1/2 cup of water if it gets too low.

Leave the liquid in the pot and shred the pork completely, discarding any fatty pieces. Toss the shredded pork into the remaining liquid to moisturize. Add about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 tsp. black pepper and toss to incorporate. Add salt to taste.

You could also cook the pork low & slow in a Crock Pot, and transfer to a cast iron pan to crisp the pork before serving.

Slice the avocado and jalapeño, wash and chop the cilantro. Mix the sour cream and hot sauce together, or use sour cream + lime.

Warm the tortillas on the stove until tender and slightly puffy. Build your tacos with the hot sauce sour cream, shredded pork, avocado, pickled red onion, cotija cheese crumbles, jalapeño slices and fresh cilantro. Squeeze with lime juice if desired.

Store the shredded pork in the fridge and reheat as needed. Enjoy the meat within 1 week.

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