A Tribute to the Man Who Made Mango Salsa

I remember it like it was yesterday…

It was one of the few family reunions on my Mom’s sideĀ  where we all met at my grandparent’s house on the lake – my Mom, her Mom, her brother TomĀ  and his family.

It was always fun when Uncle Tom came to the lake. He, without fail, brought fun stuff – jet skis or dirt bikes and a great big trash bag of the best beef jerky you can imagine tasting. He was famous for his line-hung, Texas sun-dried jerky – in a trash bag.

He was also quite the chef. One Thanksgiving, Uncle Tom brought a deep fryer for the turkey…well, it ended up being 3 turkeys – and that’s not counting the one we roasted in the oven. I think we ate one whole turkey as an appetizer.

Uncle Tom and Aunt Kim always brought something unusual and amazingly good to the table. They were the ones who introduced me to mango salsa. I remember thinking how very odd it was to put mango in salsa, but that was before my culinary horizons were broadened by the many amazing cooks I find peppered throughout my life.

Uncle Tom passed away on the 7th of September after a battle with cancer. He’ll never know how much his cooking influenced me. I wish he could. I wish I had spent more time with him in the kitchen and learned some of his tricks.

Growing up, time with my uncle was limited, but I always felt his love for me along with the rest of his nieces and nephews. I’ll always remember his smile and his dry sense of humor. I’ll remember him as strong, tan, and healthy. I’ll remember his beef jerky and mango salsa.

I’ll remember, Uncle Tom.

Mango Salsa

mango

purple onion

jalapeno

cilantro

lime juice

sea salt

cumin

Slice the mango on either side of the seed.

Cut the flesh – without cutting into the skin – diagonally left to right, then right to left to create a diamond pattern.

Invert mango and slide a knife under each piece to remove from skin.

Mince purple onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Sprinkle with sea salt and cumin. Squeeze on some lime juice.

Toss and serve.

This is fabulous with fish or chicken tacos, over grilled meat, or just with chips.

Who were the people in your life that influenced you the most in the kitchen?

Fresh Salsa, On Fire Awards, and Relief from the Heat

Yes, it’s a test. What do the three things listed in the title have in common?

Well, they’re all pretty hot topics, for one. Secondly, they all get a spot light in this post.

First of all I have to tell you, I am so excited that it is only 81 degrees outside today and it’s CLOUDY!!!! No rain yet, but clouds are promising. Please rain, please rain, please rain!

If you’re not blessed to be living in this section of the country they call the Dust Bowl , er…Oklahoma, you’ve probably heard about us in the news or on the weather channel. The last few weeks have been scorchingly, blisteringly hot. 113 degrees hot. Like, “who lives in that???” kind of hot.

I searched for an image in the internet of a thermometer just to show you what it looks like when the mercury reaches 113, but would you believe it? Not one thermometer went over 98 degrees! So, I had to Photoshop one for you… Look, it’s melting.

Don’t stare at the sun too long, it’s bad for your eyes.

So, this has made me wonder…if food is no longer considered raw after it’s heated above 105 degrees, does that mean our vegetables from the garden (the few we get anyway) are technically cooked?

If so, then forget the “fresh” part on salsa and let me share this sun-warmed recipe with you.

There is nothing like fresh (Gee, I can’t get away from that word!) ingredients melding together to make a lip-smacking zazzy salsa to dip a chip in…or two. My guys eat this stuff by the quart – not exaggerating here! Every year I think how smart it would be to can a bunch of salsa, but that’s before I see it disappearing at an alarming rate (Someone figured 3 inches in 10 minutes and that’s in a 8 cup measuring bowl.). Then I imagine working away over a pot of boiling water for hours on end to preserve oh, say, a dozen quarts of salsa only to have 1/6th of my work opened and devoured for dinner that night. Nope, not happening!

We like it better fresh anyway.

Garden Fresh Salsa

2 large tomatoes

1/4 onion

2 cloves garlic

handful cilantro

2 Anaheim peppers or one jalapeno

juice of half a lime

salt to taste

cumin to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until it reaches the desired consistency. Add salt and cumin to taste. Serve or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

I love cilantro!

Last, but not least, I’ve been nominated for the Blog On Fire Award by Tara over at Cookie Talk!

To be honest, I had no clue what the Blog on Fire Award even meant. At first I was wondering if perhaps the nominations are given to blogs who desperately need revamping – you know, like a refining fire cleanse – burn all the dross away. But after checking out other bloggers that have been awarded On Fire, I was almost convinced that was not the case.

Just to make sure, a quick search lead me to UsingEnglish.com and the definition of this idiom…

On Fire – If you’re on fire, you’re doing really well at something.

Does anyone else feel as unfamiliar with the English language as I do? I think I’ll bookmark this site on using English and see if I can’t learn something.

Anyway, how cool is that?!! So, thanks to Cookie Talk for thinking I’m “doing really well at something”. :D

Another thing I learned today is that there are 2 rules to being nominated.
Number 1 -I have to tell you 8 things about myself. Lets see how many things I can think of that you may not know about…

  • I worked at a wild game processing company for 2 hunting seasons. Now all I have to do to round out my experience there is go hunting myself – and get something.
  • I used to be terribly scared of swimming – well, I was scared of what might be in the water. Still am actually, I just try not to think about it anymore.
  • I’ve hiked four 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado.
  • If I had to choose between living in the mountains or on the beach…I’d have a really hard time making up my mind.
  • I do not like doughnuts. Not even Krispy Kreme.
  • My dream job is to be a personal chef on a sailboat and travel the world.
  • I wish I could play guitar like Trace Bundy , or banjo like Bela Fleck. Dream big, right? Or practice hard. Dreaming is a lot easier. :D
  • Jesus Christ is my Savior, King, Hero, Role Model, Friend and Brother.

Number 2 – Share 8 blogs with you. These are a few of my favorites…

Hope everyone of you are having a fabulous summer with just the right amount of heat! Thanks for reading Stir it Up!