Monday, August 23, 2010

Tropical Salsa and Gourmet Fun

As I write this I'm munching on the last little bit of a tropical salsa I threw together recently for a friends birthday party.  It seemed pretty popular and there wasn't much left for the requisite food photo!

This salsa was simple compared to the effort that went into the central player of the party, home made piña coladas, and I mean home made from scratch, all the way!  Well, they didn't make the rum, but if they could they probably would!  The coconut cream that usually goes into piña coladas is full of all sorts of sickly ingredients and tastes and smells like cheap coconut scented tanning lotion.  This stuff, on the other hand had a natural coconut flavor with a toasty nuttiness to it that made drinking only a little very difficult!  I can't really share a recipe since there really never was a recipe followed.  There were mad scientists in the kitchen with power tools, yes power tools, and lots of pouring this and brewing that and tasting - lots of tasting.  The base was made from fresh mature coconuts, the meat scraped out chopped up then simmered in the coconut water and a mixture of half and half and cream.  It was cooled and then fresh pineapple was added along with a combination of different rums.  It was poured into our glasses and enjoyed by all!

And then there was the cake.  Power tools were once again put to use and coconut was shredded and shaved from the fresh coconuts to incorporated into a light layered sponge like cake and frosted with the silkiest smoothest frosting ever.  I heard it might be some southern thang.  The cake was cheered for upon entering the house and then again when we all had the lovely slices of goodness!

So, as you can see, my contribution really isn't all that impressive in comparison, but one thing it has going for it is that I can tell you how I made it!  It was inspired by two things - a recipe in The Tropical Vegan Kitchen and a salsa made by a local favorite restaurant called Agua Verde.  As usual I didn't follow any particular recipe, but combined the ideas of the two salsas and then added a little Maurie flare.

Maurie's Tropical Salsa

One small fresh ripe pineapple, outer parts cut off and finely diced
2 medium ripe mangoes, pealed, cut from the pit and finely diced
1 medium to large jicama, peeled and finely diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 can black beans, rinsed well
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Toss the pineapple, mangoes, jicama, jalapeños, cilantro and black beans in a medium to large bowl.  Combine the lime juice, red wine vinegar, agave syrup and olive oil, blending well.  Pour over the other ingredients, sprinkle on the cayenne pepper and slat and mix to coat well.  Serve with corn chips and enjoy!

* After posting this and linking it on my Facebook page I had a few comments about if this could be made with peaches, which are at their peek here in the northwest right now.  I almost threw a peach into this salsa when I was making it, but greedily saved it for fresh eating later.  I think peaches would be an excellent local/seasonal substitute for the mangoes.  I think I would add a bit more lime juice a tablespoon or two, to keep the balance of flavors.  If you do happen to make it with peaches or any other variation, please let me know - I would love to hear how it turns out!

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