I love collaborative cooking -- cramming into the kitchen with friends (especially if their cooking skills surpass mine, which is definitely the case with two of my dearest friends, Julie and Tim) drinking wine, bumping into each other and chatting while everyone works toward the shared goal of enjoying a lovely meal together... of creating a memory.
Our Saturday evening birthday dinner for my friend Achlee was one of these nights. Bryan made his famous fried shrimp and homemade chips and salsa; I whipped up some yummy sides (the guacamole, mango salsa, beautiful rice + spicy black beans and a cabbage/jicama slaw) and threw together a simple marinade of canola oil, cilantro, lime, Ancho chili powder and a jalapeno for the tilapia, which our friends Julie and Tim then expertly cooked.
We set up a little build your own taco bar on the island, drank lots of homemade margaritas and then finished everything off with Julie’s perfect chocolate cake.
If it had ended there, it would have been more than enough food happiness, but it turned out to be the meal that kept on giving. Sunday morning, leftover tortillas and queso fresco were scrambled up with a few eggs and served alongside the black beans – quick migas. The beans surfaced again the following day combined with the remainder of the beautiful rice and topped with the cabbage slaw and Bryan’s salsa for easy veggie tacos. And each of those meals was just as yummy as the first one.
Here are a couple of the recipes should you want to mimic this at home!
Bryan’s Homemade Salsa
This is a sweeter cilantro based salsa…one of our favorites!
- 1 bunch cilantro (tops plus 1/2 of the stems)
- ¾ large sweet onion (preferably a Vidalia)
- 1 poblano roasted on the grill and peeled
- 5-7 medium jalapenos de-seeded
- 28 oz can Muir Glen organic fire roasted whole tomatoes
- ½ Lime squeezed
- 1 ½ tsp salt
This makes A LOT of salsa… A. Lot. So you could easily half the recipe. We like the texture best if you blend in a food processor, as the blender tends to make the salsa too “mushy”.
Cabbage and Jicama Slaw
- ½ head of green cabbage -- shredded
- 1 medium jicama – peeled and cut into matchsticks
- ¼ cup cilantro -- finely chopped
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- Juice of one small lime
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. I added a bit more hot sauce, as I like this with a bite…it was just as good the next day!