Some people just know how to throw a party. From setting the tables, hiring a DJ and selecting the music, filming, taking pictures, to making the whole event be relaxed, effortless and unforgettable. Others, like me, just hide in the kitchen and make the cooking happen.
I have a married friend (a Mom too!) that not only knows how to party but she knows how to host and throw together a garden party in just hours with candles, tables, fresh flowers, music, drinks, performers, and yes, great food too.
The “dog days”, the most sultry days of summer, are surely a wonderful time to relax and share good food and good times with those we love. Celebrating the final weeks of summer with a great cook out is a must before school starts all too soon. Whether you like steaks, burgers, hot dogs, of just the clean taste of fruits and vegetables, grilling is a fantastic and easy way to enjoy these last warm nights surrounded by friends and family.
This salsa works wonderfully with grilled meats or just as an accompaniment with chips.
Strawberry-Poblano Salsa with Yucca and Plantain Chips
I love this salsa – it brings a wonderful combination of hot, sweet and fresh flavors that will make you think of summer all winter long!
1/2 t curry seeds
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t fennel seeds
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/8 t cayenne
1/8 t paprika
1 fresh poblano chile, seeded, chopped
3 green onions, white part only, chopped
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1 C medium strawberries, washed, hulled, cut into quarters (you can also macerate them for 15-20 minutes before using)
1/2 C fresh mango, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- Place seeds into a small fry pan and toast over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes or so. (Be careful not to burn them!) Set aside and let cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except the strawberries, mango and avocado
- Just before serving, add the strawberries, mango and avocado. Stir gently and combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with lime wedges yucca or plantain chips.
2 lbs yucca, washed, peeled, fibrous inner core of the root removed and thinly sliced with a mandoline
Vegetable, peanut or coconut oil, for frying*
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, optional
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Place yucca slices in iced water for about 30-45 minutes. Remove from water, drain, dry thoroughly and place on paper towels. (Make sure there is NO trace of water before you place them in hot oil!
- Add about 1 inch of oil to a heavy frying pan or heavy pot with high sides and preheat to 365-370 degrees F (not higher than 375 degrees F). Add yucca and fry in batches until lightly brown and crispy. Make sure not to crowd the pan.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove from oil, drain and place on paper towels. Season immediately with salt and additional spices. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top.
Serve hot with the salsa above, ají amarillo sauce, or huancaína sauce for dipping, and/or fresh guacamole.
*You can also bake the chips, tossing the yucca in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Bake at 375 degrees F for 5-7 minutes or until golden.
These are easier to handle and easier to make too. They also need to be served hot!
4 green plantains, peeled, ends removed, thinly sliced
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Handful fresh cilantro or curly parsley, chopped, for garnish
- In a heavy skillet over medium heat about 1 inch of oil. When oil reaches 360-370 degrees F add a few pieces of plantain and fry for about 3-4 minutes or until golden.
- Remove, drain, and place on paper towel. Season immediately with salt, pepper and paprika, if desired. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro or parsley and serve right away.