Friday, May 2, 2014

Restaurant-Style Salsa and Queso Blanco Dip

Monday is cinco de Mayo, and there is one thing I know for sure: I am going to be ready for a margarita at the end of it. Bright and early Monday morning, I'm chaperoning Andrew's kindergarten class field trip to the local science center. I'm sure it will be fun, and also that it will be stressful. I will definitely be ready for a siesta instead of a fiesta by the end of the day.

When I was looking through my saved Mexican recipes (and there are a lot of them!), searching for something to share to celebrate this fun holiday, it didn't take me long to settle on these two. This is the best restaurant-style salsa I've ever tried, and this is the best queso dip I've ever made. And I firmly believe that they are both required elements of any good Mexican spread.

The salsa is spicy, with awesome tomato flavor and the perfect texture and consistency. The queso is...Well, there are just no words to describe the queso, really. It's incredible. I'm telling you, you're going to love both of these recipes -- especially if you eat them together over tortilla chips. Mmm.

Restaurant-Style Salsa
from The Pioneer Woman 

Two 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin, with seeds and membrane
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 lime, juiced

1. Combine the diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt, sugar and lime juice in a blender or food processor.

2. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you like, about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

3. Refrigerate the salsa for at least an hour before serving.
Queso Blanco Dip
1 1/4 (1.25) pound block white American cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup diced green chiles, from a can
2 pickled jalapenos, chopped
1 ounce pickled jalapeno juice
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cold water
1. Toss all ingredients into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes, stopping to stir after every minute. The mixture might seem watery during the first few stirs, but should come together as a nice runny dip after all the cheese is melted.

2. Serve immediately as a dip with tortilla chips.