Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Avocado Salsa and "The Summertime Blues"

I posted a picture a week or so ago about the Avocado Salsa I made and a Mexican-Italian casserole I whipped up to go with it. Despite the lovely Hope Sassypantaloni’s request that I get the recipe up soon, life has been pulling me in other directions.

It’s been a difficult summer in my house, ending with my daughter being in the hospital for the last week. I’ve been drained both physically and emotionally because unfortunately this has been going on for the past few summers. She has been in the hospital or some sort of crisis. The hardest part on us has been the fact that we really don’t know what the problem is. 

There is no other way to put it other than my daughter’s is experiencing behavioral issues and not in the normal sassy teenager kind of way. I sometimes wish this was just an issue of we weren’t being tough enough on her and that there was something we could do to easily fix it. I haven’t given up hope that things will turn around for her, but sometimes it pushes me down to a place I don’t really like and each time it takes longer for me to get back to even. 

I wish I could turn back the clock and go back to those summers we spent down at the pool, on day trips, making crafts or baking in the kitchen. The thing about that logic is we can’t go back only forward, so I’m doing my best to handle life as it presents itself now. 

I have spent far too many years riddled with guilt. Trust me; I seem to find a way to feel guilty about everything. I’m doing too much for her, I’m not doing enough for her, yet she isn’t pulling out of this yet. The logical part of my brain says, give it time she may have to fall many more times and I just have to help her when she does. 

Heading to the kitchen to recompose myself after a huge storm usually helps.   Maybe it’s silly, but sometimes it is the only thing I can control when everything else is out of control.

Avocado Salsa
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
2 cloves peeled garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded (or two if they are too mild)
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves 
Juice from 1 lime
1 avocado, peeled and pitted

Place the tomatillos in a small sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 6-8 minutes until they are tender when pierced with a knife.  Drain the water and set aside to cool.

In a blender or food processor add the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno cut in a few large pieces, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, and a couple pinches of salt.  Pulse a few times until smooth.

You can make this salsa with raw tomatillos, but to really pull out all the flavor and juice of the tomatillos you need to boil or roast them.

If mine isn't spicy enough to my liking I will mince up a little extra jalapeno and stir it in.  Store it in a covered jar in the fridge and it will last a good week in there.

Chorizo, Corn, Couscous, and Cotija Casserole (Does the fact the recipe name contains 5 c's weird anyone else out or is just me?)
1 tablespoon butter
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 teaspoon salt
4 sweet Spanish peppers or any type of pepper would work, cut in half lengthwise and seeded (reserve half of one pepper for the filling)

1/2 pound chorizo
1/2 sweet pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh corn (about 3 ears)
Cooked couscous
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2-3 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled

Additional items for garnish:
4 corn tortillas
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the butter to a small saucepan and heat on medium heat, once the butter is melted add the couscous and stir for a few minutes until the couscous is starting to brown.  Add the water and salt and continue to cook at a medium boil for about 8-10 minutes until the couscous is tender.  Stir often. Set aside.

To a skillet add the chorizo removed from its casing, the reserved 1/2 pepper, and salt.  Cook until the chorizo is browned, remove from heat and stir in the fresh corn and couscous.

Put a little oil on the bottom of a baking dish and place the cut peppers on top of that and then just pile the filling on top of that.  Top with the cilantro and cotija cheese, cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cut the tortillas in half and then in strips and fry in a skillet of hot oil until crispy.  Drain on paper towels and add salt while hot.

Serve the peppers topped with the crispy strips and avocado salsa.

Let's have a pepper toast to things turning around over here!




  1. Oh, lady. I'm so, so sorry. Big hugs sent your way. Have you had blood work done to see if there's a hormonal imbalance that can be regulated with medication? I'll be praying for you guys.

    1. Thank Christiane, prayers help. We haven't tested that yet, will ask when we go back for a follow up this week.

  2. Hang in there friend! I'm so glad you're able to find comfort in cooking. Sending big hugs and prayers to your family!

    1. Thanks my friend, I felt them over here.

  3. So sorry to hear your news Gina! Sending you a big hug and wishing things settle down for you ...your time in the kitchen to gather yourself and escape for a moment is precious and I'm so glad you're sharing your latest creations with us-I just picked a bowl of tomatillos so I'll make your salsa tonight-need to pick up an avocado but I know how to do that ;)

  4. Yes, indeed, let's please have a pepper toast to turn things around! I am sending more good thoughts your way than you can even imagine. On a much lighter note, I look forward to playing with the 4 Cs (or at least 2-3 out of the four) very soon! ♥ The salsa looks fantastic, too!

  5. Gina, so sorry to hear that you have been having a rough time..hopefully things will settle down soon.
    The salsa looks truly beautiful and comforting.

  6. Hugs to you Gina, I hope life calms down for you soon. Baking or cooking always helps me when I'm going through stressful times; your salsa and peppers look wonderful. Sending prayers your way!

  7. Gina,
    So sorry about your daughter. Hormonal issues can cause big problems, as was the case with Scott. Sending lots of hugs and love your way. I'm also sending you a PM on Facebook.


  8. I'm so sorry about your doughter. Don't judge yourself, you're a great mother!

  9. I don't think we ever stop 'mothering' our children. I am sorry to hear about your daughter.....life can be so difficult sometimes. Hang in there, Gina.

  10. Gina, if you ever need to vent or talk, just let me know. I kind of know a bit about these things... You're not doing anything wrong. xo

    This avocado salsa look dreamy!

    1. Thanks Valerie, I appreciate your support. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.

  11. Hi Gina,

    I am so sorry to hear you've been having a difficult time. Hopefully things will improve for everyone. But I am glad that you can find solace in your kitchen. You're too sweet for taking the time to share your yummy salsa recipe with us. Hang in there sweetie and if you need anything just let me know. Hugs!