cross cultural.

My commitment to letting the tomato shine continues this week with a most tomato-y of sauces- salsa!  It’s so simple and flavorful.  I am enjoying it myself and sharing it with all my clients.

(not pictured, lime.)

This is hardly even a recipe really, you just chunk those tomatoes,

and take the paper off your garlic.  Seed the jalapeno, if you don’t want it real spicy.  Those seeds can really do a number on your throat with their heat.  Mine was from a client’s garden and it was h-o-t, in a good way!  Go ahead and pull your cilantro leaves off the stems, and put it all in the food processor.

Squeeze the juice of a lime in there, and add a good pinch of salt.  Just pulse a few times to break down the ingredients a bit.

Then, scrape down the sides and give it a taste.  Adjust your salt level to your liking, and pulse a few more times until you are pleased with the consistency.

You will be surprised and amazed by the deliciousness of the fresh ingredients and the speed with which you’ve created your own salsa.  You may begin to wonder why you’ve paid $3.00 or more for a glass jar of this stuff!

What to do with all that salsa?  (It made about 4 cups.)  Well, the possibilities are endless.  You could just eat the whole bowl with some chips.  You might make tacos or quesadillas or burritos and utilize the salsa as a topping.  Or you could have some fun with it, like we did, and make a delicious Mexican pizza! 

This thing is no joke, my friends.  I wish I could pull off that crusty piece of cheese and eat it right now!!!

Adam has been bringing up the idea of Mexican Pizza for quite some time, and we finally made it happen.  Now I wonder what took us so long!!!  You know that I love me some pizza, and that I have a serious affinity for all things cheese.  And, I am a huge fan of Mexican cuisine.  This dish brings all of those obsessions into one fabulous dinner, providing a vehicle for my fresh salsa and my farm fresh Georgia corn.  Win, win, win.  (Read: Winning!)

Over the weekend, we grilled a double breast of chicken, knowing that we would incorporate the meat into a week night dish, cutting down our cook time, but taking advantage of the grill flavor.  I just shredded the chicken with my hands while Adam mixed up a Mexican seasoning with cumin, chipotle, chili powder, paprika, garlic, a pinch of dried oregano, and salt and pepper.  You can do equal parts of the cumin and pepper spices, unless your chipotle powder is really hot- you may want to employ a little less of that.  We stripped our fresh corn off the cob, knowing it wouldn’t take long to cook, and we got our pan hot. 

We tossed the corn in a little bit of EVOO and cooked it for just a minute before adding our chicken and a heaping tablespoon of our seasoning.

We stirred to incorporate the spices, letting the flavors mingle.  Then, we added the juice of a lime and a cup of homemade chicken broth.

That pan needed a few minutes to cook down so the liquid would be absorbed.  This method may look familiar to you- same as the directions on a box of taco shells!  Except, instead of using their sodium-laden spice mixture and water, we controlled our spice content and bumped up the flavor with broth.

Once the liquid was almost completely absorbed, we added a good handful or 2 of baby spinach leaves.  I just tossed the mixture to gently wilt the leaves.

After tasting and tweaking the seasoning to our liking, we took the pan off the heat and began to build! 

There are about a billion different kinds of tortillas and wraps out there these days.  We opted for a whole wheat tortilla that was thin and light.

I sprayed the pan with a little bit of nonstick spray first, because I did not want to cry when my pizza fell apart before my eyes.  Then, I laid my tortillas onto the pan and sprinkled on a mixture of cheddar and jalapeno jack cheeses.

Next, we spread our spiced chicken, corn and spinach mixture out evenly.

Pretty, huh?  Then, we salsa-fied both pies.

Not too much, because we didn’t want it to become soggy.  And then, we topped those babies with mozzarella cheese- for the salty, meltiness of it!

Mexican ingredients in the style of an Italian favorite, with Italian cheese!??!?!  Yup.  It is alllll right to cross cultures and play with your ingredients! 

Lastly, I topped it off with cilantro,

and baked it in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Aye carumba, Y’all.  I was so excited, my mouth was watering while Adam sliced the pies with a pizza cutter.

I must tell you that the smell was enough to bowl me over.  But I went ahead and dug in anyway!  It ate like a pizza- so I did the knife and fork number with the first bite.  The sweetness of the tomatoes and corn was forward and delightful!  I had to close my eyes to take in all of the layers of flavor.  The spiciness came perfectly through the saltiness of the cheese and freshness of the seasonal treats, and the texture was amazing.  I could eat this dish every day of my life and not be upset.  Yum!!!

I hope I’ve stirred up some some new ideas for you and made your stomach grumble in the process.  Mexican pizza can take on any number of your favorite toppings and/ or cheeses.  You can easily use veggies that you pull out of your garden.  It can be made with a rotisserie chicken, chorizo sausage, ground beef, vegetarian meat substitute or without any meat at all.  Use a spinach tortilla or -heck- make your own tortillas.  I’ve never done that, but I’m throwing it out there.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your time in the kitchen and celebrate the freshness of the season.

Buen provecho!  Buon Appetito!  

Happy cooking and eating,


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