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How do you make your own taco sauce?

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Since our return from Austin, I've been crankin' out the tacos w/ great success. I bought a suit case at a thrift shop just to bring back a lot of the raw materials. The one thing that is driving me crazy is how to replicate the various salsas that they give you in those ubiquitous little plastic cups with plastic snap-on covers at the taco stands. I don't care if it's red, green or in between; how do you make your own taco salsas? Pico gallo need not apply.
I just don't want to use some stuff out of the bottle. This Maine, if you've forgotten.
Our trip has had profound consequences. I am now looking for jobs in Austin and am applying for employment back in New Mexico. After 20 years, I feel so foreign in New England. I think it is a lot easier to buy a lobster in Austin than it is to find Mexican food in Maine.

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  1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed being in Austin and considering moving here.

    Salsas are fun and quite easy to make. Basic ingredients to have on hand are onion, garlic, cilantro (optional), tomato (tomatillo and / or avocado for green), jalapeno, salt, fresh ground black pepper and lime (for green).

    For a smoky flavor, cumin or chipotles work well.

    I also find that a good quality onion powder can enhance the flavor if raw onion doesn’t do it for you. I usually add a small amount, either way.

    I don’t use a blender or food processor to make it the consistency of the stuff in the little containers… but I’m pretty sure that is how it’s done…

    I’ve seen it be boiled down to achieve the runnier consistency and perhaps that enhances the flavour.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rene

      1 dozen tomatillos charred on the grill
      1/2 white onion
      3 serranos (seeds & all)
      2 avocados (or 1 large one)
      1 clove of garlic
      juice of 2 limes
      salt to taste

      roughly chop everything and blend in a food processor to desired consistency. Let the flavors combine for a few hours at least.

    2. Passa . You packing your bags too? What gives?

      3 Replies
      1. re: currymouth

        Rene, thanks, I thought the green would have those ingredients. I made my first al Pastor pork last week. My wife said just like Austin! How about a red? Does Rositas have avacado in the green? I still get a kick out the red "enchilada" corn tortillas we got at Fiesta. A little diff. from New Mex blue corn.
        Kurrimunn, just thinkin' and planning. Our youngest is in college, one out and in Korea,one Ba and one Ma in May. And one poco a poco in Austin. This has been a tough winter. I'm sitting here typing looking at 2' of snow in the back yard. The private hs I was at went under and I'm first year at a small public high school that just lost 600k in state funding and is cutting every program except sports. Seems prudent to have options. But God it is beautiful here. We were given a Choco lab last week and i walk her at 5:30 every morning owls, eagles loons, rafts or eiders, seals on rocks, all walking out the door of my house and a log cabin on a pristine lake 1/2 drive away: I dunno, gotta go shower for school.
        Had det. Remember Latin music radio show at 11 am at www.weru.org and Norsk on the 18th!

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          looking forward to it.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Man, you make me want to cry, and I don't know why.

            Here's my salsa. Not exactly "taco sauce" but it's what I've used in the past. I tried to duplicate the salsa from Casa Valdez in Rancho de Taos, NM, a restaurant and salsa that I just love.

            Scargo's fresh tomato salsa

            Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
            -------- ------------ --------------------------------
            1/3 cup lime juice from fresh squeezed
            4 Roma tomatoes, or best meaty tomatoes you can get -- coarsely chopped
            4 cloves garlic, large cloves -- riced and/or finely chopped
            1 cup Vidalia onion (sweet white onion) -- finely chopped
            2 jalapeno peppers, whole, fresh -- coarsely chopped
            1/3 teaspoon cumin powder
            2/3 cup cilantro leaves, whole -- coarsely chopped
            1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste

            Put juice of lime and two tomatoes in the blender and reduce to fine, liquid sauce. This makes it easier to incorporate the remaining ingredients.

            Add balance of ingredients and pulse on low to medium speed till all ingredients are blended. This is the tricky and somewhat critical step! You do not want to turn it to mush. This is why I finely chop the onion. I suggest stopping blending as soon as the tomatoes are small chunks, about the size of hominy. Stop and scrape down sides of blender and check for desired consistency and adjust to taste. This gets better if it sits for a bit. Don't chill; serve at room temperature.

            Options are a pinch or two of mexican brown sugar or other hot peppers substituted for the jalapenos. Cayenne for more heat.

            Peace, Brother