RECIPES: Margaritas and Pipian Rojo salsa

Studio Xaquixe medium green tumblers

Studio Xaquixe medium green tumblers

I don't know about you but the dog days of late summer mean margaritas and salsas and friends to share them with. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Margarita Recipe
My go-to recipe for one margarita or a pitcher-full is:
•  1/3 tequila
•  1/3 fresh squeezed lime juice, and
•  (a little shy of) 1/3 Cointreau or Triple Sec 
    You absolutely have to use silver 100% agave tequila. 
    Rub a cut lime around the rim and dip in a shallow plate of salt or not. Salt does not do me any favors so I leave it off. Add ice. 

Studio Xaquixe handblown glasses are perfect for margaritas.
One of my favorite companies from Oaxaca, Mexico, Studio Xaquixe uses 95% recycled glass and discarded cooking oil to heat their glass furnace. Each piece is blown by hand and one-of-a-kind.

Have you ever made Pipian? Years ago I took a cooking class at Seasons of My Heart in Oaxaca and we made the following pipian recipe to be served as a salsa with chips. 
    Pipian means a sauce made with ground nuts or seeds, most often pumpkin seed. It can be made for eating with chips or as a sauce for fish or chicken. The basic principle is to use a slightly liquid ranchero sauce or tomatillo sauce and add toasted, ground pumpkin seeds.
    If you are in a hurry, you can even buy a jar of salsa and add the toasted and ground pumpkin seeds to it.

Pipian Rojo (adapted from Susanna Trilling)
•  3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, ground  
•  5 roma tomatoes
•  2 cloves of garlic
•  1/4 of a small white onion
•  1 or 2 serrano chiles 
•  2 cloves of garlic
•  1/4 cup chopped cilantro
•  1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
   Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a skillet, stirring constantly so they do not burn. When they turn golden or start popping, remove seeds to a plate for cooling. Grind in a food processor, leaving small chunks.
   On a grill pan, comal or even broiled in the oven, cook the tomatoes, garlic, onion and chiles until they soften slightly and blacken just a bit. After vegetables are cooled, blend them together with the cilantro and salt. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and serve with tostadas or tortilla chips.

Modela has several styles of salsa dishes handmade by artisans in Oaxaca. Perfect for serving Pipian in!