Do you remember how you first met certain people?
I first met Jinhua, one of my best friends in the world, at a tuition class more than 15 years ago, after which both of us became as close as sisters, and we now know each other’s families as if they were (almost) our own. Since then, we’ve had sleepovers, snail-mail letters, emails, midnight feasts, and countless heart-to-heart talks, intertwined with high teas, cycling in East Coast Park and calls.
When I was slightly older, during freshman year at my university’s sports camp, I found myself in the same team as Suzy, whose short, punk hairstyle back then intimidated me. Over the years, we eventually grew much closer; she was among the first of my friends to get married to her Italian soul mate, now has two beautiful daughters, and is among those whom I turn to for advice even if we may be continents apart.
Many years later, I then got to know my Argentine housemate, Juan, on exchange in Mannheim, Germany, where we would chat in our shared kitchen – a sprinkling of sentences here and there as I finished dinner and as he started his – where we’d eventually fall in love and after two years of a long-distance relationship, I later moved to Buenos Aires to live in the same country and continent as him.
While most of our first encounters are usually made over a table at a café, or during classes at school, or playing games at a park – all of which are physical places, there are increasingly more virtual first encounters online, thanks to the evolution of the internet.
I find this phenomenon completely, miraculously amazing..!
When I first met Min, the author and creator of the food blog MJ and Hungryman (together with her husband Tim), it was over homemade hummus – virtually of course.
She’d left a comment on my garlic hummus post, telling me how much she loved homemade hummus, and then later asked if I had ever tried roasted red pepper hummus (remember that, Min?). It was a start of a conversation that’s very normal among food bloggers, and because it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, I didn’t think very much about it.
However, this simple conversation about hummus eventually evolved into a mutual back-and-forth commenting on each other’s blogs, and we eventually developed a friendship over the Internet that’s still evolving. And although we’ve never met each other before, Min already feels just like a friend I’ve known for ages.
How completely cool is that?
Well, Min studied nutrition, and if you head over to her food blog, you’ll see very cool, unique recipes using different sorts of beans/roots/foods that we’re not usually used to having in our diets.
Remember the colorful Mediterranean-inspired barley salad I made a while back? Guess what, it was Min’s post that first sparked my interest in using barley in salads!
And most recently, her recipe on Asian turkey wantons with mango salsa got my brain ticking again… (thanks for your inspiration dear Min!!)
MANGO AVOCADO SALSA
HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS
I’d never used mango in foods before this – although my family used to have a mango tree in our backyard when we still living at Sea Breeze Road, I’d only ever eaten mango as a fruit, or as dessert (like mango ice cream). Never once did I actually think to mix it with savory ingredients, or as an appetizer.
One day last week, I headed to the grocer’s, picked up a very ripe and pretty mango, a large red onion, a bright red tomato and a couple of avocados for this mango avocado salsa (which means sauce in Spanish), and started peeling, cutting, dicing, which took a little bit more time than was expected (but I suspect it’s because I require more practice).
See how much cutting, dicing & peeling this involves? I certainly wasn’t exaggerating!
But really, the best thing about this amazing salsa is that once you’ve got all your ingredients cut, the only thing that’s left to do is to toss them with a quick squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dash of salt and pepper, and then mix well.
You could serve this incredible salsa with store-bought tortilla chips of course, but I’ll let you in on a secret..
Making your own tortilla chips is just so easy (and also so much healthier!), and since the first time I made it with a lovely guacamole dip, I know that I’ll never go back to store-bought pre-packaged ones again. NEVER.
It really isn’t that difficult – all you need is tortilla sheets (this you can buy from the stores, and you can choose whether you prefer wheat or corn tortillas), cut them into little pieces, brush them with a little oil, and then bake them for about ten minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Now, you tell me, how easy is that?
Now, serve the crispy homemade tortilla chips with the salsa you’ve just made, and you’re ready to get any party started!
MANGO AVOCADO SALSA & HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS (Serves 6-8)
Inspired by MJ and Hungryman’s Asian Turkey Wantons with Mango Salsa recipe
For the Mango Avocado Salsa:
1) 1 mango, peeled and cut into small cubes
2) 2 medium-sized avocados, peeled and cut into small cubes
3) 1 red onion, peeled and diced
4) 1 large tomato, cubed
5) ½ lime, for the juice
6) Salt & pepper to taste
For the Homemade Tortilla Chips:
7) 12 tortilla sheets (I used wheat tortillas, but you can always use corn tortillas)
8) 2 tablespoons of vegetable cooking oil
1) Peel and cut mango, avocados, onion and tomatoes into cubes/dices accordingly
2) Place cubed/diced ingredients in a large bowl
3) Squeeze lime juice over ingredients, add salt & pepper to taste and mix well
4) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg cel
5) Pile all the tortilla sheets in one stack, and cut them into 10-12 slices (as if you were cutting a pizza)
6) Use a brush to spread a little bit of oil on both sides of the cut tortilla sheets
7) Place greased cut tortilla sheets onto a baking tin/tray, making sure not to overlap them (if there is not enough space, toast them in various batches)
8) Toast tortilla chips until crispy and slightly golden brown
9) Serve dip with toasted tortilla chips
Peel and cut mango, avocados, onion and tomatoes into cubes/dices accordingly, and place in a large bowl:
Squeeze lime juice over ingredients, add salt & pepper to taste and mix well:
Pile all the tortilla sheets in one stack, and cut them into 10-12 slices (as if you were cutting a pizza):
Use a brush to spread a little bit of oil on both sides of the cut tortilla sheets:
Toast tortilla chips until crispy and slightly golden brown, and serve with prepared salsa: