Monday, January 18, 2010

Griggs Table Salsa

Okay, so if you look at this recipe, you will realize that it is NOT Griggs Table Salsa, the one we all could not wait to start shoveling into our mouth on freshly fried tostadas with butter the minute we sat down in the restaurant.  That recipe is not in this book! And when I realized that, I grabbed the book and tried to chew it to smithereens.  Okay, so that was Josephine when she was a puppy.  But wait...
Bridget Griggs was kind enough to share their recipe for Salsa with me one day as we were leaving church.  And she just told me, she didn't write it down, but it's so surprisingly easy, I've always remembered. 
First, you are going to need San Benito Whole Peeled Tomatoes.  I made a batch with a can of different tomatoes and it was just not the same.  These are the the specific ones that Bridget told me to get, and I see why.  Yes, it's a pain to get this huge can, and I wish someone would let me know where I could get smaller cans, but you can get these at Sams. (edit 5/18-- no longer available at Sams.)

Then you need some Jalapenos.  I use two smaller ones per batch and here's the key: Boil the jalapenos.  Boil them for about 5 minutes,  then slice off the stems.  You don't need to remove the seeds, just put them in the blender with the whole tomatoes...
and add the juice of 1/2 a large lime or one whole key lime, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp. of salt and a pinch of sugar.  The pinch of sugar is not what Bridget told me but what I was told years ago about canned tomatoes, which was to always add a pinch of sugar to "get rid of the can."  Then blend it up.  I think it's better after it's been refrigerated overnight.
Of course, to serve this properly, you need freshly cooked tostadas, and butter, preferably restaurant pats with paper on top (just for old times' sake) but if not, a stick of salted butter will do.  Some childhood habits are just too good to give up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mrs. Griggs' Cookbook

I have culled my cookbooks down quite a bit lately.  One that I do treasure is "A Family Affair", subtitled,  "A Few Favorite Recipes of Mrs. Griggs" by Josephine C. Griggs and Elaine N. Smith.
Going to Griggs' Restaurant after church Sunday was a tradition my family enjoyed, as did many others in our part of the world.
Edgar and Rita Griggs were such gracious hosts to everyone who walked in the door.  All the kids were sent out the door with a Tootsie Roll.  And what great food!  It was consistant and delicious every time.  Antiques, works of art, and the Billy the Kid Museum to see.  And of course, La Posta in Old Mesilla, which was also a Griggs Family restaurant was equally delightful and had such charm.  The birds!  The piranha swimming around in the huge aquarium!  The warren of little rooms, connected with thick plastered arches. The Garden Room! 
So, the matriarch of all the wonderful Griggs family restaurants published a few favorite recipes.  One of the things that I love about these recipes is their economy.   Short and sweet and to the point with no foolishness.  Empanadas, for example, has 5 ingredients and two short paragraphs of instructions.  Refried Beans has 2 ingredients, beans and lard.  She also is crystal clear about what's good.  "The taste of reheated beans is enhanced by adding lard." And that's that.  (It does crack me up that Mrs. Griggs used "Velvetta" (sic) and "Fritos".)
So I'm going to cook up a few of my favorite recipes from this treasure and see how they stand up to my memory and aging taste buds.  Starting with...(drum roll)...The Salsa.