Every time I visit a new city I come back home trying to convince my hubby for us to move there. I fell in love with Carmel, Seattle, Santa Fe, and now I’m totally in love with Austin. It is so funky, artsy, eccentric, and the food was pretty darn awesome! Can you believe there are over 500 Mexican food trucks and restaurants in the Austin area? Old El Paso was very clever having us meet there for inspiration.
Old El Paso chose me as one of their #FreshestBloggers, which means for one year I’ll be creating quick and fresh recipes to share with you, and I couldn’t be happier. The bloggers invited are all so talented and I’m truly honored to be part of the team and excited to develop simple and fresh Old El Paso inspired recipes.
Sommer (A Spicy Perspective), Ali (Gimme Some Oven), Melissa (Hungry Food Love), Vianney (Sweet Life), Me, Maria (Two Peas and their Pod), Jenny (Picky Palate), Christy (The Girl Who Ate Everything), Deborah (Taste and tell blog)
We stayed in the adorable and funky Hotel San Jose. It was IKEA meets western-hipster. It looked like a studio apartment straight out of a magazine. It was homey, cozy, and fun compared to a traditional high-rise hotel.
On our first day we were immersed learning all about Old El Paso products. I had a chance to really understand the brand and thrilled that they believe incorporating fresh produce while using their products for simple, quick, and healthy meals. Did you know that Cooks Illustrated rated Old El Paso Flour Tortillas #1 in taste? I was impressed!
Afterwards we headed to dinner at La Condensa and ate in the vault of the restaurant. The concept was lovely — family style Mexican food. We started with margaritas, sangria, and a variety of salsas. Then appetizers started rolling in — sopes topped with mushrooms and cheese, Mexican corn on the cob, and ceviche. White rice, black beans, and a variety of shredded meats were next. The grand finale was spicy chocolate cake for dessert. It was all delicious and very similar to my style of cooking and entertaining. I came out of there super inspired (and stuffed).
The following day we went on a taco tour led by Mando Rayo, co-author of Austin Breakfast Tacos. Mando is originally from El Paso and even went to the same high school as I did, such a small world. We visited four taco locations and tasted a variety of tacos — regional tacos from Veracruz Mexico at Veracruz All Natural, Tex-Mex style tacos from Joe’s Bakery, modern tacos from Tacodeli, and central Mexican style tacos from El Pastor.
We ate more tacos than you can imagine. My tummy was so full but my creative juices were exploding with ideas. We were then grouped into teams and were assigned a cooking challenge incorporating Old El Paso products. We first went to the farmers market to buy fresh ingredients and then we made our way to the kitchen to get cooking. I was teamed with my amigas, Vianney (Sweet Life) and Melissa (Hungry Food Love). Our goal was to develop a meal that was fresh, light, and colorful.
I’m excited to announce that we were the winning team. Melissa made a delicious cilantro-aioli sauce, spicy grilled shrimp, tangy red cabbage and flavorful roasted summer squash sautéed with Old El Paso taco seasoning. I made tostadas using Old El Paso flour tortillas brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with fresh lime zest and Old El Paso taco seasoning and baked till crunchy. I also made a strawberry, mango, and avocado salsa with the addition of Old El Paso roasted diced green chile and fried flour tortilla chips dusted with Old El Paso seasoning. The salsa recipe is similar to this mango and avocado video, but with the addition of strawberries and green chile. Vianney made refreshing peach and melon rum cocktails with rosemary infused simple syrup and a touch of Old El Paso taco seasoning, in the drink and on the rim. All the bloggers came up with innovative and creative recipes. It was very impressive to see and taste everyone’s beautifully plated creations. I encourage you to check out all of their blogs!
In the meantime enjoy these simple recipes for this fresh salsa and crunchy flour tortilla chips that I made for the cooking competition. I remade both of them this weekend for a Mexican wedding potluck.
Strawberry, Mango, Avocado, and Green Chile Salsa & Flour Tortilla Chips
Ingredients:Strawberry, Mango, Avocado, and Green Chile Salsa: 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped 20 strawberries, hulled and chopped 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped 1 jalapeño, finely chopped 2 tablespoons Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped 6 basil leaves, chopped 1 lime, juiced Salt to taste Flour Tortilla Chips: 8 to 10 Old El Paso Flour Tortillas, cut into wedges ½ cup canola oil (for frying) ½ tablespoon Old El Paso Taco Seasoning
Directions:Strawberry, Mango, Avocado, and Green Chile Salsa: Combine the mango, strawberries, avocado, jalapeño, green chile, red onion, and basil. Add the lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside and let all the floors come together at room temperature. Flour Tortilla Chips: Heat the oil on medium high heat until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil sizzles, about 350°F. Fry tortilla wedges for approximately 2 minutes until the chips change color and are firm. Use tongs to remove chips from the oil and place on a paper-towel-lined plate or tray to drain. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
I’d love to see what you cook!
Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Old El Paso. All opinions are my own.