Signature salsa

When I turned 16, my mother told me to pick out a signature scent. The idea was that I would identify a perfume to wear for the rest of my life.

Telling a 16-year-old she can pick out any perfume she wants is one thing. Telling a 16-year-old she’s locked into one smell for the entirety of her adult life is another. “For life” as a concept was (and still is) fairly inconceivable.

So I did several things. First, I gave myself a migraine smelling every perfume in Saks and Bloomingdales until my olfactory system gave up in protest.

Second, the burgeoning strategist in me decided that rather than pick out a signature scent, it would be more strategic to pick out a signature brand. Meaning, if I were to decide on Marc Jacobs as a brand I would be free to to wear Daisy today, Lola tomorrow, and Oh Lola next week. It was genius.

While I struggled with identifying my signature perfume, I have had no difficulty whatsoever in determining my signature party dish.


My mother gifted me Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan cookbook when I moved into my new apartment (a considerably less controversial gift). And in that cookbook I found a recipe for Houston-style green salsa that is not only delicious but also easy…basically, you just put some things in a blender.


What’s more, it happens to be the exact salsa from my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant growing up. Located in Houston and College Station Texas, Ninfa’s is the site of many glorious meals of my past so being able to make their salsa at home is nothing short of life-changing.


I first made this salsa for my apartment-warming party, and now my roommates won’t have a party unless it’s on the table. The trick is in the avocado: take tomatillos, serrano pepper and lime juice and you get tanginess and bite; add avocado and you get next-level smoothness. I’ve changed the recipe a bit to make it even simpler, and if you don’t make it this weekend I don’t know if we can be friends.

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Houston-style green salsa, adapted:

1 11-oz. can of whole tomatillos, drained OR 1 jar tomatillo salsa (I use Winking Girl medium tomatillo but any will do, provided the ingredients consist of tomatillos and next-to-nothing else)
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1-2 serrano chiles, roughly chopped with seeds removed
2-3 tablespoons lime juice (from bottle or 1-2 limes)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped or cut with scissors
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste


Put all ingredients in blender (or food processor). Blend until smooth, then add salt to taste.


That’s it. Seriously.


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