a taste of summer

Yesterday, after a long day teaching first graders my mom came home and suggested we get cooking.  She must already have summer vacation on her mind because the recipe she pulled out was very summery.  But in a weird way it really hit the spot on a chilly evening.  This meal is light, healthy, and will make a great appetizer for anyone who wants to impress friends at their next summer bbq.  The only thing missing was margaritas. Other than that, this was amazing.

The recipe is for two different salsas.  You can add pork, lamb, or fish to this and serve them in lettuce wraps.  They make a healthy and light meal that is sure to knock everyones socks off. It was that good.

Yummy produce

We decided to make our salsa vegetarian, but wanted to have some steak on the side.  My mom has this really cool salt block from here that she has cooked steak and fish on.  It adds a nice flavor without being to salty.  A very cool item to have in your kitchen.

The salt block looks burnt because it is.  She has been using it for over a year and plops it right on the gas stove.  Totally cool!

After cooking up our meat, and mixing up our salsa we were ready to eat.  Look at how pretty this is:

Lettuce wraps with a side of steak.  So tasty.  Here is the recipe for Banana-Papaya Salsa (and Cucumber-Jicama Salsa)


2 cups chopped papaya

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 cups chopped banana (firm and slightly underripe)

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except banana.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve; add banana just before serving.

Variation: Second salsa

In above recipe, replace banana and papaya with two cups chopped cucumber and 2 cups chopped jicama.

We made both and they were SO good.

I am off to start making dinner.  It’s going to be a soup night.


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9 Responses to a taste of summer

  1. Sue says:

    Papaya is a very Asian ingredient and not easy to find all the time. We love it – summer or winter (but where do you get it in winter?).

    Cucumber, jicama works too…

    • drealieberg says:

      We found our papaya at my mom’s local grocery store. But like Dorthy said, mango would make a nice substitute if papaya isn’t available.

  2. Dorothy says:

    Perhaps mangos would be a good substitute if papaya isn’t available. Mangos may not be available everywhere in the winter, but they’re certainly distributed more and more widely these days. Cooking on a salt block is such an interesting idea.
    Lettuce wraps are a very Vietnamese thing – light, delicious and nutritious.
    Thanks for posting these delightful recipes!

  3. HeidiK says:

    OK — you just totally blew my mind with that salt block business — I have never heard of such a thing as cooking on a salt block!! I was so amazed and perplexed that I had to follow that link and get all my questions answered immediately (antimicrobial issues, heat transfer, etc.) Wow — fascinating! Thanks for the introduction to this…!!!

    Oh yeah — the salsas look great too! 🙂

    • drealieberg says:

      If you are ever in the Portland area you need to go to the Meadow. Or order some of their salts online. Cool huh!!

  4. Ceci says:

    I love salsa! One of my favorites is Kachoomar (India). It’s very light & easy, very tasty and perfect on top of anything, especially Naan (Indian bread) or pizza.

    Tomatoes cut into small chuncks, Scallions, Cilantro, pinch of sugar & a small squeeze of lemon, Salt to taste

    Delicious & very healthy! Thanks for posting your recipes!! Good job, Mom! Dinner looks great!

  5. amy leclerc says:

    We are actually selling our salt block-which is also from The Meadow in Portland. We just don’t use it enough (or ever-sorry mom!) So if you are interested, shoot me an email.


    Your post makes me want to go back to Bali/Mexico/Hawaii/Bermuda/Barbados/CostaRica-anywhere with abundant sun and tropical foods!!!

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