A taste of New Mexico: Salsa Senorita

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Lori Sours loves to cook Salsa Senorita recipes in her Cherokee Bend kitchen. Photo by Madoline Markham.

Lori Sours is bringing the taste of the Southwest to the South. The New Mexico native and her brother developed Salsa Senorita from flavors from her home state, and now she is sharing them from her Cherokee Bend home.

“I love to share authentic southwestern cuisine with people,” she said. That southwestern flavor comes from the uniquely New Mexican blend of ingredients in the salsa, not just the dominance of the tomato like many other salsas.

Most people tell Sours she is the first person they’ve met from New Mexico, and she proudly shares with them a jar of salsa, complete with a New Mexico flag and the words “legally addictive” on its label. Often people return to tell her they’ve eaten a whole jar in one sitting.

“It’s really like a jar of vegetables with a kick,” Sours said, pointing out the many ways she cooks with the salsa: mixing into enchiladas, putting in guacamole or queso dip, making a base for chicken chili or tortilla soup, to name a few. She also likes to simmer precooked, chopped chicken breasts with salsa for four hours, reuslting in flavorful meat for quesadillas and nacho bars. She even makes Bloody Marys with her salsa.

“I have always loved to cook and could eat Mexican food everyday,” she said.

Now she shares her love of the cuisine on Fox 6 segments on the fourth Sunday morning of the month and at cooking demonstrations at local retailers and Pepper Place Farmers Market. All of her recipes are available on her website as well.

One recipe she says is always a hit is guacamole: simply mashed avocados, garlic, lemon juice, salsa and salt.

“I tell people it’s so easy,” she said.

In 2008 Sours and brother and now business partner, Mark Cauffman, developed the salsa recipe based on the fresh vegetable salsa they made growing up in New Mexico. Today, Sours promotes the salsa from Alabama and Cauffman from Los Angeles.

At first Salsa Senorita only catered to what Sours calls “a true salsa eater” who likes things hot. The spice in the medium, roasted garlic and hot varieties comes from the signature New Mexico pepper. Recently, however, she and Cauffman developed a mild version using a heatless pepper.

After arriving in Birmingham from Atlanta a few years ago, Oak Street Garden Shop became Salsa Seniorita’s first local retailer. “Billy Angell was an angel,” she said. The salsa is now available locally at Piggly Wiggly, Whole Foods Market, Western Supermarkets, V Richards, Alabama Goods, Mr. P’s Butcher Shop and Deli and Birmingham Bake & Cook Company.

You can also find the salsa in California retailers and in two Dairy Queens in Sours’ hometown, Las Cruces, where DQs are known not for their ice cream but for their Mexican food.

Sours continues to think about creating new food products like a natural enchilada sauce and, armed with an MBA and career in marketing and sales, to market their existing salsas. She is also working on a corporate gift package with salsas and recipes.

She and her husband, David, who works for Coke United, also stay busy going to tennis tournaments with daughter Katherine, who is a seventh grader at the junior high and plays tennis at Pine Tree Country Club.

For more Salsa Senorita retailers, recipes, videos and more, visit www.salsasenorita.com.

For a game day party or any get-together, try Sours’ recipe for nachos with her delicious yet easy guacamole.

Salsa Senorita Spicy Nachos

32 oz. Velveeta cheese
5 oz. evaporated milk
1 jar Salsa Senorita (any variety)
2 rolls of breakfast sausage or soy crumbles
1 can black beans, drained
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
1 small can of sliced black olives
Salsa Senorita guacamole (see recipe below)
8 oz. sour cream
1 bag of tortilla chips

Brown breakfast sausage in skillet and drain.  In a microwavable bowl, combine Velveeta cheese, milk, Salsa Senorita and cooked sausage (or soy crumbles for a vegetarian version); melt in the microwave.  Place tortilla chips on a plate; pour cheese mixture over tortilla chips, top with black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and black olives.

Salsa Senorita Classic Guacamole

2 to 3 ripe avocados
1 lemon
¼ to ½ cup Salsa Senorita (any variety)

In a bowl peel and mash avocados.  Squeeze fresh lemon and add Salsa Senorita.  Mix together and serve.

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