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A Bird of a Different Feather

posted by Tim Avery at
on Monday, March 5, 2012 

This past Sunday I planned on getting out birding and running amok around northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County with fellow Utah Birders Jeff Bilsky and Carl Ingwell.  But the plans fell through and I found myself awake at 7:30 am on a Sunday morning and wasn't sure birding was the right direction to start my day.  I mean don't get me wrong--any day birding is a good day--but I just wasn't feeling the bug at the moment, so I opted to do something different.  As the Yellow-rumped Warblers shipped in the yard, and American Robins sang up and down the block, I turned on the broiler, washed my hands and grabbed my chefs knife--it was time to make salsa. Say what? That's right--salsa.  Over the years I have crafted many a variety of the spicy condiment, and every once in a while I make a large batch to bottle and use for a few months so I don't have to make any.  Truth be told I can't stand store bought salsa--the thought of Pace Picante makes me gag. So every couple months my kitchen becomes a mini salsa factory.

Getting Prepped

The first time I made my own salsa was 4 or 5 years ago--and it was hot. Literally, so hot I could only eat a little at a time.  Since then I have retooled, changed, and updated my batches to come up with a flavor that is sweet, spicy, smokey, and savory.  Its a mix of chunky and sauce--it's the perfect blend to go along with chips, in a taco, or even on eggs. So anyways, while my tomatoes, peppers, and garlic were roasting I watched the Flickers chase the starling away from the suet.

Roasting the Goods

 Juncos came and went and the House filled with the aroma of peppers and garlic.  After the salsa was made and bottled, I decided I needed to name it--and being a birder, a bird name is the obvious choice.  There are so many birds that are evoked just by looking at the colors of salsa.  Oranges, reds, greens, and yellows bring to mind the most vibrant of birds.  But let's be honest, no one wants a wimpy "Wilson's Warbler Salsa".  Salsa has heat and can be "fierce", so it needs a name that represents that.  When I think of a fierce bird with red on it, I think of the Red-tailed Hawk--and thus, Redtail Salsa was born.
The Label

By the time I designed a label, got them printed, and adhered them to the bottles it was dark, and any chance of birding for the day was lost--aside from the feeders and a few short drives around Sandy and Cottonwood heights.  But that's okay--as today I can go birding, and enjoy a few scoops of Redtail, perhaps while I watch a  Red-tailed Hawk.  When you're a bird nerd, you can tie just about anything into birds and birding--even salsa!

The Finished Product

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Anonymous Paul said...

That's great. Definitely not what I was expecting when I started to read the post, but something different and I enjoyed it.

March 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I read this right after I got back from lunch. No I wish it would have been mexican!

March 5, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

I am a salsa freak, I want to taste your Red-tail salsa!!!!

My favorite salsa in town is Cafe Silvestre on 33rd south. Not my all time favorite Mexican restaurant, but the salsa is great.

March 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@Paul: Glad you liked it--figured I would throw something out of left field in there.

@Anonymous: I enjoyed a nice bowl of chips with the salsa for my lunch today... It was delicious!

@Jerry: Maybe I'll hook you up with a bottle! Hawk salsa for the hawk guy of course. I have to admit my favorite salsa at a Restaurant is at the Red Iguana--it has some bite to it, but a good flavor.

March 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Red Iguana is undeniable! I'll take a bottle if we can arrange it. Just picked some salsa today after reading this post

March 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ship some up my way

March 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM  

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