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Salsa Town

Meet Austin's civic leaders in mouth burn

Fri., Aug. 23, 2013

Salsa Town
Photo by John Anderson

Magic Weight-Loss Potion = Tomatillo Heaven Salsa

Greg Cook started making his signature salsa purely for his own consumption. Extremely overweight and suffering from severe diabetes, Cook had a difficult time sticking to diets because he quickly got bored with bland foods and invariably began cheating. As his health worsened, Cook reflected that his relatives in Peru seemed to live long, full lives in spite of their tendency to develop diabetes. "In Peru, they eat a lot of ceviche," Cook explains. "They use a lot of lemon and lime in everything, and they eat a lot of fermented foods."

Cook decided that he might have a chance if he ate more like his Peruvian relations. He set out to make a salsa for himself that was half Peruvian, half Texan. Combining the avocados and tomatillos of Texas with the red onion and citrus juices of Peru, Cook went through years of perfecting his recipe. All the while, he put it on nearly everything he ate. "It adds not only flavor, but tons of beneficial nutrients and enzymes to everything," Cook enthuses. "It's great on eggs in the morning, salad at lunch, and over fish or chicken at night."

Bright and fresh, every ingredient in Tomatillo Heaven Salsa is raw and vegan. Each jar contains at least an entire avocado (sometimes more) as well as tomatillos, garlic, red onion, lime, lemon, and cilantro. It packs a powerful punch of flavor while remaining cool and refreshing, and it manages to spruce up the flavor of whatever you put it on, rather than overpowering it. Available in Hot, Medium, and Not Hot, even the chiles take on a supporting role and accent rather than dominate.

"It has taken about eight years to perfect the recipe," says Cook. "Using it I have lost about 150 pounds." Naturally, friends and family began asking Cook to please make his tomatillo salsa for them as well. Now Cook and his wife Melissa are making enough to sell commercially. It is available at Barton Creek Farmers Market, Mueller Farmers Market, and the Cedar Park Farmers Market for $8 a jar, as well as at various retail locations listed at www.tomatilloheavensalsa.com. – Kate Thornberry

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