b'But why wait? De la Cruz and Pea serve the tacosonce a month, recently preparing more than 60 for agathering of 16. (The recipe included with this storyserves six). The community seems especially fond oftheir guacamole, which the duo makes about once aweek, though it isnt as spicy as their salsa roja. AsPea noted, If you ask for a salsa roja in Mexico,youre going to find somethingS A L S A R O J A ( R E D S A U C E ) similar to this almost everywhere.True to their roots, de la CruzIngredients and Pea prepare the recipes with2 large tomatoes 1 jalapeo pepper traditional tools. They use a cast-1 garlic clove, unpeeled Olive oil medium white onionSalt to taste iron griddle, called a comal,or a cast-iron skillet to grill theDirections steak and vegetables. It gives a Heat a comal (cast-iron griddle), cast-iron skillet special flavor thats missing if youor frying pan coated lightly with olive oil for just boil or steam the vegetables,about 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the Pea said. No cast iron? Thetomatoes, garlic, onion and jalapeo and cook novices suggest any heavy panuntil browned and softened. Turn occasionally that will produce a seerthatto brown on all sides. The garlic and jalapeo dark, crispy, caramelized coating.will take 5-6 minutes, the onion and tomatoes as To mash and mix the vegeta-long as 8-9 minutes, depending on size. Remove bles for the salsa and guacamole,tomatoes when the skins brown or split. they use a molcajete, a stone Cool 5-10 minutes, then chop tomatoes and onions. mortar and pestle. But a bowl and Blend ingredients, using one of following:potato masher will work, too, asa traditional molcajete, a stone bowl withwill a food processor or blender. a pestle; a bowl and potato masher; food In creating these recipes,processor or blender.Season with salt and serve in a bowl. each brought his own ideas Serves 4-6 passed down from family, a bitof creativity and a heavy dashTip of compromise.To reduce the spice, Sometimes Juan says, Thisslice the jalapeo inis the way I prepare it, Peahalf and remove the said. And sometimes I say,seeds and white por- No, this is the way I do it.tion near the seeds. What if we just combine howIf you prefer the salsa we do it?spicier, use the Be it a national holiday orwhole jalapeo. Taco Tuesday, they relish anyopportunity to give back to thecommunity. More important than the food is that thesharing symbolizes the community embracing theirheritage.We prepare authentic food with authentic flavor,said de la Cruz, who teaches math and science at OurPHOTOS BY KATHLEEN NELSONLady of the Rosary, an elementary school in Dayton.And we enjoy seeing our brothers connect with ourculture.Kathleen Nelson is a writer/photographer from St. Louis.12 Call 1.800.348.4732'