Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- You can't have a Salsa Fest without salsa, and the organizers of this year's event would love for you to come up with some. They're having a recipe contest to find the best.

It can be anything from traditional to spicy or something in between.

The essential starter at Mexican restaurants almost everywhere is chips and salsa. It doesn't have to be hot, but lots of it is.

"It's kind of an American thing, but salsa translates as sauce," said Libby Auld, the chef and owner of Elote Café in downtown Tulsa. She says the traditional salsa is tomato based.

"Chopped our onion and jalapenos, and tomatoes," she said. "We have extra to be chopped up, and cilantro, and we'll add some canned tomatoes at the end."

Anyone's eligible to enter the contest – restaurant chefs or home cooks.

"The last two years we've done it the winners were both home cooks," Auld said. "One was Katie Fox of Fox's Freakin' Fabulous salsa; last year was Crash Override by Gavin Mains and Beth Downing."

So it's a good idea to name your salsa, like Lance Reynolds' Castigadore salsa – that translates to punisher. It features the ghost chili pepper.

"The ghost chili is the hottest pepper I could find," Reynolds said.

The festival is a fund raiser for Sustainable Tulsa. Sustainable Tulsa will use the money to build a playground downtown.

There will be Chihuahua races and a best dressed Chihuahua contest. There are some pretty slick looking trophies to give out.

"This is the perfect season to be making salsa," said Libby Auld of Elote Café.

Plenty of fresh ingredients so get a recipe together - go easy with the ghost peppers.

Salsa Fest 2011 is coming up next Friday at Sixth and Boston downtown. The deadline for entries is this week. Keep in mind – you'll need to dish out five gallons of salsa.

For more information contact salsafest2011@gmail.com or go to sustainabletulsa.org.