Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salsa made easy part 1

The bad thing about summer is it is HOT.  Especially this year in Maryland where the humid fairy must be in ecstasy, because it's been more humid than normal, even though we haven't had a lot of rain.  The good thing about summer are garden tomatoes.  The flavor is just superior to whatever you can get in the store.

If you are a gardener, or even if you are not, there is a great place to buy a few plants if you have a smaller garden, or don't want the challenge of starting from seed.  I love ordering the plants online, because then I don't have to weed out the weaker ones if I start them in peat pots.  Call me weird, but I feel bad tossing the little guys, so I let The Tasteful Garden do it for me.  They send me plants ready to put into the ground grown on their organic farm in Alabama y'all.

Each year I plant 2 eating tomatoes, a small cherry/berry type tomato, and a paste/cooking tomato.  This year I had a blonde moment and ordered TWO small tomatoes - not from Tasteful Garden - although that was a mistake - I wanted to "try something different...You know the saying "tried and true?" well...SOMEONE came up with that for a reason!   one is a berry tomato that I think is tasteless, the other is a cherry tomato that is.."ok" but not up to Tasteful Garden calibre.   However, they are quite prolific, thanks to hubby's fascination with manure.  Right now I feel like Captain Kirk in that episode where the ship was invaded with Tribbles that just kept multiplying.

 That's how I feel about those damn little tomatoes.  I can't give them away fast enough.  I'm always chucking one of the bigger ones that seem to go soft at the drop of a hat, and nothing irritates me more than reaching into the basket and having my finger go through one of them like mush.  Yuk.

The sauce tomato is doing well, I harvested a boatload off it the other day, and made my obligitory Roasted Tomato Salsa for hubby's work.  If I didn't make it, they would probably come camp on my doorstep chanting "SAL-SA! SAL-SA!, SAL-SA!" until I obliged.

If you've never made homemade salsa, then maybe you better not start.  Because once you do, you'll be spoiled for life, even if you buy Newman's own Salsa on a regular basis (which is the next best thing to homemade)

I will tell you SUCH an easy way to make salsa, it's not funny.  If you're careful, you don't even need to clean the pan.  How easy is that?  Plus, you don't even have to peel the garlic, even though I taught you a cool way to peel them painlessly.

What you need is: (and Printable Recipe is HERE)

12 roma tomatoes The oblong ones..."why?" you ask? well, they're meatier, have less seeds and less juice than your eating tomato.  These bad boys are MADE for cooking.  You probably COULD use regular tomatoes, but if you do, try to find some meaty ones.
1 red onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves of garlic skin on
1 decent size jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
a few chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce If you don't know where to pick those up, go to the Spanish food aisle at your supermarket - where all the GOYA products are - you will see a small can there with Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  buy it :)  There are different brands, but it will look something like this:

Salt, pepper
1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

1.  First, line a cookie sheet with tin foil.

2.  Cut the tomatoes in half (I cut in quarters to make it easier to process later) and lay them skin side up in the pan.  Quarter the onion, put it in the pan, along with the jalapeno pepper you've deseeded and halved, and then throw the cloves of garlic in the pan.  You don't need to give them any breathing room - just make it work! :)

3.  Drizzle with Olive Oil.

4.  Broil about 10 minutes, or until the skin on the tomatoes begins to brown (note the key word here is begins to brown)  The time may vary, depending on your broiler, so start watching it closely after FIVE minutes.  When done, remove from oven and let cool.  Go watch your favorite show, put your feet up - everyone will think you slaved all day over this salsa, so pour yourself a glass of wine, and fool them all.

5.  Once the stuff is cool:  The garlic will pop right out of its skin.  Put the contents in a food processor and process to desired consistency.  (you may have to do it in batches)  Add about 2 chipotle peppers from the can, more if you want more heat.  You can also throw an extra jalapeno on the cookie sheet.

6.  Place the salsa in a bowl, mix well, and add the 1/2 lime juice to the salsa.  Add the cilantro and adjust seasonings.  If you need more heat, process a couple more chipotle peppers, or if you don't want the smoky flavor, add some hot sauce. 

I think one jalapeno is enough for 12 tomatoes with a chipotle pepper or two.  If you love chipotles (like I do) omit the jalapeno.  However, my hubby doesn't like smoky tasting stuff, so I throw a jalapeno in there to put him off track, and trick him into thinking there is no smoky chipotles in there.  After 20 years of marriage, you learn to work around the quirks.

I love this salsa.  You could skip the broiling step, and make salsa cruda, but honestly, I prefer mine this way.  If you get too heavy handed with the peppers, just broil up a few more tomatoes, onions, and garlic and make more salsa.  It will go quickly, I promise you :)

1 comment:

  1. i freakin' love salsa! i bet homemade is 40932942 times better.....hmmm. maybe i should attempt? tomatoes kind of scare me still.