Monday, March 9, 2009

Two salsas and a cha-cha-cha.

Okay, big guy, if you're going to talk about the salsa, you need to post a recipe. I have two really good salsa recipes, one with fresh tomatoes and one with canned. I think, for the best flavor, a mix of the two is best, but hey, play it by ear and use what you have on hand. Either way, it's cheaper than the little jars of Pace you get at the supermarket, and tastes better, and is probably better for you.

Salsa One:

4 cups fresh tomato, peeled and cored (more on that later) OR 2 cans diced canned tomato with juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro
One lemon
One clove garlic

This salsa, the kids like better because it's not spicy. Which is why I make it. Because truthfully, I like the spicy #2 recipe better, but this is good, tastes more like pico de gallo. Plunk the tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro leaves in a food processor and squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over all. Puree. If it's too thick, add a tiny bit of water at a time until it's the consistency you like. Add salt to taste. If it's not acidic enough, add a little more lemon until it's where you want it to be. Serve with anything or eat with a spoon. Just kidding, though our younger daughter does it.

Salsa Two:

4 cups fresh tomato, or two cans diced canned tomatoes with juice
one Poblano pepper (that's the dark green one they make chile rellenos with)
One big onion or two smaller ones
One bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 seeded, chopped chipotle chile
cider vinegar
salt to taste

Line your cookie sheet with foil. Slice the onions about 1/2 inch thick, and put them on the cookie sheet with the garlic and pepper. Broil until they start to brown/blacken. Watch out not to burn the onion and garlic, but you need to roast the pepper until it's really black and blistered all over so you can skin it. I usually have to remove the onion and garlic before the pepper's done. Skin and de-seed the pepper. In your food processor, put the garlic, onion, pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, and chipotle chile. Pulse it a minute or so, adding a touch of water to thin it if you need to. Add a tablespoon of the cider vinegar (or I've also used lemon with good results). Add salt to taste. This is a super-good, smoky salsa. You can also add more of the chipotles if you want things spicier.

Okay, if you're a newbie to tomato-cookery, there are 2 ways to peel a tomato without losing flesh with the skin. Either you can boil water in a bowl in the microwave, or you can boil it on the stove. Cut a shallow "X" into the bottom end of the tomato, then dunk it in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. After that, the skin should slip off with no trouble at all. And coring means taking out the stem end of the tomato. Now you have tomatoes ready for the recipes yet you don't have those nasty little rolled-up pieces of skin in the salsa.

I will post the Pesto recipe later. I'm sure I'll be inspired when the basil finally starts sprouting. I also take requests, so if you need a recipe, let me know.

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