Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garden Salsa

Well it's that time of year when our little raised rock garden is cranking out quite a bit of produce.  I was looking at our bowl of red tomatoes on the counter and thought, we should make salsa!  Fortunately we had also planted a few different pepper plants, such as jalapeno, and the pale yellow Santa Fe peppers.  One quick Google led us to an endless array of salsa recipes, but luckily the only three basic ingredients you need are: Tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  We ended up trying a hybrid of a few recipes while also using the ingredients on the label of our favorite store bought salsa (Costco Kirkland Signature Organic Salsa) as a base for our inspiration. Here's what we came up with:

Homemade salsa, right from the garden!!
Okay, so first gather your ingredients.  Tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onion...

that pale yellow pepper is called a Santa Fe.  The id tag on it claimed "great for salsa" when we planted it last spring, testing it now!

also key players can be minced garlic, tomato paste, salt, water, vinegar, sugar.

Salsa ingredients - waiting to be salsa-fied
There is also the obvious choice of fresh cilantro here, but I abhor that herb with a passion.  Seriously.  To me cilantro tastes like dust, like death, like mummies!  So if you love that death herb as much as my sister-in-law (and/or half the known world) does, then by all means, chop it and throw it in!  Other people have been known to add green or red peppers finely chopped in their salsa as well.  It's up to YOU!

First you want 4-5 medium tomatoes.  We were not making a ton, just for us to enjoy tonight.  Maybe 2 cups worth total. We had four medium tomatoes plus a bunch of tiny cherry tomatoes, which our girls deemed "CUTE".  We de-stemmed and chopped the cherry tomatoes with a pampered chef chopper.  That brought out a lot of seeds, so we decided for the big tomatoes to slice and removed the seeds (just ran my thumb through the seed sections under water in the sink and they popped right out).  Then finely diced them into preferred bite size pieces.

We finely chopped up 1/2 an onion (about 1/2 cup).  I also threw in a spoonful of minced garlic for kicks.

Next we chopped up some peppers.  Salsa is sort of a blank canvas.  You can start with a base of basic ingredients, then use them as a spring board for your family's tastes.  If you like it hot, then leave the jalapeno seeds in, or just chop up a bunch.  If you like it milder then take the seeds and the center white membrane out.  You'll get a back ground hint of heat without blowing your head off.

It's still so excited to see vegetables you grew yourself go into your food!
If you like to chow down on big chunks in your salsa, then coarsely chop your veggies.  If you like them a little smaller, then do a finer dice on them.  Some people will put this into a food processor, we went the old fashioned route.  I told hubby these were too big, so we did a much finer dice after that.

I'm a pepper, you're a pepper, she's a pepper, he's a pepper, wouldn't you want  to be a pepper too?
Also do NOT rub your eyes, your face, or pick your nose before washing your hands.  Oh the burning!!  (Also be it noted: if you are picking your nose while you are cooking, you should really stay out of the kitchen).  Hubby washed his hands 3x and two hours later rubbed his eye and it started to burn so be CAREFUL with your peppers.

Here's our little peppers.  We just did one jalapeno, one Santa Fe, and one little red jalapeno.

Next dump everything in the mixing bowl!

Love all the colors of red, green and white
Mix everything together.  This is where you become part mad scientist.  Add salt, add a few spoonfuls of vinegar.  We added 2 spoonfuls of tomato paste to help thicken it up, if it becomes too tart, add a bit of sugar to balance it out.  You can also squeeze lemon or lime juice.  We added just a dash of water and stirred.  Keep tasting and adjusting.  

You are just a few stirs away from dipping your chips in salsa!!
Continue to adjust the seasoning, add more salt, etc., until you are satisfied with the taste.  Ours had a very fresh flavor with a background of heat, probably under the "medium" category.  The longer the salsa sits, the more the flavors will meld.  We were not that patient and got out our big ol' bag of chips right away.

Now all you have to do is go out to the backyard and enjoy your salsa while gazing at your garden.  Ooo, you know what would be good with this?  Mojitos.  I'll have to post about that very soon.  Until then... adios!


The Husband said...

Who knew that pepper "essence" would stay on your hands for so long. Ugh.

Rach said...

My husband calls cilantro "Rachel's catnip". As soon as I smell it I get excited! 'Whatcha cooking?? What's in it?? Can I chop the cilantro (aka pull it apart with my hands so I can smell my fingers)??'

Jenn said...

Soooo... yer saying you like cilantro... lol NICE!

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