Sunday, April 10, 2005


(More fun with the food processor)

I love salsa, but in my opinion, it is not worth the price you pay for it in the grocery store. I break down and buy some every now and then, but I find that making my own Salsa is easy, fun, and very cost effective—especially since I got my food processor.

I’ve made three kinds of salsa in the past two weeks. Actually, two kinds—I just left the garlic out of part of one to satisfy my girl Pat’s taste buds.

Basically, salsa consists of a variety of things found on the fruit and vegetable isle of the grocery store, all ground up and seasoned with some spices and a little vinegar. For instance, there is…

Plain Salsa:

Into the food processor toss the following:

Two medium tomatoes, cut into large cubes (seeded if you want to)
One seeded jalapeno pepper (or leave the seeds in if you want more “heat”)
One quarter medium onion, cubed.
As much garlic as you can stand—at least one clove (I like two or three)
A few sprigs of fresh Cilantro
Two or three table spoons of white vinegar
Salt to taste
A couple of twists on the old pepper mill.

Start out with the seasonings and the onion and garlic so that it will spread out and not end up as a few large mind blowing chunks in someone’s mouth. Place the garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar, and jalapeno pepper in the basin of your food processor and grind on high speed until you get a fine paste. Now scrape down the walls of the basin.

Now throw in the tomatoes and cilantro and press the “Pulse button” on the food processor until everything is cut up to the consistency you want.

If you want chunky salsa for use on tacos, burritos, or as a side on a plate of Mexican food, then make it chunky by going easy on the pulse button.

If, however, you prefer that thin, watery stuff that they throw in front of you with tortilla chips when you sit down at the local “Casa de Pedro Cantina” or wherever you go to get your fix of Mexican food, then turn the food processor on high and go take a shower.

When you get back you’ll have thin, watery salsa that tastes exactly the same but has no texture and character. I happen to like texture in my salsa.

A trick I’ve learned is to put part (two thirds or so) of your major ingredients including all of the spices and seasonings into the basin of the food processor, chop it all up fairly fine, then throw in the rest of the tomatoes, peppers, or whatever you are using and then carefully hit the pulse button a few more times. This way you get a variable consistency including a flavorful base of flavor to please your taste buds and tongue, with larger chunks included to give your molars something to do. I like to get my entire mouth involved with my cooking.

Next we have Tomatillo Salsa:

Tomatillos look like a small green tomato in a brown paper wrapper. They are a relative of the tomato, but have a tart flavor with a little ‘bite” like a mild pepper.

The local grocer has a Tomatillo salsa that they sell for about four dollars. I love it, but I think that I can figure out how to make it myself. Here is what I did…

Six two inch Tomatillos, with the brown wrapper removed
One quarter of a medium onion
One or Two seeded jalapeno peppers (or leave the seeds in if you want more “heat”)
As much garlic as you can stand—at least one clove (I like two or three)
A few sprigs of fresh Cilantro
Two or three table spoons of white vinegar
Salt to taste
A couple of twists on the old pepper mill.

Again, put the onion, garlic, vinegar, and spices into your basin and puree to a paste. Scrape down the sides of the basin, then add four or five of the Tomatillos (and some more onion if you want) and pulse the food processor to you get the consistency you want.

Now do another cycle by adding the last Tomatillo(s) (and yet more onion—ummm, ummm, good) and pulse until it looks right.

As always, I suggest that you TASTE WHAT YOU JUST MADE. So, TASTE YOUR SALSA.

Does it need anything? More salt? A little more vinegar?

Then add it, then place your salsa in a bowl and toss it in the fridge for an hour or so.

When you get ready to watch “the big game” or the NASCAR race, grab yourself some chips and then EAT!

Enjoy Y’all

The Redneck Gourmet

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