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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fresh Salsa

During the summer, fresh salsa is a staple in our house. It's practically it's own food group. Nothing beats picking tomatoes, peppers, and onions from the garden, and chopping them up while they are still warm from the sun. This simple recipe is from my mom, and it becomes a fast favorite of everyone who gets a taste.

Fresh Salsa

4 c. diced tomatoes
1/2 c. diced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-4 jalapenos, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. vinegar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

Drain juices off tomatoes, place in medium-sized bowl. Add onions and garlic. For the jalapenos, add them in small amounts until you reach the desired level of spiciness (start small and remove the seeds if you prefer things on the milder side). Add oil, vinegar, cumin, and salt. Stir well to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings and peppers as needed. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated.

- I normally use purple onion because it's pretty (I ran out when I made the batch I photographed)
- Be careful with the jalapenos! They are tricky because they often vary greatly with their level of spiciness. I usually start with one, and add more if necessary. The last few I've used have been extremely potent... only needing about a half of a pepper to reach the right level of spicy for me. Other times I've needed the full 4 peppers.
- Add whatever else you feel like! This time I threw in some sweet banana pepper and some green pepper (more for color, I was only using a tiny bit of jalapeno, so I needed more green).
-  When taste-testing, use a tortilla chip. This will help you correctly gauge the overall saltiness.
- This recipe is not suitable for canning, it doesn't have enough acidity to preserve correctly.
- When in doubt, make a double batch! I almost always do.

I am not a kitchen gadget person. I don't even use a garlic press (my mini food processor is way easier and just as simple to clean). They take up too much room in my already cramped kitchen, are one more thing to wash, and often make a task more complicated. But for making fresh salsa, there is one gadget I've made room for: The Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I know what you're thinking, another one of those silly as-seen-on-tv products. Well, this one actually works. My mom uses it for making salsa, and gave me one too so my life could be easier. All I have to do is cut my tomatoes and onions in half, place them on the cutter, press down, and presto! Perfect little chunks. It comes with 2 cutting screens, one for dices and one for minces. It does take a little muscle power to cut through tougher items like onion, but nothing difficult. With all the salsa I make, this little guy will probably save me about 3000 hours in my lifetime. Not bad for one easy payment of $19.95!

I realize this sounds like a paid advertisement. I assure you it is not, just a plug for a good product.

Happy salsa making!


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