Saturday, May 06, 2006

salsa success

Generally speaking, a pile of chips and some salsa wouldn't seem the best possible supper, but I say that a good homemade salsa is a great way to get a handful of vegetables in your belly. While I'll admit that fried anything isn't the healthiest option to pair with your handful of vegetables, you really can't beat a classic, so I go with tortilla chips, though I can sit and imagine recipes where I could use this as more than just salsa and chips.

I usually enjoy making salsa. I don't use a recipe unless I just feel that I can't mentalize the proportions. Sometimes a salsa turns out bleh no matter how well intentioned or how well armed with vegetables you might be. And it really is a matter of proportion of ingredients as opposed to the actual ingredients.

Tonight's salsa turned out very good, though it's spicier than the boys will eat much of, so it doesn't work out well as a healthy snack for the entire family. Momma will love it though, and I'll agree with her when she does.

Here's what's in it. There's about a pint and a half of grape tomatoes, one red bell pepper, two jalapenos, one ear of corn (cob removed oddly enough), two cloves garlic, juice of one lime, half an onion, cilantro and some salt. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it? Seems like those tomatoes are going to give you a shitty skin to flesh ratio? Yeah, that didn't end up being a problem.

I always run the onion and cilantro through the food processor a couple of pulses before adding other ingredients. And if I say onion, I will always mean Vidalias when they are in season. That will never change ever unless I leave the South and can't find them.

One key to this particular salsa is that I roasted most everything. I've been doing that to salsa lately as roasting any vegetable tends to make it better. In this instance, I roasted the peppers, the tomatoes and the corn. I did the peppers in an iron skillet, then roasted the corn in the same skillet. The tomatoes I stuck in a 350 degree oven till almost half of them were starting to fall.

If I'd left the second jalapeno out I'd have been happier in that the boys would have eaten more. I really enjoyed it though and sat sweating through half of Dr. Who. It was lovely to me, but the poor boys missing out sucks because it's damn good. I have to also mention that it ended up very sweet. Vidalias are very sweet onions. The grape tomatoes are sweet, and then you roast them enough to bring out more of the sweetness. You get the same effect to some extent roasting the corn.

The peppers and tomatoes went into the food processor together for a few pulses with the corn going in the very last. I wasn't quite sure how the corn would act, how obliterated it would get. The corn was actually the muse that led me to salsa. It's actually an extreme leap beginning with Momma and my anniversary dinner at the almost really really good restaurant we ate at. One of the salsas we got with an appetizer was a creamy corn salsa. We ended up mixing some of it with the other salsas because they were all so good. So random mental journey from there that found it's catalyst in the produce department of Food City staring at corn and wishing it fit my plans for meals. So I made it fit, and days later, after seeing the ingredients sitting around waiting, success. Which is why it went in last. I wanted some of it to be in pretty big pieces, sort of shaking that thang.

I just now realized that I could have used both pints of tomatoes, but I had to save some for the boys. That would have evened out some of the heat from the second jalapeno. There isn't a lot of liquid in it, and I hate adding water if I can help it. I enjoyed it dry. Different tomatoes might make a moister salsa. I did save about half a pint as a snack. Big Brother eats sandwiches from the top, so grape tomatoes on the side make a sandwich that much easier to make. And I have an aversion to regular tomatoes lately. I ought to just grow some.

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