Monday, October 29, 2007

Homemade Salsa

The long awaited homemade salsa post has arrived!

So, here's a little back story behind the recipe. My mother-in-law made some wonderful salsa and I enjoyed it nearly every night I was there during our last visit. She got the recipe from the neighbor across the street (who's daughter was our maid of honor). Well, it's not a precise recipe, but I'll give you the low-down on what you need.


10 to 12 beef steak tomatoes
5 to 7 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 pablano pepper
5 to 7 jalapeno peppers
5 sprigs parsley
6 leaves cilantro
1 sprig oregano
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar

Utensils and Tools

1 sharp knife
1 large mixing bowl
1 cutting board
1 food processor
1 large spoon

Now, a few disclaimers up front.

1. This is a rough guess at the ingredient amounts. I didn't measure much of anything, just used what I had on hand.
2. This makes a HUGE amount of salsa. Expect to freeze a portion or feed a crowd.
3. This is geared for those with weaker tongues like me. It isn't very hot.

On with the mixing! I took the above ingredients and cut them as small as I could. The cilantro was minced pretty good. Everything else was cut into small pieces. The tomatoes were hard to cut small, so I left them in slightly larger chunks.

As the disclaimer said, this makes a lot of salsa. I used a large mixing bowl to dump my cuttings into. A quart is too small, so think 3 or 4 quarts. All of the ingredients are fresh, so expect to get a little messy. I used our large cutting board and had plenty of room.

So, the garlic gets pressed. The onion gets peeled and cut. The bell peppers (you can use any variety, green, red, yellow, your choice) were sliced, but I removed all the seeds and white innards first. For the jalapeno, I just cut it up and didn't bother trying to de-seed it. Parsley, oregano, and cilantro were coarsely to finely minced. Careful with the cilantro, it'll kill your salsa if you put too much in (like I did with my first batch). Salt and sugar just get dumped in.

Now, the tomatoes. I used romas in my first batch (that was so bad I couldn't eat it). They were not as watery inside and much firmer to use. But they're smaller. Like half to a quarter the size of a beef steak tomato. The beef steaks worked fine, but there's a catch when you cut them up. The first two, I just diced into large chunks, seeds, juice, and all. Well, I noticed how much water was going into the salsa, so I changed technique for the rest. I sliced the top and bottom off. Then I stuck my finger inside the little hole-area (where you see the seeds) and squeezed everything out. But be careful. It's easy to created a positive pressure zone inside the tomato. In other words, it'll squirt all over you and the counter if you're not careful.

Once I cut everything up as much as I could, I used the mixing bowl to toss the ingredients. This helps mix it up a bit. Then I scooped portions into the food processor. This will need to be done in stages as there is so much to process. I used the lowest Low setting (I think it was Grind or something) to cut everything up. I would spin it a few seconds and stop to push it back down then spin again. Then I'd empty it out into my dish.

In all, I made about a quart or two of salsa. I eased off the cilantro this time and had a lot more tomatoes. So batch #2 (this batch) was actually edible. You can use different peppers or add more if you want. It's up to you how hot you want it. I froze about a quart and still have plenty in the fridge to enjoy.

Oh, and don't forget to empty the trash when you're done. Don't want the house to smell like peppers all week!

1 comment:

-Melissa- said...

I will have to try your salsa recipe. It sounds really yummy. We love salsa and chips at our house.