Friday, December 31, 2010

Salsa Americana

I began the year by posting a recipe for fresh tomato salsa. One of the residents, an accomplished cook, showed me how to make fresh salsa by roasting plump tomatoes, onion and whole garlic cloves in a large skillet. "I make this salsa the way my grandmother taught me to make it," she said.

Since that day in early January I've experimented with a number of different salsas, including mango and roasted red pepper. Each time I toss one or two strange ingredients into a salsa, the ladies throw a look or two my way, but soon come back for more. Cucumber often finds its way into lunch-time salsas. I've successfully pared cucumber with cantaloupe.

Since the residents find comfort in familiar foods, I often prepare a more traditional tomato salsa for Mexican meals or snack with chips and salsa. I assemble salsa from canned tomatoes when the price of tomatoes climbs each winter. This is my basic salsa recipe.

SALSA WITH CANNED TOMATOES

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced small
3 jalapeno peppers, diced small
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced fine (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Check seasoning and adjust heat by adding jalapeno, chipotle or cayenne in desired amounts. Run through a blender or food processor for a finer consistency. Makes about 1 quart.

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