Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Last week, I was lucky enough to have lunch with sweetie at work. While there, I tasted Kathy's salsa -- a co-worker had made salsa that sweetie was crazy about. I told him to get the recipe, and I would make it. Here is the recipe exactly as Kathy wrote it:

"One thing before I start, the salsa never comes out the same. It all depends on how much you use in anything (and its also dependent on how your feeling - if your feeling crappy it will come out crappy but if your feeling great it will come out great!) Also note I can't give you exact amounts of things. You will need to determine your own taste. You can add and substract from the amounts given here.

1 can of tomates 14 ounce (can be diced or peeled - just not seasoned)
2 serrano chiles
1 jalapeno pepper
3 garlic cloves (or so depends on how you like garlic)
1/4 yellow onion
cilantro (fresh)

Roast chiles and garlic. (A pan works fine) Blacken sides.  When finished roasting place them in a plastic bag to sweat.

Depending on the size of the cilantro bunch, take about a 1/4 and cut lower stems off. I usually use 2/3 top of the cilantro. That's usually about right above the tie used to bunch the cilantro.

Place tomatoes in blender, add cilantro, and onion.

Add roast garlic (remove peelings)

Chiles: Using a knife and fork and a cutting board take chile, scrape off blacken skin with knife (should come off easily if not all comes off that's o.k.)  Cut stem off. Half chile. Open and with knife clean out seeds and membranes. Doesn't have to be perfect. The more you take out the less "hot" it will be so its really up to you.  I tend to be "messy" meaning I clean just enough and keep the rest for taste. Do this for each chile and place in blender.  Do not touch the chiles with your fingers!  Use knife and fork to hold and clean.

Now puree. 

Add salt to taste.


For added taste, make sure you have tortilla chips to taste. And don't forget the beer. Hmm salsa, chips and beer. Great for the nice spring and summer months ahead!"

Well, I made it today, and it was good. At first I didn't add enough salt, and it had a very sweet, noticeable "canned tomato" taste. Once I got enough salt in there, it was pretty tasty, and had just a little bite, too.

I'm pretty easygoing when it comes to my salsa -- I prefer them quite hot, but not so hot you can't taste anything but burning, yet I'll eat even the mildest salsas. I prefer a very chunky salsa fresca, but will eat pureed cooked salsas. I've had wildly different salsas that I liked equally, from the crazy hot pureed version at Tres Hermanas to a mild mango and red onion salsa from the Moosewood cookbook. The best I've ever had, hands down, was Papa's* cooked salsa. There's just no comparison.

HOWEVER . . . when it comes to guacamoles, I actually am pretty picky. I do not care for the kind that come in the plastic tup at the supermaket at all. Usually they come totally smooth and mixed with a dairy product. BLECH! What the hell is that? There's even a line of salsas you can get at the co-op that are really good, Native something, but their guacamole? Just so-so. Now as for homemade or restaurant guacs, I think people go wrong when they put too much stuff in. They're always tempted to bulk it up with onions (not too bad), tomatoes (which are for SALSA), or even hard-boiled eggs (I've had it more than once). My hippie cookbooks all have recipes for lower-fat "guacamole" with edamame or frozen peas or whatever. I don't think those should be called guacamole at all. I think you should have to offer your guests "pea dip." No, the avocado is so nearly perfect on its own that I firmly believe my method for making guacamole is about as perfect as you can get. I'll fight you on this, too.

2 avocados, very ripe.
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
lemon juice

Use a little less than a tablespoon of lemon juice, and squeezed fresh out of a lemon** is better than bottled -- this is guacamole we're talking about, after all. The salt is to taste. Start with maybe half a teaspoon. With the lemon juice and the salt, start with just a little and taste, because you can always add more later. Smash everything together with a fork, but leave it chunky. I cannot stress this enough. Chunks are good! If you need to put more salt or lemon juice in after you've already smashed, try to stir the stuff without smashing it too much more. This, my friends, is guacamole perfection.

Tonight I think I'll also make coffee ice cream. I'll just use the Ben and Jerry's recipe with one difference -- instead of using instant coffee granules, I bought Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso.

* Papa was my best friend's grandpa. The salsa was amazing, and for years I bugged him to either write down the recipe or let me watch him make it, and he always said he would. But a week later or so, I'd come to the house and it would smell heavenly, and he would have just finished making it. It had tomatoes, garlic peppers, I think it had tiny bits of carrot. It was cooked in a giant metal pot on the stove and he put it in jars to give away. Man, it was amazing. IWe used to sit aroung a table with a bag of tortilla chips, not talking, barely looking at one another, just eating and eating, because if you stopped then your mouth would REALLY start to burn. never thought Papa liked me at first, because he would always call me "that girl." As in "Gregory, that girl's here." But after a while, I discovered that if I didn't show up for a couple days, he would ask "where's that girl?" Finally, when I would return, he would say, almost with relief, "there she is."

** Don't buy a lemon squeezer. The best way to squeeze a lemon is just to use your hand, and squeeze the juice over your other hand, which is cupped to catch the seeds. It's incredibly efficient, free, um, environmentally responsible . . . and if you've been cutting garlic it'll make your hands smell better. And it totally works. Don't be dumb, though -- if you've got a papercut or something, this will hurt.


Blogger Erminio said...

Have you ever seen Asparagus this BIG
They grow up to 15in long and 2in wide.
how to grow asparagus

October 8, 2005 at 12:46:00 PM PDT  
Blogger lindaweaverfamily said...

Vegetables are great, but the Heart Start Defibrillator is better (At saving your life, that is ;) ).

November 8, 2005 at 8:15:00 PM PST  

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