Timmy’s Salsa

Tonight I am going to be slinging books at our school’s Title 1 Literacy Night. Rather than leave you postless, the Hubs agreed to do a guest post. Enjoy…


        Three to Four pounds tomatoes, at least 4-5 of them being beefsteak, or on the vine variety.  Super fresh or homegrown is great

        One white/yellow onion

        One bunch cilantro

        One Anaheim pepper (called a New Mexico Pepper in new mexico and parts of texas, but is a different cultivar that is a little hotter)

        Two to four Serrano peppers or jalapeño peppers (depending on your heat tolerance)

        One to three poblano peppers

        One shallot

        Three to five cloves garlic

        One TBS Olive oil

        One TBS White Vinegar

        One tsp crushed red pepper

        Salt and black pepper to taste

        14 oz can of tomato sauce (can be skipped; see below)


This is best with a food processor, but can be done by hand or with a blender.

1.     Core four to five of the tomatoes (your bigger tomatoes) and place on cookie sheet

2.     Broil in oven until tops are blackened and skin is falling off.  Set aside and let cool

3.     While the tomatoes are broiling skin and halve your onion and put in food processor.

4.     Seed the peppers, but preserve the whitish flesh inside.  The white flesh is the pith of the pepper, and contains the highest amount of Capsaicin, the spicy compound.  The outside flesh also contains Capsaicin but not as much as the inside.  The seeds themselves do not contain Capsaicin, just the flesh in which they are located.

Side note:  Two of the many things that I love are spicy foods, and fresh, homegrown plants, especially tomatoes and peppers.  I love to grow tomatoes and peppers, and whenever I grow a garden at home, typically tomato and pepper plants are overrepresented.   Further, I love heirloom plant varieties that are usually not represented in grocery stores, “organic” food stores, or even many farmer markets. 

We have a couple nice, improving farmer markets in our town, but I have been disappointed by the selection in the past.  The most interesting markets I have seen, when it comes to tomatoes and peppers, was when we in Rome.  I wanted to buy pounds upon pounds of produce.

With the purchase of our new house, I can finally have the garden that I want.  I have been planning out construction since last fall, and boring Leila with the details.  This includes reviewing the seeds available from my favorite place to buy seeds.  They have a catalog that you can look through online, or sent by mail, and they have tons of interesting varieties of heirloom plants.

Chili peppers are amazing plants.  They are related to tomatoes, and also, potatoes, tobacco, eggplant, and paprika, which all of the family Solanaceae, or Nightshade.   It is also related to belladonna; which, while not as tasty, has its own varying uses, from medicine to poisoning political figures throughout history. 

Chili peppers, and their derivatives, are used for topical analgesics, arthritis pain, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain, migraines, and other ailments.  They have also been used historically as weapons, including pepper spray.  They are also used to defend crops and food stores.   They are also extremely high in vitamin C, B Vitamins and carotene. See, simply amazing plants! 

However I like them most for the documented rush, that they provide, which includes increased heart rate, and which can provoke pleasurable and even euphoric effects.  But, as you can assume, that depends on the person.  To each his own, right? But back to the salsa.

5.     Put chilis, onion, shallot, and garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse until to a well diced/minced consistency (see picture).  Remove to a large mixing bowl or Pyrex.

6.     Peel skins from the broiled tomatoes and place them in the food processor.  Add all of the cilantro leaves from the bunch of cilantro.  Pulse until well blended.  Add to the onion/pepper mix and mix.

7.     Core/trim the remaining fresh tomatoes and place in the food processor.  Pulse, but not as much as the other steps so far.  You need something in between a minced and diced size.  However, if you would like larger chunks, or want a salsa closer to “salsa fresco” style, then dice the remaining tomatoes by hand.

8.     Add the fresh tomatoes to the bowl and blend. 

9.     Add a teaspoon or two of kosher or sea salt (to taste) and a teaspoon of black pepper

10.  Add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

11.  Add a Tablespoon each of EVOO and White Vinegar

12.  Mix all ingredients

13.  Pour in the can of tomato sauce.  Again if you want the Salsa Fresca style, skip this step.  However, it is important for the normal recipe.

14.  Taste for salt, and then place in the refrigerator to cool for a couple hours.  Note that the spiciness will increase during this time, in case you believe you need more spice before you put it in the fridge.

15.  After chilling stir again, and enjoy.  Of course, if you’re me, you would have homemade tortilla chips to eat it with.

Medicine haze Monday.

Random thoughts filled my cloudy head today….

Does 24 Hour Sudafed contain caffeine? If not, why couldn’t I sleep last night.

Why am I so parched? Does Sudafed do that to you? Why does my water taste gross?

I wonder when I’ll get my next 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond. I could really use some more storage containers.

Why don’t we have a Container Store?

When will Trader Joe’s really open?

I wonder if I could talk the hubs into running over to World Market to pick up some more dark chocolate with sea salt.

Why have I not made my own nut butter yet?

I wonder if I could make my own Nutzo, there is no way I am spending $11.99 on a jar of nut butter.

There were more, but I’ll spare you. My head is very foggy from a combo of meds and I can’t really function.

I had to drive the hubs to work this morning because his car had to go into the shop. Long story short he left his car in his work parking garage over the weekend because it is making really loud, clanky, scary noises. He made an appointment for this morning at 7:30. He dropped the car off and walked back to work only to receive a phone call from Volvo informing him that they never ordered the part! What the fudge Volvo? So we have to wait around 5 days before the part will come in…one car + morning workouts + working on opposite sides of town = really cranky Leila.

Brekkie was a pretty standard coffee/half&half/raw sugar + oats/blueberry craisins/chia seeds mix.

Lunch consisted of some roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a side salad, some seltzer and a side of laughter.

Snackie of peach chobani + ice water, (I love that my water bottle still had a huge chunk o ice in it at 2:30 pm).

A co-worker dropped off a bunch of free brand new books from his sister, making my afternoon a whole lot brighter. Included in the mix is the 2011 Newbery Award Winner, Moon Over Manifest!

Then it was off to the gym. Uggh, I hate working out with the after work crowd. Not that I have anything against these people, I’m sure they are all very nice in another setting. But the too small parking lot + too many pieces of cardio equipment in a small space  = really cranky gym goers. Plus I am slightly claustrophobic, and after hitting elbows with the girl next to me for a half hour I was totally over it. Luckily she got off her machine before we had an elbow war and I was able to complete a full hour on the adaptive motion trainer.

After picking the hubs up halfway between his work and the Y, (volvo is not to be trusted on the roads), I quickly assembled taco salads from yesterday’s leftovers.


And maybe a few chips w/salsa and guac on the side.

Now about that dark chocolate w/sea salt…

Guactastic Super Bowl.

First of all: PACKERS WIN!

Remember this picture?

My mom texted me saying she was pretty sure my dad was going to wear the cheese head to work tomorrow. He was born and raised in Wiscaaaaahhnsin, and is a major, major cheese head. (Yes I pronounce Wisconsin with the long ahhhh sound in the middle. No, I don’t have a Midwest accent, but I find it more fun that way.)

Guacamole can actually make me want to watch football. I know, crazy, but oh so true.

Today we hosted a few friends for Super Bowl Sunday, and between sudafed and dayquil I was feeling up for a little fun. The hubs made chips & salsa, (I promise to post the recipe soon, you will want to bathe in this salsa).

The tennis ball was passed between friends.

They were both rooting for the Packers and called a truce for today it appears.

And I made a ridiculous amount of guacamole. I pretty much followed this recipe, added cumin and pentupled it, (multiplied by five…is there a word for that? I’m calling it pentuple, even though I know that is a scientific term that does not mean multiply by five.)

Avocados were 69 cents each! And they were soft, perfect for making guac! When I giddily exclaimed this at the grocery store yesterday, the fellow next to me looked frightened and slowly backed away. Clearly he does not get as excited as I do about this green goddess fruit.

I find the easiest way to mash an avocado for guacy goodness is to cut it in half, remove the pit and squeeze directly into your bowl.

A little more green and yellow goodness…

Cilantro is a tricky beast, and unless your knife is very, very sharp it is rather difficult to chop it up without wilting the leaves. My mom taught me to bunch the cilantro together, (stems removed, which can be a real bugger), and chop with your kitchen scissors, perfect solution!

I enlisted Libb to dice up the serrano peppers.

All mixed up with love.

Cute cook in the kitchen alert.

What? I can’t call myself cute? Self love peeps, self love.

 We normally don’t eat until at least 7, sometimes 8, (ahem, last night it was 9:30). We consider it European style, but that wasn’t going to work tonight. The game started at 3:30 pacific time, which meant an early dinner. Like early bird special style.

Taco bar all set up.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, that would be a football crock pot my friends.

Would you like your turkey taco meat with a side of sippy cup?

I decided to dish mine up taco bowl style. The lovely Anastasia cooked up a mean cheesy rice dish that served as my base. Topped with some medium salsa, turkey taco meat, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, sour cream and guac.

Holy yum.

Oh and p.s. when you party at my house I provide skittles as hors d’oeuvres.

See I knew that sparkly heart bowl would be put to good use.