Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sweet Sun Salsa

Friends, Paul and Janece, came for a casual, weekday dinner, and I made my first summer batch of salsa. (Why did I say "casual?" I cannot think of any meal here that is otherwise.) I warned them: "It won't be good until tomorrow," as I sampled the first mouthful. But these are summer tomatoes, and their goodness is already bursting... no need for the flavors to mingle and ripen overnight, and so that first bowl of salsa never saw the inside of our refrigerator. It was good and gone!

So, yesterday I picked a bushel and a peck of tomatoes, with plenty more still on the vines. How many, or much, is a bushel and a peck? I do not know.

Many, at least twenty, years ago, Geoff's mom, Ruth, shared her fresh salsa recipe with me. I still remember the tall mason jar of fresh salsa in her kitchen... delicious! I don't have the recipe any more, not on paper, but I think I have retained the general idea of it. The recipe goes something like this:

Tomatoes, lots of them... happy, sun kissed, garden fresh, heirloom tomatoes!
A red onion... can we agree red onions are purple?
Green Onions
Cilantro... I have these lovelies growing in rows, next to the sunflowers
A can of tomato sauce
Some crushed red pepper
Black pepper
Oh! And some Anaheim peppers, maybe a jalapen-yo (My tilde isn't working. ?Que pasa, Apple?

I am growing Anaheim peppers. I tease Geoff by calling them Chile Relleno plants. I picked two, and roasted them over a gas burner. Once they are blackened, I wrap them in a dishcloth, so the steam will further loosen the skins.

After the peppers cool, I lop off the stems, mince them, and throw them in with all the chopped onions, tomatoes, and about four ounces of tomato sauce. The cilantro is loosely chopped and mingling with all the other goodness. I dashed in some pepper and salt, to taste. That is all. Es todo.

Sometimes an Anaheim can have a little heat, and sometimes I have a jalapen-yo handy. This particular batch of salsa is mild. In fact, the tomatoes are so sun-kissed sweet, the salsa tastes more like a darling tomato jam, than anything picante! And since it has been sitting over night, the flavors have probably mellowed even more, so I may be adding some finely minced jalapen-yo, or a bit more crushed pepper. The main point is: do what you like... the seasonings, and flavors should make you smile, whether it's from the sweet freshness, or fiery freshness, it's your choice.

Anna Banana left me a recipe in her comment, and so today, these tomatoes, and more, will be slow roasting:

"About roasting the red fruit (not apples), I just roasted them sliced in half lengthwise, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic and fresh oregano. 300 degrees 90 min. Freeze them in baggies and pop them into dishes that deserve them."

Thank you, sweet friends, fellow cooks. Thank you, sweet sun!


kim sherrod said...

oh this has changed- it has been so long since I read your lovely chicken blog- I miss it! Maria is growing up! I am going to try to read down through- I have ribs in the oven, it's raining and I am finished with my cup of tea!
I have news- I will write you an email after I check on the ribs!
and I think the bunbun needs some more kale!

nikkipolani said...

Ooh, I want to see these amazing tomato vines! Nothing like a fresh salsa. Thanks for the recipe!

Kim said...

Oh yum! Your tomatoes look so juicy and delicious. I am going to miss the mainland produce! You would think that in Hawaii everything would grow like crazy with the year round summer and all...but the bugs, I tell ya! With no winter to kill everything off, the bugs are just outta control! Your recipe sounds delicious; I would not have thought of roasting the peppers on a gas burner. You're a salsa genius Natalie!

Maria said...

hi this is maria. that salsa was good!!!!!!!!!!! make more make more!xox:D<3

Jennifer said...

Sounds perfect, especially too good for being allowed to sit overnight but instead enjoyed right away! Meant to say before that I slice tomatoes thinly, line them up in rows kind of like making a gratin, douse them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast -- 300f for less than an hour (usually) until they look nicely browned. Same deal as far as portioning into bags or containers, freezing, and adding to any recipe for extra wonderfulness....

Janece said...

Maria is so very right and is a smart, smart girl!!! :) That salsa was amazing!!! No joke, the best I've ever tasted. Yum! I need to learn!

And I, for one, loved our casual dinner - some of the finest dining around!

judy in ky said...

You are lucky to have such a sweet, temperate sun there. Ours has been rather brutal, during this heat wave and drought. We are getting a bit of rain finally, though.