Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Good Fresh Salsa

In a blender, process 3 parts tomatillos, 2 parts yellow tomatos, and 1 part vidalia type onions. Add salt to taste.

You can also substitute other tomatoids, substitute any raw-eatin onion (for example red onions or scallions), add hot peppers. The only tricky part is getting the amount of salt right. If you run the blender a lot, the salsa will froth up like a green milkshake. I kind of like that look, but if you don't then be careful!

This is good on chips, but it really comes into its own as an enchilada sauce.

UPDATE!
I don't like figs. I love dates, but figs, no.

UPUPDATE!
Bonus points for any reader who can tell me what band Fugazi hired to perform their album End Hits. Because it isn't Fugazi, that's for sure.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Gronch Blooth said...

It worked out pretty well for me, though I put it in a quesadilla with cheese and chicken and found it a bit mild for that purpose. I got a jalapeño with the rest of the ingredients, and I'm gonna try adding that for lunch today. I've still got about 14 fl oz left of the salsa. Kinda overdid it.

My usual salsa thing involves liquefying 1.5 or two coarsely chopped jalapeños w/ seeds and in the juice of one lime, with 1/2 tsp salt and two coarsely chopped raw garlic cloves. (Then add to tomatoes, onions, and cilantro -- did I get that recipe from you?).

But the point is the alarmingly vivid and implausible fluorescent green color of the pepper/lime slurry. Eerie stuff.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I made it with wellow tomatos and scallions this morning, and, yeah, the tendency is to make as much as the blender will hold. It is bright green and foamy. Not as good as the tomatillo/onion version though.

Your jalapeno/lime slurry sounds cool as a stand-alone sauce. At the other extreme of heat, but still.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

My usual Serving Suggestion for quick lunches here is to brown some chunks of store-bot fully-cooked turkey breast in the toaster oven. Then I melt some cheese over top of those at the last minute. And I very cautiously warm up like a cup of green stuff on a low microwave setting. Then I plunge the cheesy browned turkey into a shallow bowl (or deep plate) of warm green sauce.

It can be very good, but mostly it's quick.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

This started as "clean the fridge" salsa before I left for NYC last week. So the idea was to freeze most of it. Annnnnd, unfortunately, it is not so good after freezing. It tastes ok, but seems to get very watery.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Grooth Borch said...

I did make the j/l slurry as a stand-alone sauce a couple years ago, in my first thrashings-around with peppers. It was... OK, I guess, but nothing spectacular. And it didn't keep well -- sorta turned brown -- which was a problem, because it's not something you eat wholesale.

Oh, also btw, I think my tomato/tomatillo ratio was more like 4:5 or so. I held back about 1/3 of the tomato, then changed my mind after blending the rest, and threw it in as small chunks. I like how that turned out. In fact, my gut instinct here for next time is to puree only a small portion of the tomato, and leave the rest chopped.

OK, lunch today: Pureed a single jalapeño and mixed in with the tomatillo/onion salsa. This perks it up a bit, but not so I'd call it "hot"; I guess the pepper concentration is about 1/3 to 1/4 of what a reasonably hot salsa ("cilantro", above) would have.

Spread liberally on two plain cheese and flour-tortilla quesadillas.

It's pretty damn good.

P.S. I re-bevelled my main knife with a stone. To my great relief, I didn't ruin it. Also, it worked. It's keeping an edge better than it has in two years.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I also threw a j. into my bright-green scallion milkshake before lunch today. And, once you start adding peppers it's hard to stop. I have about half the salsa left, and I think I'll throw my other jalapeno into it, about tripling the pepper factor, for dinner.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I've been pondering, mine may also need lime, especially as I'm missing the tomatillo factor. Pretty quickly it is no longer a minimalist salsa, nor a "clean the fridge" salsa, but a plain old-fashioned "buy $20 worth of stuff to make $5 worth of" salsa.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Hey do you still need filter algs?

10:47 AM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I don't think you got the garlic/lime/jalapeno/cilantro salsa recipe from me, is it good? Because I've mostly been making cooked salsa for the past couple of years, and K was usually the salsa person before that.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Gorby Brooch said...

The garlic/lime/cilantro salsa recipe may be... no, wait, I derived it from Dick Dickless's Smug Asshole Mexican Cooking Manual, or whatever that book is. There's a fresh salsa recipe in there somewhere... Ah, p35, here it is; I marked it. Looks like I stole it pretty much intact, except I use more lime juice than he does (quantities above are for three mediumish tomatoes, maybe 1/3 mediumish onion -- too much onion is disastrous), and he says to chop everything very finely instead of liquefying the garlic and peppers. And he says to chop the tomatoes to 1/16 inch, which is of course criminally insane.

Anyhow, yeah, it's really good. Have you had Whole Foods' medium fresh salsa? At least, I think the one I have in mind is labeled "medium"; it's definitely not the nauseating kind with green bell pepper in it, which I think is "mild". Anyhow, the good kind is great, and "mine" is like that, but with overtones of raw garlic and lime, which make it even better. It put me off cooked salsa permanently.

I brought some to a party, and this one guy was standing in front of it eating it steadily for like ten minutes, which delighted me until I realized he was just stoned. So I shot him.

Just made and ate a third quesadilla with Tomatillo Glop. Man, that's really good. Great fresh/zingy/tangy/water-based thing to offset the heavy/fried/grease-based thing going on with the quesadilla. I think the pepper is well worth the added prep complexity (which isn't that much really: The cutting board, the knife, and the blender are already in play, and with a jalapeño you don't need protective gear).

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Crooch Brooby said...

...but yeah, the pepper's definitely flirting with uncontrolled complexity creep.

P.S. I'm listening to the End Hits clips on Amazon, aaaaand... it leaves me as cold as everything else they've done post-13 Songs. But it does sound like that band to me, just with the wall of guitar noise attenuated a bit. I'd bet money it's the same bass player still, and probably the same drummer.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Groozhny Thooorb said...

...or am I just being leadenly nerdy and literal-minded on the Fugazi issue and totally missing your point?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Groovy BowwwCH said...

I haven't had anything from Whole Foods ever, that I can recall. I'm glad you like the tomatillo stuff. Yeah, it seems to work best as a counterpoint to some sort of Grease Pod. I would never have found out that I like any salsa recipe without hot pepper, except that there are women and children around. The amazing thing for me is that I could enjoy any mild salsa at all. I got there by patiently iterating toward a tomato sauce that S was willing to eat. She kept helping me make it and questioned (ok complained about) literally every ingredient except tomatos and salt. "It's mato sauce daddy! Ony matos!" Which turns out to be surprisingly good advice even for K and me.

Re Fugazi
No, my point was that I don't like the album. 13 Rongs and Repeater: GOOD; 3or4indistinguishablewhatevers, BAD.

So, yeah, physically, in principle, it is the same lineup. I liked the wall of guitar noise, it kind of helped hide the fact that they aren't working for me any more. I guess they tried reworking their formula some and, for me, it made the problem even worse.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Well. Ahem. Tripling the jalapeño content of my wellow mato + scallion version really hits the spot. It also makes the radioactive green color even more ridiculous. Anyone looking at it would assume that it was a genuine product of Mexico, because food colorings that lurid have been illegal here since like 1950.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Follow-up points:

1. 1/16 inch slices of mato? Who is that cookbook guy? Is the book any good? Because I have a Steve Raichlen Mex cookbook, and he is somewhat of a smug asshole but the book is very practical.

2. Glad to hear about your Stone. I grind my knives once every year or two and once I got in practice it was better than not grinding them. Mostly I just use the steel thing, because it's less potential for harm.

3. Don't sell cooked salsa short. You need to try the Charred Salsa that I prattle about in the summertime. It is fucking brown, dude. People go, like, what's in it, beans? And I'm like, no, dude, it's tomato, onion and pepper. And after a while they ask again about the beans. It's good.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I should give the bears some habaneros. That would send a message.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Thoob Koogth said...

Oh, right, Repeater! That one has good songs too. But nothing as good as "Margin Walker" and "Waiting Room": A) Killer hooks; B) very much funkier and more interesting rhythm section than standard-issue punk band; C) wall of guitar noise. But also more variety in guitar playing than just standard punk chord-bashing.

But and so, yeah, liquefied-jalapeño green is passing lurid.

The cookbook is Rick Bayless, Authentic Mexican. It's not 0.0625" slices of tomato; he means chopped such that 0.0625" is the greatest dimension of the fragments. Utter lunacy.

I based my much-admired chili on one of his chili recipes, but somewhat more loosely that time. I think he calls for dried anchos, which are good, but dried arbols give it a more subcontinental flair, as it were, so I serve it with basmati rice when I use those. Whatever they are, they gotta be dried ones.

My issue with cooked salsa is it doesn't have that lively fresh zing to it. Which is a characteristic I'm also somewhat irrationally drawn to in guitars and girlfriends as well, the more I think about it. Cars, too. Hmmm...

Feeding the bears habañeros might send them a salubrious message, but in the short term it might also inspire them to run amok? Bears are susceptible to another kind of message, of course, though ventilating the brutes within city limits and out of season might be pushing your luck. And God knows what you'd do with all the meat.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Dried anchos, to be more precisely accurate, rule.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.P.S. But with the knives, well yeah, the stone is for re-beveling, not daily touch-ups.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

The charred salsa uses dried arbols. I've recently begun to appreciate that not all dry pointy red peppers taste the same. Arbols seem to have a particularly bitter taste that is really habit-forming for me.

With 2 vegatrians in the house, we'd never get em et. I don't even know if I like bear, or where I'd put a new whole-bear freezer. My understanding is that they're supposed to hibernate any time now, so I could confront them with that I guess.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Though, technically, the back yard is a couple hundred feet outside city limits.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

"a 2 1/2-inch version of the Super Redhawk chambered for the powerful .454 Casull cartridge. It’s designed to be an authoritative companion arm for hunters of dangerous game and outdoorsmen who hike or fish"

Yes, indeed. Very cool looking gun. Unfortunately I can't hit much with a pistol. (Not if I engage from beyond claw range, anyhow.) If it ever came to a real Man vs. Nature showdown, I would prefer to 'sport' (and I use the term as loosely as possible) a spotlight and a semiautomatic rifle.

It would show those fucking fish who's boss, that's for sure.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Back on the habanero weapons-system, a Jack Vance story gives me pause. The Cugel one where Faucelme gives the mermelants some kind of poison tea to teach them a lesson, then they sleep in his yard for a day then "befoul" it "lavishly." I don't like the sound of that.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Glawen said...

Hmm. I agree that the habañero tactic may be an insipid concept.

I can't recall ever having tried to hit anything with a pistol, though I may take a swing at it after I move to the Lenient Gun Law State. Not as lenient as Vermont, though. Vermont has unlicensed concealed carry. I'm not sure you even have to be 18.

Did I tell you about teh fucking squirrels in my walls, floor, and ceiling? Well, the landlord's representative finally got off his ass and got an exterminator over here, who's been putting traps in my eave areas and plugging holes where the little fuckers get in. But the most popular trap location (in an eave/crawlspace/closet thing) has accumulated some trapped-squirrel urine, which has begun producing an ammonia smell in the downstairs apartment's kitchen. Fuuuuuck. Well, there was cardboard on the floor there, along with a cubic yard or so of fiberglass insulation that the little fuckers have shredded, so I cleaned all that crap out, but here's the sad part: There was a squirrel in there, who stumbled into the trap this morning and was panicking around in there all day. So I took the trap out on the fire escape and released him, figuring that squirrel, at any rate, is unlikely to be back any time soon. But the poor dumb beast, rather than running down the steps, leaped straight out into the darkness and landed with an alarming thump in the back yard, possibly on some flagstones, three floors below. WTF? I guess it was too scared to think straight. But I did hear what sounded like it running away after it landed. I mean, they're small. It's not like you or me falling that far. But still.

What scares me is that my own apartment may smell like squirrel urine, and that my brain may have decided to stop smelling it.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, well, anyway, even if that squirrel does come back, it's really no big deal: Either all the holes are plugged and none of them can get back in, or there's a hole the exterminator couldn't get to, in which case some damn squirrel's going to be in my walls, and it doesn't much matter which one.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

I went camping near Augusta one summer and loved it. Portland seemed fine. Tough winters up there I heard.

I saw a squirrel in my neighborhood jump down probably 20 feet or so from a tree onto a roof. It went in kind of a steep glide more than a fall, and started scampering as soon as it landed. Maybe those babies are further toward growing wings than they look.

God only knows what our house smells like. Along with the open moldy attic, there was a squirrel in the attic for a week or two (presumably befouling at will), four cats worth of litter in the basement. When I opened my suitcase in NYC, the smell just from the "clean" clothes was pretty bad. It's so bad that I'm actually grateful to be deadened to it.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Yale Bloor said...

I think squirrels do get some loft out of the tail, actually, and they may have some small degree of webbing in the armpits. And but there's also the whole thing where mass increases as the cube of whatever, and surface area as the square, or something, such that according to Heinlein, if you drop a horse down a well you may as well resign yourself to having to find a new horse. So even if they dropped like rocks, they'd be more survivable than we are.

I'm told that Portland's not unlike Boston, in weather terms, because it's on the ocean. We'll see.


I don't recall noticing any great degree of... emanations, if you will, in your house.


But, at the risk -- nay, the certainty! -- of offering an offensive degree of advice, I found that with two cats, cleaning the box 2-3 times a day (morning, post-work, before bed) eliminated essentially all odor, in that very small place in Hvd Sq. At that rate of cleaning, I found that two cat-days worth of crap per day was manageable for one adult. I just got in the habit, and it was no big deal.

The squirrel in the attic is another issue, obviously.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Project WANNABE said...

Yeah, maybe they just have a lot more air resistance per ounce of weight. If the weight is 1/1000, the surface area is something like 1/100, so maybe you fall 10x slower. I read somewhere that people can't really fall much faster than 120 mph or so in sea-level air density. Which, we tend to just call 120 mph infinite, because you're dead. But if it were 10-20 mph then falling off the Empire State bldg would be like falling off a bike, you would usually live. Huh.

Yeah! Actually while K&S were away this time I had to deal with the kat boxes and I started just scooping once-twice a day (K tends to make a huge effort every 10 days or so, and I'd been just figuring, wow, at least I'm not doing this horrible hour-long punishing chore). But if you do it every day, guess what, it takes a couple minutes, even for 4 cats.

So now I have like added this box-changing paradigm to my mental toolkit. I guess I just have to get into the other part of the attic and change the squirrel box.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, the daily cat-box thing changes the dynamic pretty radically.

I think I read somewhere that from a bug's perspective, the atmosphere is like syrup, or something, in some sense.

2:17 PM  
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