Friday, July 26, 2013


Dear GoodJoan,

I need a recipe for a great tomato salsa!  Got any?

If you've learned anything from my blog by now, it's that I don't claim to do anything great, or perfect, or properly. I do things cheap and easy. Heaven knows I don't have enough time for perfection!  I do however, have a recipe for salsa that is good, flexible, simple and I think, pretty yummy.

Here's the fun part. If you dice the vegetables and mix them in chunky, you have salsa. If you puree the vegetables and mix them in as a liquid, you have gazpacho!  I know this because this recipe started out as a gazpacho recipe from some vegetarian cookbook that hubby bought when we were in college, but while we were eating it we thought "Hey, this tastes a lot like the mild salsa they serve at our favorite Mexican restaurant!"  I feel safe enough saying this is an original recipe now because the one in the cookbook started with whole tomatoes and had a bunch more ingredients and steps.  The more times I made it, the more I modified it. Now I claim it as my own!

In a large bowl, pour a large can of pureed tomatoes, the kind you'd use to make spaghetti sauce.
If you have fresh tomatoes, use them instead. Dice them up, toss in a bowl and add a little salt, that will make them more juicy.
Dice a pepper, an onion and 1-2 cucumbers and 2-4 cloves of garlic.
If you have any other veggies in the fridge you want to use up, add them here! I just avoid celery because I don't like the strings, and peeling the celery ahead of time is too much effort!  The cucumbers add the same crunchy texture. I usually opt for the pepper, onion, cukes, and garlic because I can get them year round at the grocery store.
Chop some fresh parsley if you can get it, use dried if not.
Some folks love cilantro, if that's you add it here. Personally, I only use a tiny bit or I think it makes everything taste like bug spray.
Add chopped jalapeno peppers to taste. Fresh if you like that, canned if you're as lazy as me! A dusting of dried cayenne pepper if you can't get the jalapeno.
For salsa, dump all of that into the tomatoes and stir.
If you want it very smooth, like gazpacho, put all the veggies into a food processor and puree till it's smooth. It won't be totally liquified, you just want it smooth enough to pour.
Add a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Some folks prefer lemon juice.
A drizzle of olive oil.
Add a bit of salt and pepper (to taste)
Put in fridge and let sit a few hours to chill and for the flavors to mix.

This is definitely one of those recipes you have to try once and then fiddle with to find how you and your family like it best.   Some folks like less garlic, some folks like a ton of cilantro. Some folks like it lumpy, some want it smoother.

When I puree everything, mine has a tendency to settle a bit so it needs a little stir before serving. I like to puree it and store it in a big pitcher in the fridge. A trick I learned watching "Women on the verge of a nervous Breakdown"  that way I can pour a big mug of it whenever I want!   I skip the hefty dose of sleeping pills used in the movie, but it's still refreshing and relaxing to eat!

What are your favorite Salsa recipes?

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