Monday, February 7, 2011

Fresh Salsa

Fresh, homemade salsa... mmmm... Last Christmas my grandmother gave me a cookbook that stayed in my cabinet, untouched, for a full year. I know that sounds terrible, but I discovered I have a thing about cookbooks: I never look at them. I'm more an internet searcher or magazine reader, but I haven't nailed down the reason. Anyway, I got the cookbook out and did what many of you might consider unthinkable: I cut it apart. I went page by page and chose recipes I might want to try sometime, cut them out, and added them to my recipe binders. Then I took what was left and threw it in the garbage. The result? I've now made close to ten recipes from that book in the month since I ruined it. I'd say I'm a genius.

"But Jenny, what about Pampered Chef cookbooks?" Well, I'd cut them up, too, but I need them in-tact for customers to see. That said, when I make something I like, I run a copy and add it to my recipe binders so I don't have to dig the book out when I'm in the mood for a repeat.

Ok, now for some salsa.

Fresh Salsa

3 jalapeno peppers
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 cans (28 oz. and 14.5 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
4 fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat a small, ungreased pan over high heat. Pierce jalapenos, and add to the skillet. Cook 15-20 minutes or until peppers are blistered and blackened, turning occasionally.

Immediately place jalapenos in a small bowl; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Peel off and discard the charred skins. Remove stems and seeds.

Place onion and garlic in a food processor; cover and pulse four times. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, salt, and peppers. Cover and process until desired consistency. Chill until serving.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Cutting slits in the jalapenos: 3 1/2" Paring Knife, Cutting Board, and 8" Saute Pan. Ok, so knives and cutting boards are the most important things in your kitchen. You may not realize it, but 60% of your time is spent doing prep work, and most of that prep work revolves around slicing and dicing. Even if you just want a salad for dinner, you'll probably end up cutting something. When people ask my favorite product, I always come back to the Forged Cutlery Collection. These knives have truly changed the way I feel about cooking because they've made the annoying tasks more relaxing... and shorter.

It's fun to cook jalapenos over high heat. I mean, this made me feel like a chef or something, and I enjoyed the sizzle sizzle. Chef's Tongs are awesome, and the silicone ends can handle the heat of a skillet. So much so that I can leave them in there without any meltage whatsoever. Meltage. This is the 8" Saute Pan from the Executive Cookware Collection, and it is fabulous! Even heat distribution and all the other important things you look for when investing in cookware... and it's pretty!

The peppers need to go in a bowl with a lid immediately so the charred skins will steam themselves into submission. 2-Cup Prep Bowl: Can we say perfect? All of our heavy glass bowls have measurements embossed (standard and metric), include lids, and go in the oven, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.

When you work with raw jalapenos (or any of their hot cousins, uncles, brothers, etc.), wear gloves. I know it's tempting to get lazy and skip that step, but the regret will come later. Hot, burning sensations under your fingernails which can translate to sheer torture should you accidentally rub your eyes... Bad times. That said, peppers lose a lot of their intensity when they're cooked, so you're ok to go bare. Still don't rub your eyes. Seriously. Ok, so this is the Large Cutting Board, and it's laid accross my sink. That means extra counter space, which is always a win. I used the 5" Santoku Knife to cut my onion, and it is hands down my favorite from the Forged Cutlery Collection. I use that knife all. the. time. Then, of course, we have the 2-Cup Prep Bowl.

Smooth-Edge Can Opener!!! I would consider this essential in every kitchen. The entire lid comes off the can, and you are left with a smooth edge all the way around. No lid in your food or crusty can opener, either. The Garlic Press and Adjustable Measuring Spoons also amaze me.

See what happens when you use the Smooth-Edge Can Opener?
After all of this, I blended the ingredients until I reached my "desired consistency." You know what? I only used one can of tomatoes. And they were petite, diced - not whole, peeled. I don't play by the rules, but that landed me in some very hot salsa. Next time: 2 jalapenos.
Products in display picture: Simple Additions Small Square Bowls in the Small Bowl Caddy. Small Square Plates are to the side along with the Small Batter Bowl full of leftover salsa. I used a Small Bamboo Spoon for serving. The theme: Small.

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