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eG Cook-Off #85: Mexican Salsa


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All I know because of the pandemic, and now working from home and all of the craziness, I put in a major big garden for just two of us.

 

I have so many varieties of tomatoes.   I have jalapeno, serrano, Anaheim, cayenne, tabasco, banana and bell peppers.  I have 3 kinds of onions.   I have cilantro.   

 

So I cannot wait to make salsa from the above (and home made hot sauce).    I also got cucumbers, zucchini so definitely some gazpacho will be made this year.

 

Also cabbage, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, spaghetti squash, oregano, basil, parsley, dill, thyme, sage, chives.    Radishes.  Carrots.  Mesclun lettuce, Arugala, and Romaine lettuce (which is looking awesome and ready to pick)

 

Also, Peas, Snow Peas and Green beans.  

 

I am not going to have to buy veggies and will be able to can and freeze.    The only thing I will really need to get is sweet corn.  

 

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7 minutes ago, Owtahear said:

I make a very close variation of this salsa and love it with grilled salmon.   

Oh this Cook-Off makes me so hungry.  That looks delicious and fresh.

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I'll be taking a trip to our local Mexican grocery store this weekend.  One herb they have that's always intrigued me, but I've only used once in a stew, is epazote.  Has anyone ever used epazote in a salsa?

 

fresh epazote.png

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@David Ross 

 

Ive used epazote  from time to time.

 

I didn't find its flavor interesting.  its a bit medicinal 

 

it has reputation to help digest beans , muting some of the bean effects

 

Ive taken that to mean it has some sort of inulin-ase activity.

 

i didn't notice any difference w or w/o   

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3 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@David Ross 

 

Ive used epazote  from time to time.

 

I didn't find its flavor interesting.  its a bit medicinal 

 

it has reputation to help digest beans , muting some of the bean effects

 

Ive taken that to mean it has some sort of inulin-ase activity.

 

i didn't notice any difference w or w/o   

I didn't either in the stew I made and it certainly doesn't seem to have the flavor of fresh cilantro.  By the way, my French friends always say cilantro tastes like soap.

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its my understanding that the ' soap ' taste is genetically determined.

 

I cant say if that gene if prevalent in FR.

 

I first heard of epazote in an early Diana Kennedy book

 

back when real Mexican Food was quite exotic 

 

and quite different from Tex-Mex.

 

I used it for a while trying to be Authentic , then gave up on it.

 

in those early books , she said it grew wild in Central Park and she picked it there

 

I may of crows be mistaken.   it is a weed after all .

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I will confess to entirely plebian tastes in salsa. Likely my favorite is the single product I will specifically look for in Walmart, their Great Value brand white corn and black bean salsa. It's a mild, sweet salsa, with, of course, white corn and black beans in it. I can grate up cheddar or co-jack cheese in it, eat it with chips and make a meal.

 

I'm also fond of another "store bought" salsa, a regional favorite originally made and served only at a Mexican restaurant chain in the Memphis area -- Pancho's. @Thanks for the Crepes and I have had fond reminisces about that restaurant's cheese dip and "hot dip," which were best when mixed together. Pancho's now has a commissary style kitchen that makes the dips for both their Memphis-area restaurants as well as in regional supermarkets. They also have a mustard-based taco sauce/salad dressing that I could just about drink.

 

We didn't call it salsa when I was a kid, but we canned gallons and gallons of "ripe tomato pickle," a pickle, onion, green pepper (I use sweet banana peppers, because I just refuse to use the GBPs) and hot peppers (I usually use serranos, because I don't like the taste of jalapenos). Simmer all that with vinegar, sugar and pickling spice, and can it. Marvelous. We ate it on purple hulled peas, and I love it on a burger. 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

its my understanding that the ' soap ' taste is genetically determined.

 

I cant say if that gene if prevalent in FR.

 

I first heard of epazote in an early Diana Kennedy book

 

back when real Mexican Food was quite exotic 

 

and quite different from Tex-Mex.

 

I used it for a while trying to be Authentic , then gave up on it.

 

in those early books , she said it grew wild in Central Park and she picked it there

 

I may of crows be mistaken.   it is a weed after all .

 

And the dried is pretty bad too.  Worse than those grey bay leaves in cheap spice bottles.  Although on occasion I use very high quality dried California laurel bay leaves in Mexican dishes, possibly a roasted or cooked salsa.

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5 minutes ago, kayb said:

I will confess to entirely plebian tastes in salsa. Likely my favorite is the single product I will specifically look for in Walmart, their Great Value brand white corn and black bean salsa. It's a mild, sweet salsa, with, of course, white corn and black beans in it. I can grate up cheddar or co-jack cheese in it, eat it with chips and make a meal.

 

I'm also fond of another "store bought" salsa, a regional favorite originally made and served only at a Mexican restaurant chain in the Memphis area -- Pancho's. @Thanks for the Crepes and I have had fond reminisces about that restaurant's cheese dip and "hot dip," which were best when mixed together. Pancho's now has a commissary style kitchen that makes the dips for both their Memphis-area restaurants as well as in regional supermarkets. They also have a mustard-based taco sauce/salad dressing that I could just about drink.

 

We didn't call it salsa when I was a kid, but we canned gallons and gallons of "ripe tomato pickle," a pickle, onion, green pepper (I use sweet banana peppers, because I just refuse to use the GBPs) and hot peppers (I usually use serranos, because I don't like the taste of jalapenos). Simmer all that with vinegar, sugar and pickling spice, and can it. Marvelous. We ate it on purple hulled peas, and I love it on a burger. 

That's what my Mother and Grandmother would have called it.  They put up canned tomates with some chile, spices and would have called it spicy tomato pickle, albeit by today's standards it was mild.

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@JoNorvelleWalker, your salsa looks really good. Does it have anything other than tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, maybe jalapeno, maybe cumin? (I'm guessing you can't post this recipe since it's from a book.) Any unusual, unexpected ingredients? TIA. (Actually looks like flat-leaf (not cilantro) parsley in there.)

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Three weeks ago I bought a small cilantro starter.  I think it was around $3. This is what it has grown to this morning.  We've had higher than normal temps the past week, now back to a mild 75 or so today.  The oregano, basil and thyme are doing ok, but the cilantro is really taking off so I'll have a great supply for many salsas to come.  

Cilantro.JPG

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On 6/24/2020 at 3:11 AM, David Ross said:

I also love the char taste but I've never gotten used to much heat in the chiles so I order the mild which is still hot to my taste buds.  The store sells them mild, medium, hot and extra hot and most of the people I see on the chile roast days are ordering hot and extra hot.  They also freeze well and so I use them throughout the year.

 

Some people just can't handle hot chiles. On those chile pepper eating challenges, I notice they have a glass of milk on the side, ready in case the burn is unbearable. Maybe if you ate some cheese along with your salsa that would help. I would just stick with mild.

 

But I guess habanero is out for you. I like hot stuff, but habanero is hot, even for me.

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2 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

I tried to grow cilantro down here, but it gets too hot too soon and the plants bolt on me. Luckily, I can get it year round at the grocery store for $.38 a bunch.

 

Wow! I think I paid an inexpensive $0.75 yesterday for a generous bunch. One wouldn't expect cilantro to bolt quickly in northern Minnesota, but it does anyway. I like the look of David's pot-worth.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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2 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

I tried to grow cilantro down here, but it gets too hot too soon and the plants bolt on me. Luckily, I can get it year round at the grocery store for $.38 a bunch.

That's a great price. Up here it's always varying in price from as low as about 68 cents a bunch to about 5 weeks ago 98 cents.  I guess maybe people were making a lot of salsas while at home or something.  They way my plant is going I'll be giving cilantro away.

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1 hour ago, MokaPot said:

@JoNorvelleWalker, your salsa looks really good. Does it have anything other than tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, maybe jalapeno, maybe cumin? (I'm guessing you can't post this recipe since it's from a book.) Any unusual, unexpected ingredients? TIA. (Actually looks like flat-leaf (not cilantro) parsley in there.)

 

The ingredients are tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano, garlic, lime juice, salt.  No cumin.  When I can get it I prefer cilantro that looks like flat-leaf parsley rather than like the forest floor.

 

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

Three weeks ago I bought a small cilantro starter.  I think it was around $3. This is what it has grown to this morning.  We've had higher than normal temps the past week, now back to a mild 75 or so today.  The oregano, basil and thyme are doing ok, but the cilantro is really taking off so I'll have a great supply for many salsas to come.  

Cilantro.JPG

 

I've tried growing cilantro from seed but have never had any luck.  Is your plant always kept outside?

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5 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

 

I've tried growing cilantro from seed but have never had any luck.  Is your plant always kept outside?

 

I put it in the garage in winter, but it doesn't survive.  It's an older detached garage that isn't heated.  But I'm always amazed that year after year, lots of snow and a few days below zero, the chives come back strong every year and they stay on the patio year-round.  

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3 hours ago, David Ross said:

I put it in the garage in winter, but it doesn't survive.  It's an older detached garage that isn't heated.  But I'm always amazed that year after year, lots of snow and a few days below zero, the chives come back strong every year and they stay on the patio year-round.  

 

When we lived in a house I had chives growing in a planter.  Year after year,they came back, better than the year before.  Inside, I grew thyme, bay laurel and rosemary.  Outside along with the chives, I grew sage and tarragon in a small garden.  Oh yes, also oregano which was also grown inside.  I sure miss those fresh herbs.

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So I thought about a couple of questions regarding tomatillos in salsa.  How do you prep the tomatillos?  I usually wash them and then put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a short time until they soften and blacken a bit, but I'm curious how everyone uses tomatillos in a salsa.  I don't know if this is ever done and I couldn't find a reference in my Mexican cookbooks, but do some people ever use green tomatoes in salsa or would they be too bitter and the texture to hard?

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I never thought about green tomatoes in salsa. My off-the-top notion is that one ought to dice them somewhat large, then run them under the broiler for a bit. They're hard and somewhat dry until some heat gets to them, which softens them, releases whatever makes it taste green tomato-ey, and also releases moisture. I'm not sure how long; guess you'd have to experiment.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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14 minutes ago, kayb said:

I never thought about green tomatoes in salsa. My off-the-top notion is that one ought to dice them somewhat large, then run them under the broiler for a bit. They're hard and somewhat dry until some heat gets to them, which softens them, releases whatever makes it taste green tomato-ey, and also releases moisture. I'm not sure how long; guess you'd have to experiment.

Thanks I just might experiment.  In our region the best garden tomatoes aren't until later in July but we'll have many green tomatoes in the coming days.  My next salsa will be with tomatillos though.

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37 minutes ago, David Ross said:

So I thought about a couple of questions regarding tomatillos in salsa.  How do you prep the tomatillos?  I usually wash them and then put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a short time until they soften and blacken a bit, but I'm curious how everyone uses tomatillos in a salsa.  I don't know if this is ever done and I couldn't find a reference in my Mexican cookbooks, but do some people ever use green tomatoes in salsa or would they be too bitter and the texture to hard?

I do the same: put whole tomatillos under the broiler, then peel them. I find a straight tomatillo sauce too acidic, so that's why I like to make my guacamole with a few of them.

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