Monday, November 23, 2009

Some Like It *HOT* -- With Chips

Ok, I'll gush.  I married the most amazing man.  I knew he was a keeper when I came out to visit him.  For our first dinner date, he took me for Mexican food.  What can I say?  I fell head over heels for its spicy-cheesy-gooey foods.  The salsa was smooth, rich, thick and had a lovely kick to it.  So the next night, when he asked where I wanted to go, I said Mexican.  And on the third night, I said Mexican. On the fourth night?  Yep, I asked for some more Mexican.  Each night he smiled and happily took me back to the same Mexican joint. 

That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  (Both with Mexican food and my husband-to-be!)  Over the years, we frequented our fav place, even making the trek back when we moved out of the area.  We always ordered extra food so we had leftovers, and always filled the to-go containers with lots of salsa. 

Of course, the place spoiled us.  Even eating chips and salsa at home was... disappointing.  The bottled stuff, no matter how fancy the label and regardless of their authenticity claims, never seemed to hit the spot.  Until one day, I was served a close facsimile.  I insisted on the recipe. 

As I often do, I messed around with the recipe, adjusting ingredients to my flavor preferences.  Love the garlic, don't need the onion, want a fresher flavor, like it slightly chunky and *lots* of heat....   And then I hit the jackpot balance of flavor and heat. 

I can't even imagine ever buying salsa again, and I think my salsa is just as good (or even better) than the stuff served at our ol' haunt.

Some Like It Caliente Salsa*


- 1 large can (28 oz.) of whole tomatoes
-  handful (about 1/3 cup) of cilantro leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 to 6 yellow chilis


Put cilantro, garlic and salt into blender.  Drain excess moisture from tomatoes and add them to blender.  (Reserve extra juice from can.)

Boil chilis in water until fork tender (about 5 to 10 minutes).  Remove stem.  (If you don't want the salsa very hot, feel free to remove some of the seeds.  I like it HOT, so I leave those bad babies in!)

Blend for about a minute or two (depends on your blender) until smooth.  Like it really chunky?  Run the blender with the garlic, cilantro and salt.  Then add tomatoes and peppers and pulse a few times.

*Got kids?  Like the flavor of salsa but not so much the heat?  Try the Bambino version below.  My kids can't get enough of it!

Bambino Salsa


- 1 small can (8 oz) of whole tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- small handful of cilantro (about 1/8 of a cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt


Put garlic, cilantro and salt in blender.  Drain tomatoes of excess liquid and add to blender.  Blend/pulse to desired thickness.

Enjoy with chips, on tacos and with all your favorite Mexican snacks! Muy Bueno!

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