Cooking · Snacks

Fresh Salsa

I grieve the absence of a Mexican restaurant in Israel. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve imagined opening up my own burrito stand, or homestyle dive selling tacos and fresh guacamole.There is the question of Kosher- would it be a meat-only establishment? Vegetarian? I would be entirely unqualified but at least I’d have enthusiasm.

If enthusiasm were a career, I’d be an expert in my field. I’ve never lacked for enthusiasm, it’s the get-up-and-go that I struggle with. I feel like I’m the number one second guesser, and it’s starting to become more evident as I consider what is next on this journey called life. Masters degree? Great idea, but then there is daycare, and choosing a focus, the long hours, the time spent away from home, and will I ever use it to build a real job? So just like my imaginary Mexican restaurant, it gets put on hold until the next grand idea.

I’ve taken to making my own Mexican dishes to stave off my cravings and feelings of inadequacy as a restaurateur, which always seem to strike in the winter. I think it’s linked to a lack of vitamin C. Of course this falls during the opposite of tomato season. Sadly, the selection at the market this week was pathetic- hard, yellow, unripe beef steak tomatoes that I wouldn’t even allow space in my bag.

Did you know that canned tomatoes, along with other frozen and canned produce, are picked and packaged at the peak of their ripeness? I regularly use the canned variety for marinara sauce or as the base for soup or stew. They work wonders in this salsa alongside fresh cilantro. We ate almost the entire batch with massive beef burritos filled with rice and black beans. I like my salsa chunk-less, if you will, so this is most similar to what you’d find in an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant.

I turned to the great, all-mighty Pioneer Woman for salsa inspiration this time around, and I’m sure glad I did. I figured if anyone knows a good salsa its the wife of an Oklahoma cattle rancher. I’m making use of my new food processor, or as I like to call it- my little plastic savior. A blender would also work well.

Fresh Salsa
adapted from PW


1 large can (28 oz) whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 green pepper, grated
1/2 red pepper, grated
1/2 yellow or orange pepper, grated
1 small jalapeno pepper
1 small red onion
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon

Grate the peppers using the grater attachment on your food processor or on a box grater. Combine peppers, tomatoes with their juice, red onion, cilantro, sugar, salt, cumin, red pepper flakes and lemon juice in your food processor or blender. Pulse several times until well combined and there are no large chunks. Taste (with a chip!) and add more seasoning as desired. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.


One thought on “Fresh Salsa

  1. In my 28 years in Israel I have seen Mexican restaurants come and go. I guess this is a trend that’s not going to take off here. Sigh…

    Thanks for the recipe, and for the idea. I use canned tomatoes in almost everything that calls for fresh (if I can’t get fresh, and sometimes even if I can), but for some reason I never thought of using them in salsa. Guess what’s on the menu for tonight?

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