Posts tagged: spicy

Classic Tomato Salsa

Salsa

Salsa

Per a request, this is my basic salsa recipe (enjoy this one, Tom). The great thing about salsa is that you can tweak it left and right to make the kind of salsa that suits your taste. Do you like cilantro, add an entire bunch (I do, it’s one of my favorite flavors). Hot or mild, play with the jalapeno to taste. Add a few chipotle peppers if you like it smokey. There are endless ways you can modify this recipe to make something incredible. I’m a huge fan of green salsa made with tomatillos, and I’ve even made salsa with spirits and odd spices. My point is that this is a great basic recipe and I challenge you to make it your own. Your taste buds will thank me.

Ingredients:
3 large tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon green jalapeno chilies
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
The easiest way to make this is to place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse slowly until all ingredients are chopped but not pureed. I like a thick salsa, so I often add the garlic, lime juice and salt first, pulse (to get the garlic chopped well) then add the remaining ingredients and roughly process.

If you don’t have a food processor, or prefer to not use one, just chop up all the ingredients and mix together in a bowl. It is that easy. Sprinkle with a little dried cilantro, or even thyme or Mexican oregano for garnish.

Mild or Wild Chili con Carne

chili con carne

Chili con carne

This is my favorite chili as it is simple to make yet has a varied mix of flavors that keep my brain busy. Prodigious use of tomatoes makes this a subtly sweet chili, though not so much as to overwhelm, and the combination of peppers adds layers of complexity to the dish. Personally, I prefer chili without beans, but they are easily added to this chili if you so choose. The same applies to the hot peppers, some prefer a milder chili and some a spicier, I like mine in the middle, hence just the few chili peppers. Whatever your choice, this is a rich, meaty chili with a lot of flavor, and I usually serve over rice with some grated cheddar and sour cream on top. Every day is a chili day for me.

Ingredients
1 1/4 pounds hamburger (give or take)
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
3 chili peppers (e.g.  jalapeno peppers for light heat, habanero for heavy heat) – optional
4 garlic cloves
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable)

Directions

peppers and onion

Peppers and onion

1. Roughly chop the peppers, onion, and garlic and heat in a large pot with the oil. If you want a little heat (spicy heat) include the chili/jalapeno peppers with the white pith (the ribs inside the pepper).  Choose your chili peppers wisely, as jalapenos will give a moderate heat, while some types, such as habanero or scotch bonnet will make your chili very spicy. Did you know that botanically, peppers are berries? Yep, they are, although for culinary use they are considered vegetables. I’ll stop that kind of talk now.

2. When the vegetables have softened a little and the onions are translucent, add the ground beef. Break apart the beef while it is cooking to ensure it falls apart into pieces.

3. When the beef has cooked, add the tomatoes and tomato paste and thoroughly stir in. Once the tomatoes are incorporated add the chili powder and stir.

jalapeno

Jalapeno

4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The key is to allow the chili to simmer for as long as you can to bring out the flavor of the chili powder. I cook my chili for a few hours, but if you are in a hurry, you may cook for as short a period of time as 30 minutes.

Serve with anything you like, grated cheese, sour cream, chopped parsley or cilantro.