Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Salsa Recipe - Just Trust Me on This

You may not know this about me, but I am the first, unofficial connoisseur of not-too-spicy salsa.

I nominated myself and intimidated everyone else from even thinking about opposing me.

For the longest time, I was loyal to Chi Chi's Restaurant-Style mild salsa. Did you ever eat at Chi Chi's restaurant, back in the day? R.I.P., Chi Chi's. I have you to thank for my deep and abiding love for Mexican cuisine.

But back to salsa.

I'm picky about it. I don't like sweet salsa and I don't like thick salsa. I don't like mushy salsa and I don't like salsa that's too tomatoey. It needs some zing. Some zest. But not too much heat, por favor.

For years now, Chi Chi's has fit the bill. There was a stretch during my college and early-married years when all I could find was the Fiesta style. Uh-uh. Too thick. Too sweet. I remember pining for the salsa from days of yore. I considered writing the Powers That Be at Chi Chi's headquarters. On a particularly yearnful day, I searched for it on Ebay.

My salsa-deprived angst piled up for years, brick upon brick. I reluctantly tried numerous different varieties during this time, to no avail.

And then....it was back. Like not-too-spicy magic.

I have learned to always buy the smaller jars, because salsa from a fresh jar always tastes best. I have also learned to store opened bottles in the cupboard, rather than the fridge, because it's infinitely better at room temp. (I'm pretty sure that breaks some sort of health code, but the preservatives do their job well, and a jar never lasts very long around here. Plus, my stomach is lined in cast iron, but I'll save that story for another day.)

Here recently, my fickle eye has started to wander a bit. It's not them, it's me. I'm craving something a little fresher. And their occasional metallic bite is getting on my nerves.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a blog which raved about this salsa.

I made up a batch, making several changes along the way... So now, I pretty much own this beast.

I tasted victory.

So last weekend, I made it again, only this time I made a double batch.

I should have put something next to the bowl to provide a little perspective. Let's just say that this bowl is a little smaller than a punch bowl, but quite a bit larger than a regular serving dish.

Yo quiero salsa.

I'm now experiencing a compulsion to have the ingredients on hand to make this at all times. It gives me a feeling of security. Because, as we all know too well, you never know when chips and salsa may call your name. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be the one caught sans jalapenos when she comes a'knockin'.

So, you can make her version, or you can make my version. She's kind of a big deal and all, but I, after all, am the real expert here.

1 large can of whole tomatoes, undrained
1 regular-sized can Ro-Tel mild tomatoes with green chilies
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 chopped jalapeno (I leave seeds and membranes in at least one, depending on how spicy they are)
2 cloves of garlic (3 when I'm feeling extra zingy)
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cumin (I eyeball it at roughly 3/4 of the 1/4 tsp.)
1.5 cups loosley packed fresh cilantro leaves (this is not optional!)

Pulse in a food processor until it is at the desired consistency. I like mine pretty well-blended with no huge chunks.**

The first time I made this, I was not initially impressed. It definitely fell under the "too tomatoey" category. I tossed it in the fridge and muttered unkind things about Ree Ree under my breath. Then, 3 or 4 hours later, I pulled it back out and it changed my life.

Mix and mingle, baby. It does you a world of good.

XOXO,
Salsa Girl

**Pairs best with Santitas White Corn Tortilla chips, but I'm sure you already knew that.
***Keep this salsa in the fridge!

45 comments:

  1. I am right there with you. It must be a country girl thing. This is the only salsa I make. LOVE it.

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  2. I will have to give it a try. My daughter loves salsa. My husband makes a fantastic mango salsa but it is spicy but so fantastic. He also makes one with pumpkin bits in the fall, yummo! What kind of chips do you use, are you picky with that?

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  3. I had my 10th bday party at Chi Chi's! I loved that place!

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  4. Love home made salsa
    can't wait to try this one!!
    Hope you are doing well!!

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  5. I made her recipe and fell in love with it too. My sister is a bit whimpy and thought it was too hot, but it had the perfect zing. I'm tired of salsa from a jar, too processed. Love this!!! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Yee Haw!!! I love a good not-too-hot-or -chunky- or- tomatoey salsa!:D

    We have friends coming over this weekend.. I may have to break out the punch bowl!!!!


    Thanks!!!!:-)
    Melanie

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  7. I love trying her recipes(her cookbook was one of my birthday gifts) I have not been a big fan of salsa but here lately I crave it, crazy huh. I will have to try this one out in the near future, thanks!!!

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  8. The chips and salsa from Chili's have always been my favorite, but alas, in our area they have all closed up...so I will have to give this salsa a try. But their oh so perfect, light, crispy, not greasy, just right level of saltiness fresh tortilla chips...where oh where will I get those?

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  9. Someday, I will tell you a story about my friend Elizabeth and her salsa. I'll even give you her recipe, cause we're soul-mates and all. Thought about you today as we were driving by your house in the pouring rain! Glad you liked those paper dolls. My favorite thing was cutting out the clothes. How weird is that? Hope to see you soon! Almost done with the book; gave a copy to my folks for Easter! xo

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  10. I will definately be giving this a try! It sounds delish and I am totally a mild kinda gal, at least when it comes to salsa. :)
    Thanks for sharing!!
    Melissa

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  11. Perfection! Tacos are on the agenda for tomorrow night, and this recipe must be tried. It's kismet, I tell you. :)

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  12. Girl I just love to read anything you write...no matter what in the world you are talking about:) You have convinced me hands down that you are the expert. So I will make your version and I will try your amazing salsa! Oh yes I will:)

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  13. Oh Farmgirl...you got me all hopped up with this post because salsa is my first love. My soul mate. My ketchup. Mexican food is what I do best {which reminds me to add that to my profile}.

    Chi Chi's wasn't allowed in to the Lone Star Sate, but I had it once when we were in Ohio visiting. Yikes, is all I can say.

    My parents don't refrigerate ketchup and I literally couldn't wait to move out of the house so that I could. Unrefrigerated salsa is something I have never considered. I'm just sayin'.

    It makes my heart happy you have found your true salsa connection. And I agree that cilantro is not optional.

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  14. My husband is on the eternal quest for the perfect salsa recipe. I'll have to pass this along to him. Thank you!

    I remember Chi Chi's...

    -FringeGirl

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  15. i want mazatlan -- now! :)

    oh, and i'm dying to try the recipe. sounds perfect. well maybe except for a little bit less cilantro.

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  16. okay... maybe I'll have to try it. But I'm a spicy kind of girl.

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  17. I made this salsa a few weeks ago, and it was gone in a flash. SO delicious.

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  18. Can I just say that if we lived closer to each other I would want you to be my best friend. You brighten up my face everytime I read your posts. Thanks...

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  19. ;pCan't wait to give it a try, thanks!

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  20. I'm SO glad you tried this! AMAZING, right?!

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  21. Seriously? Ok, I'm gonna make it...next week, since I already did my shopping for this week. I'm a serious salsa eater too, and I have NEVER found anything in a jar that I like. Ya, I'm THAT picky. The best salsa I had was in Branson a couple of weeks ago. Too bad I didn't have a ziploc bag to fill up....

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  22. So, have you and Chi Chi filed papers, or are you just taking a little break? I must admit that on the occasion that I don't have to make dinner for the fam, chips and salsa can equal a whole meal for me. Love it. Must warm the chips in the oven with a little sprinkle of salt first, though. Must.

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  23. Oh Chi Chi's... there used to be one right across the street from campus... now it's a bank.
    Did you ever go to Casa Laupitas? I may be spelling it wrong.... but OMG! They had the fried thingies that were stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese and just yumminess!
    I too have made Ree's salsa and thought it was good... but I was trying to make a half of a recipe and forgot until after putting in the full amount of garlic! It still tasted good and I didn't have to worry about any vampires that day!!

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  24. Was there some hiding in the cupboard last night? Dang girl, you should have offered some up! ;)

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  25. I am afraid I shouldn't have read this post at this particular moment...CRAVING that salsa now and there is nothing I can do about! Hope everything is going well.

    Lori

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  26. this sounds wonderful...cilantro in almost anything does it for me!

    have you tried Pioneer Woman's Salsa? it is sooooo good!

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  27. i, too, refuse to eat anything besides chi chi's original mild!

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  28. I'm with you - I don't like chunks, I don't like spicy, and I don't like too many tomatoes! I haven't tried your chips, but I'm addicted to Tostitos Whole Grain - wow they are good! I also love making the white Mexican cheese dip - have you tried it - changes your life & you can make it at home!!

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  29. Yum-o! I love me some salsa. I'm clearly not as picky as you are. Or as knowledgeable. Or as full of myself about said knowledge. Now I must have some salsa so I'm headed the the fridge to finishe off my Costco too-tomato-y salsa.

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  30. Ah Chi Chi's! I have only been there once. I was staying with my cousins for a week up state, and my eleventh birthday was coming up. They took me out to Chi Chi's and totally surprised me when men with mustache's and sombrero's came out to serenade me and donned my head with an over-sized sombrero of my very own. I kept it on my bed post for years. Good times :)

    I may just have to try this recipe once we get settled into our condo next week! :)

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  31. I saw Ree's version and I'm so tempted to make it...for some reason I didn't print it out until you wrote this! I guess I needed verification that it was good :) Can't wait to try it!

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  32. My hubs will be thanking you! I haven't found a good one yet, but this sounds delicious!

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  33. This looks amazing...nothing like homemade salsa! I am going to soooo try it.
    Thank you so so much for your caring comment you left on my blog the other day about my daughters migraines..I so appreiciate you taking the time. Your advice about hormones was wonderful...gave me some hope that maybe hers will end too. Thank you sweet friend...can't wait to make this salsa..Friday night taco night!!!!

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  34. Hi There! I have been following your blog for a while now. I just love it. I missed a bunch of your posts while my daughter was in the hospital. (she is 3 years old with a heard condition and her pacemaker stopped working! NOT FUN) We are home now and I got to spend some time catching up on your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your experience while adopting your third child. I felt like I was there with you. As a matter of fact, I often refer to you as "my friend, flower Patch Farmgirl" when I talk about your blog with my friends =)

    So I just read you post about salsa and I too love salsa and can't wait to try out your recipe. You have sparked my curiosity... Not only have I never been to a Chi Chi's, I have never even heard of it. Sounds like I must have been living under a rock. So I did a little research and discovered Chi Chi's still operates in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Indonesia. I have no plans to visit these places anytime soon but thought you might like to know =)

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  35. I can't wait to try this recipe! It looks so good!

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  36. Sounds yummy!!! And I love that you put white corn chips...they are the best!

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  37. I had to come back and tell you that I made this salsa tonight (your version) and I must bow to your superior knowledge. Seriously. SO excited to have found a version that FINALLY both my husband and I love! Perfect blend of everything...totally tastes like a mexican restaurant reincarnated. Awesome. And it is SO good with On the Border brand "Cantina Thins" tortilla chips. Try them :)

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  38. Thanks for sharing this! I have some sort of scary aversion to making salsa, mainly because my sisters are great at it and I'm deathly afraid of mortal failure. I may now hold the key to greatness! Thanks bunches!!!

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  39. I mentioned you on my blog today after running out to get the stuff and make this salsa! Thank you so much! We love it!

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  40. Just made your salsa -- mine somehow is quite spicy but thats ok...I like spicy. Maybe i put in too much of the jalapeño. Well anyways, just wanted to let you know it's yummy.

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  42. Thank you for posting this! I've been on the hunt for a ChiChi's style replacement for years. Can't wait to try it!!!

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  43. I literally cried when the very last Chi-Chis in MN closed, it stayed open much longer than all other locations and was really busy all the time so I'm not sure why it finally said goodbye. Most all of my best childhood memories involve Chi-Chis chips n salsa (unlimited in the bar area, i was in heaven) mexican pizzas and of course the best Chimichonga to ever be made! I love all the authentic mexican places around now, but often I just want my american mexican Chi-Chis. I will only buy the Original Recipe jars at the store, because as you stated the fiesta is nothing like the restaurant salsa was. Ohhhh man, now I'm sad all over again!

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  44. I literally cried when the very last Chi-Chis in MN closed, it stayed open much longer than all other locations and was really busy all the time so I'm not sure why it finally said goodbye. Most all of my best childhood memories involve Chi-Chis chips n salsa (unlimited in the bar area, i was in heaven) mexican pizzas and of course the best Chimichonga to ever be made! I love all the authentic mexican places around now, but often I just want my american mexican Chi-Chis. I will only buy the Original Recipe jars at the store, because as you stated the fiesta is nothing like the restaurant salsa was. Ohhhh man, now I'm sad all over again!

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