Skip to main content

Salsa... And a Story of a Forgotten Cookbook

Will and I are both team leaders at our school.  He represents 5th grade- I represent 8th.  Because these meetings are held after school on Mondays, last year I suggested we have them off campus- somewhere we could be comfortable, away from school... and most importantly, have a snack.  These meetings now happen in our home.  I can't lie- I love it.  Will isn't as happy about it as I am, but I think he has accepted his fate.  I love having people over and feeding them.  This is a genetic thing, I'm pretty sure.  When I was little, family gatherings almost always happened at our house.  Both my parents are fiercely good cooks who don't know how to cook for anything less than an army.

As a result of holding these meetings every other week at our house, I've learned to stock my pantry so I can put out a spread at a moment's notice.  I always have at least 3 kinds of cheese- usually a brie, a cheddar and a gouda.  Olives and pickles make frequent appearances.  But chips and salsa are the one constant.  Up until now I've always purchased deli salsa.  I know- shocking.  When it comes to feeding Will and I, homemade is always the preference.  I guess I just get caught up in the convenience thing.

Well that's all about to change.  At our meeting tomorrow, I will have a much better alternative.

Periodically, I take an inventory of my cookbook collection.  Yesterday was one of those times.  I found a cookbook that used to be out on my counter all the time when we lived in Alamosa.  It's called The Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook.  It was written by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.  The book is not only a phenomenal resource for New Mexico cooking, it's also a chronicle of the Jaramillo family and their restaurant in Chimayo, New Mexico.  I heard about the restaurant from one of the ladies I taught with in Alamosa.  I never made it to the restaurant before we moved to Rifle, but I did track down the cookbook.  It was published in 1991, but I don't think it's in print anymore.  I found it on and snapped up the only copy they had at the time.  In Alamosa, I could readily find most of the ingredients needed to make the spicy dishes.  In Rifle, some of them are a bit of a challenge.  I suppose that's why it ended up forgotten on the top row of the cookbook shelf.

I dropped the book on the counter and it fell open to my favorite recipe.  The pages are stained with tomato juice.  The recipe is for the salsa the restaurant serves to all guests.  It's simple and spicy.

Here's all you need:

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (sometimes I use fire roasted diced)
2 teaspoons minced white onion (I use more)
3 rough chopped jalapenos (I remove seeds and membranes)
1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol or cayenne
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instead of doing all the fussy chopping, I usually dump everything in my blender and let it do the work.  This makes quite a bit.  I have enough for the meeting tomorrow, and to freeze for at least a month!  If you heated it in a saucepan, you could probably even can it.


Popular posts from this blog

Carrot Cake!!!!!!

I made my very first ever from scratch homemade cake at 7,500 feet above sea level today. I have made many homemade cakes before, but that was back home in Savannah, which is practically 2 feet below sea level.

After many dismal failures (including box mixes) I have finally made a cake from scratch that turned out decent. No- better than decent. I think this is the best cake I've ever made. No joke.

It all started when my fried Emmy posted on her blog about receiving as a gift from her hubby, a copy of "The Joy of Cooking." By the way, you should go read her blog. She is nauseatingly multi-talented. She cooks and knits beautifully, as well as a bunch of other stuff I learn about every freakin' time I read her blog. So go over to her blog right now.

Anyhoo...she read the high altitude instructions and cranked out a beautiful red velvet cake that made me drool. After reading that, I decided it was time to stop being a wuss about baking at high altitude and try a…

The Best Pizza Dough for Mimi

This picture does not include a picture of my pizza dough.  But it was taken at my favorite pizza place in the world- Vinnie Van Go-Go's in Savannah, GA.

I have toiled in vain to make a homemade crust that is in any way similar to Vinnie's.

I'm not going to say I've done it, because I haven't.  But what I can say is I think this version is the closest I'll ever get.

For 10 years I have played around with basic pizza dough recipes, trying to find one that yields a thin, crispy crust, with bubbly edges.

I think there are two things that make this possible... very high heat (most home ovens can't get hot enough) and 00 Italian flour (it makes such a soft, pliable dough).  To manage the heat problem, I usually cook my pizzas on the grill, and let it heat to at least 600 degrees.  Hopefully one day my husband will build the wood fired pizza oven of my dreams.  And to manage the flour issue, I order my flour from Amazon.

Here's the basic recipe and process:

Cucumber Pico de Gallo

Normally, when I make pico de gallo, I use tomato, red onion, and jalapeño.  This week, the garden is spewing forth dozens of cucumbers, so I'm throwing those in as well.
There really isn't a recipe for pico... you just throw whatever you want in there.  I'll list what I used, but I also won't give amounts.  If you don't groove on onion, use less.  If you don't like cucumbers, don't use them.  Do whatever makes you happy!
Cucumber Pico de Gallo
6 lemon cucumbers, diced (I don't seed mine) 6 roma tomatoes, diced (I squish out the jelly stuff so the mixture doesn't get too soupy) 1 small red onion, minced 1 small jalapeño, minced Fresh lime juice Red wine vinegar Olive oil Salt
Mix everything up and let it sit at least 30 minutes before you attack it.  If you have the willpower... I never do!