Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Food Processor Gets a Workout Day 1: Salsa

Months ago, I had become obsessed with the thought of a food processor.  I saw it as something that could mince and chop and grind and puree for me and open up doors for new and more complicated recipes.  Plus, since my kitchen will not hold a KitchenAid stand mixer, this little appliance was pretty much the only thing I could get.  I had scoured the Internet for the best deal only to find this one in Costco for $25.  I thought I couldn't go wrong because it was a Cuisinart, so I decided to go ahead and get it.

Well for about 2 weeks after that it sat in its box on my counter.  And then for an additional two weeks after that it sat in its box in the cabinet underneath my oven.  Well this week that little guy is getting a workout because the tomatoes are red and the basil is finally starting to grow back after being overshadowed by the stupid zucchini (yup, still no zucchinis).  Plus, my mom had been threatening to "take the stupid thing back" so I decided it was about time to crack open the box.

All of the recipes I had written on my little sticky note on my desktop (Mac users - why won't they let you have more than one sticky note? Drives me insane) are about to be made.  This week, I will be making recipes centered around my food processor and I need your help!  I have four recipes already picked out and would love a suggestion for a fifth.  Please feel free to leave any recipes in which a food processor is utilized in the comment section below and I will choose one to make at the end of the week!  Exciting, right?  Also, with each recipe I hope to include some tips on using your food processor at the bottom of each post.

Now, each of the recipes I will be making is fairly simple, yet everyone seems to have their favorite variation of each.  I feel like salsa is the prime example.  It can come mild like tomato paste or melt-your-face-off spicy.  It can be made with tomatoes, peaches, or mangoes.  It can go on top of chicken, steak, pork, or my favorite: a plain tortilla chip.  I love salsa.  My favorite snack at either 3:00 or 6:00 is tortilla chips with a bowl of sour cream, salsa, and cheddar jack cheese.

For those of you who have never eaten International food with me, you may not know that I am vehemently opposed to spicy foods (unless it's a spicy tuna roll - that I will tolerate.  Don't come near me with that wasabi though).  I hate how spicy food makes my lips chapped and my face sweat while I'm trying to enjoy a meal, and plus it really does not agree with my stomach.  When I was thinking up a recipe for salsa, I really didn't even want to include jalapeno peppers, but I didn't want my salsa to taste like tomato sauce either, so I decided that maybe half of a little pepper wouldn't be that bad.  I went to the supermarket and was looking at the jalapeno peppers when a sign above the basket caught my attention: "when preparing, do not touch eyes, face, or mouth with hands.  Wash hands thoroughly after touching pepper."  I was not about to burn my face off for a pepper so I decided to go with a "hot long pepper" which was supposed to have a milder taste.

On a slightly related note, it bothers me when recipes say things like "1 onion" under the ingredients list.  Ok, how big is the onion?  Are we talking pearl onions or vidalia onions the size of my face?  However, measurements like that work for this recipe, because the amount of vegetables you use will determine how much salsa you make.  Just make sure that the majority of your veggie stock is tomatoes and don't worry about exact measurements.  That's the wonderful thing about a food processor: you can just throw stuff in there and that baby takes care of the rest.  A whole tomato, half an onion, half a pepper, few cloves of garlic, some cilantro and there you go: salsa.  Well, you also need a can of chopped tomatoes with the juice, unless you just intend on making pico de gallo.  And you might want to toss in some seasonings.  Regardless, I absolutely loved being able to make salsa in about 15 minutes, regardless of the fact that I'd have to let it set in the fridge for a few hours.

I just had to taste the salsa before it went in the fridge and I have to say, I liked it.  I was pretty nervous about the pepper (especially after licking my fingers and my tongue got that burning sensation), but this long hot pepper is perfect.  You don't taste it at first, but it has this kick at the end of your bite that leaves you saying "whoa" and not "oh my god I have to stick my head in the freezer."  I loved it - I didn't even want to stick it in the fridge to let it stew.  You definitely should though, because afterwards all of the flavors come together perfectly and it's nothing like you can buy in the store.  Seriously though, everyone was so surprised at how easy and delicious homemade salsa is.  Feel free to play around with the recipe so that you can get the perfect salsa as I did.  I have to say, the food processor is off to a good start (please see the bottom of this post for tips on how to get the most out of your food processor).  Also don't forget to leave your food processor recipes in the comment section below!

Makes about 2 cups
Ali B original

- 1 lg tomato, ends cut off
- ½ sweet Vidalia onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ long hot pepper*
- 2 tbsp cilantro, packed
- 1 sprig parsley
-  juice of ½ of a lime
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, liquid reserved
- salt, to taste

Place garlic in food processor and chop until minced.  Add in tomato, onion, pepper, cilantro, and parsley and pulse until the vegetables are at desired consistency.   Pour contents into a bowl and add canned tomatoes and lime juice.  Stir together and add liquid from diced tomatoes to achieve desired consistency.  Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 

*Note: this amount of pepper will make mild – medium salsa.  For hotter salsa, add the whole pepper or use jalapeno peppers. 

Tips for using your food processor
- When the directions say to "pulse," touch the chop button for literally a second.  The machine acts faster than you think.
- Cut large items into smaller chunks, about 3" wedges, instead of placing them in the food processor whole.
- Make sure that the items you are chopping/dicing/mincing are all uniform in size when you put them in the food processor.  That way, everything you cut will end up the same size (this is why the garlic was placed in the food processor first and then minced before the rest of the ingredients were put in - you don't want minced tomatoes for your salsa).

(Also, I know that this post is occurring in the middle of the week - that's because my weeks start on Tuesdays.  Don't worry, there will be recipes throughout the weekend too!)


  1. Try making your own nut butter or hummus!!!

  2. I made this up the other day on a whim, and it was AWESOME! It's sort of a pate, like chopped liver. I ate it as a snack, on crackers.

    I have a serious issue with measuring (as in, I just don't do it) so here's the basic recipe:
    Equal parts chick peas (I used 3/4 of a can, myself) and frozen peas, half an avocado, a spoon of peanut butter (i haven't tried, but I bet you could leave this out) and a few slices of roasted onion. Obv, Garlic, salt, pepper to taste. Then food process until smooth and mixed together.

    That was my Food Processor fun this week : )

  3. @unrunner Frozen peas - very interesting. And peanut butter? I am very intrigued!


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