Salsa!

by Adrienne

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Supposedly the coldest place on the planet yesterday was Bozeman, Montana. I find this hard to believe because of, you know, Antarctica and Siberia and stuff. Not to mention I grew up in the midwest, and when I moved to Bozeman it was comparable to moving to the tropics — the winters are so much milder.

I recently moved from Bozeman to Missoula, which has even more mild of a winter season, so I’m glad to say it was a balmy 2 degrees here while Bozeman suffered through -3053643 or whatever.

I’m not a fan of winter at all. I think snow is pretty and believe it should be on the ground from about a week before Christmas through New Year’s, and then should go away all together until December 18th of the next year. So when it starts to get really cold like this, all I want is heat. Like, I’m sitting in front of the fireplace snacking on chips and this salsa as I type this. No joke.

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I’ve grown to despise store bought salsas. It might just be a Montana thing, but the only salsas you can find in stores here are either generic or the cheap-y brands that have no depth of flavor whatsoever. There was a great, locally made salsa in Bozeman that we finally found again in Missoula, but I found I can make 10x as much for the same price doing it at home, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. This salsa is so fresh! It’s slightly sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy. SO GOOD.

Kevin was too busy licking the condensation off the iced over windows to help with this one, but that’s probably for the best. He’d be licking the windows even more furiously had he tried any, anyways.

You should note that most of this can be done in a relative manner. If you don’t like garlic, use less. If you love cilantro, use more. If you’re a spice wimp (boo!), use way fewer peppers. I don’t think this is overly spicy, but I love my salsa hot, so this may be too much for some people. I think it’s just right. I could definitely eat it hotter, but the way it is is enjoyable, and that’s what’s important, right?

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Adapted from a recipe I found long, long ago. I didn’t save the site, but I also changed quite a bit, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

Makes 2.5 quarts

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 lbs roma tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions
16 cloves garlic
15 serrano peppers
~1 c un-chopped cilantro leaves, more or less to taste
olive oil
salt

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Halve the tomatoes and onions. Cut the tops off of the peppers, and peel 10 of the garlic cloves. Line a baking sheet (you’ll probably need two) with foil, and peppers, garlic, tomatoes and onions cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven until tomatoes are oozing juices and onions are becoming translucent, 25-35 minutes*. Your peppers should char some, too. If they don’t (mine didn’t), they’ll still taste fantastic.

3. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a bit. Peel remaining garlic cloves. Combine roasted ingredients, raw garlic**, cilantro, and salt to taste in batches in a food processor or blender. Mix all batches together in a large bowl and season accordingly.

*I couldn’t fit both of my baking sheets on the same rack and had to rotate them throughout the roasting process. If you can fit everything onto one sheet or one rack, it may take less time.

**Raw garlic has a much stronger flavor than roasted garlic. You may want to use less raw garlic or none at all if you aren’t partial to a garlicky flavor.

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