In The Kitchen

Salsa (And Favorite Kitchen Gadgets Part 2)

I bet y’all thought I forgot about my “favorite kitchen gadgets” series, didn’t you? Nope, I haven’t forgotten. Life has just kept me occupied with other things.

We’ve had quite an abundance of tomatoes from the garden. Most of them are still not even the slightest bit pink yet, and I am sure the plethora of still green tomatoes will ripen seemingly at once sometime soon and once again I will have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. But that’s the whole point, for me, so that I can can them in various forms to use for recipes throughout winter. Funny thing about me: I love tomato based things, but I don’t like tomatoes. It’s a texture thing. Anyway our garden usually yields hundreds of tomatoes (impressive for the small space, but that is what we plant the most of), some of which my dad eats because he loves tomatoes, some are given to friends and family who don’t garden, and the rest are canned usually either crushed or as tomato sauce or juice.

This year we decided to brach out the varieties we planted. I honestly do not even know what all is there. All I know is there are about six or seven different kinds of tomatoes in our garden. Some are pink when ripe rather than red, some are yellow, some are a purplish color, some are any combination of these colors. Some are round, some oblong, some sort of squat and “flat”. Since a couple of the plants have produced enough already that there were a lot of tomatoes harvested that needed used up recently, I decided to make some salsa.

I used the Zesty Salsa recipe from Ball as my guideline. I didn’t actually measure or follow the recipe precisely. I just used most of the tomatoes that had been harvested and needed used, setting aside a few for my dad. I think I ended up using about thirty tomatoes or so. I measured “visually” for the bell/hot peppers and onions. By this I mean I chopped smaller amounts at a time and stirred them into the pot and went by how it looked to determine how much was ideal for my preferences. I ended up using three bell peppers, two onions, and a dozen hot peppers (I used a mixture of serrano, jalapeno, banana, and cayenne). I did actually measure the vinegar. I didn’t realize it called for cider vinegar and only had white so that is what I used. Then I added a scant tablespoon of sugar to make up for the little bit of sugar that would have been present in cider vinegar. I used a scant tablespoon of dried cilantro, because I don’t buy fresh herbs unless I truly will use them all up and in this case I wouldn’t have. I don’t like a very strong cilantro flavor, either, so I just wanted it to lend a subtle touch rather than being a prominent flavor. I added a little tomato paste to help thicken it up and give it a little body. And of course, the garlic. Which brings me to the favorite gadgets part of this post. I used five cloves of garlic. I like garlic, so I wanted a bit more than what the recipe called for.

The garlic was one of the last things I added to the pot. As you can imagine, chopping up all the other ingredients had been a time consuming project. Between washing everything, peeling the tomatoes, and chopping everything up it took me hours to get everything done. Plus it was a very hot and humid day. By the time I got to the garlic I was exhausted. I don’t think I have ever been more appreciative of my handy little Garlic Zoom, from Martha Stewart!

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This little gizmo was a spontaneous purchase at Macy’s several years ago when I went in for something else. It was $20, but it was worth every penny. Especially as of yesterday!

The Garlic Zoom makes chopping and mincing garlic such a snap. It has two hinged openings, a small gear with multiple blades on it, and wheels. Yes, wheels.

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All you have to do is peel the garlic cloves, then open the top opening and place them in. If they are very large cloves you might have to cut them in half or thirds so they will fit. You can generally fit 2-3 cloves at once, depending on their size. Snap it closed and then hold it upright on the counter or table and roll it back and forth a couple times. If you just want the garlic chopped in bigger pieces, moving forward then back once is sufficient. If you want it minced, forward and back two or three times will do it. Then you open it at the lower hinge, carefully remove the blade, and empty the garlic.

This little thing is absolutely worth the price tag if you use a lot of fresh garlic when you cook!

And of course, the resulting salsa. Which is delish. :mrgreen:

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