April 24, 2015

Basic Ingredients (and salsa)

Do you know the food magazine Sauver? I saw a deal on it ($5) a year or two ago and signed up. It is mostly about food in different parts of the world. Mostly in America, but Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Japan, Italy, France.... you get the picture. I like it actually. More as reading, than cookbook material. I have made a few good things from it, but since it has a global perspective, the ingredient list is not such that a Northern New York housewife can make a lot of things. One of the last issues had a recipe calling for pickled cherry blossoms. I kid you not. Who has those? I feel pretty sure that even people in New York City might have difficulty putting their hands on some pickled cherry blossoms.

This isn't a complaint singular to Sauver though. Most food magazines these days have ingredients that are unavailable in NNY. Taste of Home and Cooks Country magazines and even Pioneer Woman used to be pretty good about keeping to basic ingredients, but even they have strayed over to the Vietnamese grocery store. Maybe a lot of grocery stores in America carry exotic items, but I had a hard time finding arugula around here. Let alone various fish sauces and miso. I have always thought someone should make a cookbook with basic ingredients. There are old cookbooks of course, but they sometimes call for things that don't exist anymore. (Oleo any one?) And tastes change. Modern tastes are much more intense than years ago when spices, sugar, and seasonings were more expensive or less available. Whoever wrote this cookbook would have to live in Podunk, Nowhere, just to be sure to get the most basic ingredients in the book. That would be a useful book. I am not at all against exotic food and would shop at the Vietnamese grocery as much as the next amateur global chef, mispronouncing every ingredient I asked for, but that is not my reality. And I think there is a large portion of America that shares that reality. Maybe not a large portion population wise, but land wise. There are a lot of very rural parts of America. Northern New York is practically metropolitan compared to parts of Montana or Nevada. Let alone Alaska.

So someone, write that cookbook!

In the meantime, I am going to give you my salsa recipe. I wrote about one years ago, from a canning website, but since that was intended to use tomatoes by the bushel, it isn't an all the year around recipe. This particular recipe I got from Tricia O'Neil in Alaska. I adored her salsa. And now that I have her recipe, people like my salsa.

1/2 bunch of cilantro, stems removed, or not
14 oz Italian Stewed Tomatoes
3-5 jalepenos, depending on how hot they are
3 cloves garlic
1/2 of an onion
a dash or two of salt
Juice of half a lime

Pulse in food processor (blender can work, but not as well) or chop it all by hand (a lot of work).

Ta-da! Joy in a bowl.

These are terrible pictures. I didn't want to take off my zoom lens, so it was a little tricky getting these pictures. 

Dad considers cilantro to be a travesty perpetrated on an innocent populous, but I adore it. I never had it until I went to Alaska, and now it is one of my pantry staples. I almost always have it in my fridge. Since it is only 78 cents a bunch at Walmart, I consider it an allowable extravagance. (Does anyone else love buying things that are less than a dollar? Jalepenos are like that too. Buying a jalepeno or two is generally about 20 cents, which delights me. It is so hard to find things that are less than a dollar nowadays. Besides baking soda and salt.) Cilantro is easy as pie to grow too, dumping seeds in the ground when it warms up a little.


Jolene Crites said...

I have an idea about who can write that cook book!!!! You're not doing anything else anyway, right?! lol!

I totally know what you mean about gourmet things not being available. We had that issue at our last place. Not only did you have limited resources, but groceries were insanely expensive. We have really wonderful options now and I'm lovin' it!

I love your thought about keeping cilantro in the fridge because it's such an affordable item. Why not? Greydon has decided that he's not a cilantro fan either. For his birthday, I got him a t-shirt that says "Cilantro ruins everything". Maybe your dad should have some anti-cilantro lingo in his wardrobe! You'd be amazed at what's out there. Thanks for the recipe!

Virginia said...

That last pic of the salsa is positively-Pinterest worthy, just so you know. You should stop down here on your way to DC and we'll go shopping for exotic items! There's a dirt cheap chinese grocery store here in the city that smells awful, but I'm pretty confident that comes from their live fish counter and not the stuff I buy. You could get cheap fish sauce and miso there! Although, I think we're just out of luck for pickled cherry blossoms... And, for the record, my mother and Josh hate cilantro, but I looooove it. I can never make salsa the way I like it b/c everyone is a wet blanket. We should get together more often and eat your awesome salsa.