I’m crazy wild about tomatoes, in and on anything I can convince them to get in or on. Ironically, my oldest daughter (the Crazy Tea Chick) is allergic to tomatoes. They cause her skin to break out, poor baby. I provide alternatives for her when the rest of us are having tomatoes in all their glorious splendor. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to serve pasta that doesn’t involve tomato based sauces and I’ve even hit upon a few salsas that are all peppers, onions, cilantro, and either black beans or roasted corn.
However, for the rest of us, it’s tomatoes all the way. Last night I made a trip to the garden and returned with nearly everything I needed for a killer salsa. Salsa, like tuna fish and guacamole, is one of those things I seldom make the same way twice in a row. I have a favorite GE appliance, a blender, but I never use it when making salsa. It should always be made by hand. Last night I made a salsa I named “Four Pepper Salsa” and it was a particularly big hit with my husband.
When making Summer salsa, I love to use cherry, grape, and Roma tomatoes because they’re less juicy than their larger, rounder counterparts. I’ve got nothing against their juiciness, mind you, but when my tortilla chip takes a dip, I don’t want it to come back looking like it just went for a swim.
Here were the components for my Four Pepper Salsa:
- Orange Cherry Tomatoes
- Roma Tomatoes
- Red Bell Pepper
- Banana Pepper
- Green Bell Pepper
- Sea Salt (click here to see why I always use sea salt instead of table salt)
- A little Olive Oil, simply because I put it in everything
- One 4 oz Can Green Chiles, drained
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Packet Truvia (you could use 2 tsp sugar instead)
The amount of each would depend upon your own personal tastes, as well as how many people you’re serving. If using a food processor, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Never add tomatoes as one of the first ingredients. In fact, if you want the salsa to be super chunky, you might want to simply chop them by hand and add them after everything else has had its spin in the food processor.
- Blend the following types of food first: peppers, onions, and garlic.
- Add the drained can of green chiles after the other fruits and vegetables have been added.
- Season with salt and sugar (if desired) at the end.
Some people hit their salsa with a splash of vinegar each and every time they make salsa. With me, it depends on the mood I’m in. IF you do use vinegar, by all means counter it with a little sugar, Stevia, or Truvia.
Salsa, like so many things in the kitchen, is best when you experiment with different ingredients and techniques. Come up with the combinations that blow you away.
My batch of salsa pulled triple duty: We ate it at supper last night with Fried apples and Sour Cream Chicken and tortillas. Later in the evening, I made fried Angus hot dogs and my husband topped his with some of the salsa. This morning, I made omelets and used the chunky salsa, along with cheese, as the filling. All the peppers and tomatoes were excellent with the eggs.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes and Tomato Products
Even if I weren’t obsessed with the taste of tomatoes and tomato-based foods, their health benefits, alone, would cause me to be a fan. Because of their Lycopene, tomatoes are incredibly healthy
for your heart health. Whether they’re fresh, in tomato soup (a personal favorite lunch), spaghetti sauce, chili, salsa, or even ketchup! The more you work tomatoes into your diet, the happier your heart will be.
However, did you know that tomatoes are considered to be super heroes when it comes to preventing cancer?
From You, Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (an excellent book you HAVE to read):
Studies show that the risk of developing certain cancers decreases when you eat ten or more tablespoons a week of tomato sauce. Many believe that the active ingredient responsible is lycopene, a carotenoid known for its antioxidant properties. All tomato products contain lots of lycopene, but it’s more available to the body when it’s cooked. While you’re at it, add some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli to your sauce. They contain chemicals that prevent cancer. – Page 124
Right below this paragraph in the book (did I mention that it’s an outstanding book or that you HAVE to read it?), the doctors remind us of the importance of Olive Oil: “In a test of olive oils, researchers found anticarcinogenic properties in monounsaturated fat. That would mean that olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fat, is not only a heart helper but may also deter cancer. That helps explain why, compared to northern Europeans, southern Europeans, whose diets tend to overflow with the oil, have lower rates of both heart disease and cancer.”
Findings such as these are why I work olive oil and tomatoes into our meals as often as possible. Sometimes I simply slice fresh tomatoes and drizzle olive oil and basil over them. Roasted or unroasted, this is an excellent side for just about anything – anytime of the day or night. A big ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese is a delicious companion.