I don’t know how I could live without some ingredients we have here in Arizona. Anyway, I always buy the little cellophane mexican spices sold at almost any grocery store here in Arizona. All kinds of chili’s, especially jalapeños and Anaheim green mild ones. I buy those spices in the little cellophane packs. I especially love the menudo mix, as it is the key ingredient in “Alma’s salsa”, the first an easiest of all my hot sauces I make. This is the one you whip up when company is coming over and you only have 15 minutes to get ready!
ALMA’S SALSA (the fast and easy one)
In a blender, put one fat can tomatoes (I think this is about 32 oz.) Add: 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbls. Menudo seasoning (in the cellophane bag), and 5 little dry red chilies. (this is where you can adjust your heat. 5 makes it spicy…I sometimes do more!). Blend in blender until smooth. I love to put this in a squeeze bottle…you may have to cut the spout a little larger. But we put this on everything!
CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE SALSA
This one is really only for cooks who like to experiment, and like to cook according to taste. But I recently gave a party in my neighborhood, and we had a “Chili Eating” contest. I bought one or two of every fresh chili at my local store. After the contest, I thought, “What am I gonna do with all those left over chilies? So I tried this: I had a large chopped onion, some banana peppers, jalapeno’s, anaheim mild, poblano, habanero, and a couple that I had absolutely no idea about! Being the fearless being I am, I chopped them all up in big chunks (remove the stems…..) and OH! about those seeds and membranes–get rid of them if you are a lightweight. I leave them in. We like it HOT! Cover with water, and bring to a boil. When they have boiled 20 or 30 minutes, (you may need to add a little water to just keep them covered), and are mushy and beginning to fall apart, begin to season. This is where a little skill comes in: you have to decide how thick or chunky you like your salsas–adding more water will thin it down. Cooking longer will thicken it up AND enhance the flavors! I cannot tell you exact amounts of seasonings, but if you just start with a tsp. of salt, tsp. of pepper, and a package of Menudo mix, you should have a pretty good start. I don’t seem to be able to live without soup bases, such as Better than Bouillon Chicken–so I add a tsp. of this just for more flavor. But TASTE, TASTE, TASTE! When you have the taste and heat right, Blend with an immersion blender or food processor. This is so fun to try–if you like to cook. You can always add flavors you like: cumin? garlic? parsley? Go for it!
Now the last one. My mother always dreamt of becoming famous with her homemade salsa. It’s the only recipe in my life that I have ever kept a secret. It still is a secret, but here’s one that is similar, and makes a whole bunch of jars to “can” (about 12 pints).
GERI’S HOT SAUCE
In a large pot, put one of those great big cans of tomatoes you can buy at Costco or most stores (about a gallon ) Costco sells S&W. To the tomatoes, add one large fat can green chilies, about 32 oz., 5 chopped onions, 5 or 6 cloves garlic, 5 yellow banana peppers (stemmed), 1/4 cup red chili flakes, 1/4 cup salt. Blend onions, chilies, and garlic in blender then add to pot. Also, if tomatoes are whole, they need to be crushed. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and boil about an hour. Adjust seasoning–I sometimes add oregano, but I’m not a cilantro or cumin fan. If you are, go for it!! (and always feel free to season to taste!)