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Simple gifts: You’re such a dip

Submitted by on Saturday, 13 December 2008 One Comment

Try a salsa trio – hey, what were you thinking – as either a hostess gift or as a present for someone who might have a lot of guests headed their way. Or for someone who just likes to eat.

I fell in love with salsa making after I moved to California – it’s hard not to do with the abundance of the tomato crop around here. It’s almost as good made from canned tomatoes in the winter.

You could jar the sauces and package the gift in an inexpensive sombrero or find an inexpensive dip set. I picked up a cute on for $10 at Big Lot’s recently. Don’t forget the chips – I recommend throwing in some blue corn if you’re making the pineapple-avocado salsa.

A gringo’s chili-cheese dip

Source: Adapted from a Better Homes & Garden recipe, because I just can’t stop myself from dinking with recipes.

  • 2 c diced onion
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ c. shredded cheese

Sauté the onion and jalapeno in the butter until soft. Add the tomatoes and salt; simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cheese a bit at a time, stirring until finished. The original recipe says you can add milk if the sauce is too thick, but I’ve never needed to do this.

Not a fire-breather? Drain and 4 ounce can of green chilies and add when you add the tomatoes OR remove the seeds from the jalapeno.

I used pepper jack cheese but, then, I’m a fire-breather. The final result was way too hot for most kids. You could use Monterey jack cheese or cheddar, which is what the original recipe calls for. It’s good with Colby Jack as well.

Cooking and prep time: About 30 minutes, including breaks to tell the guys to quit running through the kitchen.

Quick salsa

Source: Made up over the years, with help from a former co-worker who makes the best salsa in the universe.

  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes or two pounds of fresh
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 green onions
  • ¼ c. fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled — Due to a garlic allergy, we leave this out.
  • 3 tbl lime juice or red vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients but the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Add tomatoes and then salt to taste.

Homemade salsa is, of course, more of a feel than a process, so the ingredient amounts are mere suggestions. I vary them wildly myself. Sometimes we use more cilantro, sometimes less. Sometimes I seed one or both peppers, sometimes I don’t.

I usually use petite diced tomatoes if I’m going with canned, because I really don’t like tomato and the smaller the chunks, the better as far as I’m concerned.

Total time: Probably about half an hour, depending on how much you “help” you have from kids – they love feeding the food processor – and how much you mess with the salsa after it’s “done.” I can spend ages adding lime juice, then more onion, then more cilantro. It takes even longer in the summer, when you’re working with fresh tomatoes, but the results are worth it.

Pineapple-avocado salsa

Source: My husband, who learned it at work

  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple – canned will work
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced avocado
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 diced jalapeno — you can seed it to cut down on the heat or leave it out
  • 1 tbl lime juice

Mix all. You can serve immediately, but it tastes better if you give the flavors at least a half-hour to blend. This salsa tastes great with blue corn tortilla chips, too.

Total time: About a half hour for mere mortals. Dad, however, wields the fastest knife in the world and can fly through the chopping.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • melanie said:

    mmmm… gotta love chili cheese dip! thanks for the great ideas on your blog!