Introduction: How to Make Easy, Restaurant Style Salsa...

About: Let's skip the pretentious titles. At present, I am a paper pusher. In the remainder of my life, I am a mother of two handsome grown men, a wife to a very patient man, a nana of two precious grandchildren, c…

Over the years, I've tried many types of salsa. With today's busy lifestyles, canned salsa soon found a place on the grocery list. Each time I found a salsa I could live with, it was eventually discontinued. Fresh salsa was fine, but always seemed to lack that 'oomph' I was looking for.

This is a quick and inexpensive recipe for three pints of salsa, with just a bit left over for tasting prior to chilling. No cooking, no sterilizing the glass jars, no fuss.

When you notice the recipe calls for canned tomatoes, don't balk. You'll be surprised! Come on, try it! You can always adjust to taste. Too hot? Not hot enough? Not enough garlic?

Step 1: The Recipe...

Time to gather the groceries:

* 1 - 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
* 2 - 10 ounce cans of Original Rotel (Diced tomatoes and green chilies)
* 1/4 cup of chopped onion
* 1 clove minced garlic
* 1 whole Jalapeno
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 cup cilantro
* Juice of 1/2 a whole lime

This recipe is listed as I found it. However, the first time I made it, I found the lime to be a bit strong, and not
enough garlic for my taste buds. Please feel free to adjust as you prefer.

Since canned tomatoes are used, this salsa can be made any time during the year, provided you can find fresh cilantro. I am not a fan of dried cilantro, but I suppose in a pinch, well. A very tough pinch.

Step 2: A Few More Ingredients...

Grab a fresh onion, a pile of cilantro, some garlic, and a jalapeno. The fresher, the better. If you're brave, you can use purple onion, but be advised, it will be strong.

Don't mix Cilantro up with Parsley. Until you are familiar with them, it is easy to confuse the two.

Product placement warning - I don't work for Yoshi, nor do I make a dime for suggesting their products, but I'm here to sing the praises of a Yoshi blade. I use this knife almost exclusively where vegetables are concerned
in my kitchen. You can find them at many box stores, and even in drug stores where "As seen on T.V." products are sold.

Step 3: Chop the Onion...

Cut the onion in half.
Cut the ends off.
Remove the peel.
Slice in thin strips. Turn sideways and slice into thin cubes.
Don't cry!

Place chopped onion into a small dish and set aside.

Step 4: Dice the Jalapeno...

Slice the jalapeno in half.

If you are a bit of a wimp like me, you can remove the veins of the jalapeno, which are responsible for a great deal of the heat in the pepper. I simply use a grapefruit spoon, slide it into the pepper and remove the veins, though I do save a majority of the seeds for effect in the salsa, and just a bit of "Whoo hoo!"

Slice the pepper lengthwise, then cross section to produce uniform and tiny cubes of pepper. Place into a small bowl and set aside. Wash your hands with hot, soapy water, unless you've used a cheap plastic glove as I did.

Step 5: Pluck the Cilantro...

Pull one strand of Cilantro from the bunch. Pluck the leaves off, one at a time, placing them into a measuring cup until you have enough for the recipe.

Discard the stems, or feed them to your pet rabbit.
Or toss them onto the compost pile.
Or, stuff them into the garbage disposal, depending on where you live.
Or, toss them off the balcony of your apartment. (Just kidding)

For the observant folk, I do realize that I've photographed 1/4 cup of Cilantro, when the recipe called for 1/2. The measuring cup I needed was in use. ;-)

Step 6: Mince the Garlic...

If you are not familiar with garlic, now is the time for a quick 101.

In the large image included in this step, you will see a head of garlic. An entire head. This head is made up of many smaller sections of garlic known as 'cloves'. Depending on the type of garlic used, you may find several
cloves encased in what appears to be one single, until you cut into it. Note the clove clinging to the main head, held only with a papery husk. Remove one or two cloves from the head. Slice the ends off and remove the husk. Dice into small bits and set aside in a small bowl.

Step 7: Prep the Dry Ingredients and the Lime Juice...

In little bowls to the side, (or pile the dry ingredients together if you choose) place 1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon sugar.

Also have 1 Tablespoon of lime juice handy. (I still like using the little bowls ;-)

Please note the glass jar to the right labeled 'Cumin'.
Stay tuned for upcoming and amazing Instructable for that, too!

Step 8: The Machinery...

While I'm sure a blender might suffice in such a recipe, if you have a food processor, now is the time to drag it out. This recipe makes three pint jars plus a bit more, so you will need something with room to do the job without making a mess. A large processor with a 10 to 12 cup capacity would be ideal.

May I push yet another product? This is my beloved Better Homes and Gardens food processor. Never in my life have I had more than a yard sale machine, so this was quite a treat. Hubby and I were uncertain of yet another
kitchen appliance, but this machine is definitely used. Especially for salsa!

And the New York Times cookbook in the image? Gotta love the public library!

Step 9: First Ingredient in the Pot? Tomatoes!

First step, make sure the blade is in the bowl. (*snort*)
Dump the canned whole tomatoes into the food processor.

Why use whole canned tomatoes when they are only going to be mushed up, you ask?

You'll see by looking at the second picture in this step, that canning machines don't do such a good job of removing extra skin and stem sections from the tomatoes. When using diced tomatoes, you are less likely to notice them until you are picking them out of your teeth.

You can either move the tomatoes around, making sure each one is skin and stem section free, or you can make a big mess of your kitchen counter by removing each one for the process.

Step 10: Add the Two Cans of Rotel to the Food Processor...

Dump in the two cans of Rotel. Did you remember to use Original Rotel?
ALWAYS check the label.

We once used Rotel with lime, thinking we could omit an ingredient, but we were not pleased with the result. Decide for yourself, but please take my word for it and save yourself the trouble. Adding fresh lime is much better.

Step 11: Ready? Set?

If you're still with me, you'll notice I have a love of 'little bowls'.

Whenever I cook or bake, I utilize several, up to a dozen at times, little bowls of ingredients. This almost eliminates the question. Did I add the salt? Did I add the baking powder, or was that baking soda? What did I forget?

Keeping all the little essentials in tiny portions also allows for precise recipe following. Add this, add that, add the rest, and you're done.

To recap, we now have one chopped up jalapeno minus the veins, one clove of finely minced garlic, or two, as I have used, 1/4 cup of chopped onion, and 1/2 cup of plucked cilantro leaves.

Step 12: More of Those Little Bowls?

While the recipe calls for the juice of one half a lime, it is also perfectly acceptable to use ReaLime. For salsa, I like to use one full tablespoon.

In our little bowls, prepare the following:

1/4 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon lime juice

Step 13: Dump It In, Dump It In...

Dump in the jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, and onion...

Step 14: Keep Dumping...

Dump in the salt, sugar, Cumin and lime juice...

Step 15: Get Ready to Mix...

Place the lid on the food processor securely.

Decide exactly how chunky you want your salsa and go from there. I use the pulse option on the machine, giving it 15-20 quick pulse pushes. You will be surprised at how well the salsa stays blended once complete, without the need to stir it up each time you wish to dip a chip.

Step 16: Divide and Conquer...

Remove the lid, remove the blade, depending on how your machine is made, and give it a twist to shake off any excess salsa.

You certainly don't have to place the salsa into three pint jars, but it makes life so much easier. Besides, you may wish to give a jar to a friend. Make it convenient to do so.

There may be just a bit of salsa left which does not quite fit, if you have chosen to use three pint jars. Sampling, we'll call it.

You can use any clean glass jar or jars, a wonderful choice. Plastic is fine, too, but can absorb the scent and color of your salsa. Choose glass. It's a GOOD thing. And it is recyclable, too.

Step 17: Bon Apetit!

Grab a bag of your favorite chips, and enjoy!

Though I do not know exactly how long this salsa will remain foodsafe, I would feel comfortable saying you should likely plan to consume the salsa within a week for the freshest taste possible. So share, party, plan dinner. Eat it on your chips, your burritos, enchiladas and such.

Step 18: Clean Up Your Act...

As soon as you finish pulsing your salsa, remove the container from the machine and wipe up any overspills. You want to protect your investment, you know. Nice food processors don't come along every payday.