Friday, May 30, 2014

Kicking Off the Test Kitchen: Salsa Control and Experiment #1

So, we have taken the plunge.  We are campaigning here to sell t-shirts with our company logo and catchphrase in order to start funding our "eatery." We decided not to call it a cafe, because we don't want to be obligated to serve 20 million kinds of coffee drinks, but instead, we want to focus on the food.  Speaking of food-focus, I will be posting my test kitchen experiments and results as we go along.

Salsa Control Batch - Mom's Recipe

4 tomatoes
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup tomato bouillon (bouillon powder plus water)
1 white onion
4 dashes red pepper flakes (I totally forgot to buy jalapeno at the store!)
8 dashes dried cilantro
salt to taste

This was my attempt at my mother's salsa recipe, though I screwed up with the red pepper and by not using fresh cilantro.  To start, take all ingredients except salt and tomato bouillon and cook in a pot on high until they soften (about 10 to 15 minutes).  Pour everything into a blender or food processor and blend to desired texture.  Return mixture to pot and simmer to thicken to desired consistency.  Add bouillon, then salt to taste at this point, then remove from heat.  Serve either warm or chilled.

Okay - responses were fine.  Everyone liked it, but we knew we could do better.  Hence:

Experiment #1

4 Sunset Heirloom tomatoes
1 red onion
1 small jalapeno, half of the seeds removed, no center
1/2 red bell pepper, small, bright red, no center
3 cloves garlic
5 stalks fresh cilantro
2 tsp tomato bouillon powder (no water)
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
salt to taste

Same as above, cook until softened, blend to desired texture, simmer to thicken, add salt and bouillon powder.

This batch had a much more favorable response.  The flavor was much heartier, but it needed more kick.  The color was much darker also, due to the almost purple color of the tomatoes we used.

 During initial cooking

Returned to the stove to simmer and thicken

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