Give Your Chips a Fresh Salsa

iStockphoto iStockphoto As adapted from a blog by Aleida Arbona for Yahoo! Mujer

It's been years since I've used store-bought salsa given how easy it is to prepare at home. Fresh salsa is an appetizer (bruschetta anyone?), side dish or complimentary sauce that everyone enjoys; I love to serve it as a snack, with tortilla chips or hard-shell tacos. My husband loves to eat it with burritos, and my children enjoy it with their cheese nachos.

Spices that are good for you

This particular recipe has a unique flavor you won't find in a jar since the tomatoes are roasted first, giving them a smoky and delicious touch. I got this tip from the owner of Cactus Cantina, a famous Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. where I lived for four years. The ingredients can be chopped in a food processor, just make sure they don't end up completely pureed. You want texture, not baby food. Finally, remove any excess liquid out so it has a thicker consistency. Although, the beauty in salsa is its customization; you can personalize it to your own tastes. If you like it spicier, add more chile. More acidic, add more lime. Chunkier, dice the vegetables larger. Either way, the flavor of a fresh dip has no match!

Wash it down with Ingrid Hoffmann's cool, Kiwi Mojito

iStockphoto iStockphoto

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

-4 plum tomatoes

-1 jalapeño pepper

-1/3 cup chopped white onion

-1/4 cup fresh cilantro

-1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

-1-2 teaspoon salt to taste

Preparation:

1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Once it's hot, place plum tomatoes and jalapeño peppers under the broiler until charred, turning them so all sides are evenly roasted.

2. Remove vegetables from oven and place in a bowl quickly covering with plastic wrap. This will allow you to peel the skins off easily.

3. Place onion and cilantro in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse all ingredients until mixed, but not totally pureed.

TIP: Serve with tortilla chips or nachos, or use it to prepare a Cielito Lindo dip. The salsa can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for easy entertaining.



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