Friday, July 4, 2014

Guest Post Friday: Salsa Debacle of 2014

Sooo my friend Robin may be the funniest human I know in real life. I'm thinking about just letting her take over my blog because not only is she so funny, she's so talented in the kitchen (although, this post doesn't really highlight that). She just moved away and I'm so sad, but reading/hearing all over her new food adventures is making me anxious to get to Columbus! Enjoy!

Let me preface this story by saying this - we all have kitchen failures from time to time. We aren’t all perfect Pinterest cooks who make picture-perfect meals every single time we step into the kitchen. Every now and then, we encounter an epic failure. I am here to tell you about one of my most recent ones. I will call this “The Salsa Debacle of 2014” (mainly because “debacle” is a fun word, but also because it’s an accurate description of actual events).

My family has recently relocated to Columbus, MS after my husband was called to be a minister at a local church here. Ya’ll, this town. It is charming and historic and quaint and awesome. We live downtown, within walking distance to the Farmer’s Market (!!!!!!). I completely love it here. Here is one of my first observations of this town and our people here: everyone has a vegetable garden. It is one of our most favorite surprises when church members bring us fresh veggies from their gardens. We have gotten cucumbers, crook-neck squash, blueberries, okra, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, jalapeños, and chili peppers - and OH THE HOME-COOKED MEALS PEOPLE HAVE BROUGHT US. I can’t even talk about the squash casseroles. But, I digress. The point is, people have brought us fresh veggies and I have been trying to figure out how to use them before they go to waste. 

So the other night, after receiving 2 garbage bags (you read that right) full of produce and examining the contents, I had this great idea to make my own salsa. I have actually made my own salsa before and it turned out really good, but unfortunately I didn’t keep the recipe and I couldn’t find it again. But, I am a pretty seasoned cook (no pun intended) and thought, “you know - I can pull this off without a recipe. HOW HARD CAN IT BE?” 

So, I began by chopping the tomatoes. Oh, they were glorious Roma tomatoes (and who doesn’t love a fresh tomato?). I put them into my pot and started it on medium heat to cook them down as the base for my salsa. I added some salt and olive oil (because why not?) and then started adding more ingredients. Ya’ll, I was like a mad scientist. I was literally looking through our pantry trying to find things that would work in this salsa. I was chopping things and throwing them in, imagining myself hosting my own cooking show and explaining to my audience how “anybody can make your own salsa, you just need a little bit of ‘know-how.’” I chopped onions, garlic, cilantro, and threw it all into the pot. It was beautiful, and fresh, and smelled terrific. And then, I got to the chili peppers. 

Now, before we got rid of our cable, I used to watch the Food Network non-stop. I know a surprising amount of information about cooking thanks to my friends at the Food Network. I vaguely remember a lesson from Bobby Flay when he reminded us that what makes chilies hot are the seeds. Anytime you are trying to cook with any sort of chili peppers, you need to 1) wear rubber gloves as you chop them (otherwise, you have the juice on your hands and you go to take your contacts out like 10 hours later and think you’re going blind. I mean….at least I heard that from a friend), and 2) take the seeds out of them before adding them to your dish. But ya’ll remember, I was in mad scientist/Food Network star mode and it didn’t even cross my mind to take the seeds out. I chopped those chili peppers up, and then the jalapeños, and threw them in the pot, seeds and all. 

As I leaned over the pot to take in the wonderful smells after a few minutes of my salsa cooking with the peppers, I felt like I had been sprayed with mace. My eyes immediately started to water from the intense burn and my nose started running. “No big deal,” I thought as I wiped away the tears. “I can fix this up real quick. No worries!” So, I went back to the garbage bag of fresh veggies and pulled out an ear of corn. I cut the corn off the cob and threw the fat juicy kernels into my pot, grabbed a tortilla chip and tasted to see if the corn would help turn my salsa back into salsa instead of a vat of bioterrorism. No luck. It was like I was eating the lava straight out of a volcano. I added another ear of corn. No luck. My husband came in and tasted it and immediately went to the fridge and drank milk straight out of the jug. This was a disaster. My beautiful fresh veggies were on the brink of ruin. I even GOOGLED what to do and the best answer I could find was “make another run of salsa without the chilies and mix the 2 together.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 

So, here’s what I did: I found a block of cream cheese in my fridge and began cutting off chunks of it and melting it in the pot with my tear gas. Slowly but surely, my salsa became edible again - but now it is a weird pink color with a very unique taste. My overall assessment of this dip (because I’m not sure what to really call it anymore) is “good, not great.” I mean, at least I didn’t have to throw it away. It’s still sitting in my refrigerator in a container and I’m the only one who has eaten any of it - but I’m not willing to call it a total loss yet. Maybe I’m just that stubborn. 

See, it happens to all of us every now and then. So, what sort of kitchen debacles have YOU had recently?

1 comment:

  1. Robin, you are hilarious. :)

    Once when we were dating I attempted to make manicotti for Casey's birthday, and after an hour in the oven I realized the oven wasn't hot.

    Recently I tried to make some kind of homemade rolls and let the dough rise for like twice as long as I was supposed to. It looked like an episode of Goosebumps.