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Great Recipes Stemming from Bad Misunderstandings, Part 2

March 17, 2011

Look! A series. I’m just like Charles Darwin. I mean Dickens.

I recently wrote about accidentally inventing some delicious tacos due to a misunderstanding. In case you haven’t yet, you should make these tacos.


With the tacos I served homemade salsa — also, apparently, the result of a misunderstanding.

The rice recipe is not here, but it is coming.

Salsa Saga

My friend Manuel is the source most Mexican recipes in my life.*

I used to make this salsa all of the time, but it had been a while—years.

I recalled that you take an oven safe bowl, and add a can of tomatoes, a chopped fresh jalapeno (with the ribs and seeds in reserve), a loosely chopped onion, aa few cloves of garlic, and cumin, and cook on low heat for, um, a long time. Is there lime in it?  Called around a bit, and couldn’t find anyone to tell me. I couldn’t remember, and I didn’t add it.

The salsa ingredients can be cooked at about 300 hundred degrees for an hour. Because I now have a microwave, I tracked down my old blue Pyrex bowl, removed the Christmas lights sitting in it, and microwaved the ingredients . (Most of my bowls are not microwave safe; none of my Christmas lights are.) I tried to remember. When you use the microwave, is it 8 minutes? Or 12? Hmm. I did 12.

Then I removed part of the jalapeno so I could add more later if necessary, added some fresh cilantro, and used a hand blender to liquefy it.

Voooooom. We love the hand blender, Henry and me.

The resultant product was good. It needed more jalapeno. I added some. It needed a lot of salt. I added some. I was pretty happy with it, but when my husband came home and I asked him to taste it, he did, and then he said “so, what is it?” When I huffed around and told him salsa, he indicated that it needed a lot more salt. Duly noted. Salt salt salt.

When I talked to Manuel, I told him that I made his salsa, but that I didn’t use the canned tomatoes with basil in them, which was one of his tricks.

“I never did that. I often used stewed tomatoes, for the sweetness,” he said. Hmm.

Next, I told him that I couldn’t remember how much onion to use, so I used a bit more than half of a medium onion.

“Oh, I don’t even use the onion anymore. It makes it taste too much like onion.”

So I said “it’s just the garlic?”

“No, I started leaving the garlic our a long time ago.”

What is in his salsa is a mystery, but I’ll bet it’s better than my version. But this version is still really good.


Preheat the oven to 300, or resign yourself to using a microwave.

Into an ovensafe bowl, put a can of whole peeled tomatoes, cumin, a sliced open jalapeno with seeds and ribs removed, a chopped onion, and 2 cloves of garlic.

Cook uncovered for 1 hour at 300, or cook in the microwave for 12 minutes.

Add cilantro. Blend ingredients together using a hand blender or a stand-up one. Season to taste with salt, more jalapeno, or cilantro.


  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (stewed if you wish)
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • a jalapeno
  • a medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • handful of cilantro
  • salt

*aside from my guacamole trick, which is to grind garlic and salt around in the bowl before adding the avocado, and for some reason, this makes guacamole unreasonably delicious

One Comment leave one →
  1. Recipe Chefs permalink
    March 17, 2011 8:54 pm

    Excellent recipe. Thanks for sharing this post. I really enjoy reading your blog. Feel free to check out our recipes.

    Recipe Chefs –

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