The weather has finally gotten warmer which has made visions of vegetable gardens dance in quite a few people’s heads! Mine included. The good thing about Wisconsin, however, is the sheer amount of farmer’s markets or fresh market growers that will offer vegetables, even if you don’t get around to a garden.
At the top of my list is always tomatoes. I don’t really care which type they are, just give me a good tomato! And, it turns out that I’m not in the minority as tomatoes are the largest produced and processed vegetable in the U.S.
So, it’s pretty obvious you don’t have to start a garden to enjoy them. Instead, you can check out the Wisconsin Farmers Markets Association (WFMA) for farmer’s markets that sell them or Savor Wisconsin for tomato producers.
The WFMA gives you some background about tomatoes (and other vegetables).
But tomatoes always lead me to salsa. Which is appropriate for two reasons: 1. salsa is the No. 1 condiment in the U.S. (it passed up ketchup in 2000) and 2. Sunday is Cinco de Mayo and it’s a good excuse to join in the celebration of Mexican heritage and pride!
A lot of people I know can’t be bothered to make salsa — they’d rather go to a restaurant for the fresh version or grab a jar at the supermarket. [Stay tuned for Wisconsin Bites to rate 3 salsas from a jar on Friday!] Many tell me salsa is too much work or they don’t know how.
So I’d like to share my friend Jill VanDierendonck’s salsa. Yes, her salsa is easier to make than saying her last name! :) A former co-worker of mine in Wisconsin, Jill lives in Phoenix and is a great home cook. She has taken a myriad of cooking classes and even co-authored a cookbook, Sylvia Cooks Sonoran Style. She offers a simple, chunky salsa that’s easy to eat and tastes good, too! The beauty of this salsa (as her husband would say) is that you can play with the ingredients to suit your tastes.
Jill’s Simple Salsa
Time: 10 minutes
6-8 tomatoes (I like using Roma, there’s less juice)
1 Vidalia onion
1-2 Jalapeno peppers
1 bunch of cilantro
Salt & pepper
Chop tomatoes into tiny chunks, taking out the seeds and juice. Chopped tomatoes should equal at least two cups.
Chop onion into same sized or tinier cubes.
Finely dice jalapenos, taking out seed for milder salsa.
Clean and chop about 3/4 cup of cilantro (both leaves and stems).
Put tomatoes in a bowl and add a little salt to release the juices.
Then add onion, jalapenos, cilantro, to taste.
Squeeze lime juice on mixture and stir.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more cilantro as garnish.
Grab a bag of your favorite chips — I recommend warming them in the microwave for a few minutes — and enjoy!
Better yet, make yourself a margarita and celebrate Cinco de Mayo!