We had some company over last week and one of them had recently made a trip up to Chicago. And he brought back Tom Tom Tamales!!! (Thanks Les!)
If you've been to Chicago and never had one, well, you’re missed out. Now don’t get me wrong - homemade tamales in their corn husk wrappers are to die for. But if you’re from Chicago, you’ll probably eatne more than your share of the Tom Tom’s. Really good. Or it could be that they were cheap, readily available at the corner hot dog stand and were delicious when one was pretty much inebriated because you really didn’t need a utensil to eat it (although they are still good without alcohol coursing through your bloodstream).
So, back to the salsa thing.
In order to be able to eat the above mentioned tamales, some of the gang insisted (more like demanded) that salsa be smothering said tamale. Well, it was like 9 pm and we didn’t have any salsa on hand, nor was I going to run to the local gas station / mini-mart to buy an 8 oz. jar of off-brand salsa for $3.99.
But I did have several cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry. So I gathered salsa-sounding ingredients (green peppers, onions & various spices) and got out my handy-dandy little food chopper (which I purchased for making baby-food when Rhiannon was younger) and went to it.
Basically, I put half a can of diced tomatoes in the blender along with some garlic salt, cilantro, green pepper, onion, black pepper and a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes. Pushed the blender button just two or three times to chop / mix everything. Dumped the blender contents into a larger bowl, added the remainder of the diced tomatoes (not blender-ized) and a little squirt of lime juice and mixed it again with a spoon.
And I magically had Salsa!
Obviously, it would have been ten times better if I had made it with fresh tomatoes & herbs, but as my tomato garden is pretty much dead and for whatever reason I failed to plant a single herb this spring (what the heak was I thinking???), canned tomatoes and dried herbs did well enough.
So what other convenience items are there in my pantry that I can do without?
Key word being “convenience”. Yes, I know that there are just some times when you don’t even have the ten minutes to make salsa. Or just don’t want to. That’s fine. But when you do have time, there is no reason to spend $3.99 on a jar or canned salsa when you can use a can of tomatoes from your pantry (you DO have a well-stocked pantry, don’t you??) and spices from your cupboard.