Monday, November 1, 2010

MOFO - Day 1 - Welcome to the Month of the Chile

Welcome to MOFO 2010! My theme for the month is Chiles and Chilies. I will be posting some of my own original recipes. I also plan on featuring some of the dishes I have been testing for Tami Noyes, Carla Kelly and most recently Robin Robertson. I will be sprinkling my posts with a little education and trivia about different types of chiles. I may stray from my theme a bit to do restaurant reviews (if they have chili dishes you know I'll be on that). I also plan on bringing you a preview of Kelly Peloza's new book The Cookie Connoisseur. It is my goal to post every day. It is an ambitious goal and I will do my best to fulfill it. For those of you who signed up for the RSS feed, I know that you will be inundated with blog mania. I hope you will stop in often. It's going to be a hot month at the Vegan Conversion Challenge, grab a beer or a tub of sour cream to cool things down and enjoy the ride!

Today I'm going to start very simply. Salsa is a basic condiment, but the variations are anything but basic. Most everyone has their favorite recipes or favorite places to eat salsa. I love to make my own just the way I like it. When I was a young teeny bopper I was lucky enough to work in a family friend's Mexican restaurant that went out of business years ago. They had a salsa that was really unique tasting,  chunky and addicting. It is the inspiration for my style of salsa. I love big chunks of tomato,  lots of cilantro and a nice kick from jalapenos and chiletepins. Now like many people I know, my salsa is never really made exactly the same way. Here is a general guideline for a tasty salsa that you can use anywhere you want to use a great tomato style salsa. Feel free to change it up to your liking.

Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Makes 4 cups

2 fresh jalapenos
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
3 large green onions
1 - 15 oz can organic tomato sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
3 chiletepin (Scroll down for more information on chile tepin)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 - 28 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

In food processor add jalapenos, garlic, roughly chopped green onion (white and light green part only) and cilantro. Thinly slice the dark green part of the green onions and set aside. Pulse a few times to chop into smaller pieces. Add can of tomato sauce, adobo, tepins and black pepper and blend for about 30 seconds until vegetables are chopped small. Add diced tomatoes and pulse once or twice to combine, being careful not to pulverize the diced tomatoes. Keep those babies chunky! Pour into large bowl and stir in slice green onion. You can serve this right away, but the flavors really pop if you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.


The chilitepin, also known as the Birdseye pepper scores a whopping 50,000 - 100,00 on the scoville scale. Here in Arizona they are pretty easy to find in local grocery stores that carry southwestern spices and chiles. Other parts of the country it may be a little more tricky. You may have to order them online...or you could talk me into swapping with you or mailing you some!! In 1997 this powerful little pepper became the official state native pepper of Texas. Here is another interesting fact-oid: the Wild Chile Botanical Area in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona has the largest number of chiletepin chile pepper north of Mexico. 

You must use caution when using the chilitepin. They are sold in dried form in a nice safe little pod. You experience the intense heat when you crush them. Make sure not to touch your eyes if you accidentally touch them after crushing them or you will be crying for sure. I love heat and these add a beautiful dimension of heat to your dishes. If you are not a fan of hot stuff, this might not be your kind of pepper. But for me and those who like hot stuff, these are awesome in salsas and bean dishes.    


  1. What a great, great theme! I never heard about chilitepin before. Must find!

  2. Awesome! I can't wait for a month of spicy foods. :)

  3. This looks really tasty! Happy MoFo!

  4. I'm really excited you're doing this for MoFo! And if you'll remember my husband the jalapeno salt fiend? He's doubly excited for chili :-)

  5. I do remember the jalapeno salt fiend!!! I have so many great ideas, I just hope that I can find the time to do them all!

  6. I'm excited for a month of chiles. I love spicy food.

  7. Chiles and Chillies YAY! That salsa looks rocking!
    Happy MoFo'ing.