I am not much of a chef. Heck, I am not much of a cook and I sure as heck would not make it as a short-order cook at the famous Bagdad Cafe out on Route 66. “Tell me again, what is ‘Sh*t on a Shingle?’”
What got me thinking about cooking today? Costco. Yes, that place where you can spend $200 on stuff you need but do you really need a case of it?
Take for example peaches. Now, I live alone and ten large peaches are a bit much for me, especially when I am not terribly fond of peaches.
I can hear you thinking, “Why did you buy a flat of peaches when you don’t really like peaches.”
“Because they were on sale?”
Not a good enough reason. But when I was looking at those splendid, picture-perfect peaches I had a random spontaneous thought, “I could make peach salsa!”
Add that crop to my basket. I am usually good at Costco. I don’t do much impulse buying, go in, get what I need, sample the free food because I have usually missed lunch, and get out.
Since I am not much of a cook, I like things that take very little effort, like brown rice in little bowls that heat up in 90 seconds. You can add all sorts of stuff to the rice to make it palatable and dinner is done. No fuss, no muss and hardly any clean up.
So why on earth did I think I could make salsa.
Jeez Lara, how hard could it be?
One of my fave Costco things is this bag of steak strips. Already cooked steak strips. You don’t even have to heat them up. I divide the meat into baggies and I have eleven servings of meat for those days when I am protein hungry. Pop them into the freezer until they are needed, thaw them out and voila.
After awhile, just plain meat strips get boring. So now we are back to the peaches and peach salsa. I thought, add some salsa to the meat, wrap it all up in a whole wheat tortilla and yum. That was the plan anyway —
Off I went for the rest of the ingredients. The recipe called for jalapeno peppers. I couldn’t find a small can of those but the chipotle sounded good. I mean, a pepper is a pepper right?
No, that is not right — and don’t chop off a chunk of pepper and pop it into your mouth to see if it is hot. It will be hot. That is what peppers are, hot. Your mouth will be on fire and the idea of dumping the whole mess down the garbage disposal is tempting.
But you have spent all this time pealing the peaches, pealing the tomatoes, chopping the onions, poking holes in the plastic lemon to get the juice out because the lid won’t open and whisking liquids together for the soupy part of the salsa. Too much time and effort to just throw it all away just because your mouth is scorched.
My salsa tasted pretty good on first bite, the chipotle peppers worked out ok, the salsa had a smoky flavor, which I guess is acceptable.
Good news, the salsa did taste quite yummy with my steak strips and was more than acceptable on the brown rice the next day. In the interest of culinary science and research, I tried the salsa with grilled ahi tuna, chicken and lamb chops — excellent on all counts.
Since we are smack dab in the middle of fresh-fruit season, you can stop by your local fruit stand for ingredients or if there are no fruit stands nearby, there is always Costco or your grocery store.
If you find yourself with a boatload of salsa, it does freeze well.