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The next best thing

By Carol Clark

Miss those fresh out-of-the-garden, juicy, for-the-love-of summer tomatoes? Those big beauty's are why I started gardening. I can't get enough of them during those few short months of the year when the world is full of ripeness and you can sink you teeth into a beautiful tasty tomato still warm from the garden.

Fresh salsa is a summer staple on our dinner table. Fresh tomatoes with cilantro and just a bit of hot pepper. Canned salsas are never as good, with their watery consistency and bland "off" flavor. You can imagine my excitement when I found the next best thing to fresh hidden in my six-hundred page volume of "Cooks Country Cookbook".

While the pale, hard, tasteless tomatoes in the produce department are bringing four dollars a pound, this recipe takes a fifty-cent can of diced tomatoes. Add a few fresh ingredients and you have salsa that is better than any restaurant in town.

One-Minute Salsa
Makes about 1 cup

1/2 small red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons canned pickled jalapenos, drained. (I used a fresh jalapeno).
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

Pulse the onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapenos, and salt in a food processor until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Add the tomatoes and pulse until chopped, about two 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer and drain briefly. Serve. The salsa can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days. Re-season to taste before serving. OH YEA BABY!

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."


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