Friday, September 4, 2009

Just Call Me "Garden Ninja"

I've probably bored you all stupid with my talk about my new cat (AKA furbaby) named Dish. But one more indulgence! I promise it's even partially relevant!

So anyways, besides being solid black from nose to tail (with the very slight exception of about 6 grey hairs on her neck) as well as tiny (only 6 1/2 lbs!) and super-silent means that Dish can be exceptionally hard to find if she doesn't want to be. Couple that with her nervous tendency to lash out with claws flailing when she is found (and picked up), and it's no wonder that my sister has given her the nickname "Ninja". The next time I pop into PetSmart, though, I'm buying a collar for her - again, taking a note from my ongoing dreams where she's sporting baby pink bling! My sister wants me to get a hot pink or sparkly one, but even I have limits when it comes to spoiling (or embarrassing) the girl!

So, the Ninja reference is my segue into something I actually managed to make! Being banned from the garden as I am, any veggie-reconnaissance has to be done very incognito, and any actual cooking or eating of said produce has to be - literally - in hiding. So I have become the Garden Ninja. Earlier this week, I was able to sneak to the tomato and pepper patches while the rest of the household was out and quickly rescued a huge bowl of the near-rotten, super colourful bounty. Because damn it all, I wanted SALSA this year!

I knew that whatever wound up going into the food processor that night, it would be roasted. I adore roasted tomatoes and especially hot peppers when their skin is all blackened and bubbly and the flesh is sweet with a touch of kick left! I decided, given the rather sad state of the bowl contents, that I might as well just go whole-hog and roast everything I picked, as well as a languishing half-onion in our crisper. Hey, no one could say I wasn't resourceful! Heck, I was even able to make this salsa in time for the Grow Your Own Event that's being hosted at Masala Heaven this week instead of Andrea's blog.

The heat is a stealthy one too - since the peppers, tomatoes and onion are all roasted it starts off mellow, then brings a punch from behind! As with any sauce or salsa, play with the peppers to control the heat level and find a blend that you like. The lime really adds a nice touch too, and I thoroughly enjoyed this both over some steamed broccoli and mixed into brown rice!

Ninja Salsa
Makes 32 2-tbsp servings
33 oz assorted tomatoes, halved or quartered if large (cherries can stay whole)
1 green bell pepper, cored and quartered
1 red bell pepper, cored and quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
1 Hungarian wax pepper, seeded and halved
1/2 large red onion, cut into 2-3 large pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
juice of 2 limes
zest of 1/2 lime
1 bunch basil, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine vegetables, oil and salt in a large bowl, tossing well to coat.
  3. Spread on baking sheets in a single layer.
  4. Roast 40 minutes, rotating sheets after 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.
  6. Place 2/3 of the roasted vegetables, lime juice and zest into a food processor and puree. Remove to a non-reactive bowl.
  7. Add remaining vegetables to the processor and pulse just to chop coarsely.
  8. Add chopped mixture to the puree and fold through to combine.
  9. Cover and chill before serving.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 13.7
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.1 mg
Total Carbs: 2.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
Protein: 0.4 g


  1. "S" what a great post!!!! first, now I want a cat! second some salsa..nice job babe.

  2. Glad you're managing to get 'round the prohibition. I'd love to know more about why you're banned from the garden, but ... here's me, not prying.

    I'd get something that responded to a remote - a little beeper around her neck, that you could activate at the press of a button. Just a small beeping, like you get when you page your lost portable phone from the base station. Should be good for all SORTS of laughs. :)

  3. Do you wear the whole Ninja outfit when you go sneek into the veggie patch? I haven't tried roasting all of the vegetables, but maybe I'll try it.


Thanks for the feedback!