Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mixed Salsa Vegetables

I've been unpacking boxes in my garage; sometimes I find treasures and sometimes I scratch my head and ask myself, where did this stuff come from since it surely cannot be mine! Saturday evening was one of THOSE moments -- I found a very large box full of canned and packaged goods that never in a million years would I have bought. I know that the last year of my mother's life, she and Dad used to go to the dollar store and to Big Lots and come home with .... interesting.... stuff, stuff that she had never, ever bought in my lifetime, and I guess this box is full of that stuff. There are all kinds of cheap canned vegetables (not salt free or organic), boxes of muffin mix, a big bag of dry stuffing, jars of pickles and other things I haven't even looked at. I'm not sure if its a treasure trove or a junk pile, but in a weird way, its a booby prize from my mother, and never let it be said that she didn't have a sense of humor!

Since it was my team's turn to bring trapeza on Sunday, I decided to use up some of these canned vegetables. So, I steamed baby carrots, then added string beans, potatoes and a jar of salsa, and I have to say, that yucky canned flavor was masked and they were very tasty! Lots of people remarked how yummy they were, and there were basically no leftovers - maybe a cup or so. These veggies are Southern style - soft. If you want crispy veggies, you'll have to use fresh or frozen veggies and not canned. This is so tasty, quick and easy, you'll be amazed!

Mixed Salsa Vegetables
1 lb baby carrots
2 - 1 lb cans Italian green beans
2 - 1 lb cans sliced new potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 16 oz jar mild salsa
drizzle of olive oil

Drizzle the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil, and saute the carrots about five minutes over med-high heat. Add 1/4 C water, cover tightly, then steam for about 3 minutes just until the carrots are al dente. Drain and rinse the green beans and potatoes, then add them to the pot, along with the garlic and the salsa. Stir well, then cover and let cook on low heat for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Notes: At this point, I took the pan off the heat and put it in the fridge overnight. It was reheated just prior to liturgy's end. By the time we ate it, the flavor had really had a chance to develop - maybe 15 or 16 hours or so. The flavor of the salsa is important in this dish, but since I used mild salsa that I would NEVER choose to eat, I was concerned that the dish would taste yucky and that I'd have to do a lot of doctoring, but I was wrong. By trapeza, the dish had interesting contrasts - sweet carrots and tomatoes, meltingly soft green beans, and still slightly al dente potatoes. I liked it. I now stand corrected in my prejudice against off brand canned vegetables - canned potatoes in particular!

You could easily make this into a main dish with the addition of any sort of protein source - beans, cheese, firm tofu, flavored seitan. In fact, if I find more veggies in that box and some more salsa, I might try it with fajita style seitan added!

Since there were no leftovers, unfortunately, there is no picture as well, but I have to say that the orange, white, green and red made for a very visually appealing dish.

Serves 12 to 15 as a side dish

Three stars for me, Four stars if you like the flavor of canned potatoes to begin with!

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