I recently made a big batch of salsa for a camping trip and it was terrible. I was in a rush and instead of seeking out delicious locally grown tomatoes, I bought some from the grocery story. The salsa did not taste bad, it just tasted like nothing. So we did not eat it but for some reason I was reluctant to throw it away. I was curious if I cooked it for hours whether it would magically transform into a wonderful Mexican style-marinara sauce. So I gave it a shot and was pleased with the results.
The result was a pretty good pasta sauce. Was it great? No. Could it have been great if I had used flavorful tomatoes? Yes, it could have been. But at least I found a use for the blandest salsa on the planet.
This experience further confirmed that the most important element in home cooking is high quality ingredients. And when it comes to vegetables, nothing beats produce that is picked when ripe. It makes me sad to think that so many of the vegetables available to people are picked when they are unripe and flavorless. No wonder there are groups of people out there who aren’t fans of vegetables.
I will be much more diligent about tomato buying from now on, even though the poor state of grocery store tomatoes is hardly news to me. It was cool to learn that salsa can be transformed into pasta sauce should the need arise again.
So I did not exactly turn water into wine but I did make the salsa better!