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Claudette Varney’s Fresh Salsa
By Charlie Burke

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In 2003, the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers Market published a cookbook titled
“Sharing Our Bounty” featuring recipes from our vendors and members of the
Sanbornton (NH) Historic Society. Some recipes were family favorites and
others quite contemporary; all were made “from scratch” since we avoided
those using canned mushroom soup and other manufactured ingredients. It
was a great mix of dishes, some of which I have previously published in this
space, and the book soon sold out.

Claudette Varney, one of our vendors, has been ahead of the “localvore”
movement. She and her husband, Brad, have been nearly self-sustaining,
growing squash, beans for drying, and potatoes and other root crops for winter
storage, along with summer vegetables for freezing and preserving. They
accomplish this on less than an acre on their farm in Belmont, New Hampshire.

Claudette grows plenty of tomatillos and tomatoes and contributed her recipe
for salsa to the cookbook. Its bright fresh flavor, spiced with the heat from a hot
pepper has made it a favorite in our house, and we make it at least once a week
(often doubling the recipe) when all the ingredients are available locally, often
in our own garden.

Because the acidity of tomatoes varies, as does the heat in hot peppers, we
sometimes add extra lime juice or additional hot pepper to taste. For some
reason, the amount of salt needed varies as well, so be ready to adjust
ingredients to your own taste. Another reason to make this in quantity is that
the leftover salsa, when pureed in a blender or with a blending stick, makes a
great spicy gazpacho which can be served chilled with some of the chopped
vegetables from the recipe and topped with crumbled tortilla chips.*

10 yellow and red tomatoes
10 tomatillos
1 red pepper
1 green bell pepper
I jalapeno or similar hot pepper
1 sweet onion
3-5 garlic cloves
1 large bunch cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (lemon may be substituted)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Seed the peppers (if you prefer, leave the jalapeno seeds for more heat) and cut
into ¼ inch dice. Dice onion and chop garlic fine. Chop tomatoes, tomatillos
and cilantro. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Mix and taste, adding
more lime juice, jalapeno or salt and pepper to taste. Stir in olive oil and
refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Drain most of the liquid and serve. The liquid has great flavor as an iced
beverage, mixed with vodka or gin or addition to vegetable soups.

*Chuk's Moose-a-licious Antler Chips™ made by New Hampshire’s Better than Fred’s
Salsa are our favorites.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer'sMarket Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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