Spicing it up with the Bear Chef!

Just for the purpose of messing with search engines, let me be clear… I ain’t the bare chef.

This post is inspired by one of my favorite blogger-type people, Pacheco, the writer of two blogs I adore…

One discusses her exploits in World of Warcraft, whilst the other showcases her passion for cooking and enjoying fine meals.

The two blogs are… wait for it…

Hello Tauren!, and BACON GRAVY

With a name like Bacon Gravy, you know it’s going to be good. 🙂

Through her blogs, Pacheco has shared with us her passion, her spirit, her craftiness, and sometimes, when we’re lucky… her recipes.

In her honor, I will hereby share with you one of my personal, lovingly developed and ultra-specially secret recipes.

Now, I’m not a skilled chef, or any kind of chef for that matter. When I develop a recipe, it’s not with an eye towards culinary skill, cutting style, or fancy techniques. You can rest assured, what the Bear Chef brings to you, you can safely reproduce in your own kitchen at home.

I don’t aim for fancy, I don’t even aim for stylish. I aim for “Damn, that’s good. Got any more chips?”

This recipe I share with you now is my personal recipe for garden-fresh salsa… if your idea of garden fresh is, “I’ve got a decent grocery store down the street.” And I don’t mean Whole Foods, either. Yes, you could use the fresh produce from a farmers’ market, but you know… somehow, for my recipes, buying your stuff in the most easily accessible, laziest way possible actually helps enhance the flavor.

Try it! I’m not kidding.

The Bear Chef’s Salsa

Tools needed:

  • Blender or food processor with a pulse cut setting.
  • Large, clean bowl with easily sealed top (plastic wrap is fine).
  • Sharp knife and cutting board.
  • Refrigerator or cooler with ice big enough for the very large bowl.


  • 3 or 4 Jalapeno peppers, each around 3″ long
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion (white is fine, Vidalia provides a delicious enhanced sweetness when in season)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 12 to 14 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 to 4 branches celery, sticks only
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 habanero (for more intense heat – see below)
  • 4 peaches as an alternative to the red cooking wine (see below)

Clean and place the following ingredients in a blender or food processor:

  • Garlic cloves, peeled.
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped.
  • 2 (two) Roma tomatoes.
  • Red cooking wine
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Pulse the blender to bring the contents to a finely minced state; about 1/16″ bits. Consistency should be kinda gloopy, but still have a bite. Place entire blender contents in the very large bowl.

Add ALL the rest of the ingredients as diced 1/4″ bits to the bowl as follows:

  • Bell peppers – discard all inner seeds and stringy bits before dicing. 
  • Celery stalks.
  • Remaining 10 to 12 Roma tomatoes.
  • Jalapenos – Discard the seeds for milder salsa before dicing. Include seeds for a hint more heat. (For stepped up heat, add to blender section exactly one habanero without undermining flavor.)
  • Onion – peel before dicing, do not use 1″ of core.

Stir all ingredients in bowl with a spoon very well, ensuring that all diced components get sauced up by the blender marinade. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for no less than one hour to chill. Liquid will settle in bottom; mix again after first 30 minutes and return to fridge.

After one hour, salsa is chilled and ready for eating. Remove bowl from refrigerator, DRAIN and discard excess liquid that has settled to the bottom, and set out with some serious snacking chips. If you’re slow getting that salsa eaten, liquid may accumulate in bottom again; drain if it gets too messy for you.

Alternative recipe change:

If you love salsa, but, like my very good Mormon friends, do not drink or use alcohol, there is a variation I’ve tried that has worked well.

From the list of ingredients, remove the 1/4 cup red cooking wine. In it’s place, get 4 fresh peaches. Peel and remove the seeds from all peaches. Use one peach as a replacement for the red cooking wine in the blender section of the recipe. Take the three remaining peaches, dice into 1/4″ bits and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.

There you have it!

This recipe has served me very well. Salsa is one of those foods that, much like pizza and BBQ sauce, can be totally different depending on where you go. I have never really cared for the salsa you get in stores that is a boiled ketchup sauce style paste. I love chunky, chilled garden fresh salsa chopped fine enough to really pile a lot of different flavors onto one chip.

I hope you take the time to make a batch, and let me know how you like it!

This is the Bear Chef, saying… Allez cuisine!

18 thoughts on “Spicing it up with the Bear Chef!

  1. How much in volume does this make? Like a quart, a truckload, ‘omg however will I eat all this, I need the world’s largest frito’? 😀


      • Cool. I don’t really like salsa, but I’m willing to believe the salsa I don’t like is the ‘slightly chunky ketchup’ type you mention. This has a lot of things I like in it, and the peach variation looks tasty (not against alcohol, just like peaches. 😛 ) And I have a shiny nearly new food processor I’ve used like twice to shred cheese, and I feel bad I haven’t used this expensive xmas gift I was given two years ago, so… 😀


      • It’s very quick to make if you have a food processor to handle the fine chopping duties without turing it into mush or puree. You want the veggies to be in bits, to have a bite to them, to be solid, not to be this sauce or paste. But if the bits are too big, the flavors don’t blend as well on the ‘bite per chip’ ratio.

        Most commerically available salsa in jars is a tomato style paste, and I think a good part of it is the necessary canning process to seal the jars. If yo’ve never done canning at home, you put the ingredients in the jar, and then you heat the jar up to seal the lids in place tight with vacuum. Heating the contents is necessary.. and what you end up with is cooked tomatoes and veggies. Also known as stage one ketchup.


      • Snarfing it now, is good stuff. I managed to forget the celery which is just crunchy, stringy water anyway, so no real loss, and the olive oil which may have made a difference, but I like it. Cheated on the tomatoes and sliced them with the disk instead of pulverizing them with the blades, so it’s a little odd, but good stuff.

        Next time I’ll do all the chopping in the processor, tho. It took me like two hours to make with a knife… And may try the dire bear version with the jalapeno. 😀


  2. Just as a tip, and because I loooove hot food, the membranes in the pepper (stringy bits) actually provide a lot of the heat so if you want to step up the heat a little further make sure you include them with the seeds.


  3. I personally like the juice that drains to the bottom whenever I get around to making home-made salsa. It’s like a little flavour pool. 🙂

    Side note: Only an engineer would give mesurements for when dicing or preparing food. 😉 “Cooking with John Patricelli and a Vernier Caliper”. I smell a book deal! 😀

    Anyway, I should get off my lazy butt and make this sometime. It sounds deeeelicious!


    • Hey! I called em ‘bits’! Doesn’t that count as being inexact?

      Well… okay, no, not when I was thinking “little bits to make up a nummy byte” when I wrote it. But you COULD have taken it that way, darn it!


  4. You can always make your own chips! Buy some corn tortillas, slice them up, and deep fry them in “healthy” oil.

    We do this all the time… and man that salsa recipe sounds delicious…


    • When there is some ‘bring some food for everyone’ company party, this is what I usually bring. Plus, I can lie to myself and tell myself it’s all just vegetables, so it must be good for you, right?

      I happily ignore the whole ‘chip’ component in terms of calories. 🙂


  5. Your Mormon friends can also take some cherry juice mixed with a splash of red wine vinegar for the wine. It adds a similar flavor as the red wine w/o the alcohol.


    • Oooh! What a great suggestion!

      I’m going to try that, and if that works well I’ll start calling it the Just Beth variation. 🙂


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