“I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth by a really top hand.” – Author Mary Lasswell
Texas has no shortage of salsa-makers, and for good reason. Texans love their salsa. The fine people behind the Smither Family Kitchen have been doing it for quite a few years. Forty years, by all accounts. So, they were nice enough to pass along a jar of each of their products: their Dillapeno Caviar and their homemade Salsa.
Salsa ingredients: diced tomatoes (tomatoes calcium chloride, citric acid), onions, jalapeno peppers, green chiles, sugar, salt, garlic powder, spices
Dillapeno Caviar ingredients: cucumber (distilled vinegar, salt, alum, turmeric, spices, 1/10 of 1% sodium benzoate), jalapeno peppers, (water, vinegar, salt), sugar, trace of calcium chloride, carrots
No fancy-shmancy recipes for me with these products. I kept it really simple. For the salsa, it was chip & dip snacking. For the “caviar,” the resemblance to a pickle relish had me thinking of hot dogs from the moment I opened the jar. Nothing like a little kid-friendly dining, courtesy of Hebrew National hot dogs:
Ah, a Kosher hot dog with spicy mustard and Dillapeno Caviar. Best hot dog I’d had in quite a while! Now, let me give you the skinny on my tasting of these products:
Salsa: First of all, it’s a ginormous jar of salsa. In this age of jars of salsa that average anywhere from 10-16 ounces, this jar towers over them at a whopping 24 ounces. The label is simple, understated, and very much store-ready. The salsa is more the “traditional” kind…thin, blended, and very “liquid-y.” Very dominantly tomato in flavor, I struggled to really appreciate the jalapeno flavor. It has a decent flavor, but it finishes a little bit on the bland side. Would loved to have seen this salsa use fresher garlic rather than garlic powder to give it more of a distinctive garlicky “bite.” Decent for chip-and-dip eating, but could see how this might work on some Tex-Mex dishes as well.
Dillapeno Caviar: This one’s the star of the show. With a dearth of spicy condiments, I really wanted this one to wow me…and it came close. To me, it resembles a run-of-the-mill relish on steroids. Perfect consistency, aroma, and consistency, but I found the flavor a tad bit unbalanced. It seemed a little bit too sweet and not enough spicy, but damn if it didn’t taste pretty good anyway. The heat is muted…perhaps no more than a 3/10 at best. Use it
as you would any pickle relish, knowing that it is likely a little sweeter than you’re expecting. Certainly, a jar of it is going to go a long, long way.
Overall recommendation: A pair of solid products from the Smither Family Kitchen. Both are much less spicy than most of the chileheads I know would want, so these are ideally created to appeal to the masses of people who want food that is just a little bit spicy…but still has the full flavor they want. Enjoy!