Friday, September 18, 2009

salsa time!

Last Sunday I transformed these:
Into this:
Which got packaged like this:
Whoo hoo! My first batch of canned salsa!

I've made plenty of fresh salsa, but never took the effort to preserve the stuff. Last spring, after tasting the salsa that one of Brian's co-workers made, I was inspired to make an attempt this year. John (the co-worker who might be a teeny bit obsessive since he has canned 46 jars of salsa so far this year...) was kind enough to share his recipe with me and the Farmer's Market cooperated by providing me with a peck of Roma seconds for $4 (I got there at about 8:30 am and think I may have got the last peck of Roma seconds. There were plenty more regular tomato seconds though.)

So long as you have a food processor, making this stuff is a breeze. Without it, the daunting quantity of chopping might push it into the 'labor of love' category, but the taste was really terrific--full rounded flavor, little edge and kick, and very difficult to stop eating.

makes about 6.5 pints (6 jars and a container to eat RIGHT NOW)

Approximately 31 Roma tomatoes (10-11 cups): plunge in boiling water until skin splits. Cool tomatoes in cold water—peel, core and squeeze out juice and excess seeds. (The first photo contains about 11 cups of peeled seeded tomatoes.)
3-4 big cloves of garlic, peeled
4-6 jalapeno peppers with seeds—tops cut off and cut in half width wise
3 large white or yellow onions, peeled and cut in 1/4s
4 mild red, green or yellow peppers—seeded, stem cut off and cut in 1/4s
1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and lower part of stems cut off
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons kosher salt

Get your food processor ready for some action: with the S-blade roughly chop the tomatoes (in a couple of batches). Dump into a big pot.

Then fine chop the garlic and jalapenos, add the onions and peppers and chop until smallish but not reduced to a pulp. Then add the cilantro and pulse a few times to chop it. Dump into the big pot.

Mix in the brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring frequently so bottom does not scorch.

Prior to filling jars, heat the jars and lids in boiling water for ten minutes.

Fill jars with hot salsa, wipe the rim with a clean towel and cover with lids. Then screw on the ring. Be careful to keep everything clean when boiling and filling jars.

If you are a "proper canner" and have the deep pot/rack/jar lifter, go ahead and process the jars in a hot water bath. If you are a) lazy b) equipment challenged c) willing to risk a little (salsa is high in acid and salt so the likelihood of it poisoning you is much lower than some non-acidic, non-salty food) you can do the sloth version. Set the jars on the counter and as they cool down they should seal (my mom always flipped the jars over so they were resting on their lids with the hot contents in contact with the metal--I'm not sure if it is supposed to help the seal or if it is just a compulsive quirk, but I do it too). If jar does not seal it must be refrigerated (press the lid and if it gives and makes a little popping sound, then it didn't seal).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tantre farm share, week 17

From left to right and vaguely bottom to top: Basil, hot peppers, squash, kale, big bunch of parsley, cherry and grape tomatoes, cabbage, two wee eggplant, 2 qts green beans, spicy salad mix, lots of red peppers, red onions, 3 small heads of lettuce, 5 ears of corn, carrots

Menu plan:
  • Last week I didn't get around to making the long bean salad (I ended up just steaming beans and tossing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) so this week's green beans will get that treatment. I'll serve it with stir fried tofu, red peppers and eggplant and some rice.
  • Fish tacos will use some of the cabbage, some of the corn cut off the cob and some of my homemade salsa*.
  • Ina Garten's perfect roast chicken will get roasted on a bed of carrots and last week's huge cipollini onion (I plan to substitute the squash for the fennel in the recipe and don't think the chicken needs butter rubbed into the skin), served with some salad.
  • The rest of corn will be prepared Mexican style--grilled on the cob with mayo, chili pepper, pecorino, cilantro and lime juice--and served with turkey burgers and salad.
  • Some of the red peppers will get roasted and packed in a jar with olive oil (or some other preservation method? Must look into the best method.)
  • I like the looks of this recipe for basil rubbed pork chops with blue cheese and nectarines and will try to adapt it to a pork tenderloin I have in the freezer, a lot more basil than the recipe calls for and the last few Michigan peaches that I still have. Probably served with some form of kale.
  • I'll have a big bowl of salad always ready for lunch to use up all the nice lettuce.
  • The bounteous quantity of parsley will get split between a batch of Sarah's hummus and a batch of parsley heavy tabbouleh.
  • The red onions will get pickled using Orangette's recipe.
* Recipe for and pictures of the salsa coming in the next post. This would also be a good week to make it, what with the ample quantity of red and hot peppers, so long as you can lay your hands on a peck of tomato seconds.