Tag Archives: salsa

Cuban Night

Each time that we visited our daughter when she lived in Florida, we returned to a restaurant that I had visited many years before with a friend, when I went down with children in tow.  This restaurant is the Columbia, a Cuban local restaurant with several locations.  The one visited most often was in St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota.  One of us always ordered their Empanadas with Black Bean Salsa and they are wonderful.  In seeking new meals for the family, we started by looking at their menu to see the description and then I searched for Cuban Picadillo, the filling in their Empanadas and played with it this afternoon until we both liked it.  I though about making the pastry dough, but we ended up buying the Goya brand premade rounds in the freezer case at the grocer.  A few nights ago, I made homemade salsa for tacos when we realized a jar we had purchased had spoiled.  Half of that salsa was set aside for tonight and we added a half a can of drained black beans to make a Black Bean Salsa.   I took the task of filling, crimping and dropping them in the hot oil to brown.  Daughter too the task of turning and removing them from the pan to drain.  Our recipe made 20 empanadas with a few tablespoons of filling left over.  The six of us ate our fill and SIL has two lunches of the leftovers from dinner.

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We will miss  our visits to the Columbia, but it is nice to know that we can make these at home.

Tis The End

Saturday mornings are usually spent going to the local diner for breakfast then on to the Farmers’ Market. Not today.  Today the morning was spent processing the last two baskets of tomatoes, both green and red, many with spots that had to be cut away. I started with the green, as my end product was to be Green Tomato Chutney from http://foodinjars.com/2010/11/green-tomato-chutney/. The cooking part of this one takes an hour and a half or more. It was prepped and set to simmer on a back burner. Next up were the remaining red tomatoes that were pared of cores and bad spots, diced and tossed into another large pot with some salt. On the last functional and largest burner was the pressure canner with the requisite 3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar as we have hard water and I didn’t want white rings on the jars. Loaded inside were my last 7 pint jars full of hot water to heat until filling time. The red tomatoes filled those jars with some to spare, so a quick jaunt out to the garden to harvest a pound or so of Tomatillos and some hot peppers and with an onion, some garlic, a toss of herbs, a bit of chopping, the tomatoes became salsa. It was left to cook down some while the diced tomatoes canned and cooled enough to remove from the canner.
While I was standing at the kitchen window, enjoying the outside while doing dishes, I spotted a coyote in the hayfield.

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They have been very vocal the past few nights and while I got the binoculars to check him out and my phone to take the distant photo, I spotted two more.  All three were taking their time sauntering across the newly mowed hayfield, into the woods and up toward the house.  They passed close enough to the house that the dogs indoors became very agitated.

The only jars left on hand were a new flat of half pints that I bought with the idea of making the chutney, so nine of them were washed, filled with hot water and scalded in the canner.  The end result was 5 half pints of salsa, 5 half pints of chutney.  One of the chutney’s didn’t even go in the canner, it will travel with me this week to the spinning retreat with a block of Neufchatel cheese and a box of crackers to share at the happy hour.  A half pint of salsa and a bag of chips will also go.

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It has been a good season for tomatoes, unlike last year when we didn’t get enough to get up through the winter.  It was not a good year for beans thanks to the bunnies.  The shelves are stocked with tomato products.  The freezer with chicken and peas.  This week I will purchase one more flat of jars and a basket of local apples and can one batch of applesauce, then the canner will be packed away for another year.

My session ended with a sandwich and a fried green tomato that I set aside just for my lunch.

 

A Touch of Fall

This past weekend was to be a staining weekend.  Son #1 and Grand #1 came in on an early morning bus Saturday, but the day dawned as many have lately, overcast, foggy and high humidity.  As the fog cleared, it was still overcast, so the staining was put on hold yet again and since he was here to work, we tackled the garage door that hasn’t worked properly in a couple of years.  We have had to hold the button constantly to raise or lower the door and the electric sensor was not working at all.  This rendered the remote in the car useless.  We made a trip to the nearest hardware store, in the next town since our local one went out of business and purchased a circuit tester and a few odds and ends.  He was able to isolate where power was no longer reaching the sensor and with a bit of rewiring and door adjustment, it now goes up, comes down gently and reverses when it hits an obstacle or the light beam is broken.  The morning harvest sat on the counter throughout the day.

Yesterday was similar weather, but he managed to get the garage doors caulked with me following as clean up before he and Grand caught a bus for home.  Once back to our farm, I tackled the Saturday harvest and made and canned 10 pints of Tom Tom Salsa, though I left out most of the lemon juice as hubby felt it was too tart for his taste.  Yesterday’s afternoon’s storms brought a significant temperature drop.  This morning dawned quite cool and still cloudy.

Each time I can, I get my exercise hauling empty jars up to the kitchen and full jars back down to the root cellar.  The shelves in there are quite rewarding now as they fill with jars of tomatoes, chili tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce and XXX hot sauce.  The drying shelves are filling with garlic and Burgess Buttercup Squash.  There are many more of them ripening in the garden and I can’t get to the sweet potatoes anymore until the squash and pumpkin vines start dying off.

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As I was taking Son #1 to the bus, I asked him if there was a good way to reinforce the bottom of one of the pseudo orange crates that I purchased years ago at Michael’s Arts and Crafts so that I could load the full jars to the basement and for bringing canned goods and produce to them when I make my trips to their house.  We started purchasing the crates when he was in college and his library that he hauled from dorm room to dorm room to apartment were shelved in them.  Each semester, adding a few for new texts and other acquired books.  When I moved across the state to our new farm, my handthrown pottery, china, and books were packed in similar crates for the move.  Some of those crates have the bottom slats stapled on at an angle, others straight in.  I have feared having the bottom drop out of one.  He suggested taking a 1/2″ thick board cut to the width of the crate, drilling pilot holes and screwing the boards on the bottom across the slats.

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One of my projects this morning was to reinforce one of those crates, then to prepare and can 11 pints of pasta sauce and a pint of Pickled Jalapeno peppers.  My past two days have produced 21 pints of tomato products.   The garden is still full of tomatoes and peppers, but the jars are getting scarce.  I haven’t been able to locate any on Craigs list this time of year and I don’t really want to buy more in Big Lots or the Grocery.  I will can using the last 5 pints and last 11 quarts then start freezing bags of tomatoes.  The freezer us under utilized this year, other than chickens.  Unless we end up buying apples to pare and freeze, there will be plenty of space for quart or gallon bags of frozen tomatoes.

Today as I was boiling a pot of water for peeling the pounds and pounds of tomatoes, one of the burners on our flat top stove failed.  I had mixed feelings about a flat top stove when we bought our appliances 7 years ago, but for it to match the refrigerator and dishwasher, that was my only choice.  I guess we are going to have to get a repair estimate, but this isn’t good timing with canning going on and with estimated taxes due.

Tom Tom

The garden provided 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 pounds of tomatillos, a dozen or so various hot peppers this morning. I quick decision that salsa at $5 a pint and large cans of pickled jalapeños at under $2 a can, that the peppers are better used in salsa than just being pickled. Another round of canning commenced.
The tomatoes peeled and diced, the tomatillos diced, onions, hot peppers and garlic chopped. Eight pints of salsa in the making.
Today’s creation is Tom TomSalsa.
Tom Tom Hot Salsa
5 lbs tomatoes peeled and diced
2 lbs tomatillos husks removed, washed and diced
1 large onion chopped (2 cups)
10 cloves garlic minced
12 jalapeño pepper minced
1 habanero pepper minced
1 Tbs oregano
2 Tbs cilantro
1 Tbs pickling salt
1 cup lemon juice
Place all in a heavy nonreactive pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into clean, hot pint jars, seal with new lids, tighten bands and water bath process for 20 minutes.
Yield 8 pints

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The shelves are being filled with garden goodness.
The pullets are laying more each day. We are getting 7 eggs most days from the 10 pullets and 1 hen. Broody Girl went into molt as soon as she quit being broody and hasn’t laid an egg in more than 2 months. I’m not too happy with her right now.
The Rainbow Ranger chicks at not quite 4 weeks old already weigh about 2 pounds each and have seriously outgrown the brooder. They are in a large dog cage with an attached run in the garage and get as much daytime outdoors as weather permits. They foul their cage daily. Can’t wait until they can go out to the chicken ark and run to live out their lives until mid October.

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Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

The summer kitchen

Much more time is spent in the kitchen than in the garden this time of the season. Each morning after animal chores and breakfast, I wander in the garden with baskets in hand, pull a few weeds, but mostly harvest. All tomatoes except for the occasional slicer are destined for canning in some form or another. Most of the Tomatillos now are being frozen in 1 pound bags as most recipes call for a pound.

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There are 5 pounds in the freezer since I am saving my jars for tomatoes and salsas. On mornings when the Tomatillos are generous and there are too many Jalapeños for a pint to can but not enough for 2, a batch of green salsa is made. Most of the Habanero’s are being strung to dry, there is so much XXX sauce it probably won’t get finished off this year.
If an Ancho pepper turns red, it is also strung to dry to make enchilada sauce later. There are two types of Cayenne’s in the garden. I didn’t realize that until the second type started bursting forth with peppers. Really I think they are not Cayenne’s though they were sold as such. The pepper is much smaller, grows upward and is hot, maybe Thai peppers, which is okay too. The Cayenne’s are strung to dry for crushed red pepper for pasta, pizza and cooking.

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Today there were lots of tomatoes ripe in the garden and more on the window sills and baskets in the house, so today was Chili Tomato canning day. Nine pints are out of the canner, sealed and cooling on a tray on the counter.

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These are my answer to the name brand tomatoes with green chilies that you purchase in the grocer. Mine are a bit spicier and lack the BPA lined can. We eat lots of Chili con Carne in the winter so they are a welcome addition to the larder.
Chili Tomatoes
4-5 quarts of peeled diced tomatoes
3  diced green Ancho peppers
4  diced Jalapeños
1 Tbs pickling salt
Place a heavy non-reactive pot on the stove top. Add the peppers and a couple of cups of diced tomatoes and simmer to allow the pepper to start cooking (I continue to add the tomatoes as I peel and dice them). Once all the tomatoes are added, add the salt and bring to a boil.
Ladle the mixture into clean hot pint jars. Wipe the rims and seal with new lids. Screw a band on and pressure can according to directions for your canner. Here in the mountains, it is 15 minutes at 12 PSI. They can be water bath canned but I would add some lemon juice to each pint to ensure acidity. My batch made 9 pints with about half a cup left over that I just added to the salsa in the refrigerator.

Lesson learned, last week I made 10 pints of pasta sauce and didn’t label them. The rest of the canned goods were labelled. Hubby opened one thinking it was salsa and noted that it wasn’t spicy like the first jar. I couldn’t figure out why one jar from a batch would be very spicy and another not at all until I went to get jars this morning and noted that all the salsa was still there but one jar of spaghetti sauce was missing. Mystery solved and lesson learned, label all of the jars. I would date them too, but nothing I can this year will be left at the end of winter except jelly and I do date them.
We are having internet issues right now, so posts may be sporadic for a while as well as replies to comments, my apologies in advance.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

The Hot Shelf

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Every few days, the tomatillos, jalapeños, and habaneros overwhelm me and processing takes over the morning. Four more pints of hot green salsa, 1 more pint of pickled jalapeños, and 4 more 1 cup jars of  XXX hot sauce (http://wp.me/p3JVVn-GH) were made for winter storage. The spicy globe basil was finally dry and it was crumbled and stored in jars 2 1/2 pints worth.
The tomatoes are beginning to ripen quickly so I will stop freezing them and start canning chili tomatoes, pasta sauce and more Casa Del Platero (http://wp.me/p3JVVn-GK)  salsa for winter.
Peeks under the row covers show green bush beans developing, brocolli, chard, kale and cabbages getting some size on them. The winter squash and pumpkins are so verdant that it is difficult to see the fruits hidden in the jungle of leaves.

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This has been a good garden season so far. Hopefully there will be lots to eat this winter.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

Salsa Season

With tomatoes and peppers taking over the empty spaces in my kitchen, sauces and salsas are the order of the day most days.  The lion’s share of the tomatoes become pasta sauce for the quick winter meal.  With or without meat added on serving day, spaghetti or penne cooked al dente and a salad or green beans sauteed in olive oil with a splash of lemon juice and sometimes a chunk of bread if I have been baking.

Another couple dozen jars will be canned tomato chunks with green chilies for using when I make my prize winning pot of chili on a cold eve.

Hubby and Son#1 love salsa, fresh or canned, green or red.  I have made one batch of tomatillo/jalapeno salsa and will make more with the next harvest of tomatillos.  Pico de Gallo is always welcome, but only happens when everything is fresh from the garden.  This year, I am going to try canning my own salsa as the brand of choice here has risen in price to nearly $5 per pint. To make this, I am going to use the one referenced in yesterday’s XXX hot sauce post.  We were visiting our cousin at their casa in Mexico and they have a husband and wife staff.  He cares for the grounds and does maintenance, she cleans, deals with linens and if you purchase food, will prepare breakfast and dinner for you for a very small fee.  If you want a great place to visit, check out www.Casadelplatero.net .  Our cousin likes his salsa too and this was served with breakfast and dinner’s in.

Casa del Platero Salsa

2 medium tomatoes, cut in half

1 medium onion cut in halves or quarters

2 jalapeno peppers cut in half lengthwise

2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet in a small amount of cooking oil (I use Olive or grapeseed) cook the tomatoes, onion and peppers cut side down until lightly browned and softened.  Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, don’t let it brown, it gets bitter.  Place all in a blender or food processor and blend until a chunky salsa consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste.  May be served warm or chilled.  It will keep for a week or two in a jar in the refrigerator.  If you want it less spicy, just use less jalapeno, if you want more fire, add more or add a half of a habanero pepper.

As I plan to can it this year, I will add 1 Tbs lemon juice and 1/2 tsp pickling salt to each hot pint jar before spooning in the salsa and will water bath can it for 25 minutes (I live above 2000 feet so adjust to your altitude) or pressure can it for 15 minutes.

The remaining tomatoes will be eaten fresh or canned plain for those days when I just need canned tomatoes for a recipe.  It looks like a bumper crop this year.