Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Salsa Queen

Well, I kinda disobeyed my promise. Not Kinda, I did. I promised to make another (better) tomato soup today, but I haven't. I thought there was not much point since I have a delicious looking one made by she who is formerly known as Ms. Ermin, so I thought I would eat that later. Instead I made salsa with my 10 lbs of tomatoes from the farmers market. Ive provided the recipe below, before I forget it! It might just be the best salsa to date. I was rather worried about making salsa since I didnt write the recipe down last year, but it worked out wonderfully, with some minor tweaking, so I thoroughly recommend it. I would also like to point out that the whole process took just 2 hours, compared to last year when each batch of salsa would take me an entire afternoon. The reason why, now I have a fantastic food processor. So please, if you dont have one, make sure you put it on your birthday list (thats how I got mine!) it has saved me hours and hours of tedious chopping and shredding this harvesting season. I have the largest Kitchen Aid food processor there is, and I recommend it to everyone!

Before you get distressed that I used a canned good in my salsa, I have not done this before but was worried about my onion to tomato ratio, if you dont want to use anything canned (as I usually dont) then please half the amount of onions suggested. Last year I did not use hot peppers, but I have tons from Summer's Grandfathers pepper plant so I thought I'd throw them in! Summer lovingly grew it from a seed from one of his peppers and gave that seedling to me, so now I lovingly feed and water it each year, its like a little bush now!

Awesomeness Fresh Tomato Salsa

Approximately 10 lbs fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 large onions
2 green bell peppers
6 cloves of garlic (increase or decrease depending on your tastes)
3 hot peppers (optional and amount negotiable!)
1/2 c dried Parsley ( if you want to use fresh, you will just have to use twice as much)
Lemon juice
Lime juice
Apple Cider Vinegar
6oz can of tomato paste
Black Pepper

1. Place jars and lids in water bath canner and fill with water until jars are covered. Set on highest temperature, your aim is to boil the jars at least 10 minutes before filling and it takes a really long time to boil that much water!

2. Skin the tomatoes; if you want to blanch them, thats fine, but I find that takes forever and this method is much more time efficient.
Cut all tomatoes in half, through stem. Place cut side down on baking dish and grill (English), broil (American), for 8 minutes. Tops of tomato skins should turn black. Remove tomatoes from tray and fill tray with next lot of tomato halves. When tomatoes have cooled, skins should peel off easily.

3. Remove outer layer from onions and inner layer of bell peppers, chop into quarters. Using shredder applicator of food processor, shred onions and green peppers in a matter of seconds. Failing this, spend the next 15 minutes chopping the onions and peppers into little tiny pieces. Place in large, heavy bottom saucepan.

4. Remove skins from garlic cloves and seeds from hot peppers and whiz around food processor with blade applicator. Failing this, don rubber gloves and chop garlic and hot peppers into little tiny pieces. Add to saucepan with onions and green peppers.

5. Place skinned tomato halves in food processor a few at a time and pulse with blade. Failing this, chop tomatoes into small cubes and get tomato juice all of you, your work surface and the floor. Dont worry, the dogs will probably lick it up. Add to saucepan.

Time to date, if you have a food processor: 30-45 minutes
Time to date, if you do not have a food processor: 1.5-2 hours
Go buy a food processor!

6. Add remaining ingredients to saucepan. By now you are probably cursing me for forgetting to type how much of all the liquids and spices I used. Well I didn't exactly forgot to type it in, I just forgot to pay attention to how much I used. So here are some estimates, but just remember that you should keep a bag of chips handy at all times for continual taste testing!
1/2 c lime juice
1/2-1 c lemon juice (concentrate)
1 c apple cider vinegar

I shook the tub of salt over the pan three times distributing salt, maybe adding a tablespoon or so each time.
2 tbs black pepper, although this is definitely a preference thing
2 tbs cumin, but that really is a guess, sorry!

Bring to the boil and simmer. The length of time you simmer will depend on a) how thick you want your salsa b) how much tweaking of spice and liquid quantities you have to do and c) how much time you spend eating it out of the pan! I would say I probably simmered it about 20-30 minutes from start to finish, but I added the tomatoes a bit at a time as I whizzed them round my hand-dandy food processor! Shame Im not sponsored by Kitchen Aid really, although I totally could be, I love their products!

Since it was really hot, we ended up putting a spoonful into a bowl and letting it cool down before we could taste it, which is probably why I simmered it so long. That and I was doing the washing up in between so that there wouldn't be that much mess at the end!

7. Having boiled jars and lids for at least 10 minutes, remove from water bath canner and stand mouth side down for a minute to make sure all of the water is out. Then put 1/2 to 1 tsp of lemon juice in each jar. Fill jars with salsa, leaving at least 0.5 inches head room (I probably left a little more than this). Wipe jar mouth clean and firmly place lids on jars. Immerse jars in water bath canner ensuring 2 inches of water above jars (its ok to lay them down if you have room and dont want to use as much water). Boil for 40 minutes.

8. Remove jars of salsa from canner and check seals. Leave to cool, returning to check they have all 'popped'. If not, this just means you have some eating to do! Salsa in jars that have not popped need to be refrigerated (when cool) and eaten within the week. Label them up and put them in the pantry for your next party!

Since I have a fantastic food processor, I was not making salsa all day! I also walked my dogs at 630am, went to the farmers market for a mooch around (didnt really need any food since we go away next weekend). Went for tea with my girlies. Did the grocery shopping. Picked up my dry cleaning that I dropped off in June and forgot about. Went to the pool with my wonderful husband, read my book and swam 30 laps. Got ice cream at Sonic. Shaved the dogs, again. Cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. You know you have a sad existence when the highlight of your saturday night is changing out the mop head for a new one. c'est la vie.

So that was my saturday!

I have been wondering lately, why I have been so incredibly tired. But when you write down everything you do in a day and it takes an entire paragraph to include achievements prior to 7pm, I suppose its no wonder that you might be exhausted on a regular basis!

My most handsome husband is out shooting a wedding this evening and is then taking himself off 'to the boats', which translates into, "Im going to go waste a bunch of money at a casino". The conversation was rather funny actually:
"Honey, Timmy says Amanda wants to go to the casinos for her birthday tonight"
"Yes dear, why are you telling me this?"
"Well, what do you think?"
"Let me ask you this; will you be able to have a good time without me? Will you feel like Im abandoning you if I don't come? Is it rude for me not to come out for Amanda's birthday?"
"Well, I could probably have fun if you weren't there, even though Id like it if you were, and no, I don't think it would be rude for you not to come. But would you mind terribly if I did go without you?"
"My love, you will be leaving town at 10pm, arriving at the casinos close to midnight, I will stand behind you not speaking to you, since you will be focusing on the card game, you will be increasingly aware of my tired eyes despite me not showing you how tired I really am, and eventually you will feel so guilty that we will come home, even though you will want to stay. The alternative to that is that I sit here and watch tv, do a little ironing or crocheting and go to bed around 10pm. Which do you think sounds like my preferred option!?"

Needless to say, Im going to have a wonderful night in with the pups and go to bed early! Then Ill probably get up early and go out on my bike whilst he sleeps of his sleep hangover! I think Ill be waking him up by 1pm though, mark my words!

How Bolddid your tomato soup making antics go?
Have you an answer to the question; what is the difference between marinara and tomato soup?

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