We enjoyed helping out at Afterhouse yesterday in Detroit (you can read more about Afterhouse here and here). Spent several hours of hard work for a good cause with some really great people; and, bonus, we got to hang out with the adorable Ezra too! We also met a very nice young lady who lives in the neighborhood and Ezra was really digging her beautiful braided hair – so cute! In the process of taking down some of an old wall, a paper was unearthed – Detroit Free Press dated August 24, 1946 that stated “One answer to Detroit’s housing shortage. City to get material for 10,000 homes.”
Just in case you didn’t read the last 3 posts, we have waaaaay too many peppers this year and don’t know what to do with them. From hot sauce to pickled jalapenos now we are giving a go at making a salsa for home canning.
- 23-24 roma (paste) tomatoes (roasted on the grill)
- 1+ tbsp olive oil of your choosing (the + is for coating the tomatoes)
- 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
- 8-10 serrano peppers, minced w/seeds in; adjust that for your heat tolerance
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chipotle powder
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups of cilantro (before chopping)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
1. prep the tomatoes
Heat up a grill to medium/medium high heat. Coat the tomatoes in an olive oil of your choosing; I used a chipotle infused olive oil. Place tomatoes on grill then roast them until skins start to blacken in spots and tomatoes become a little bit soft. You don’t want them too soft as they’ll just turn to mush. Set aside to cool. Once cool cut the top of the cores out and place in a blender and puree.
2. make salsa
Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat it up. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers to the pan. As they start to sweat add the cumin and chile powders, stir so that they are well coated. Add the tomatoes and vinegars and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt.
3. can that s*!t
Follow directions for your preferred method of canning. We used the water bath canning method, which we tried our best to follow Ball’s recommendations. Sanitize your jars and lids and keep warm while you prepare the food above (we used our dishwasher to sanitize and heat). Prepare a large pot for canning and bring that water to a boil. Once the salsa is ready add it to the jars, put lids on, and put them in water bath. Follow the recommendations of time for the jar size you are using and altitude you are cooking at. Once done, remove and set aside for 12-24 hours. Store in a cool place; we’re talking about temperature here not a fashionable location.
4. Is this a tested canning recipe?
No. It is based on many other tested recipes. From what I can tell is that the key to canning salsa is an addition of about 5% acid (vinegar or lemon juice) and making sure it is brought to a boil. There are lots of recipes published by university agriculture programs out there that break down how to calculate the addition of acid to your salsa. We will update this post months from now after we crack a jar open and consume it. If we don’t get sick, success. If we do get sick, yeah diarrhea!
Our jalapeno plant has been rocking it this summer (along with our serrano, bell pepper plants, and our habanero) and since I am a fan of a good pickled jalapeno – especially on some homemade nachos, yum! – we decided to make our own jar of them. I don’t know why we’ve never done this before as it was fairly easy. The hard part for me will be waiting long enough to let them properly pickle and pick up all those amazing flavors sitting in the jar before I put them in my belly! Here’s our recipe below…
~2 cups chopped jalapenos (round slices)
- ½ tsp mexican oregano
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp cumin seed
- ¼ tsp coriander seed
- equal parts distilled white vinegar & water (about 3/4 cup each)
- 1 tbsp honey
- a little salt
Add seasoning into the bottom of a mason jar (preferably one that has been well sanitized). Add the jalapenos on top of the seasoning. Set aside. In a sauce pan add brine ingredients and heat until just before boiling. Pour brine over the top of the jalapenos into the mason jar. Let cool and refrigerate or can them.
What do you do when you have A LOT of serrano peppers from your garden? If you’re us, you take your first crack at making homemade hot sauce. And I think it was a smashing success too; peppery, hot, and packed with flavor and we picked the peppers right from our own backyard! Here’s our recipe below…
- 1/2 thinly sliced red onion
- 22 serrano peppers
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 cup water (1/2 for cooking, 1/2 for sauce)
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2+ tsp of molasses
Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic, until they start getting soft and slightly caramelized. Add 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer until little liquid is in the pan. Add red wine vinegar and molasses, set aside to cool. In food processor add pepper mixture and puree while adding vinegar and water until you get the texture you want. Salt to taste.
We scaled back what we planted in our garden this year (no lettuce or beans) and tried to make it a bit easier on ourselves by planting more flowers in lieu of veggies. We also dedicated an entire garden box to just peppers (red bell, green bell, and purple bell, jalapeño, serrano, and habanero); our peppers seem to be quite happy as I can’t remember ever getting so many (especially serrano) peppers off of one pepper plant from our garden before! Luckily, Ryan is pretty good at making salsa – so with our plethora of peppers and a bag full of farmer’s market tomatillos, he whipped up some darn good salsa verde the other night. Honestly, I probably could’ve eaten it with a spoon or just drank it from a cup…that’s how much I like it. Which now brings us to the point where we’re going to have to preserve these peppers in some way (Ryan is generally not a fan of pickled things) or take a crack at actually properly canning prepared food like salsa so that we can enjoy it throughout the year. To be continued…
An approaching thunderstorm just looks more impressive when it’s sitting over the UM Law School, don’t you think? We enjoyed attending Nashbash 2014 in Kerrytown last week (BBQ, beer, and live music), a game of Ticket To Ride Europe – complete with Alvin and Dexter added to the game board, and our friends’ most adorable two-year old was the star of brunch on Saturday; he was very interested in counting everything together and then counting it again, he had an amazing laugh, and when he said, “Are you ready for Ryan?” we all came to understand that meant he wanted Ryan to pick him up and put him on top of his shoulders – adorable! I suppose the world must look very different for a two-year old when you’re on top of the shoulders of someone who is 6’4″ tall. And if you ever wondered what Melody might look like as a monkey…
Last week we enjoyed a cookie cake for a friend’s birthday, a Man Men cocktail night with friends, and we found some nice things at an estate sale on Saturday (including a painting and this small, clear glass pitcher I’ve used as a vase for our garden herbs and hydrangeas in the photo above). And it’s been nice to get some rain too – which our garden and yard are always happy for. We even installed a new storm door and made a couple trips to IKEA for some extra workspace setup in our basement. Melody seems to approve of our new purchases – I think she’ll especially enjoy the storm door as now she’ll have a clear view of the backyard and she can keep a close eye on the chipmunks, squirrels, and birds that may drop by; although she is a bit skeptical of the painting which is currently sitting on the floor against the wall waiting to be hung…
We had one of those perfect weekends last weekend – the kind where your plan is to not have any plans – and after Ryan had been out of town for about a week and half it was nice to spend some downtime with just the two of us. We went where the day took us and it was such a beautiful day too. Neighborhood walks with Melody, I had fried French toast with blueberry spoon fruit and real maple syrup for brunch one day…yum…, a trip to Dexter and a stroll on the boardwalk there, etc. It felt like summer – warm, with a cool breeze at times, and did you see that super moon last night? Wow!