adventures in home canning: salsa edition

Adventures in home canning

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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!

by Ryan | 09.01.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

valerie picked a peck of pickled peppers

Pickled jalapeños

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)

seasoning

  • ½ tsp mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp cumin seed
  • ¼ tsp coriander seed

brine

  • 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.

Pickled jalapeños

Pickled jalapeños

by Valerie | 08.30.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

hot sawwwwwwwse

Homemade hot sauce

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…

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • salt

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.

Homemade hot sauce

Making homemade hot sauce with garden peppers

by Valerie | 08.30.14 | Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend fun

Summer patio

We had a fun and productive holiday weekend in which we found ourselves enjoying some r&r time with friends, good food (grilled peaches that were a little like this and our own, revised version of this potato salad which we used this tasty hatch chile pesto on – yum!), visited Maker Works to use their laser cutter for this project Ryan’s working on, and we got our garden planted. Filling up our garden boxes this year are: sugar snap peas, tomatoes (Fantastic, Green Zebra, and Grape), lots of herbs (varieties of thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, chives, spearmint, and orange mint), lots of pepper varieties, and flowers (Salvia, Marigolds, and Gazania). I find myself enjoying my little corner of the world more and more these days – the fact that the world is so very green and everything is blooming again certainly doesn’t hurt!

Summer patio

Summer planting

My little green corner of the world

And the award for 2014 laser cut glasses model goes to…

2014 laser cut glasses model of the year ;-)

by Valerie | 05.27.14 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes, Work | No Comments »

leftover heaven

We had a very large bowl of leftover mashed potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce from our Thanksgiving (or, should I say, Thanksgivingukkah) feast and I like a little variety in my life so when I stumbled onto this recipe for Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes I smartly suggested to Ryan that it might be a great thing to try. What better way to celebrate the marriage of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, after all?

Instead of using scallions, we used shallots – because that’s what we had in the fridge. And instead of using sour cream to top them with, we used our leftover homemade cranberry sauce. It was delicious! In fact, to be honest, I actually liked the potatoes better in this form than I did in their original mashed potato form…shhh…don’t tell the mashed potatoes I said that.

by Valerie | 12.01.13 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

But first, I want you to say…”I… love… crepes.”

It’s been a cool (high of only 65 in July?), overcast morning and looking like it’ll rain at any moment most of the day so far. Yesterday, I picked blueberries so I suggested we have fresh blueberry crepes for brunch this morning and that’s exactly what we did. Ryan whipped up a batch of delicious crepes, using this recipe, with a blueberry filling. Speaking of crepes, this never fails to make me laugh.

I do enjoy lazy Sundays. With the cloudy, cool weather it feels extra nice to sit around the house and do a whole lot of nothing much at all. Melody seems like she’s got being lazy down to a science. I did step out to our backyard and pick some of the largest tomatoes we’ve ever grown in our garden as well as some jalapenos, bell pepper, and I cut some nasturtium to make this sweet little arrangement. Here’s to lazy Sundays!

by Valerie | 07.28.13 | Around our home, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | No Comments »

biscuits and southwesty gravy

Val woke up this morning and had a hankering for some biscuits and gravy. So that is what we had.

The biscuits are just vegweb’s Savory Biscuits recipe with a bit of extra flour and basil for the dried herbs. The gravy was a modified version of this gravy recipe. So here is the modified recipe, it makes enough to top about 10 biscuits:

  • 1 package Upton’s Chorizo Seitan chopped
  • 1 jalapeño minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 heaping teaspoon butcher’s cut pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp veggie stock
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt (this one is up to you)

You could probably do this all in one pot but I used a small pot and a pan and cooked the saucy part of the gravy separately from the meaty part.

Heat a pan to medium heat. Add in 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the seitan and the jalapeño and cooked until it browns a bit. About 5-7 minutes at most. Turn heat off.

In a small pot heated to medium heat add 2 tbsp of margarine. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and shallot. Cook until translucent. Add the flour and remaining butter. Cook for an additional few minutes. Add the veggie stock and the cornstarch stir to make sure that there are no clumps from the cornstarch. Bring to boil, then add the soy sauce and nu-yeast and cook for a minute or so more. Once done combine and pour into pan with the seitan and mix well – add salt to taste. Serve over top of some delicious biscuits.

One quick note about the biscuits: cook the biscuits directly on a pizza stone, don’t put in a pan. If you don’t have a pizza stone go buy one, you need it because it makes for perfectly cooked biscuits. Our stone, which should really be called a biscuit stone, permanently stays in our oven even if using a pan and always seems to help distribute the heat well.

Melody likes to keep a close watch for quality control while we cook. She takes her job very seriously.

by Ryan | 02.17.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

not quite pozole soup

This is loosely based on the Mexican soup pozole (it is important to note that no humans were harmed in the making of this soup). Ryan grew up going to friends’ houses where this would be on the stove all day long and after a night of drinking this spicy soup, much like menudo, would serve as a perfect hangover cure. I was never much the fan of hominy, but Ryan always liked the taste of it because it reminds him of tortillas. We struck a deal that I would try hominy again so this soup was a compromise between the two of us, a bit of hominy and a bit of yellow corn in a spicy tomato broth.

Ingredients:

  • 20 tomatoes on the vine, roasted and cored
  • 3 serrano peppers, roasted (note these died in the roasting, but their “juice” mixed with the tomatoes)
  • approximately 3 tbsp chipotle infused olive oil
  • 1 purple onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1 oz package pozole spice mix
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 15.25 oz can yellow corn
  • 1 29 oz can hominy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425. Lightly coat the tomatoes and serrano peppers in some of the olive oil (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp). Place in oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes or until they begin to split open and brown. One quick thing to note, this killed our serrano peppers; that said, the mixture of tomato juices and slightly disintegrated serrano did add flavor to the tomatoes with just a hint of a kick. Remove from oven to cool. Once cooled core the tomatoes and place in a blender to puree. Set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in the remaining olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, and pozole mix, cook onion until it begins to be slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers and chili powder. Cook until bell peppers are tender, enough for a fork to easily go into them. Add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the hominy and corn. Let cook for a little while longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pozole mix is meant traditionally for pork and most pre-made mixes make for a decently spicy pork rub long before it is added to the soup pot. So depending on what type of pozole spice mix you purchased or made for yourself it can make for a soup with quite the kick. If you are afraid of spicy things I’d check the mix or reduce the amount of spice mix you use. You can also let the mix soak and simmer in hot water for a little bit before adding  it to the pot and it might reconstitute some of the dried chiles in the mix.

by Valerie | 01.27.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

Perfect popsicles

Ryan bought me a Zoku Quick Pop™ Maker for Christmas & I love it! It’s easy to use & I love that you can create your own recipes that are both healthy & dairy-free – it’s also nice to know exactly what’s going into your frozen treats…with the right ingredients,  you can be sure there are no artificial sweeteners, color, etc. Last night we decided to give it a whirl & made some delicious eggnog popsicles by combining soy eggnog, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, & sprinkling in some crushed cereal bits for crunch – yum!

The Zoku blog has recipes & there is a recipe book available for purchase as well. We decided to wing it for our first try & it turned out good; after all, Ryan is a master at winging it & having things turn out great.

by Valerie | 01.05.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

Christmas fettuccine

I am enjoying every minute of this joyous holiday season – holiday parties & get-togethers, delicious food & drink, & happy memories! We put together this “Christmas fettuccine” for a potluck & it was easy with only a few ingredients; I think it looks very festive with its red & green ingredients. We used al dente fiesta fettuccine, shallots, garlic, 2 packages of frozen spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, & salt & pepper to taste. Happy holidays!

by Valerie | 12.19.12 | Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »