Sunday, September 24, 2006

the jars are all sealed


This was my assignment for the day. A few gallons of ripe and green tomatoes, various other ingredients, pots, jars, and a canner. This, by the way, is the 8 x 12 shed that serves as my kitchen. For nearly four years. That soon will change.

I made two kinds of salsa today. On the left is my salsa roja. Recipe: Take a bunch of ripe tomatoes, scald, skin, core and chop 'em, cook them up while adding onions, hot peppers, grill-roasted sweet green peppers, cilantro, cumin, salt, and garlic to taste. Tasting is essential; I have to live with this stuff every time I open a jar. On the right is green tomato relish, which I consider to be more of a salsa, but I got the recipe from Farmgirl Fare, and she calls it relish. The voices in my head told me to add a pinch of cinnamon to the final product, and I think it may turn out well.

The final product: eleven jars of salsa, seven red, four green. Not enough to keep a family of salsa lovers for the entire year, but at least I got something for my tomato growing efforts. I was disappointed that the plentiful harvest of golf-ball sized Glacier tomatoes turned out to be totally worthless for salsa, along with anything else. Thin fleshed, with a huge cavity filled with pulp and seeds, they have a thin unbalanced acid taste. I was hoping this short season tomato would be a good provider, but I ended up composting most of them.

Although it was a lot of work, I enjoyed the art of creating canned goods. And with salsa, it really is an art; no formula recipe can account for the variable taste of tomatoes or hotness of peppers. I don't think I can reproduce any batch of salsa I've ever created.

My long time of chopping and preparing was accompanied by two new CD's that arrived yesterday: Chris Thile's How To Grow A Woman From The Ground, which is...interesting, needs more listening time to grow on me but I'm sure it will, and the Swedish group Vasen's Trio. Vasen is pure Nordic roots music, which means traditional songs and original compositions played on traditional instruments (Nordic fiddle, nyckelharpa and guitar/bozoki). Haunting. Deep. Dark. The Hermit heard some of it this morning, and he described it as "seafaring music". It is rhythmically and modally more adventurous than even Celtic music. And I'm really grooving on it. Hardly the association one would have with making salsa, but then I'm hardly predictable. :)


Pam in Tucson said...

Congrats. on completing the hard work and on some great looking salsa. Wish I could taste and smell through your blog. I've enjoyed my Väsen albums ever since I heard them on a Nordic Roots Northside sampler nearly a decade ago, but haven't heard their more recent albums. I listened to some clips from Trio and will be putting it on my wish list.

pablo said...

Okay, I'm going to stop by with some bags of chips. I just need your GPS coordinates, please.

Anonymous said...

How soon is soon on the indoor kitchen?

You've got me interested in that music. I think I'm going to have to look it up. Thanks.

barefoot gardener said...

I am jealous! I have to say I love nothing more than the smell of salsa simmering on the stove. Even while cooking, the peppers and onions seem to fill the air with a "fresh" smell that is so home-y. Congratulations on finishing what I'm sure was a day of hard work. Enjoy the results!

Floridacracker said...

I made fresh salsa today in your honor. It will be consumed tomorrow with tacos and burritos.

Now about the Celtic Salsa connection. Would haggis filled tacos be on the menu?

Deb said...

Pam- now that I'm hooked, I'll have to explore some of Vasen's older stuff. My grandma would be proud; the daughter of an immigrant mother and a first-generation Minnesota Swede, she still has some knowledge of the Swedish language.

pablo- A bit more than 46 degrees north latitude, I don't know about the longitude.

madcap- Still probably two months out, maybe more, but we'll see.

barefoot- add to that the smell of chicken cacciatore simmering in the slow cooker, and it was pretty heavenly.

FC- Yum, fresh salsa. I still have enough leftover cilantro and jalapenos that I should make some.

Haggis would work, but with the Scandinavian connection the tortillas would be replaced with potato lefse. And maybe a seafaring option of lutefisk/lefse tacos! If you need definitions for any of the above terms let me know, although surely Garrison Keillor has spoken of the wonders of lutefisk and lefse on APHC.

Girl Gone Gardening said...

not a fan of salsa at all (i know, i'm odd) but they sure do look pretty...

Tracy said...

Yum, that looks good. I have a batch of tomatoes left, I think I'll try making salsa. Thanks for the inspiration!

LauraHinNJ said...

Thanks for the recipe (vague as it is!)

Adding cinnamon is an interesting idea.

Deb said...

ggg- that is odd, but to each their own! Looked pretty, smelled prettier.

Tracy- I'm noticing another batch of green tomatoes rearing their "I'm ripening!" ugly heads, so more canned goods are in order.

LauraHinNJ- I cannot make it any more specific, sorry! I just add 'till it tastes good. :)

And as for the cinnamon- I've tried an unprocessed jar of that salsa, and I can say I like it! It's a lot like dipping chips in applesauce, but there is a definite spiciness there, and a depth of taste.