September 20, 2012

Some of us like it hot: If You Can't Take the Heat, Stay Out of MY Kitchen!

I know, I know. You probably can't believe that someone as sophisticated as myself would be elbows deep in tomatoes and onions, can you? Well, see that gorgeous picture I took with my iPad? My 86-year old father planted, grew, and picked all those vegetables. PLUS, what you don't see is underneath the center island where we stored zucchini and yellow squash and cucumbers and fresh green chard, enough to feed an army of vegans through Armageddon. 

I must give credit to my Dad for growing these vegies and credit to my nephew for arranging them for the photograph and credit to me for washing off the dirt and earwigs. Dad says there aren't any earwigs in his produce but I beg to differ. I know the difference between an earwig and a cob of corn. You can butter those little fellas all day long and they'll just keep running away when you aren't looking. But don't take my word for it. I couldn't tell the difference between a real man and a rat bazturd. I buttered that guy up too and the minute my back was turned, he scampered away. 

We bottled 40 pints of salsa along with 20 quarts of tomatoes, chili sauce, pizza sauce, and even jalapeno pepper jelly which tastes rapturous drizzled on home-ground wheat bread smeared with a dollop of REAL cream cheese, not the light stuff that keeps husbaNds from scampering away 'cuz you eat like a bird which makes you cheap to keep and thin enough to save hot water costs while taking a shower. 

If any of my readers are passionate about bottling your own salsa, we found a recipe this year that knocks yer socks off. Hats too, if you're wearing one and hold on to your britches 'cuz salsas like this are renown for loosening belt buckles. Aphrodisiacal paradise in a teaspoon. If you like it HOT, you'll love this recipe! Note: You may want to grow your own jalapenos to keep the costs down because it's one part jalapeno to one part tomato. Leave the fiery seeds in the peppers and you won't need to light your fireplace this winter.

Jalapeno Sauce 
(makes about three pint jars)

3 cups of chopped, cored and peeled tomatoes (Using Romas or Plum tomatoes eliminates peeling)
3 cups chopped jalapeno peppers (if you're wimpy, take out the seeds and veins to reduce the heat just don't tell me you did that)
1 cup chopped onions (farmers markets sell 25 pounds of onions for less than five dollars and you can chop and freeze small portions of onions in plastic bags for wintertime cooking)
1 cup cider vinegar (buy the real stuff, not that 'flavored' cider vinegar crap that's half the price)
6 cloves chopped garlic
2 tsp. dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Cook all this stuff in a stainless steel saucepan for about ten minutes after it starts boiling. Go to the Ball Canning website for canning instructions. And if you get hooked on canning, the Ball Canning Book is a trustworthy resource for current safety precautions.

In case anybody is wondering, since bloggers are actually advertising products when they rave about them in their posts, I get no kickback from Ball Corporation though the unfortunate name of said corporation inspired several revenge fantasies while cramming tomatoes, jalapenos and other wilting vegetables in the Cuisinart.

Any other canning aficionados out there?

Hugs all!


  1. Ohhh, that looks beautiful! And it's gonna taste GREAT this fall/winter. I used to can as well, but now that I'm alone and storage is at a premium I don't. The Ball Canning Book was always my "go to"...
    There's something so satisfying to see all those cans lined up, ready to go for the winter and there's nothing that compares with fresh, home-grown produce. (And meat-my apologies to the vegans.)
    I also want the "real deal": Butter, not that awful fake stuff, cream cheese that IS etc. How nice to know I can use my IPhone to check out if the produce I'm eyeballing in the store is genetically modified. (insert sarcasm.) I guess it's just too much "trouble" to add that to the label like they do in other countries. Or consider those of us who don't own IPhones or cell phones period, because there's too many "dead spots"-like just about the entire area-might like to know if that "organic" is genetically modified.
    Enjoy your bounty! I know it's a lot of work and of course, the initial expense of getting your jars, lids etc. but it's sooooo good!

    1. HI TW~ I wondered if you might be a 'canner'. A can-do'er. One of those women who didn't mind getting her hands dirty.

      I remember canning pickles and jams and jellies without processing the jars in a water bath. My grandmother even wrote out a recipe for me with fresh garlic and beets and you poured hot vinegar in the jar without processing or anything. Nowadays, everything is processed, even jellies! I thought it was a bit overkill actually when the recipe required water bathing jalapeno jelly which is basically sugar and vinegar. BUT, I did it anyway 'cuz that's what Ball says and Ball knows.

      The picture turned out so gorgeous, I just couldn't help bragging a little bit. Thanks for commenting---it's a rather odd post for this rather odd blog and I'm glad someone could relate!


    2. Just the thought of all that luscious savory sauce and spicy jelly makes my mouth water. I'm not religious in a traditional sense at all, but when I see nature's bounty and beauty, well, it makes you wonder. Life really is good and we are so lucky in so many ways. Thanks for that magnificent picture. and for the recipe! Eat some Chips of Truth for me! xoxo Cal's Sis

    3. Chips of Truth and Blistering Sauciness! ha, you are so funny! I thought about using my salsa days as a metaphor and then decided to let myself enjoy the experience without "narcissizing" it too much.

      When I'm in another phase of Foo-Fun, I must do things that fill me with joy, breaking the Spell of Hell.

      I've also discovered after years of cyclical awakening-and-acceptance, that immersing myself in favored activities improves the process and the expect to read several joyful and lighthearted posts for awhile. ;-P

      NOTE: After mixing and stirring FOO vegetables all day, a thirty minute water bath is highly recommended. For the cook, that is.

      As far as the Foo Vegies go: stir in a little sugar and shove 'em in a jar. Put a tight lid on top and screw it down. Allow Foo Vegies to ferment for about six months.

      After six months or so (fermentation time varies depending on Foo acid levels), release pent-up pressure by unscrewing the lid very slowly. Warning: opening the jar too quickly may blow the ceiling off of your kitchen.


  2. Replies
    1. You make me feel so good, TW. Bless you!!


  3. What a glorious picture! YUMMY. This post makes me hungry. Makes me wish I were more of a normal woman. But alas, I almost never cook. Thank God my hubby loves to cook and is good at it! He also does the laundry, while I do the plumbing and roof repairs and mow the lawn. We are an odd couple, but happy. People in stores and restaurants are calling us a cute couple now, I guess that's one more sign that we are growing old.

    Earlier today I was nuking my lunch, because hubby is away on a Patriot Gaurd Ride for a Veteran's funeral. My lunch-making experience inspired me to post a tweet that said: "What I hate about cooking is having to stop in the middle of the cycle, peel back the cover, and stir. Can't they make self-stir/self-vent?"

    You put me to shame, CZ. ;)


    1. hahaha!

      It sounds like you cook like my sister. The one who has lived with me for sixteen years and cooked about as many times as she can count on one hand. That means five, just in case people thought she might have a hundred fingers 'cuz who would ever believe it?

      I am a kitchen enabler. I love cooking and she loves eating my cooking. wow. Kinda sounds like we're married, doesn't it? People give us funny stares when we go shopping together, that's true. I grabbed her hand one day when we were looking for furniture. She didn't like it much. She figures she could do much better than I.

      But heck---if she had someone as beautiful as she is, and as high-maintenance as she is, who'd do the cooking?

      How fun to have you drop by, Charity! I've enjoyed getting to know you on people's blogs---you are so open and generous with your story and you are a great writer, too!

      I want to spend a day on your blog and I am gonna do that soon! And I'll leave a comment, too. Lots of times I read people's blogs but never comment because I'm using my iPad. I can't post messages on those things!


  4. I just made salsa for my fellow employees and volunteers at the monthly meeting tonight. I put in just ONE jalapeno to over 2 cups of tomatoes, and it is HOT. I don't know how on Earth you put in 3 cups of peppers! Remind me not to eat at your house... ;-P

    1. Ala! You would not believe how hard it was to breath while cooking that salsa! We opened windows and even then, it was like breathing mace! We had on our gloves to handle the peppers but next year, we're buying gas masks for our lungs and rubber aprons to protect our chest hair.

      don't ask

      My nephew and I pretend we're lead characters in an episode of ABC television's "Breaking Bad". But we only make a couple hundred bucks after a 100% pure cook...ha!

    2. Well, I put a warning sign on the salsa at the meeting last night, b/c I could barely stand it, the salsa with just one pepper was curling my nose-hairs and making me cry...

      And everyone who ate it said they could barely feel the heat! humph. I guess I'm just a wimp. ):-O

    3. Hi wimp!

      Why do people have different levels of sensitivity to peppers? My nephew could eat a jalapeno straight, even without salt and a chaser and not even break a sweat. He kinda scared me.......even if it went down easy, it doesn't necessary 'go out' easy. 8-O

      I asked him the next morning if he needed first aid after using the bathroom. He said he was fine but the toilet was on fire. hehehe jest kiddin

      Love you,

    4. Have you ever read this:

      It's an article about the similar chemical structure of certain flavors, particularly vanilla and capsaicin. Yup, my beloved vanilla is related to your potent peppers!


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