Channeling my inner Martha (Salsa and Peeling tomatoes the easy way)

For the last two weeks I have been having my rear end kicked by the mother of all sinus infections, but yesterday I decided I’d had enough.  After the drunk driver took out our front fence on Saturday night, I had a tough time sleeping and woke up with zero energy on Sunday, feeling that sinus pressure trying to kill me.  I resigned myself to working through the pain and being productive.  This was not the smartest idea, but it felt really good in the end to accomplish something besides blowing my nose and waiting for death.

Three things found their way onto Sunday’s agenda; baking sandwich bread, making salsa and making buns for sloppy joes.  All three recipes are fantastic and beg to be shared.

There is something amazing about creating food from scratch with your own hand and watching people enjoy it.  If you had told me ten years ago that I would be into this sort of thing, I likely would have laughed in your face.  I was a career woman on the rise and not terribly interested in being domestic.  Yet, here I am and I’m happy with the way things are turning out.

Let’s start with the salsa.  This is a recipe passed to me by my brother-in-law and it will ruin you for all other salsa.  I’m sorry, but I have to be honest.  The recipe is all over the internet, so neither of us can claim it, but whoever you are, Annie, you are a genius!

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Salsa after

 I call this “Finished product under Van Gogh Who”

ANNIE’S SALSA

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained (see peeling idea below)

2-1/2 cups onion, chopped

1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped

3 – 5 jalapenos, chopped

6 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/8 cup canning salt

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar (I like to do 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup lime juice for taste.  Personal preference rules, as long as it adds up to one cup)

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce

2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars leaving 1/2″ headspace, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 6-7 pints.

Additional altitude and other fantastic information can be found at:

http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions/2766092/annies-salsa-recipe

Salsa before It’s even pretty before you cook it!

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Easy peel tomato method

So, if you’re like me, prep is 90% of the battle when it comes to creating your culinary masterpieces.  I’m not a fan of messes or back pain, so fewer dishes, nicks, burns and bruises, with less time on my feet, are ideal.

Many people like to blanch their tomatoes and I do this sometimes myself, but for this salsa in particular, I really like to have that hint of roasted flavor and it’s so easy to do.

  1. Place your oven’s top rack about 6 inches from the heating element and turn on the broiler.
  2. Slice your tomatoes in half, taking the core first, if you wish (this makes things a little less messing in the end) and place them face down on a cookie sheet.  You can cram them on, as long as you only place them in a single layer.
  3. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  The skin will start to crack and even darken a bit, but once you smell roasting tomato, remove the pans and cool.
  4. Simply pinch the skin and it will come right off.  There will be a lot of liquid, as with most jobs involving tomatoes, so a colander over the sink and a towel or two are a good idea.

Roast tomato

Oh, the aroma!

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