Like everyone in our new #stayinplace lifestyle, I am finding creative ways to spend my additional time at home. Yes, the life of a writer is already filled with a lot of staying at home, but not having the part-time island job to go to, with almost the entire island on lockdown, I have some extra time. When I feel there is a world out of control, I find taking control in the kitchen to be very calming, bringing things back into perspective. (Gary is finding the same in the garden these days.) The past few weeks have been filled with salsa canning, bread baking, marmalade making, a slew of soups and sauces from spices purchased on travels throughout the world. Of everything, the homemade salsa may be the universal favorite between our focus group of two.
I did put most of it through the canning process, sterilizing the jars, filling, sealing, and boiling them to ensure the condiment that eats like a food group in our house, could rest safely on the shelf for the weeks ahead. I will be curious to see how long they last on that shelf though as we have already gone through two of the six pint-size jars this produced. #cheers
Fresh Homemade Salsa
note: the notes for how everything is chopped prior to cooking is for a salsa that will be pureed to a restaurant-style if you like a chunky salsa you may want to chop the vegetables a bit finer to achieve the texture you desire
6 pounds of tomatoes, cut in half, core removed
2 yellow sweet onions, rough chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 poblano peppers
2 jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (optional, we like it spicy)
1 tablespoon salt, or to your taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 -3 tablespoons sugar (optional, I didn’t use, but you may want to tame the acidity)
It is good to have everything prepped prior to starting.
Turn your oven on broil. Lay the peppers on a small baking sheet and place in the oven. Lay the tomatoes on another baking sheet, skin side up, and place next to the peppers in the oven.
When the peppers start to blacken on top, carefully flip them over. When the peppers are fully charred remove them from the oven, place them in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will help you remove the skins. When the tomatoes have blistered remove them from the oven and place aside to cool before handling. The skins should be starting to peel away.
Meanwhile, add olive oil to a 5-quart pot, or a medium-size soup pot, over medium heat with the onions. Saute the onions until soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, dried spices, and tomato juice. Turn heat down to medium-low, stir everything together, and let cook. As the onions are cooking remove the peppers from the bowl and under running water peel the skins away. (You may want to use plastic gloves if you are sensitive to peppers) After the skins are removed, use a small paring knife to cut the peppers in half, remove the stems, ribs, and seeds, then chop all of the peppers together. Add them to the onions and stir to combine. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel away the skins. Place a colander over a bowl to capture the tomato juices. Using a spoon or your fingers, remove the seeds from the tomato pulp into the colander.
Press the seeds into the colander to capture the juice. Save the juice for another use (like fresh Bloody Mary’s.) Place the seedless tomatoes on a cutting board and roughly chop. Add tomatoes to the onion and pepper mixture. Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes, then add the lime juice, vinegar, cilantro, and sugar (if you are using) and cook for 15 minutes on the medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Using an immersion, stick blender, blend the salsa together until it has a rough, not chunky, texture, but not completely smooth. If you are canning the salsa, follow proper canning techniques (tips on how to can are available here), or place into jars, let cool, then place in the fridge to enjoy for the next few weeks.