Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quatro Chile Salsa

The Tomatoes have ripened.  Its been about two weeks since I harvested them and I have been waiting for them to get to the perfect state of ripeness to turn them into Salsa.
You can't cook a Tomato to ripeness, so you really need to wait for this magical state of Tomatoness.  Now we can start doing the sous chef work.  We'll start be dicing five pounds of Tomatoes.
This gives us a chance to inspect every Tomato very carefully.  These are organic, home grown Tomatoes, and they are not perfect.  They have some splits in the stem end, and a small amount of insect damage, and I'll cut off all the imperfect spots.  Five pounds is a lot of Tomatoes, they almost fill my largest mixing bowl.
Next we'll prepare the home grown Chiles.  Starting with 10 Jalapenos, quartered lengthwise and diced.
Then I'm going to add ten Serrano Chile, sliced.  These are from Rosemeade Market.
The Cayenne Chiles are home grown, and quite intimidating to most people.  I've tried giving these away and no one wanted to take them.  We'll the joke is on them, the young, and extra large Cayenne Chiles don't have much heat at all.  I am going to add three to the Salsa because I need to use them in something.
Think we have enough heat?  Nope, we're going up the scale.  I am going to add ten dry Cayenne Chiles and ten Habapotle Chiles.  Habapotle Chile is a Hickory Smoked, and dried Habanero Chile.
Both of the dry Chiles will go for a ride in the spice grinder before we add them to the Salsa.
Now the Sous Chef work is done, time to cook.  My electric range is out of service so I'll be cooking the Salsa on my gas grill outside.  This is strange for me, cooking in a pot on a grill, well, it is a burner.  I am also adding some powdered spices to give the Salsa a Southwestern flavor.  You might know these ingredients as Taco Spices.  The Chile Powder is the  ground Cayenne, and Habapotle.  Then the other spices are Onion powder, Garlic Powder, ground Cumin, and Sea Salt.
This is my only option right now, until I get the electric range fixed.  I'll let the Salsa simmer for around an hour, with a screen over the pot, to try and evaporate some of the water from the Tomatoes.
In the meantime I will wash and and sterilize some one pint jars.  It's important to sterilize your jars, lids, utensils, and anything that comes in contact with the cooked Salsa.
I use a ladle to fill the jars.  Leave half an inch of head space for expansion, and lid immediately.
I had a little more than five pints, and now they are ready for the sterilization process.
I process my canned goods in the dishwasher.  There is an extra hot wash setting, which gets the temperature up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and holds it there for over an hour, when running the washer full cycle.
So I am trying the Salsa now.  There are Chiles in there that go from Hot to XXX-Hot, so yeah its pretty hot.  This is why its called Quatro Chile Salsa.  The perfect thing for the middle of the Summer in Texas.  We really don't need an excuse to sweat more here, just step outside for a while.  I have a leftover burger there on a Ciabatta Roll, with Mozzarella cheeze, shredded Lettuce, and home grown Tomatoes.  It's one of those burgers that is really sloppy, and super extra delicious.  Chips and Salsa is my typical substitute for fries.

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