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Salsa

Salsa

It was the summer of bumper crops in the Nutmeg Disrupted gardens. By gardens,  I mean flower beds and numerous containers. The “garden garden” was covered with grass a few years back because of time constraints with work and travel.

I miss my garden. The original garden I first started with turned into a 4000 square foot growing oasis. I had huge tubs set around the perimeter to collect rain and to help make the task of watering not quite such labor intensive work. And it was easier on the well  Each row was mulched with layers of newspaper which I then covered with a thick layer of freshly cut grass, which was topped up weekly. I was cutting 7 acres so there was always a fresh supply.

Then in the fall the garden would be put to bed for the winter with a thick layer of leaves. The complete farm was surrounded by trees, by time you raked and loaded the 20th truckload you stop counting!

Then in the sping a farmer from over by Radway would come with his magic tractor sized tiller and for $30 turn it all into 2 feet deep of  pure black gold!

Gosh I miss that garden!

But downsizing does not mean you can not have success. With a bit of creativity and good gardening practices you can have a fantastic harvest from limited space.

I start my seeds under lights in the winter. Being in northern Alberta I like to get a bit of a jump on the growing season. Espically for things like peppers, tomatos and celery. My growing season is relatively short and you never know if those super hot temperatures will be acheived so the more mature the plants are the better success for a bountiful harvest is possible.

Tomato plants from the Nutmeg DIsrupted gardens, Grande Prairie Alberta      Tomatos from the Nutmeg DIsrupted gardens, Grande Prairie Alberta

This year I grew tomatos in containers and in the 2 flower beds out back. It was an extremely early Spring followed by a record breaking summer. And my garden showed it. Off of 8 tomato plants I harvested well over 100 pounds of tomatos.

The salsa recipe is a combination of a few recipes.  Having never made salsa before I am extremely impressed with how it turn out. The depth of flavor is just fantastic. Tangy and smokey with a nice freshness to it. I did a few different takes on the recipe making one mild and one with a nice kick of heat.

A bumper crop of tomatos from the Nutmeg Disrupted gardens

 

fresh tomatos for salsa

Salsa

24 cloves of garlic – minced

20 large tomatos – diced

2 large red onions – chopped

1/2 teaspoon of dried corriander

1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons of pepper

4 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of dried parsely

1/4 teaspoon of celery salt

1 cup of vinegar

*additions for hot salsa

*3 habanero pepper

*5 red thai chili peppers

*1 serrano pepper

Processed hot peppers for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

If you have a food processor do use it to chop the hot peppers. Beware of the pepper fumes when removing the lid if the processor. If you are chopping by hand wear gloves if you can. If not be aware of the hot pepper oils on your skin. Wash immediately after prep. Hot pepper oils can burn.

 

Straining tomatos for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Tomato water, making salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

Place the chopped tomatos into a colander over a bowl. Allow to drain for 15 minutes to remove some of the tomato water. You would be suprised at how much water you collect.

Fresh garlic for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Fresh ingredients for salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

In a large pot combine all the ingredients and stir well to mix completely.

Slow simmer for up to 2 hours on medium heat stirring occasionally. Cook until desired flavor and consistancy is acheived.

Canning fresh salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted      Processing salsa in a hot water bath on Nutmeg Disrupted

Ladle the salsa into hot jars. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Add rings and tighten until just finger tight. Place all the filled jars into a hot water bath and process for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Fresh made salsa on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yum Yums

Yum Yums

Whew………….

The past 48 hours has been tremendously busy.

With Dan and Jen’s wedding , a Pie for Mikey, the Sugar Unleashed and everything else that fills my schedule, I am about 7 days behind on the post for the Pickling Party.

I hit the kitchen as soon as I got home from work last night prepping the veggies for the 3 hour salt soak they had to take.

And by 9:30 the satisifying ping of sealing pickle jars was echoing throughout the house.

If you have wanted to trying pickling this is a great first time recipe. The prep is minimal and the results are fantastic.

You will need a few basic tools to begin your canning journey. First off you need a large canner, basically that is a large special made pot to boil the jars in once they have been filled. We do that as a final step to be sure that we have a shelf safe product. It kills any  microorganisms inside the jar. It also forces out any air and creates a nice tight seal as the jars are cooling.

A rack for your canner is handy, though not necessary. It does make removal of the hot jars quick and easy. You can also purchase canning tongs. They are made specifically to lift jars and are a fantastic tool that makes quick work of handling hot jars.

One last thing is a jar funnel. It is a funnel with a large opening in the bottom that fits perfectly in the opening of the jars. Again, it is not necessary but does make the job of filling the hot jars quick easy and keeps the process much cleaner. Anything to make a job easier is a good investment.

I am using a very old recipe of my very favorite pickle ever.

I fell in love with these as a child one Easter. I was shocked that peppers and onions could be that fabulous! I always remembered how much I enjoyed them.

And it was that flavor discovery that created my desire to learn how pickle.

They are a touch sweet with a nice tangy finish.

You may find yourself eating the entire jar in one sitting!

…not that I would do anything like that.

The first step in the canning process is to sterilize your jars. We use the canner to do this first step.  You place the jars in the canner and cover the jars by 1-2 inches and put on the lid. Turn up the heat on the stove and once at a boil will leave them at a boil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes turn down the heat and leave the jars in the canner.

Next step is to get the lids ready for the jars. This step is important, it softens the rubber outer seal so they will adhere to the glass rim of the jar. Jar lids need to sit for 10 minutes in hot, previously boiled water.

Fresh made pickles in the Nutmeg Disrupted kitchen

Yum Yums

Combine the following and let stand for 3 hours.

6 quarts of sliced cucumbers

1 quart of sliced onions

4 green peppers

2 red or yellow peppers or a  combination of both

1/2 cup of pickling salt

4 quarts of cold water

 

At the end of 3 hours, drain and discard water. Place everything into a large pot. Add:

6 cups of vinegar

6 cups of sugar

1 tsp of tumeric

1 tsp of celery seed

1 tsp of mustard seed

Bring to a boiling point. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal with lids. Be sure to leave a 1/2 inch of head space between the pickles and the top of the jar.

Place the jars into the canner and be sure they are covered with a minimum of 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Timing begins once the water begins to boil.

Remove all the jars to a rack to cool. Do not adjust the screw bands as that may affect the seal of the lids.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

Every once in a while you come across one of *those* recipes.

You know, the one you make over and over when you first discover it.

You make it so often that those around you start to roll their eyes when they hear your making it again.

Ya that one.

Well this soup is that recipe for me. Which is sort of surprising.

I have never been a big soup eater, I just prefer foods you can sink your teeth into, and soup has never fit the bill where my food cravings were concerned.

Until now.

I received this recipe from a friend who lives on Singer Island down in Florida.

Of course, being the good Ukrainian girl that I am, I upped the amount of onion and garlic used, otherwise, the recipe remains the same.

The aromas that fill your kitchen are just a hint of the pleasure you are about to endulge in.

The creamy texture and  deep roasted flavours leave your taste buds wanting more.

Hell, its even good cold!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash (seeded) -large enough to give you 5 – 6 cups of pulp after roasting.

2-3  large onions, peeled and quartered

3 heads of garlic

6 cups of chicken broth

1/2 tsp of marjoram

1/4 tsp of ground black pepper

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Halve the  squash lengthwise, place on baking sheet with onion. Drizzle with some vegetable oil and season heavily with salt and pepper.  Leaving the paper skins on the heads of garlic, and keeping the heads whole, slice of part of the end, exposing the bulbs. Place the heads of garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with vegetable oil, season heavily with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and place in the corner of the baking sheet.  Roast all in the oven for about an hour or until the squash is tender. If the garlic bulbs are not a nice toasted golden color place back into the oven for another half hour.  Remove and set aside till cool enough to handle.

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Scrape the flesh from squash, squeeze the garlic out of the skins and put all in the blender or food processor along with the roasted onions and cream cheese. Puree, adding abour 4 cups of the broth. Transfer to a pot and whisk in the remaining broth. Heat on medium until warm. Serve hot but do not boil.

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Enjoy!

Luxurious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup on FoodistaLuxurious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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