Busy Friday

What a busy day!! I couldn't sleep so I got up at 3 am and got busy! I spent most of the time planning my day, which included preparing tomatoes for canning, making salsa, making bread and cutting out gowns for our new baby!

For the gowns, of which I cut 12, I chose two different patterns. One is a Butterick Layette pattern w/ lap shoulders, and the other is a modification of a pattern from my Kwik Sew's Sewing for Babies book. They both seem so huge unsewn, but they'll seem a little smaller sewn up.

These are the fabrics and trims I've chosen for the lap shoulder gowns. I like to use different colored binding for the trim on the neck and cuffs.

And these are the fabrics for the Kwik Sew gowns! They have a collar and cuffs, so they have to have contrasting fabric.

Next, after William's breakfast, I went downstairs to work on the HUGE mound of tomatoes (10 pounds) that I had gotten the day before at El Rancho Super Mercado for .25/lb. I also got some real good deals on chicken breast and round steak, and 4lb sugar for .88. Good shopping!!!
While at El Rancho, I picked up all the ingredients for salsa: cilantro (.33 !!!), jalapeños, poblanos and onions.

Here's the recipe. I haven't canned it yet, so I don't know how many pints it makes. Of course, Doug has been eating it everyday, so it still won't be accurate when I can it on Monday.

2 qts (8 c) tomatoes; peeled, cored and chopped.
4 large poblano peppers; roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 medium white onions, peeled and chopped
1/4 c jalapeños peppers, seeded and chopped
2 T minced garlic
3/4 c. lemon juice
2 t salt
2 t red pepper flakes
1 T ground cumin
1 T oregano leaves
1/2 c fresh chopped cilantro leaves

First you have to wash all the tomatoes and get a caldron of water boiling on the stove.
In the sink, fill one side with cold water. I add some ice periodically to keep it cold.
Put the clean tomatoes, about 7 or 8 at a time, into the boiling water. The instructions I read said to boil them for about 1 minute, but I had more success in peeling them by leaving them in 5 minutes.

As soon as they hit the cool air, the skins started peeling off!

Here is the sink full of cold water, tomato and poblano peels, peeled tomatoes, and peeled peppers. I just let the skins accumulate in the cold water, then turn on the garbage disposal when I'm done. We used to put these skins on the compost pile when I was a kid, and peeling tomatoes was a HOT job!!! We used to do WAY more tomatoes than this at once, though. And they came from the garden, not the grocery store. My, how things have changed!

After they're all peeled, it's time to chop them. I made sure the bowl they were going into was under the edge of my cutting board to catch all the juices. I recommend chopping the tomatoes for salsa much smaller than the pieces I cut. Smaller pieces cook faster.

Roasting poblanos: Turn oven on "broil", put peppers on a cookie sheet, and roast them until they are dark and blistery on all sides. You'll have to turn them a couple of times. To loosen the peels, plunge them into the cold water from the tomatoes. The house will smell DIVINELY!!
To get the seeds from the roasted and peeled poblanos peppers, first pull the stem off. It should just pop right off! Then open a slit in the side, and rinse them under running water. The seeds will just wash right off.

After being seeded. They look sort of deflated! Chop these into small pieces.

In the middle of this, my bread that I had started BEFORE the salsa and AFTER the cutting out of newborn gowns, finish rising and baking. Here it is, still warm, and all bagged up. Yum!!!

To seed the jalapenos, I use a melon baller. I washed these well, cut off the stems, then cut them in half horizontally. I used the melon baller to scoop out the seeds into the garbage disposal, then rinsed my hands w/ vinegar, then washed a couple of times. The oil in the peppers will burn your hands FOREVER if you're not careful. Avoid picking your nose at this point.

This is how I chop them. To avoid burning myself with their oils, I process until they are super fine.

While working, I hear William puttering around (well, emptying items from my doorless pantry) and then I hear from him a very loud and emphatic "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM". Thinking he had found a "snack" I went around to take a peek. Nope, no snack. Baby Claire (7 weeks old) had left her paci a couple of days ago, and William found it for her! How nice that he made sure it was still in working order!

Back to work!!! Peel and cut the onions into quarters. White onions will make you cry, so work fast. I cut mine directly into the food processor bowl.

While I'm cutting up the onions, Rags and William came by to see what I was doing. William decided to check and see if those safety latches were still in place. Darn it! Sorry to ruin your fun, William!

Most of the chopped ingredients.

Put all of the chopped vegetables into a large pot: tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

To the pot, add your carefully minced garlic.

And finally, squeeze some fresh lemons into the pot, and add the salt.

Cook for about 20 minutes, at a low boil.
At that point, add the remaining herbs. I REALLY love cumin and mine is freshly ground. There is NOTHING better then freshly ground herbs and spices!
I like to put everything, as it's measured out, into one bowl.

I also really love cilantro, so my recipe calls for a bit more, proportionally, than others I've seen.
I chop this pretty fine, as well, and make sure I avoid getting too many of the hard stems.

After the cilantro is added, cook until the tomatoes start to break down. This took a while, like 1 1/2 hours at a simmer. Stir occasionally!

At this point, you can either can/preserve your salsa or eat it!!! Right now, ours in is the refrigerator in a big bowl, along with a big bowl of tomatoes, which are going to be canned in pint jars on Monday.
I would have done that Friday, too, but our canning jars, rings, and stuff are here somewhere in one of these boxes.

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