“The only real sumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~ Julia Child
Once I’d decided that Mexican was the choice for yesterdays menu, I went in the basement and pulled all the home-canned supplies from the shelves. The most exciting part of making the meal was being able to use the jalapeno peppers I’d just canned a few weeks ago. I’m not sure why I never thought to can them myself years ago, but when you start thinking one way…it’s almost impossible to change.
With the supplies at the ready, I opened first the tomatoes I’d canned last summer. Surprisingly these were my last two quarts. Good thing tomatoes are a constant during the summer. Having to wait until late August would be far too long a wait.
Once the tomatoes were pureed, I opened the peppers. Wow! My mouth began to water immediately. They smelled hot but I couldn’t control myself — I emptied the whole pint into the food processor and added the pureed paste to the tomatoes.
Here are a few pictures of the process:
My salsa isn’t very unique. My family does not like it chunky, so most everything in it is pureed so that the chunks are small. I, myself do not like tomatoes. I eat them as a sauce mostly, but have never liked them raw. I think I have an alergy to them as well. Whenever I am in the garden trimming the plants or harvesting tomatoes, I end up with a rash all over me. Last year my daughter finally forbid me from going in the tomato garden. She took over so I wouldn’t spend the next day scratching and puffy.
I have added fresh onion and green or red bell pepper to the recipe on occasion, but for the most part, this is how we enjoy it. Here is the recipe if you’re interested.
2 Quarts Fresh or Canned Chopped Tomatoes
1 Pint Jalapeno Peppers
12 – 16 oz. Chopped Green Chilis
1 24 oz. Can Tomato Puree
Put the tomatoes, peppers and chilies through the food processor and process to a consistency of your liking. Put in a bowl. Add tomato puree (I add this to thicken the salsa, but if you don’t mind the salsa a little runny you can omit it). Stir and chill for at least an hour.
I have to admit that the full pint of peppers made the salsa very hot. I will be adding more puree to calm it down once we’ve eaten more of it. I’d add more tomatoes, but that shelf is bare.
As luck would have it, yesterday I happened upon two bags of green chilies on the discount rack at Meijer’s. I had put canning these on my Canning To Do List for the summer. Of course, who can wait until summer when there are two bags for less than $2.00 staring you right in the face. I picked them up and plan on roasting them today and giving canning them a shot. They have to be pressure canned. I’m not as comfortable doing this, but I did just pick up a new 12 quart pressure canner at an estate sale, so no better time to try it out.
After the salsa was done, I worked on the Mexican Nacho Soup. Not sure where this recipe came from, but I have changed it so many times over the years, I’ll call it my own. Here is that recipe, very easy and quite hearty (so hearty in fact that the family asked me not to make the tacos with it last night — they figured they be too full from the soup to enjoy them).
Mexican Nacho Soup
1 1/2 – 2 Pounds Ground Beef
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
3 Pints Refried Beans or Canned Pinto Beans
4 Cups Beef Broth
2 Cans Enchilada Sauce
1 Can Chopped Green Chilies (optional)
1/2 Onion Chopped Fine and sautéed to translucent or 1/4 Cup Onion Flakes
- Brown hamburger in large pot. Drain grease.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least an hour. I leave mine on the stove all day just because I like to have my dinner done as early as possible so I don’t have to worry about it later. It needs to boil about an hour to allow the spices and flavors to infuse the meat and broth, but after than you can just put it on low.
- Garnish with tortilla strips or broken tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green/red bell pepper, diced onion, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and salsa — whatever you put on a taco or a burrito, will go great in the soup.
This soup is really more like a chili. Definitely substantial enough for a meal, but if you limit everyone to just one bowl (good luck with that) you could serve a main course as well.
So, yesterday’s dinner is under my belt and seeing as I didn’t make the tacos last night, dinner is planned for today, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.