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Super Simple Tomato Salsa for Canning

Simple Tomato Salsa for Canning

Every year that we’ve planted a garden at the house (for those of you not keeping score, the number is 4), I’ve announced that I’m going to have a salsa garden. Each spring I’ve started out by planting all the ingredients for salsa. I excitedly bury my pepper and tomato seedlings in the garden and declare that this will be the year that we’re swimming in salsa! But something always ends up going wrong. The garlic doesn’t come up or the tomatoes under-deliver in their bounty.

Well, mark it in your calendars, folks, that 2017 is the summer of the salsa garden at the Delbert Meier house. The tomatoes have come in strong, garlic is abundant and the peppers have performed. And what I’ve lacked in ingredients from our own garden, I’ve managed to pick up at farmers markets.

Salsa is one of those simple recipes that makes you question ever buying it from a grocery store. In addition to the veggies, it’s really just some vinegar, salt and herbs all mixed up to make a yummy dipping sauce. I improvised my recipe for salsa so my measurements aren’t exact. I did check the label on the side of a jar of salsa to confirm that I was on the right patch with ingredients. But from there, it’s all a matter of taste.

SIMPLE SALSA RECIPE

Ingredients:
10-12 ripe tomatoes
1-2 green peppers
1 large onion (I threw in some green onion as well)
1 head of garlic
Jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup(ish) of vinegar
1/2 cup(ish) of tequila
Pinch of salt
Fresh parsley
Fresh cilantro

Roughly chop all ingredients and place all but cilantro in a large stockpot. Cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. (For a thicker salsa, simmer on low heat for up to eight hours.) Use an immersion blender to puree the cooked mixture.
(Or, blend the hot mixture in batches in a blender or food processor. But be careful!) Add chopped cilantro to the blended mixture and return to stockpot.

See, I told you that the salsa recipe was easy, didn’t I? Well then trust me when I say that canning salsa is easy too. You’ll need the supplies: a basic canning kit (which consists of a large water bath pot and rack) along with jars, lids and rings. Once you have the supplies, the canning process is actually quite simple. I’m including some basic instructions here but the Ball/Kerr website provides a thorough resource for beginning canners.

First, fill you water bath canner with water (enough to cover the tops of the jars when they’re submerged) and heat on high until boiling. Then reduce heat to keep the water simmering but not boiling.

Next, thoroughly wash the empty jars and lids and then cover them in boiling water. What you’re doing here is making sure that you’re putting your salsa into a clean, sanitized jar. I usually hand wash my jars and then place them in the water bath pot for a few minutes. And then I place the lids in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them.

Then, place the hot salsa in the sterilized jars. Wipe any salsa from the rim of each jar and place the sanitized lids on top. Lightly screw the rings on top of the jars. Now, place the jars of salsa in the rack of the water canner and slowly lower them into the pot. Leave the jars submerged in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.

When the time’s up, carefully remove the jars from the water canner and place on top of a towel on the countertop. You’ll likely hear the lids pop, which is your sign that the jars have created a vacuum seal. I usually wipe the excess water from the jars and lids after they’ve cooled a bit and then add labels before placing them in the pantry.

Time consuming? Yes. But also easy, right? And on that cold winter night when we’re binge watching Netflix, this salsa is going to be so very delicious!

Replacing a Kitchen Faucet is the Easiest Plumbing DIY

Replacing a Leaky Faucet is One of the Easiest Plumbing DIY Project | This American House

Apparently the developer who rehabbed our condo building back in the early 2000s used some of the cheapest materials he could find. Over the past seven years everything that was new in the condo has failed. Take this faucet on the kitchen sink, for instance. Within a few months of moving into our condo the faucet started leaking. Not a slow drip kind of leak, mind you. That we could live with. No, this leak came out of a hole in the back of the faucet and would slowly flood the entire counter top.

Over the years I’ve found some little fixes for the faucet but the leak would always return. And then a month or so ago the leak became intolerable. If we didn’t tie a towel around the base of the faucet, water would shoot out of the back of it and flood the counter top. The towel would get soaked but at least it would absorb some of the water and also divert it into the sink instead of onto the counter. I lived with the towel wrapped around the faucet for a few weeks but I would groan every time I saw it.

And then one day I said to The Mister, “It can’t be that hard to replace a faucet. I think I can do it myself.”

I pulled up my old friend Google and searched around for faucet replacement tutorials. And you know what? Replacing a faucet is actually one of the easiest DIY plumbing projects in the history of ever!

Replacing a Leaky Kitchen Faucet | This American House

I’ve learned my lesson from past hubris when it comes to DIY projects. Sometimes a project may seem easy at first glance but then when I’m elbow deep in grease and screwdrivers I realize that it’s not easy at all. With that in mind I watched a few tutorial videos before I finally accepted that this was a project I could tackle on my own. The video I found most helpful was this tutorial from Lowes. In fact, I was going to try to photograph my own faucet replacement so that I could write a tutorial but this video is so good that that didn’t seem necessary.

After watching that video a few times I was totally confident that this was a project I could handle on my own. And I was right! In fact, the only trouble I encountered with the project was disassembling the old faucet to remove it. Oh, and of course, it wasn’t exactly a picnic contorting my body under the kitchen sink. How do plumbers do that all day?

With the old faucet removed (and after I did a little happy dance because I wouldn’t have to deal with its leaks ever again) it was quite easy to install the new faucet. It’s really just a matter of slipping the faucet into place, securing it to the counter from underneath and then connecting the water lines. The new faucet I bought – the Cantara by Pfister – even came with a handy tool that made securing it to the counter super easy.

Pfister Cantara Kitchen Faucet | This American House

Oh, new faucet. You make me so happy! I never liked that old faucet to begin with. It was too short to be useful and the sprayer was always a bit wonky. This new faucet works like a charm and the arched spout makes it super useful.

Of course the best part of any DIY project (besides economics) is the satisfaction of knowing that I DID IT ALL ON MY OWN! Every time I walk past the kitchen sink I am filled with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, I never had to witness plumber butt during the installation of the faucet!

Images: This American House

How to Make a 1 Dollar Photo Projector

How to Make a $1 DIY Photo Projector | This American House

Back in the old days a couple would return from vacation and invite all of their friends over to their house for a slideshow of the amazing shots of far flung destinations that they the snapped. Drinks would be served and merriment would ensue as the guests would live vicariously through their traveling friends. And then digital photography came along and instead of getting together to see each other’s photos, we simply swipe through Instagram and Facebook feeds. Sure, it’s a little easier, but I miss the social aspect of slide shows.

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How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

How to Freeze Green Beans | This American House

In the opening scenes of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford goes through her morning routine. You see her plunging her face into a bowl of ice water and steaming herself in a hot shower. I thought of this scene yesterday as I was preparing green beans to freeze. With the blanching and the ice bath it felt like I was Joan Crawfording the beans!

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Grow Your Own: The Novice’s Guide to Planting Potatoes

How to Plant PotatoesAs a young boy in the Midwest, I was surrounded by skilled gardeners. I have a memory bank full of images of me standing in my grandfather’s garden as he reaped and sowed his way to a bountiful harvest. And, yet, I absorbed very little of that garden knowledge myself. I was always preoccupied with singing the latest Madonna tune and dreaming of my future as a famous celebrity correspondent for Entertainment Night to pay attention to what my grandpa was doing. Why the hell would I need to know how to farm?! I was going to go live in the city!

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