Thursday, October 07, 2010

Some Like It Hot

Some like it hot. I don't. I usually shrink from arguments. I might state my opinion, but I don't try to force it upon others. I might have some choice words for someone that is being an arrogant jerk, but I have to be pushed pretty hard before I will let them spew out into an ugly argument. I tend to try to stay out of the fire. I don't like the heat, but some like it hot. That is their choice. I don't have to be a part of it.

Some like it hot in food, too. I do like spice flavoring up my dishes, but I am not a fan of heat that burns off my taste buds. I think that there is a balance to properly seasoned food. Some cooks get it; others don't. Heat just for the sake of heat isn't good flavor; it is just another episode of Man Versus Food. (Which honestly, makes me feel ill if the remote lands there. I can't watch that man stuff his face with one gastric disaster after another.)

When I canned up some of my garden tomatoes into salsa, I tried to find that proper balance. We like really flavorful salsa. I love the melding of sun-ripened tomatoes and spicy jalapenos on my tongue. I like the smokiness that almost comes across as heat in the back of my throat when I add a little cumin to the mix. Chopping and stirring and simmering and processing vegetables into beautiful jars of salsa to carry some of the wonderful summer heat into winter is such a satisfying task. I like it. It is a heat that I really enjoy to put Basic Salsa for Canning On My Plate.

8-10 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely (I don't seed or pull out the spines. We like that kick.)
12 cups chopped tomatoes (I don't peel, but you could, if you prefer.)
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green peppers
6 cloves garlic
1 (5 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large (heavy) pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
Ladle into sterilized pint jars; seal.
Process in hot water bath for 20 minutes. (5-6 pints)

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