Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farmers Market

Here's a pic of Marc helping customers at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market in Houston. We go every other weekend to sell extra veggies and eggs. We had watermelon, cantaloupe, squash zucchini, tomatoes (3 varieties), bell peppers, seedless cucumbers and duck and chicken eggs. The crowd wasn't quite as large as other weekends so we ended up taking home a lot of tomatoes, which is ok, cause I need to can more!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Remember when I said I wanted enuf Salsa to last the whole year, and how I wanted to try to produce all the tomato products we needed? Well, I have 62 jars of Salsa so far, so I'm pretty good on that, and have about 42 jars of tomato sauce, so next will be stewed tomatoes. Last night I made Salsa Verde (green that is) from Yellow Pear Tomatoes. I thought it would end up yellow, but apparently the color is in the skin, which is discarded when making salsa. This was SO easy - no coring or chopping - just drop them in the hopper and grind away.

SO, this is what I saw when I walked in the door tonight. All I could say was OMG. Mary came over, walked in and said OMG. Seriously, have you ever seen so many tomatoes from ONE picking???

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Journey's Baptism

Sweet little Journey was baptized today at the First Presbyterian Church.

Mommy & Daddy celebrated their 6th anniversary yesterday. They were married in the same church. Journey's dress is made out of Mommy's wedding dress (which I'll describe in another post).

Journey's Godparents, Evin & Jason Coad, came all the way from Georgia with their little boy, RJ.

Mrs. Paiyou made a cake for Journey. The first layer is Italian Cream Cake. The top layer (the cross) is Vanilla with Raspberry filling.

Aunt Caroline made all the food, including a beautiful watermelon cut in the shape of a basket, fillled with fruit salad.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Last year our tomato crop was sad (due to various operator errors...) and we had about enough tomatoes for a couple batches of salsa. We rationed it for as long as we could. It was a sad day when we ran out.

This year I stood in the garden after pulling a turnip and vowed, as God is my witness, I WILL have salsa this year!

Seriously though, my goal is to grow and preserve EVERY tomato product we will use for the next 12 months. Tall order? Yeah, maybe. I've never made tomato paste - not sure if it's even feasible at home. So maybe I won't try that one. But I refuse to pay $1.00+ for even one can of tomatoes this year.
Marc is even on board with making home made ketchup. He's never tried home made ketchup before. He likes all things pre-prepared - Heat & Eat. He probably won't like home made ketchup. I made it once years ago and while good, it's not as smooth as store bought.

I made the first batch of Salsa last night. It took about 3 hours from start to finish, which is pretty good. The OLD method involved scalding tomatoes, peeling and coring them while still hot (ouch), then chopping in the food processor. What a mess!!

I have a gizmo called a Roma Food Strainer & Sauce Maker. I bought this from Lehman's online. (I had one many years ago that I got with S&H Green Stamps!! I guess I sold it in a yard sale somewhere along the way). Anyway, it looks somewhat like a meat chopper. It has a big bowl that holds the food, a handle that you crank and an auger kinda like a meat chopper. But instead of knife blades, it has cone shaped "screens" that the food travels through. Here's the cool part: the good stuff (pulp) comes out one end and the stuff you don't want (peel, seeds) goes out another. No peeling tomatoes!!! It's super easy to use, you just cut up the tomatoes and throw them in. No cooking or peeling!

Roma Food Mill

The Roma can be purchased with various screens - at an additional charge of course. It comes with the basic puree screen. I've used this to make tomato sauce and "apple" sauce (from pears). The additional screens are: grape, berry (it takes those pesky little seeds out of dewberries!!), pumpkin and Salsa. Pumpkin works for other large seeded things like butternut squash.

Close up view of the soon-to-be-Salsa

The Salsa recipe I used came from Mary who got it from Haven Wisnoski. It's really good. Here's Haven's recipe:

  • 1 1/2 Gallons chopped tomatoes (liquid drained)
  • 3 large chopped onions
  • 8 bell peppers/poblanos chopped
  • 1 quart jalapenos chopped (I don't seed all of them)
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. veg. oil
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
Put all ingredients in a large pot- bring to a rolling boil- turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Put in sterile jars and seal makes approx. 17 pints

That's a lot-a Salsa!

I increased the vinegar to 1-1/2 cupes and processed the jars in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes. All of the veggies were grown in our garden.

The finished Salsa

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Prune Pop Anyone?

Journey's chillin' again - this time in her own little pool. What's she snacking on? A home made Prune Pop, made from prune juice.