Friday, August 5, 2011

I Can Do The Can-Can!

Welcome to Maggie's Canning tutorial!! I canned salsa for the first time the other day, and I documented the entire process! :)
I received a batch of home-grown tomatoes from a family friend and decided to use them for my first canning experience. Daniel has been building our garden and I'm days away from being able to start planting (I am BEYOND excited about that!). So I'll be canning a lot of things from my own garden pretty soon.

For my batch of salsa, I gathered the following ingredients:

*3 1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes
*1 bunch of cilantro (you don't have to use that much, I just LOVE cilantro)
*1/2 of a yellow onion
*1 tbsp minced garlic
*the juice from 1/2 of a lemon
*a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (my favorite is the Chili Pepper Sauce from Trader Joe's)
*1 tsp salt
*1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Here is a list of tools you will need:

Jars of your choice (this recipe filled six 8oz Kerr Mason Jars)
A large pot with a lid for the canning process.
A wide pot or dish filled with hot water to keep your jars hot.
A medium size pot for cooking the ingredients.
A caning basket and tools. I bought these at Walmart:

These came in a kit together:
This is another kit:

You want to start off by washing and drying all of your jars and lids. Place the jars in the wide pot filled with hot water. This will keep the jars hot so that they won't crack when you fill them with hot liquid. Next, chop all of the ingredients and place them in a the medium pot on medium/high heat. Reduce and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Carefully ladle the salsa into the warm/hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of room from the top. There is a tool that helps you with this step! (it's the first tool in the top picture) Using that same tool, flip it over and run it along the side of the jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars and secure the lid and ring. Place all of your filled jars in the caning basket/rack and set them into the pot of boiling water (make sure the jars are covered with water by at least one inch.). Put the lid on the pot and let the jars sit in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and wait five minutes then carefully remove the jars from the pot and let them cool for 12 hours to complete the canning process. Don't readjust the lids while they are cooling because this might mess with their seal.

Perfect for the pantry or as gifts!

Lemon Peppered Salmon with Quinoa Salad

This is one of my favorite meals! I absolutely LOVE lemon pepper and it pairs so beautifully with Salmon. If you have never worked with quinoa, it's super easy and very delicious! It's also very versatile!

Ingredients for baked salmon:

1 frozen salmon fillet, defrosted (we buy frozen salmon fillets at Costco, but a fresh fillet will work too.)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground lemon pepper (Trader Joe's has lemon pepper in a grinder for $1.99!)
1 lemon

But before you start baking your salmon, start cooking the quinoa. We'll chop our add-ins while the salmon is baking, but the quinoa needs some time to cook first.

Ingredients for quiona salad:

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (I use the Organic Quinoa from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup water (or some kind of broth like chicken or vegetable)
a small handful each of dried cranberries, fresh basil, and almonds.

Place the quinoa and the water in a small saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. Once it's reached a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salmon:
Start by making a "foil boat" for your salmon, and place in on a baking sheet. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil in the foil and spread in around, place the fillet in the foil and drizzle with he remaining olive oil. make sure your the top and bottom of the fillet is evenly coated with oil. Cover the fillet with lemon pepper; the oil will help it stick. Cut a few slices of the lemon and save the rest for squeezing on the salmon when its cooked. Arrange the lemon slices on the fillet and place it in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its flaky (and not raw looking :)

"Foil Boat" so the oil doesn't go anywhere.

Restaurant quality from your kitchen! 
 Here is my favorite lemon pepper from Trader Joe's!
On the right is what is in the grinder,
on the left is what comes out when you grind it. 
While the salmon is baking, chop all of the add-ins for the quinoa salad. Chop the almonds, dried cranberries and fresh basil into small pieces, ans set aside until the quinoa is cooked. Once the quinoa is ready, take it off the heat and add the almonds, cranberries and basil into the pot. the leftover heat will help infuse the quinoa with the rich flavors of the add-ins.

Let both the salmon and the salad sit for a couple of minutes before serving so both are not too hot. When you are ready to eat, poke holes in the salmon or break it apart with your fork and squeeze the rest of the lemon on top. A little bit of lemon tossed with the salad would be good too. YUM!

NOTE: You can really add anything you want to a quinoa salad! don't feel limited. Other options are: dried apricot, chopped apples, cinnamon, and any other nut or fresh herb. Play around with it and let me know what you create! :)