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Thursday, September 16, 2010

A little wiser.

      With my 30th birthday looimng on the horizon I had big plans to write something thought-provoking,maybe sentimental or heck...even some meaningful words of wisdom to inspire,but time is of the essence and I got birthday plans to make Let's be honest, I would bore you to sleep. It'd be a good nap and gosh knows after 30 years on this planet I need a nap too!
    Oh, who am I kidding I don't take naps that much.I let the thought of  napping run through my head and about the same time I find something else to cook,can or read about cooking or cannning and the thought of taking a snooze has past me by. Such an event happened this past Sunday and really those couple of hours were quite productive and frutiful,now talk about inspiration.
    I had decided to make just two more canning recipes that afternoon,much to the dismay of my husband.Bless his heart he helps me clean up after these sorts of adventures. I tell ya the man is a saint.So, off I went, I made six jars of this savory deliciousness and then well, I hit a road block.See now earlier in the day I made my mind up I wanted to make a certain recipe tomato jelly that called for dry-packed sundried tomatoes.Well after 3 trips to local grocery stores here in town,I couldn't find them. I could have traveled all over creation,found them and been off on my merry way. Nope,I was "slightly" fatigued and had 20 plum tomatoes,I was going to be creative with.I went home,found a bag of dried New Mexico chiles ( which I had purchased mistakenly for another canning adventure ),there was my inspiration.I figured these were in the same ballpark sort of as sun-dried tomatoes and I was determined to make SOMETHING.     
           I made New Mexico Pepper Jelly.It took some patience to get the steps completed,a little guidance from folks that know way more about this canning stuff and a little faith.See look some words to inspire and you're still awake,you make me proud.The jelly is the color of a copper penny,it has a real savory/sweet side to it and it wraps it all up with a little heat just for fun.Gosh I'm proud,kinda like my folks will be tomorrow around 3:12pm. They got a cute little baby girl. I have pepper jelly and a recipe I created and for now... that suits me just fine.
Here's the recipe,enjoy!
New Mexico Pepper Jelly

Makes 5 half-pint jars OR 10 4oz jars
Adapted from my brain and Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

8cups sliced cored plum tomatoes
5 dried (dry packed) New Mexico chiles, halved thru
width of the pepper
¼ cup dried basil
1 TBL dried rosemary
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ cup lemon juice
5 cups granulated sugar
2 pouches (each 3oz( liquid pectin
1.In a large stainless-steel saucepan, combine plum tomatoes, halved New Mexico chiles basil ,rosemary, balsamic vinegar and garlic cloves .Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing fresh tomatoes with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon until peppers are softened. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Then put the pot back over medium heat, add 4 cups water. Bring it back up to a boil, reduce the heat and let boil for 30 minutes more.
2.Transfer tomato/pepper mixture to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a deep bowl .Let drip undisturbed for 30 minutes. Measure 2 cups tomato/pepper juice. ( After time is up and you find that you do not have the 2 cups, feel free to GENTLY press on the tomato/pepper mixture to extract more juice until you get your 2 full cups. Let the mixture rest into between each pressing. If you find this still hasn’t given you all the juice you need, transfer back into a medium saucepan and add 2 cups water again, bring to a boil and transfer back to the strainer and press some more, you get your 2cups after all this ,promise.)
3.Transfer tomato/pepper juice to a clean, large deep stainless steel saucepan Stir in the lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.Stir in pectin. Boil hard for 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam( as it cools it will form a skin of foam on top, skim off that stuff!)
4.Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met ,the increase to finger-tip tight.
5. Place jars in a boiling-water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove jars and let cool and store.