Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Green Chili Recipe

If you grew tomatoes this year then you've probably already picked all of them and you're most likely trying to ripen the green ones before they rot. The green ones that are still green by now aint gonna ripen. So what do you do with them? Fried green tomatoes are the obvious solution but I can only take so many of those. Last year I made green tomato pickles out of them. I ended up with at least a dozen quarts. They're fantastic but I still have a ton left. This year I decided to can up some green chili. Someone asked for my recipe in the comments section of one of my other posts so here it is...kinda.

I've said before that I don't follow recipes. I follow guidelines. Green chili, like red chili, is really easy to make without following a real recipe. Here's the basic guideline that I use. You can multiply everything depending on the size of the batch. The amounts don't have to be perfect. There are a lot of mexican spices that you can add to really make it pop but between the cilantro and the peppers most people should be satisfied. Anyway, here's how I usually make it.

1 lb green tomatoes
1 lb pork
1 lb hot peppers
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups or 1 14 oz can of chicken broth

For the pork I usually just use boneless pork chops. When there's a sale I stock up on them and load the freezer. This recipe is a great way for me to get rid of the stuff that's been sitting in the back of the freezer for a year. Chicken or venison (or any other meat that you have on hand) would probably work just as good if that's what you have. For the peppers, just use what you like. If you want a mild chili then use bell peppers. I used serranos, pasillas and jalapenos on my last batch and it turned out great. I'm not a picky pepper eater so I just use whatever I have handy. Anyway, on with the process.

Core and chop up the tomatoes. Remove the seeds from the peppers and chop them up as well. Dice the onion, garlic and pork. Pour the tomatoes, peppers and chicken broth into a stock pot or a crock pot and bring it to a boil. At the same time brown the pork and add it to the stock/crock pot. After the pork is done brown the onions in the leftover fat until they're translucent then add the garlic to them. Brown them for another minute or so and then pour them into the stock/crock pot. Once everything comes to a boil drop the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Let simmer for an hour or two or let it sit in the crock pot for a few hours on low if you're not going to can it.

If you're going to can it then follow the normal procedure for pressure canning. You can't water bath can this stuff. While the chili is boiling fill your hot, sanitized jars, seal with your sanitized, unused lids and process for 1.5 hours at 15 lbs of pressure. Refrigerate any jars that don't seal and consume within a few days.

This recipe is pretty basic but I like it. It makes a pretty hearty but not too thick green chili. If you want to thicken it up you can add a teaspoon of corn starch or two or you can add a tablespoon or two of flour to the meat and onions when you're browning them. You can also let it simmer down for a few extra hours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doug Hoffman

There's a campaign going on in NY District 23 right now. The current representative of the district, John McHugh, was recently chosen as the new Secretary of the Army. Now they have to hold a special election for the district. They'll be electing a new congressional representative in just a few days. The Democratic candidate is endorsed by SEIU. The Republican candidate is endorsed by the Working Families party which is an arm of ACORN. From what I've read the Democrat is more conservative than the Republican in this race. Luckily, there's a conservative candidate who's gaining a lot of traction. His name is Doug Hoffman. Considering that the other two candidates are fully backing their two candidates (Obama actually held a fundraiser in NY for the Democrat) the guy is way behind in fund raising. This is a chance to get a true conservative into Congress. Go check out his website here. If you like what he stands for then throw him a few bucks.

This guy isn't in my district. I don't like the fact that anyone can support anyone's candidates whether they're in their state or district or not. Unfortunately, the big parties do it. Grassroots efforts are the only way that we'll beat the big dogs. A few bucks here and there goes a long way when millions of people can be involved. Members of Congress have a lot of impact on the country. Some people seem to think that we can't stop this government takeover. I believe that we still have time. We just need to keep our ear to the ground and find the candidates with the right values and real convictions. One at a time we need to replace the establishment elites with real people who have our best interests in mind. I think that Doug Hoffman will be a good start.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Busy prepping

With no garden to tend to I've had a lot of time to devote back to prepping. I've been canning and freezing a lot of the stuff from the garden. Last night I canned up a few quarts of green chili out of the last of my green tomatoes and some pork chops that I had in the back of my freezer. I ended up falling asleep in the middle of the processing. Luckily, my wife turned off the stove after a couple of hours. Unfortunately, she didn't take the jars out of the canner or even open the lid. Anyway, I woke up several hours later and took the cans out. They were still very warm but they'd sealed very nicely. They were just a little darker than they should be. Hopefully they don't taste too terrible.

Tonight I'm making red chili out of about half of my tomatoes that actually ripened. Tomorrow night I plan on using the last of them for tomato sauce. I really need to get a juicer. Peeling them the old fashioned way (by boiling them and then peeling them by hand) sucks! Let me know if you have a better way. The last batch turned out kind of bland but it was still a lot better than the store bought canned crap. Hopefully, this batch will be better.

As for purchases I've been watching the wallet pretty closely. My 401k is finally back above precrash levels so I'll be taking a loan out on half of it to pay off some debt and probably get some preps that I've been procrastinating on. If the stock market crashes again then I'll have some money in the bank. If it doesn't then at least the interest will go back into my 401k instead of into some banker's coffers. I have been buying a lot of canned stuff and the freezer is packed full of meat. I've been finding a ton of canning jars at the thrift store. That's strange for this time of year but I'm not complaining. I also picked up a nice kerosene heater that should keep my downstairs nice and toasty if things get hairy. I found a guy who sells 5 gallon mylar bags with 2000 cc oxygen absorbers for really cheap on ebay. I ordered some and I was not disappointed. Now I just need to get around to sealing up what I can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Snowing

So it's snowing here. Since I don't normally mark the date of the first snow I'm not sure how early it is (if it's early at all). I did read yesterday that some CO resorts are opening up earlier than they have in 40 years. Some Idaho schools are already calling in snow days. If this is a sign of things to come then we might have a pretty heavy winter. I don't mind too much. I'm kinda surprised that global warming hasn't completely destroyed our chances of ever seeing a snowflake again, though.

It's been getting pretty cold at night so I went ahead and ripped out most of my garden the other day. My squash plants were all dead. My zucchini exceeded all expectations and I've been drowning in it all summer. I canned some of it, gave some to neighbors and friends and ate a ton of it. I also found out that my dogs love it. I made quite a bit of dog food out of it. I just mix 1 part zucch with 1 part rice and 1 part meat (usually scraps or meat that's starting to go bad in the fridge/freezer). I also planted some patty pans a bit late in the season and managed to get quite a few of them. They were still exploding when they got hit with the first freeze. I'll plant them earlier next year.

I think that I harvested a grand total of 3 pickling cucumbers all season. My armenian cucs didn't even so much as sprout. It's too bad because those things are awesome. They're like a not so sweet honeydew. My lettuces are out of control. I left those in since all of the varieties that I planted are pretty hardy and don't mind a little snow. My broccoli plants are huge but I only harvested one small head from each of them. I also harvested a ton of radishes, turnips and carrots. My peppers did pretty well all things considered. I still have about 5 lbs of jalapenos left that I keep meaning to can up. I thought that I was going to be disappointed with my cayenne plant but it made a last minute recovery and that plant is now drying out in my kitchen with about 10 peppers hanging off of it. My bell peppers did much better this year. They actually got as big as the supermarket bells.

My tomatoes were a pretty big disappointment. They just refused to ripen. I did manage to get about 25 lbs total out of 9 plants, though. By the time the freeze killed them off there was another 25 lbs of green tomatoes still on their vines. Hopefully some of them will ripen up. I'm also planning on making some green chili out of them.

Next year I'll be doing 3-4 3 sisters plots if I'm not too busy with everything else. It looks pretty effective from what I've read. I just need to figure out what varieties of everything that I'll be planting. I'll probably go with popcorn or some kind of indian corn, some scarlet runner beans and some zucchini, butternut squash and pumpkins. If anyone has any better suggestions I'd love to hear them.