Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Salsa-nators!!

What do you get when you mix these. . .

With some of these. . . ???

A nice big pot of THIS!!



and DUNN. . .

That's our name and salsa is our game. Are ya scared??

Once a year we change our hats and put on our salsanator aprons and then. . . LOOK OUT!!

We've been doin this for so long now that it is down to a science. . . nearly (I'll explain that later). We know what our responsibilities are and how to do them. It's a down-to-business attitude. Our kids are sure that we should sell our creations and we could all retire in style. What holds us from that you ask?? Pure selfishness. . . This is the BEST salsa ever, and we just can't bear to part with much of it. . .if you have ever had it shared with you. . . YOU are among the few! (not really)

We started early this year--8:30 in the morning ( I had to take kids to a youth group skating party that evening so we needed to be done) We set our personal record this year in quantity. Lisa already had her tomatos skinned and cut up in the freezer waiting for "salsa day" as it is affectionately known as in our households. I was feeling bad because I just washed mine and threw them in whole, since I think they are easier to skin after they are frozen. So Friday night I thawed and peeled and chopped icy tomatos so we wouldn't have to do it Saturday. Well, being the OCD victim that I am, next thing I knew, I had a double batch of our favorite flavor chopped, spiced, and mixed in the pot--so by 7:30 Saturday morning, it was already boiling away on the stove waiting for Brooks to arrive! This was the first time ever that we actually had jars canned before lunch!
We have 4 different flavors that we make--one fashioned after a local restaurant recipe, our ORIGINAL recipe that we started out with so many years before, and two recipe variations of our original salsa. We adjusted our original recipe to create a recipe that includes chopped chipotle peppers instead of garden jalepenos, and another that has lime juice and cilantro in it. Here is the caveat about our work being science. This year after breaking open the wine in the afternoon (we learned long ago that if you consume any alcohol it MUST be after you are done trying to double measurements in your head) we came up with a new recipe. Now let me say this first--we had already made 19 batches of our 4 different flavored salsas and were down to canning the last couple batches. We always had a small pot of our favorite restaurant recipe on the front burner, a large pot that held a double batch of one of the recipes that stemmed from our original recipe on the back burner, and a roaster full of a double batch of our original salsa on the counter waiting to hit the stove. We were also using a pressure canner that we ran off the propane grill on the deck and a large water bath canner that you can see in the photos. SO that all being said--you can totally understand how our confusion came about. Back to the story. . .So we were on the last few batches, we had had a couple tiny glasses of wine (really---not that much), and then it happened. We needed part of one salsa container emptied into another salsa container to heat up while waiting for its turn in the canner. OOOPS--we got confused on which salsa was which and so now we have a chipotle mix--which is actually quite good--but we will never be able to re-create it!! We just laughed, threw in some extra vinegar (the el charro recipe has very little vinegar in it, which is why we have to pressure can it. . . you know, to avoid that nasty little devil called BOTULISM) and canned it up anyway!
When we first started, we used our own tomatos and it took us ALL day! Now we use our own tomatos and purchase huge cans of diced tomatos and add peppers from our gardens. Our first year's salsa didn't go very far, and we ran out way before the next year came around. This year we made the equivalent of 162 pints of salsa. Most are really pints, but some are little 1/2 pints to put in gift baskets and some are in quarts for the BIG family gatherings. We always open a bag of chips first thing to taste test with. Maybe the best salsa ever is that chip full of steaming salsa right out of the pot that we only get to enjoy once yearly. The kids know the protocol. One chip at a time, dip only once in the kettle, OOH and AHH about how good it is. They come and go through the entire process, tasting all the pots multiple times! Our other tradition is to eat enchiladas while we work for our meal, which is sometimes lunch and sometimes supper!

Brooks and Dunn Salsa

It's a good, symbiotic relationship

It's about enjoying the fruits of our labor

It's 2 women enjoying each other's company outside of our jobs doing something that we don't normally do

It's about our families asking for months when "Salsa Day" is

It's about hardly being able to stand purchased salsa because ours is SO GOOD

It's about making good memories

It's about being proud of a job well done

It's about this!!

All in a hard day's work!!

Thanks Brooks, it was a BLAST!


  1. I LOVE IT!!!! LOOK at ALL those BEAUTIFUL jars!!
    I reluctantly went to the second chance junk sale the veterans building today...and found almost 2 full cases of canning jars!! YEA FOR ME! Only another canner would EVER understand how thrilling that was!!

  2. How awesome! I can imagine how good that tastes...I LOVE homemade salsa!

  3. Dunn,
    I really enjoyed reading this. You are a woman of many talents my friend. Can't wait til next year!!!

    Love you!

  4. Mmmm...yes, it is good!!! Thanks for sharing at the clinic today!!