Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Though in reality it went the bad, the ugly, and the good. The bad part was this morning. I was out in the tomato patch defoliating the tomatoes that are getting sick. Sigh. No that isn't the bad part. That didn't even make the grade. You will have to wait until the end of the story to hear the bad part. Angela was telling me that she thought my problem might be russet mites. I think she may be right. I noticed that my hands were getting red and not the typical yellow. I've never had my hands get red from tomatoes before - tomato foliage at least. I've never had russet mites in my tomatoes before either. It has been hot, dry, and humid.

Anyway. I use scissors to cut off the foliage. I like them because I can throw them in the dishwasher to sterilize them. I have four of them I rotate. Some days I use all four. I was sleepily snipping away at 6:15 in the morning, not quite awake. So of course I got too close to my left thumb. Ouch. That's the bad part. I had to go in a wash all the yuck off the hands and figure out if my nasty cut was deep enough to go get stitches. I decided not. I do need to go to the drugstore soon though since I used the last of my butterfly bandages. It was not a good start to the day. I left the rest of the yellowing tomato foliage for tomorrow.

The ugly was the result of my stove. I was canning tomatillo salsa, but sadly wasn't using my old stove. I'm using the new stove in my brand new house. Did I tell you I HATE my new stove? The heat from the flames travel up the sides of the pots and make all the handles hot. Not just hot, but burning hot. It also makes the microwave handle above the stove too hot to touch. Anyway I now have not one, but two different burns. The first one was the worst. I have some nice white and red patterns. Very ugly.

The EVIL Stove

Washing tomtillos

But at least it was the result of the good. I made some tomatillo salsa today. I had picked all my tomatillos on Tuesday both the ripe and unripe ones and they needed processing. I made a whole three batches which made just over 8 pints. I figured it would take me about 3 hours to do. It took 4 1/2. Dicing things up always takes me longer than I expect. Most of the peppers were from the garden too. I had the Big Chili IIs (from Dan) and the early jalapenos. I also had poblanos from the farmers market. I'm really impressed with the Big Chili IIs. They had a lot of nice peppers. In general the plants are struggling this year because they are too crowded, but those have produced pretty well so far. And they are very tasty once they are roasted and peeled.

The Good, and it was quite good

I had more tomatillos than I needed for three batches of salsa, but not enough peppers to make more. So I made tomatillo sauce. Just tomatillos nothing else (well citric acid to make it safe). I haven't a clue what I'll do with it, but I needed to get them off my counter.


  1. Sorry to hear about the cut and burns. Ouch. Salsa Verde is awesome.

  2. Oh Daphne, I'm so sorry to hear about your gardening and kitchen injuries. Thanks for not posting the pictures of your wounds, I do get squeamish about things like that... I hope you heal soon! Glad you there was a good part of the day, though, those green jars look lovely.

  3. I've been burning myself lately on my oven. Need to get better with the oven mitts. I hope you have an aloe plant to use on your burns.

    What recipe did you use for the Tomatillo salsa? the one I tried two years ago was too lemony.


    This is a link to an informative post on the russet mite and what can be done about them. It looks like it's been a problem all over the Mainland this summer. I have the same problem with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant leaves but I don't know which mite is doing the damage. I must have a trillion species of them where I live! I've been using Down to Earth Neem Seed Meal for the peppers. It works but it's not that affordable.

    I'm sad to hear about the dangerous evil stove and your burns. You might have it checked out while it's under warranty it could be defective. Your tomatillo salsa looks really good!

  5. Evil stove and evil scissors! You might have that stove checked out. My gas stove in AZ was so hot it was burning the finish off the stove top. It turned out the setting on it was for natural gas rather than the propane we were burning. When the repairman came and changed it, I told him I'd followed the instructions and had changed it accordingly. Turns out the instructions were printed in a foreign country, and you had to stand behind the stove to follow them properly, rather than in front of the stove where the screw setting was!

  6. Sounds like a truly painful day. I was just reading about professional cooks, and apparently wicked high heat and constant burns are part of it. But maybe you should get it checked! Cooking shouldn't be that painful.

  7. Sounds like you had a pretty rough day. I might just try tomatillos next year after reading about them.

  8. Those burners look huge. What does the stove top look like with nothing on it? If it's making the microwave handle too hot to touch, I think something is wrong.

  9. I hated the stove that came with our house when we bought it. I lived with it for a year and then replaced it with one I like. Nothing fancy, in fact it is quite plain Jane, but it is a work horse and since I cook a fair amount - I feel justified in having a decent tool to work with.

    Sorry you were injured and hope everything heals soon. The tomatillo sauce looks beautiful.

  10. I know about hating a stove, it's so frustrating to have to work with crummy equipment. I lived for 2 years with the ridiculous French B**** that came with the house, pretty but totally useless. I think I'm the first person to live in this house who actually cooks.

    Your tomatillo salsa looks delicious, I'm sure it was worth all the pain and suffering. I hope you heal soon.

  11. So sorry about all your cuts and burns. That doesn't sound fun at all. The tomatillo salsa looks wonderful. I have some volunteers this year, so I may make some myself. We loved what I made last year.

  12. I'll trade you some peppers for tomatoes...still waiting up/over here.

  13. meemsnyc, yes it is just wonderful. The homemade stuff is better than the canned stuff from the store too. Though I suppose they are both canned so there ought to be a better tasting one out there.

    thyme2garden, lol yeah I wasn't go to do that. I did think about it though.

    Emily, yes I have an aloe plant. I used it liberally yesterday. It really helps a lot.

    A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui, I think it just puts out too much heat. I've got five burners and the heat is trapped in the back corner of the kitchen. I'm used to electric that conducts pretty well to the metal of the pots and not up the sides.

    Granny, Wow that is hot. And they didn't tell you to stand behind the stove when they told you left and right?

    Stefaneener, I'm having to retrain myself on how I do things. Gas stoves are so different than electric stoves (I miss my Jenn=Aire).

    GonferalinlD, They are quite tasty.

    Karen Anne, I think it makes the microwave too hot to touch because of the placement. When I have the canner going full steam there is steam rising up pretty fast. It really heats up the handle. My old stove didn't have anything under it so it dissipated the heat better. This one has five burners and when I can I can have four of them going all at once.

    kitsapFG, my husband has already told me to replace it if I want. He misses the grilled items that I made all the time off the Jenn-Aire. I figure I have to live with it for a bit to see if it is really worth it, or if it is just a learning curve that I have to get over.

    michelle, It was worth all the pain. I had some for lunch and it was really tasty. Though it mellowed a bit of the day.

    The Mom, It is hard to beat tomatillo salsa. I hope you get lots.

    The Cheap Vegetable Gardener, if you were here I'd give you a ton of cherry tomatoes. I always have too much. I'm keeping my townhouse mates supplied.

  14. Gosh, what a bummer of a day but with tasty end results... :)

    I agree with the others about getting the stove checked out - it doesn't sound like it's working correctly and you certainly shouldn't have to live with a stove you hate when you're a household that actually cooks!

  15. I hope you never have a repeat of this dat Daphne. Sorry to hear you are not liking your new stove, that stinks.

  16. The tomatillos sauce will be good in green chili sauce. Glade you like the Big Chili II's. The seed for them seems to be hard to find now. I am trying a different variety next year, same traits though.

    Our gas stove is really hot too. We switched from electric 2 years ago. Seems electric heats the contents of the pot and gas heats the pot. Really heats up the house too compared to the electric. Cheap to run though.

  17. Didn't know that glasstop stoves and pressure canners are not compatible until I had batch after batch not reach a high enough internal temperature to seal properly. Wish I had my old coil type stove back. :-(