I was interviewing Urbana resident Jill Miller (of Hooey Batiks fame) this morning for a feature story, and she mentioned she cans Bloody Mary mix in the summer.
I'm pretty sure I jumped up and down, begging her to send me the recipe for my blog, as I get really excited about the idea of canning tomatoes. She was nice enough to do so, and even included a bonus recipe for a garnish, which are pickled green cherry tomatoes.
OK, for the mix, she started with this recipe but said it's too bland to stand alone. Another recipe inspired her to add a large golden beet, coarsely chopped and a small fennel bulb, also coarsely chopped. She estimates that she tripled the spices listed in the recipe linked above.
"The veggie ratio is pretty much whatever I have on hand," Miller said. "I prefer red peppers to green and I am very liberal with the spices. Just keep adding to taste and then add a little more since you'll be diluting it. This year's (first) batch turned out super thick - like thick pasta sauce - we actually thinned it a little with water and used it as pasta sauce."
She said this year, she roasted all the vegetables first, and didn't bother peeling or seeding the tomatoes because she runs it through her blender. She likes to serve this Bloody Mary mix with cucumber-infused sake. To make this, she slices half a cuke and infuses 12 ounces of sake with it for 24 hours.
To assemble a Bloody Mary, she mixes 4 ounces sake with 4 ounces of mix, and 10 drops of Sriracha hot chili sauce. She garnishes them with pickled green beans or Fireballs. You can find the the recipe for the latter below:
Fireballs: spicy green pickled cherry tomatoes
Enough small green cherry tomatoes to fill 4 quart jars
4 garlic cloves
4 celery stalks
4 hot red peppers
4 heads dill
1 quart water
1/2 cup pickling salt
2 quarts white vinegar
As in any canning recipe, start by preheating your jars and your canning water.
Prick each green cherry tomato with a clean (sterilized) needle several times. This prevents them from splitting in cooking, and I think it helps the flavor to soak in. I did this the night before and stored them in the fridge in a large zippered bag.
Fill four hot quart jars with green cherry tomatoes.
To each jar, add a stalk of celery, a hot pepper, a clove of garlic and a head of dill. (I used 4 pint jars, added one of each, substitution a sprig of lovage for celery, two slices of jalapeno for the red chili and a 1/2 teaspoon of frozen dillweed for the head of dill.)
Make a brine by combining water, pickling salt and vinegar in a pot and bringing it to a boil. Fill jars with brine to 1/2-inch from the top. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Photos from this Flickr page.