Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sons Of Ralph

The Sons of Ralph are an Asheville institution and favorite of Black Betty's and mine. They are also the house band at Jack of the Wood. We happened to catch them there during Bele Chere weekend when they rocked down the house to the delight of the crowd.

At 83, Ralph Lewis is still going strong. Ralph jams with the boys on mandolin, guitar, and vocals. He usually plays the first set of the night and then heads home. You can tell that his sons really love him and the crowd absolutely adores him.
They play a lively blend of  pure Appalachian Americana music ranging from Bluegrass to Country to Rock and Roll.
Ralph's sons Marty and Don make up the Sons of Ralph along with cousin Steve Moseley and "other brother" Ozzie Orengo Jr.
Read their bios and purchase their merchandise on their website: Sons Of Ralph
Better yet see them in person.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hometown's Salsa

Somehow I ended up growing cayenne peppers this summer. I didn't plan to, I actually thought I was planting jalapenos but when the peppers started coming in they were long and skinny. It didn't really take me too long to figure it out. Not only did I have cayennes but they were incredibly prolific with the bushes literally loaded down with peppers. So I figured I'd make salsa.
After some initial research and experimenting I think I nailed down a great tasting recipe which is pretty easy to make. I hot water-bath canned mine but it could also be refrigerated until serving.
I figured I'd better blog it, so I can remember how I did it next summer.


1/3 box of Roma tomatoes (about 6 lbs)
14 big cayenne peppers, sliced with seeds (to make a medium-hot salsa)
3 onions, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
several cloves of garlic, crushed
juice of 2 squeezed limes
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup vinegar


Drop the tomatoes a few at a time into a large pot of boiling water. After a minute or so scoop them out and drop them in a pot of cold water. This will loosen the skin and set the color.
Drain, peel, and quarter. I then use a food processor to crush the tomatoes.
Place crushed tomatoes in a large pot on the stove and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
Spoon into clean, hot canning jars and process in hot water bath taking the proper precautions.


I didn't raise enough tomatoes to use this summer so I picked up a box at a local produce stand. I find it easier to work a third of the box at a time so I estimate it by filling the box lid with them.

Add or subtract the peppers for your taste. This will take some experimenting and guessing. My opinion is that the heat in this recipe is around medium range. Some folks might consider it mild or hot. I can say that the taste is really delicious and the heat does not seem to linger.
Jalapenos would also be perfect in it.

I like my salsa chunky, so I don't over work the tomatoes in the food processor. (Be quick on the button.)

It makes about 7 pints per batch. It's pretty in the jar.

Be sure you make plenty. My family is putting a hurtin' on this stuff!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bele Chere 2011 with Railroad Earth

Bele Chere picked a winner with Railroad Earth as headliner on Saturday night at the Coxe Avenue stage. Though they were hot off the heels of Floyd Fest the band still managed to have enough energy to get the huge crowd rocking downtown Asheville. They even managed to play a couple of my favorites, Smiling Like A Buddah and Head.  Todd Shaffer further endeared the band to the Asheville crowd when he channeled Jerry Garcia for the uplifting spiritual, My Sisters and Brothers.
All in all it was another great Railroad Earth show. It seemed as though there were lots of folks seeing RRE for the first time in the crowd and discovering that they really were digging them. I imagine that there will be many more hobos jumping on the train next time they come to town.

                                                     Becky, Tim Carbone, Black Betty
Set List:
Walk Beside Me

Like a Buddha
The Jupiter and the 119
Long Walk Home
Lone Croft Farewell
Stillwater Getaway
Mourning Flies
My Sisters and Brothers
E: Bringin' My Baby Back Home (with Jason Flournoy on banjo)