Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

I love having greens for breakfast, and I’m glad any morning I have the time to cook and fresh greens in the fridge.

This was actually almost dinner, but I’d gotten everything cut up and then decided I was too tired to actually eat it – so everything was prepped and ready in the morning.

Oh, and I have a rant about poached eggs. You know how they’re pretty difficult for many cooks, with the whites all turning whispy and unruly? And you know how some authors are tempted to try to sell you gadgets that promise to make everything simpler? And other authors just whip up delicious poached egg dishes?

Well, that’s making things too hard and getting all of your dishes dirty. Just make food with a little liquid to it, crack the egg into the food, and then cover it so that the egg poaches in steam and/or the liquid in your dish. Not only is this easier, requires fewer dishes, and gorgeous, but also the end result is more delicious because your egg whites get to absorb the flavor of your dish.

I clean out and keep those takeaway containers made out of foil for this, but you can use any kind of bowl or lid (that is high enough not to touch the egg while it’s steaming), if you don’t compulsively reuse containers or if you’re worried about cooking with aluminum.

Kale for Breakfast with a Poached Egg on Top

I melted 2 teaspoons of butter into the bottom of my skillet and tossed in a sliced (young enough that it hadn’t developed a bulb) vidalia onion, a cubed red bell pepper, and the flesh (only) of 1 habanero pepper, having been sliced into tiny slivers.

While that sauteed, I washed 4 young curly kale leaves. I just shook them dry, leaving a decent amount of moisture still in the leaves as I cut the leaf off of the tough rib and then sliced the pile of leaves across into short ribbons.

I got my egg ready.

Once the cooking vegetables were decently wilted, I added the kale and stirred it all up just until the kale turned bright.

But on tasting it, I realized I needed a bit more saltiness, so I went back to my Roman kale recipe for methodology and tipped in 1 teaspoon each of fish sauce and sweet red wine.

A quick stir to distribute the liquids, and I piled the greens into a nest.

Cracking the egg into the center, I covered the egg nest of greens with another container.

And it took about as long to poach as it took me to toast a frozen bagel.

You can peek under the lid – you are looking for no visible liquid white and an amazing rosy blush to the top of the yolk (which you don’t get from regular poaching).

Then eat!

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I have an unusual abundance of free time this weekend and an abundance of food. Want to come over and help with that?

There’s a sexy french triple cream cows’ milk cheese and some crackers.

And I’m going to make duck soup.

My duck soup all starts with a good duck stock. And my duck stock starts with going out to dinner with my parents. See – my father loves Peking Duck. So a couple weeks ago, we went to Yang Ming and got one of the prettiest ducks I’ve ever seen. And, as usual, we asked for the carcass to take home.

Duck Soup

Duck Stock
Into a pot, add the frozen cooked duck carcass.

Add onion peels (from purple onions, if possible) and leek ends. Add the skins from a roasted garlic head. Add carrot peels and herb stems. (All the stuff I keep in a bag in my freezer for stock until I’m ready) If you have ginger peels, add them.

Add a couple dried hot red peppers* (rinsing the dust off). Add some cloves and maybe a star anise. Add a tablespoon or two of peppercorns (or fewer if you crush them first, but this is how I go through pepper fast enough to keep my supply fresh). If you have it, add some thyme, savory, rosemary, or anything in that family of herbs. Add a bay leaf or two. Add parsley.

One of the best things, which I rarely have, is parsley root with its leaves.

Add water up to cover, but not much over that.

And cook. You may choose to boil or simmer.

Then strain the stock.

Duck Soup
You know what I didn’t add to the stock? Salt. Because now that you’re tasting it you can add some (and how much will vary on your tastes and how salty the cooked duck skin ended up being) – and it’s going to need a generous quantity of salt and/or soy sauce (or gluten free tamari).

Then I like adding greens. Chinese spinach is good. I’ve pickled my own mustard greens for this (or you can buy them in a package pickled, but rinse them if you go this route). Kale is delicious.

You can add mushrooms, but I prefer them either cooked before adding or from dried. Fresh boiled mushrooms aren’t tasty to me.

You can adjust the seasoning – more ginger? a splash of vinegar?

Add noodles – I like the buckwheat soba noodles for this soup, but it’s flexible and gluten free noodles are also tasty.

And then right before serving – thinly slice fresh garlic and a fresh hot pepper (I aim for the kind that’s about a foot long, 3/4 inch diameter, and bright red or green), and toast them until just brown. Sprinkle the tops of each bowl right after portioning.

*I am still working on the dried red peppers I recieved as a free sample from Marx Foods. They’re only dusty because I’ve strung them on thread and have them hanging in my kitchen where they’re pretty and reminding me to keep using them.

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9
Nov

Ghost Chili Breakfast

   Posted by: Livia    in breakfast, Challenges, course, experiments, Food, Marx Foods

So I have these insanely hot peppers to test (see previous entry for full disclaimer about free peppers), and I don’t actually have any friends who will eat spicy foods with me. They sometimes have difficulties with black pepper.

I solved that by putting out a call on the internet to find local people who were excited by spicy food. And this morning I got to meet a lovely person with a delightfully high heat tolerance (who happened also to know two of my pre-existing friends).

We met for breakfast.

Fried eggs were just as tasty on the second go through.

The sweet potatoes were amazing! They didn’t get as caramelized as I expected, and the heat ended up being surprisingly mild. I think I might try candying the sweet potatoes, instead of glazing, just to see what happens.

The butters got approval (as did my homemade bread), and she preferred the honey butter on general principles of texture.

And then I started to improvise.

I picked some of the (bountiful and thriving) chard from my garden and prepared my Kenyan greens recipe, but with some hot pepper sliced in… and that was too hot. Unpleasantly so, without adding anything to the flavor. But once I picked the pieces of pepper out, it was pretty tasty – so perhaps just adding a chunk of pepper while cooking and then removing it.

And then I had the lovely stems left, so I made some fried rise with an onion, chard stems, diced carrot, leftover brown rice, finely sliced ghost chili, and a few drops of oyster sauce for moisture. It received approval from my guest, and I added some roast pork leftovers to it as I packed it up and froze it into lunch portions.

And I sent her home with the spicy truffles, so I haven’t heard back yet. The filling was right on the edge of okay for me, so I’m hoping they end up better once they have another layer of chocolate. I only had time to coat three of them, though, so my taste has to wait until tonight. I did learn an unrelated lesson about truffles, though – using a lower milk fat dairy option for the ganache center (the store was out of heavy cream) really makes a noticeable and unpleasant difference to the texture. I won’t be doing that again.

Note: Marx Foods did provide the ghost chilies to experiment with for free. They did not, however, influence my impressions of the product.

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So I was lucky enough to trip over Marx Foods and Justin Marx a bit ago. And he’s been generous about letting me try the products he sells.

So I tossed my name in to try out their fresh ghost chilies. Yes, these were free and given to me by a company.

And they are hella intimidating. I’ve never had peppers tingle my nose before, and these could do it while whole and untouched.

Right, so I haven’t talked about hot peppers much here. I’ve frequently grown jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros. I think the flesh of a couple jalapenos are pretty decent substitute for green bell peppers in many dishes. Serranos are perfect for tingling up a summer sandwich of garden fresh tomatoes, white bread, mayonnaise, and salt. I rarely ever use the habaneros because they don’t add much in the way of flavor while they’re adding heat. My father’s the one who wants to plant them, and it’s mainly so he can talk about how he grows these really hot peppers. The most machismo I’ve had about peppers was eating a whole fresh bird’s eye chili on a dare in college – it hurt a lot, but I managed to surreptitiously drink a can of cola and that did a great job of cutting the burn and giving me style points.

In addition that background, it’s also worth noting that I usually can’t be bothered to wear gloves, even with habaneros. I just have one dirty hand (which touches the peppers) and one clean hand (which only touches the knife) – and then I try to remember which was which as the day wears on (okay, fine – my right hand is always the one with the knife). For these, however, I went to the sex supplies and pulled out the gloves.

Right, so the first recipe was just a private experiment to see just how impossible it was to eat one.

Ghost Chili bagel and egg breakfast

step one – fry half a slice of bacon. Once crispy, remove the bacon to a towel to dry.

Cut flesh of the chili from the seeds and membranes. Slice very thinly. Toss the slices of chili into the hot bacon fat and stir them around until they start to brown.

Put sliced bagel in the oven to toast.

Scrape the toasty pepper slices into a single thickness gathering, and crack an egg over the peppers. Continue to fry the peppery egg as you enjoy.

Gather your plate of toasted bagel (with cream cheese), bacon, and fried egg. Place the egg on top of one bagel and salt generously – but don’t make a sandwich in case you want unadulterated bagel to soothe your mouth later. Also slice some cheese for buffering, too.

Nom

End result of the breakfast was actually not bad! I might do it again. My nose ran a little and there was a little sweat on my scalp, but it ended up being an entirely delicious breakfast.

Oh – one more bit of background, I recently went to visit my ex, who has since become a rabbi, and while there we made candied etrog peel. I suggested we save the boiling liquid, so I came home with two jars of etrog syrup and my bags having been searched by TSA.

Right, so etrog syrup.

First things I made was citrus candied chilies.

Candied Chilies

First, I cut the flesh of two chilies away from the seeds and membranes – hold by the stem, and aim shallow. I managed to get one pepper into two pieces and the other into three.

Next I boiled the etrog syrup – already so supersaturated that crystals had formed, so I didn’t add more sugar. If you are starting without syrup, add equal quantities of water and sugar of sufficient quantity that the pieces float about and you aren’t worried the liquid will boil away.

Once it came to a boil, I carefully transferred each piece of pepper and let them boil for about three to five minutes.

I placed the pieces on some waved paper to dry, and I poured the (now insanely spicy) syrup into a clean jar.

Once the peppers were drier, I dredged them in sugar and put them in a jar.

So what do I do with candied peppers? Well, so far I’ve tried truffles

Candied Ghost Chili Truffles

ganache center
6oz República del Cacao° 75% Los Rios
4oz light cream (should have been heavy cream, but the store was out)
2 grams candied ghost chili, minced finely

coating
70% Santander

But that just used up one of the five pieces, and the truffles are just on the slightly insane side of spicy, but tasty.

And I still have the etrog/pepper syrup. But I have a plan. Well, at least a plan for a little of it.

Chili-glazed Rosemary Roast Sweet Potatoes

Cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes, or larger chunks.

Roast them in oven, until just cooked through, with rosemary and ground allspice.

When cool enough to handle, toss the potatoes with the etrog/chili syrup and then put the potatoes back in the oven long enough to get some caramelization.

Finish with kosher salt for texture.

I tried roasting some of the peppers in the oven, but they are thin-skinned peppers and I chose some of the smaller ones, so I ended up with dried peppers, instead. From them, I made two seasoned butters.

2 Ghost Chili Seasoned Butters – sweet and savory

Sweet
4-5 Tablespoons of softened butter
pinch powdered ghost pepper (about a pinch’s worth, if from a jar)
3-4 Tablespoons of buckwheat honey
sprinkle of powdered mace

Savory
4-5 Tablespoons of softened butter
pinch powdered ghost pepper (about a pinch’s worth, if from a jar)
1/16th teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon paprika

And that still leaves me with quite a few peppers to work with!

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11
Mar

3 salsas

   Posted by: Livia    in hors d'oeuvres, Recipe, sauces, vegan, vegetarian

So I bought a pineapple and a couple magoes with plans to experiment with possible salsas to make for the Cooking with Catladies dinner this coming weekend. I put it off for a bit, and then the fruit was perfectly ripe and making it clear that it would not wait for the 15th.

So here were my experimental salsas:

Pineapple/Grape Salsa
This one is designed to be light a fresh and perky, and it succeeded admirably.

Cut 2/3rds of a pineapple into 1cm dice. Slice seedless red grapes in half until the quantities of pinapple and grapes are equal.

Peel ginger and cut several paper thin slices against the grain. Then stack those slices and cut them into strips. Add to the fruit.

Slice the flesh off of 1 jalepeno pepper, and cut that into thin strips. Add to fruit.

Mix everything together and put into a jar.

Make a syrup of 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar. Reduce by 1/3 or until bored, whichever comes first.

Pour in enough to make the salsa wet, but not drippy – maybe halfway up a tightly-packed jar. Close the lid, and let sit overnight.

Pineapple Habanero
This one was meant to be just a bit too strong for my tastes, just in case someone particularly macho came by. Therefore, I didn’t make a lot of it. But also, it annoys me when very spicy food is only spicy, so I was trying to get a bit of layering to the flavor. The end result is delicious, but not hot enough at all.

Finely mince 1/3 of a pineapple

Cut the flesh off of 1 3 habanero peppers, and slice it as finely as possible.

In a mortar and pestle, crush together 2 clove heads, 6 allspice berries, and some nutmeg.

Stir all together.

Make a syrup of: the juice of 2 limes, 1 tsp buckwheat honey, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 1/4 cup white balsamic. Boil until it thickens a bit, and then pour sparingly over the salsa.

Let sit overnight. (Hoping this one might last a week)

Mango and Green Pepper SalsaOddly, this one ended up being the hottest of the lot, but that’ll depend on the next jalepeno I buy. I like the crisp texture of the green pepper here.

Dice a ripe mango as best you can, but it’s better for the mango to be ripe and sweet than to have a perfect dice

Cut the flesh off the seeds of the bell pepper in about 5 passes, and then cut those strips into narrow strips (so you end up with pieces about 2mm x 4cm) – this will make the width of the bite about the same, the pieces still large enough to be crunchy, and yet it will still fold into everything smoothly as salsa should.

Thinly slice 1/2 of a jalepeno all the way through. Then mince those slices and add them, including seeds.

Add the zest of 1 lime.

Stir all together, and pack it into a jar.

Pour white vinegar into the tightly-packed jar until it comes about halfway up the fruit. Let sit overnight.

Now to see if they can be replicated. *grin*

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2
Oct

Food List

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists

Food I have
Protein
chicken breast of dubious vintage
roast beef from weekend before last
chicken stock (needs to be boiled and put in a new container)
1/2 slice bacon (yes, there’s more in the freezer, but that’s what is thawed)

Produce
roasted garlic (1 1/2 heads)
roasted tomatoes (2/3 cup)
container with the seeds and juice from the tomatoes I roasted
roasted red peppers in their own juice (1-2 peppers’ worth)
fried leeks
fresh cilantro
1 whole coconut
muhammara
hot peppers (mostly green jalepenos)
1 small leek
bulb of fennel
3-4 leaves of kale
5 little yellow squashes and 1 medium
carrots
6 potatoes
1 delicata (I think) squash

Bread
Nope, I ate all the bread. Well, there ate tortillas and the bagels in the freezer, but those don’t spoil, so they don’t ever count.

Meals
Well, I was going to ask you all for recipes that would combine the winter squash and the fennel, but then I came across this recipe for delicata with spiced pecans and dried cranberries… but don’t let that stop you from offering suggestions anyway. Especially for the fennel.

Thursday, October 2
pasta with the rest of the kale and the medium yellow pepper. Also turkey meatballs from the freezer. And some lemon juice. Huh – I didn’t notice lemons when I made this list, but there are usually some hiding out in my fridge… if not, I’ll find out how important they are to the recipe. Also nab some more of those jalapenos from my neighbors that had been on the bush long enough to turn red; those are awesome. Ooo… maybe I shall put roasted tomatoes in this.

Friday, October 3
Make hash from roast been and potatoes. Also add fried leeks, roasted garlic, and two jalapeno peppers.

BUY LETTUCE – it’s on sale at my grocery until Friday. Can I just mention how much it bothers my that it is a physical impossibility to stock up on lettuce when it is on sale? I cry my bitter tears of woe.

Saturday, October 4
Harry Potter’s naked bum! Er, I mean, I’ll be eating out. At Red Lobster.

Sunday, October 5
breakfast: make more awesome cream cheese with roasted red peppers and roasted garlic. I am so glad this will be my last batch of the peppers because ever since I perfected the technique it has been very difficult not to just eat it ALL RIGHT NOW! Nom!

Delicata and spiced pecans and dried cranberries
I’ll need to acquire some cranberries for that plan.

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14
Aug

Erm…

   Posted by: Livia    in dubious

and then I remember that I’m not actually a big fan of green bell peppers…

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13
Aug

Shepherd’s pie in five easy days

   Posted by: Livia    in dubious

It’s too hot to cook. That’s my excuse for why it will take four days to make Shepherd’s Pie.

Day 1: Have the roast that provided the leftovers
Day 2: Brown the flour for gravy. Decide that it is too fucking hot to cook.
Day 3: Buy milk for mashed potatoes. Make gravy and add diced roast, carrots, and peas. Decide that it is too fucking hot to keep cooking.
Day 4 (tomorrow): Make mashed potatoes. Hollow out bell peppers, pour in meat mixture, add a layer of shredded smoked cheddar, top with potatoes. Decide that it’s too fucking hot to actually bake the stuffed peppers
Day 5: Invite someone over and eat the stuffed peppers because I don’t actually have a container deep enough to hold the peppers for freezing

Five. Five days to make sheperd’s pie. Well, six if I boil the potatoes and decide that it’s too hot to mash them.

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