Fall for Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Jalapeño

The Blade 

By: Mary Bilyeu

Source: Mary Bilyeu

Spice up you fall soup with this jalapeño soup!

It’s soup season.
We may call it fall, but in reality, it’s the time of year when we bring out sweaters and soup recipes to help keep us warm.
With the last precious harvest of fresh sweet corn in northwest Ohio until next year, you can transition from summer’s heat to autumn’s chill with this hearty chowder. (Of course, frozen corn makes a good substitute as winter comes closer and, unfortunately, lingers.) Add both potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus a hint of heat from jalapeños, while cheese and creamed corn add luxurious richness.
This corn chowder is, quite simply, a bowl full of coziness and comfort.

orn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Jalapeño

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
½ cup creamed corn
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 small-to-medium potato, peeled, finely diced
½ small sweet potato, peeled, diced
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Minced cilantro
Salt and pepper
Cornbread, for serving

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeño, and corn; sauté until the onion and pepper have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the creamed corn, broth, potato, and sweet potato. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes until the potato and sweet potato are both fork-tender.
Stir in the cheese until it melts, then add the cilantro.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately with cornbread on the side.
Yield: 1 serving½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

 

 

As pickles conquer the mainstream, are they still a Jewish food?

By Stephen Silver

JTA

Are pickles still a Jewish food ?

(David Kindler/Flickr)

 

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — When many folks of a certain age and demographic think of pickles, their thoughts likely drift back to memories of the pickle bar at their favorite deli, or of talkative vendors on New York City’s Lower East Side.

That’s largely thanks to the Jewish immigrants living in New York at the end of the 19th century, who made the dill pickle we know and love today — with plenty of garlic, dill and salt brine — so popular.

But today, pickles and pickle flavors can be found in places they didn’t used to be — from beer to ice cream to chic restaurant delicacies. The popular lifestyle and culture site Refinery29 recently described the current age as “peak pickle” and dubbed pickles “2018’s hottest food trend.”

The research firm Technavio sees the global pickle market reaching $12.74 billion in 2020, with more than half of that in the United States. We now have National Pickle Day (Nov. 14) and International Pickle Week (after Memorial Day).

The frenzy has even reached Hollywood: Seth Rogen is reportedly set to star in a movie about a pickle factory worker named Herschel Greenbaum, who falls into a vat of pickles in 1918 and re-emerges intact 100 years later.

One could say on the whole that pickles are having a moment in America.
As picklemania continues to grow, Jews may be asking: Do pickles still have a Jewish identity? Did they ever? Are they solely seen as an American food these days, if anything?

The pickle craze was encapsulated recently at the latest urban pickle festival: the first Pickledelphia, which was held last week at the Schmidt Commons in this city’s trendy Northern Liberties neighborhood. The crowd of more than 1,500 enjoyed wares from some two dozen vendors.

They could sample the traditional pickled cucumbers, but much more, including everything from “drinkable pickle brine” to pickle-flavored beer and liquor. There were accents on traditional Philadelphia foods, such as a pretzel wrapped around a pickle from Philly Pretzel Factory, and pickle-flavored chips from Herr’s. There was live music and a caricaturist who drew people in pickle form. Of course, there was a pickle-eating contest.

Many on hand wore green, even though the Super Bowl champion Eagles weren’t playing that Sunday, and others sported shirts emblazoned with Pickle Rick, a character from the cult animated series “Rick and Morty.” (When I reached out to the organizers for press credentials, the email back came from Pickle Rick.)

If anything, the event was too successful, which led to some social media grumbling about long lines, overcrowding and how some vendors ran out of pickles.
Pickledelphia was the brainchild of Michael Wink, a partner in Digital Force Agency, an events and digital marketing agency in Philadelphia that had staged the Philadelphia Beard Festival. Philly has recently hosted festival-type events based around other foods, such as burgers, cheesesteaks and pizza. So naturally it was time for pickles to have their turn.

“Everybody loves pickles,” Wink said at the event. “My sisters, cousins — everyone goes nuts over pickles. I’d say on Thanksgiving, you could have the best spread out there, and my sisters and cousins were still raiding the fridge for the pickles. So I know there was a love of pickles there, and I started seeing things.”

While there was nothing outwardly Jewish about the festival, the connection between Jews and pickles goes back almost to the beginning. Cucumbers are mentioned in the Torah: Numbers 11:5 says “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.” And later, in the book of Isaiah: “The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.” Jews from communities of old in Eastern Europe and Iran enjoyed pickled vegetables as staples, and some even believed the food could cure disease.

According to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Jews in Yiddish-speaking lands specialized in the cultivation of cucumbers, and would pickle them over the harsh winters and serve them starting just before Passover.

“Lactofermentation in salt pickling enhances the nutritional value of vegetables by preserving vitamin C, among other benefits,” YIVO explains, “which was important during long winters without fresh green vegetables.”
But experts say that while pickles have always been important to Jews, no one has never quite had a monopoly on them.

“You ask a big question, but I’m curious first as to whether pickles are ‘Jewish’ to begin with,” said Roger Horowitz, a food historian and author of the book “Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food.” “They are just cucumbers preserved in a brine solution, a method with wide historical roots and practiced by many cultures.”

There were some kosher pickle companies at Pickledelphia, including the Teaneck, New Jersey-based Pickle Licious, and the Philadelphia company Zayda’s. The co-founder of the latter, Steven Slutsky, is a local character who performs comedy in Philadelphia as The Pickle Man. (He is known for traveling around town on a rickshaw-style tricycle with a toilet for a seat.)

But the event had more of a multicultural flavor, and Wink noted that at least three vendors fused American pickles with Asian cuisine. One of them, a Chinatown-based Japanese restaurant called Hi-Kori, offered different flavors of fried pickles at one of the highest-trafficked booths. (Pickled vegetables aren’t exactly foreign to all Asian cultures — Korean cuisine often includes other pickled items on the menu beyond kimchi, for instance.)

“Pickles are very much a part of Jewish deli culture,” said Rabbi Lance Sussman, who is both senior rabbi at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel outside Philadelphia and a scholar of American Jewish history. “The cucumber was probably originally from India, but there is a tradition of a pickled dish (turnip?) in the Talmud. Jewish delis continue to serve free pickles with meals and sometimes have pickle bars, too. [But] of course, pickles are not unique to the Jewish community.”

Ironically, Pickledelphia was originally scheduled for the afternoon of Sept. 9, which was the eve of Rosh Hashanah. However, rain intervened and pushed the date back to October.
“We started putting it out and we got a lot of backlash,” Wink said. “They’re like, ‘You’re doing this on the Jewish holiday!’ We know the Jewish people love pickles.
He added: “The rain kind of came through, and we joke around — God likes pickles, we’ll be all right.”

 

Unraveling Pinterest’s Most Popular Halloween Jalapeño Popper Recipe

BY :Sara Cagle

Brit + Co 

 

Halloweeño Jalapeño Popper Mummies RECIPE

“I love Halloween foods that, at first glance, are spooky but when looking closer are actually cute and fun,” Williams tells Brit + Co. “When coming up with this recipe, I wanted to make something that brought me back to my childhood but that was still for adults. A reimagined jalapeño popper seemed like the perfect way to go.”
We’re all for nostalgia, but what exactly is it about these snacks that led to hundreds of thousands of pins? “I think it’s because they are so darned cute! I can’t help but smile when I look at a tray full of them,” she says. “Also, once you look at the recipe, you find that there are very few ingredients, and they are relatively simple to make. You can’t really ‘mess up’ wrapping the jalapeños, because there really is no ‘right’ way to do it.”
Check out our step-by-step boo-torial below, sprinkled with a few of our insights, then get to bakin’.

Ingredients:
10 jalapeño peppers
8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
8 ounces jack cheese or your favorite cheese, shredded (We used mozzarella)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package refrigerated crescent rolls (We used Pillsbury Sweet Hawaiian Crescent Rolls)
2 eggs, beaten
candy eyeballs

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, green onion, and salt until well blended.

3. Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise with seeds removed and stems left on. We accidentally cut the stems off, but they still turned out cute!

4. Roll out the crescent dough, and separate into 4 rectangles (not triangles). Press your fingers into any perforations to seal them.

5. Using a pizza cutter, cut each rectangle into 10 pieces (or as many as you can without making them too thin) lengthwise. It’s tough to get even slices, so don’t worry about making yours perfectly uniform; the mummies are extra endearing when they’re all a little different. We also made closer to 5 slices per rectangle than 10, which was totally fine.

6. Fill each jalapeño half with the cheese mixture. Don’t worry if the halves seem jam-packed; that just means ultimate cheesiness.

7. Wrap one strip of dough around each stuffed jalapeño, leaving a space for the eyes (which you’ll add later). Use two pieces of dough if necessary. Feel free to change up the wrapping style each time for unique mummies.

8. Place jalapeños on a baking sheet and brush with egg mixture, which makes them extra shiny and crisp.
9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Because our dough strips turned out a little thicker, the mummies took roughly 12 minutes to bake.

10. Remove mummies from oven, and press candy eyes into empty space. Serve immediately.

Final verdict? The measurements for this recipe are just right, and it’s crafty enough to challenge you without giving you a headache. These lovable snacks are spicy and melty on the inside, crispy on the outside, and just the right level of sweet due to the crescent dough. In the words of Williams, “Cute and simple to make? That’s a win/win.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preserve jalapeños now for chipotles, pickles and more heat all winter long

By: Ari LeVaux, More

Southern Kitchen 

Jalapeños are a all time fav

 

Sriracha sauce, for example, is made from red, ripe jalapeños. Mexican escabeche, meanwhile, is a style of pickles made with carrots, herbs and green jalapeños.

Green jalapeños can also be roasted like a New Mexico green chile, and with comparable flavor. I’ve enjoyed roasted jalapeños dressed in butter and Maggi (a type of Mexican soy sauce) alongside the escabeche at the salsa bars that grace Mexican restaurants.

Back in the day, farmers would pick enough green jalapeños to enjoy fresh and bring to market, and at the end of the season the chile plants would be full of unpicked red jalapeños. Following an ancient practice, the farmers would leave these ripe peppers on the plant as long as possible, allowing them to shrivel and dehydrate, before smoking them to complete the dehydration process. These Aztec-style smoked red jalapeños are today known as chipotle peppers, and their sweet, smoky, earthy flavor is important in many dishes.

Meanwhile, jalapeños of both hues have taken off among Asian Americans. Sriracha sauce is as ubiquitous at American Vietnamese and Thai restaurants as ketchup is at a burger joint, and sliced green jalapeños garnish virtually every bowl of pho that is sold in America, while pickled jalapeños are a common fixture in American banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches.

In my general approach to dealing with the seasonal glut of my favorite pepper, I try to emulate the jalapeño farmers of Jalapa. When they are green, I enjoy the fresh jalapeños in my meals, and make pickles. When they turn red, I make chipotle.

My current preferred form of preserved green jalapeño is based on Vietnamese-style pickled jalapeño slices, a la banh mi. These pickled slices are an easy way to store jalapeños for later, and they are even easier to scoop onto everything, where they rightly belong.

Pickled Jalapeño Slices
Note: In order to properly trim the jalapeños, you must know how hot they are relative to your heat tolerance. If they’re not too hot you can leave the seeds and inner membranes in place. I brought a load of jalapeños home from the farmers market recently, and they were so hot I had to clean them carefully, then wash my hands with equal dedication.

Ingredients
Jalapeños
Vinegar (distilled or cider)
Salt
Sugar

Instructions
Begin by slicing off the stem end of the jalapeño. If the peppers are too hot, use the tip of a narrow knife to carve out the seed-bearing membranes. Slice the peppers crosswise as thinly as possible, and pack them into a sterile jar.
When all of your peppers are packed, add vinegar to each jar until it’s full, then pour the vinegar out of the jar(s) and into a sauce pan. Bring vinegar to a simmer on medium.
As it’s heating, add two teaspoons sugar and a teaspoon of salt to each pint jar (adjusting sugar and salt quantities accordingly for larger or smaller jars). When the vinegar reaches a simmer, pour it into the jars and screw on clean lids and rings. Place jars in fridge, where they can last for longer than you can refrain from eating them.
If you’re doing massive quantities and don’t have space in the fridge, process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath, which will render them shelf-stable.
To use, simply scoop the pickled jalapeño slices from the jar and apply them to your food. You’ll get the hang of it.

Smoked Chipotles
Note: Remember, this is a process that has been in use for thousands of years, and there are a lot of ways to smoke a red jalapeño. As long as you don’t touch your eyes before washing your hands, messing around with jalapeños is a tolerant process.

Ingredients
Red jalapeños
Wood chips

Instructions
When it’s time to smoke red jalapeños into chipotles, my technique is less refined. I trim and clean the red jalapeños the same way as the greens, then roast them on the grill. When the skins have blistered, I move the peppers away from direct heat, add some wood chips to the grill and close the top so the peppers smoke, adjusting the airflow as necessary.
When the wood chips have all burnt off, I finish drying the jalapeños in the sun or a dehydrator. One could smoke them for days, Aztec-style, but a touch of smoke is fine with me. When crispy-dry, store them in airtight bags in the freezer.

All’s fair at the fair

By:Jennifer K. Bauer and Michelle Schmidt

The Lewiston Tribute 

Outdoing Dagwood: Fair food is all about excess. Here are the ingredients for Inland 360’s ultimate fair food burger, from bottom to top: glazed doughnut, bottom half; hamburger patty; bacon; curly fries; nacho cheese sauce; hamburger patty; potato chips; ice cream bar; one whole pickle; glazed doughnut, top half; Oreos, crushed.

Photo By: 

Gone are the days when fair food was limited to elephant ears, corn dogs and cotton candy.
You can still find these staples, but these days fairs around the nation are featuring bizarre combinations of anything and everything that can be shoved between two buns, fried, put on a stick, or wrapped in bacon — the weirder, the better.
Here are six crazy fair foods and where you can find them around the U.S.

Fried beer
How do you fry a liquid? Stuff it in pasta for a start. Fried ravioli filled with beer is famous at the State Fair of Texas.
Bickle
A “bickle” is a battered, bacon-wrapped pickle on a stick. It’s popular at the Kansas State Fair.
Pickle juice pops
For some reason, pickles are a big deal in Kansas. Those watching their waistlines at the Kansas State Fair can opt for a pickle juice popsicle instead of a bickle.
Ice cream burger

No need to save room for dessert at the Florida State Fair where people voted the ice cream burger a top favorite 2016. It’s a cheeseburger topped with a crunchy scoop of Mexican-style fried ice cream. Could I get a bickle on that?
Donut Burger
Hold the bun and bring on the donuts. Two donuts, a beef patty, a slice of ham and bourbon glaze make up the Big Clifty Bourbon Donut Burger, one of the top attractions at this year’s Kentucky State Fair. Trains of thought like this may be why Kentucky has one of the highest heart disease death rates in the nation.
Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick
Spaghetti and meatballs on a stick sounds exciting at first because the mind must ponder how slippery noodles would perform this feat. When the answer is: mash them up with meat, glom that into a ball and fry it it, it becomes considerably less exciting, unless you live in Minnesota.

M&M’S Is Debuting Global-Inspired Flavors Like Mexican Jalapeño

By Maya McDowell 

delish

Jalapeno M&M’S…hmmm…

 

According to Instagram users, M&M’S is releasing three flavors that are a far cry from the classic milk chocolate-flavored candies, or even the peanut version. Brent Timm, behind SnackChatLive (“The wildest and wackiest food vlog in the galaxy!”), posted a photo of the unreleased M&M’S. Per the wrappers, the M&M’S are “Internationally Inspired Flavors,” including English Toffee Peanut, Mexican Jalapeño Peanut, and Thai Coconut Peanut.

Brent writes that M&M’S is set to release the new flavors in 2019. In an Instagram story, he tries the English Toffee Peanut M&M’S, and says the toffee flavor is “super pronounced.” Apparently there’s a sort of coffee flavor to them, and he also compared them to M&M’S Espresso Nut flavor.
People commented on the post, seemingly intruiged and thrilled at the alleged flavors. One user wrote, “gimme that toffee and dat coconut.” Another person said, “I can’t wait for the coconut!! That’s going to be so good.”
Instagram user @candyhunting posted a photo of the Mexican Jalapeño flavor, as well, claiming that these will be the next M&M’s flavor vote contenders. This means once they hit shelves, M&M’S fans can vote on which flavor to keep. The most recent Flavor Vote winning flavor was Crunchy Mint, per a press release.

It’s unclear when or where the M&M’S will be available. M&M’s declined to provide further information at this time. So stay tuned for more info on these intriguing sounding flavors.

 

Chili dip a hit made-from-scratch take on a football favorite

By Tony and Sarah Nasello

Grand Forks Herald 

Add Jalapenos to this easy Chili dip for football season! 
Photo by: Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — My husband, Tony, is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, which means that the only thing we usually get to cheer about in our home during NFL football season is, you guessed it, the food.
And last Sunday, my Easy Cheesy Chili Dip had everyone cheering as we watched the Fish eke out a win over the Tennessee Titans.

This recipe was inspired by a popular dip that seemed to be everywhere in the 1980s, which was made by combining a can of chili with a brick of Velveeta cheese. I loved this dip as a teenager, but as an adult I wanted to see if I could create a made-from-scratch version that would replicate the wonderful creamy, cheesy nature of this dip without using any processed ingredients.
Instead of using canned chili, I make a simple, quick chili that takes just 15 minutes to cook and is every bit as satisfying. You can make this recipe using just one dish — an ovenproof skillet — which keeps the dishwashing at a minimum and helps the dip retain its heat better throughout serving. Or, you could cook the chili in a regular frying pan and then transfer it to a pie plate or baking dish to finish in the oven.
I begin by cooking ground beef with aromatics like garlic, onion and jalapeno pepper in just a bit of oil, which imparts deep flavor into the dish and intensifies the meatiness. This chili is best when the ground beef is broken down into small, crumb-like pieces, and I use a handy meat chopping tool to achieve this, but a potato masher or wooden spoon will also work.
Tomato paste, water and a blend of spices and seasoning are added next to round out the chili, with cayenne pepper providing just a touch of heat. For a creamy finish, I stir in four ounces of cream cheese, which gives the chili a lush and velvety texture that makes it firm enough to hold on a chip. We prefer this chili without beans, but red kidney beans could also be added at this stage for a chunkier version.
Once the cream is thoroughly incorporated, I cover the top of the chili with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar jack cheese and then bake it in a 375-degree oven until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. For an extra golden brown and cheesy crust, I finish the dip by broiling it on high for two to three minutes, watching it carefully to keep it from burning.
I love the simplicity of this chili, which can be refrigerated for several days, or frozen for up to two months before adding the cheese and baking, which makes me love it even more. When serving, I prefer hearty, restaurant-style yellow corn tortilla chips, which are strong enough to hold a generous mouthful of cheesy goodness.

My Easy Cheesy Chili Dip is like having a plate of super-deluxe nachos without the hassle of soggy chips, which is always touchdown in my book.
Sarah’s Easy Cheesy Chili Dip
Serves: 6 to 8
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup yellow onion, small-diced
½ jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more for extra heat)
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
Toppings
2 Roma tomatoes, diced into ¼-inch pieces
3 green onions, finely chopped
¼ cup black olives, sliced
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a 9- or 10-inch oven-safe skillet, heat the oil and add the ground beef, garlic, onions and jalapeno pepper. Cook over medium heat until the beef is fully browned, and the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Use a meat chopper, potato masher or wooden spoon to break the beef into small, crumb-like pieces. Drain the excess fat and return the skillet to the stovetop.
Add the tomato paste, water, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cream cheese and stir until fully incorporated, then stir in the kidney beans, if using. Smooth the top and cover with the shredded cheese.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browned. For best results, finish by broiling on high until the top is a rich, golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Use a pot holder or handle cover to remove skillet from oven and sprinkle the top with an even layer of the diced tomatoes, green onions and black olives. Serve immediately with your favorite tortilla chips. Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated in the oven or a microwave-safe dish.
Sarah’s tips:
• If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, use a frying pan to make the chili, then transfer it to a 9- or 10-inch pie plate or baking dish and cover with the cheese.
• For extra heat, use the whole jalapeno pepper and/or increase the amount of cayenne pepper.
• Fresh cilantro may also be sprinkled on the top just before serving.
• For best results, serve with hearty, restaurant-style yellow corn tortilla chips.

Pork stuffed jalapeno poppers

 

 

News and Tribune 

BY:DAVE LOBECK

 

Pork Stuffed Jalapeno pepper

 

Sometimes you want to fix something that is both delicious and fun. A client and friend of mine stopped by the office last Friday and dropped off a batch of jalapeno peppers that he grew in his garden. They were gorgeous. This thoughtful gesture gave us the perfect opportunity to fix something “delicious and fun” with a bit of a ​BBQ My Way​ twist. Let’s get started.
Ingredients
8 to 10 Jalapeno peppers – halved and seeded 1⁄2 cup smoked pulled pork (BBQ My Way​ twist) 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin

1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 oz block of softened cream cheese 1 1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs plus a dash of milk
1 cup flour
1 1⁄2 Panko bread crumbs
1⁄8 cup of your favorite pork rub
White Alabama Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2⁄3 cup apple cider vinegar 1 Tbs black pepper

Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
In a bowl, combine the cheese, the softened cream cheese, the pork, cumin and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly. A fork works best.
Cut the peppers lengthwise and scoop out membranes and seeds. I would suggest wearing rubber gloves while doing this and then remove the gloves when you are done. Stuff each pepper with a scoop of the cheese mixture. Place the eggs and milk in one shallow bowl and mix thoroughly, place the flour in a second shallow bowl and the panko crumbs and your favorite pork rub in a third shallow bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the cheese stuffed peppers in the flour first, then roll around in the eggs and milk, then coat in the panko crumbs. Place on a cookie cooling sheet which is perched on a cookie sheet. This keeps the peppers elevated. Bake for thirty minutes or so or until the peppers are softened a bit. If the panko isn’t brown enough, set the oven to broil for a few minutes to finish the browning process.
Drizzle with Alabama white sauce and serve with your favorite cold beverage. Delicious, spicy, crunchy, cheesy and smoky all at the same time. Enjoy!

Sweet and sweaty

By: Jason Cassidy 

News Review 

 

PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY

Sweet jalapeños in a jar.

My garden sucks this year. Despite a spring spent adding new beds in more favorable locations, as well as an automated irrigation system, my blossoms have dropped en masse. Unfortunately timed heatwaves this summer have robbed me—and many fellow local gardeners to whom I’ve whined—of most tomato and melon fruits. Not all has been lost, though. The lemon cucumber and spaghetti squash yields have been respectable. And the jalapeños—those chilis I most often cook with and always do well in my yard—continue to be on fire. The time was ripe to finally make some “cowboy candy.”
My conventional use for a bumper crop of jalapeños is to combine it with the “too many” tomatoes that I normally enjoy for some homemade pico de gallo for all my tortilla chip and tri-tip-smothering needs. But the absence of tomatoes presented an opportunity for trying out this tasty-looking pickling/candying method of preserving hot peppers that I’ve come across on various recipe websites over the years.
Turns out cowboy candy is super quick and simple to make—especially if you just do the quick refrigerator pickle—and the results are amazing. I’ve tried them on a turkey burger and a grilled-chicken sandwich (both transformative) and spooned them straight out of the jar and into my mouth for an intense sweet/sour/hot snack. It’d also be a perfect contrast to a bagel with cream cheese, and would make a great addition chopped up and stirred into a potato salad or coleslaw.
After making one batch, I think I have a new staple in my fridge.
The recipe I settled on borrows bits from the glut I found online, all of which are basically the same. Other additions that I found but left out of my batch include cayenne pepper (seems overkill), celery seeds (meh) and lime zest and/or juice (next time). I included some whole red jalapeños for extra color, but you could also add a few whole cayenne or, if you’re really brave, habanero peppers to further enhance the look and flavor.
Cowboy candy
Ingredients:
3 pounds jalapeños, sliced
Handful of additional whole chili peppers
(red jalapeño, cayenne, habanero, etc.)
6 cups sugar
2 cups vinegar (apple cider or distilled
white)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8 cloves garlic, smashed
Sterilize four or five one-pint pickling jars and lids, plus a slotted spoon and a funnel.
Put on some rubber or plastic gloves. Rinse off your jalapeños and any other peppers you’re using, then cut off the stems and slice into quarter-inch rings. (You could de-seed first if you want less heat … but c’mon!) If you’re including any whole peppers, simply cut off the stems and add to the pepper pile.
Start your syrup by adding vinegar, sugar, turmeric and smashed garlic to a large saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking until sugar dissolves. Reduce to a low boil, and cook for four minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove garlic. Add all your peppers to the pot and boil for another four minutes.
Turn off heat, and with slotted spoon remove peppers and distribute evenly between jars. Turn heat on syrup back up and bring to a boil. Cook for an additional five minutes or so, until syrup begins to thicken. Funnel syrup into jars, covering peppers completely and leaving about 1/2-inch airspace at top. Tighten lids and put in the fridge. Wait one week. Enjoy! Using this refrigerator method for pickling, your cowboy candy will be good in the fridge for at least three months.

Simply the Most Fabulous Fresh Salsa-Pico De Gallo!

By Nicole Carlin

Mother Earth News 

 

Photo : by Nicole Carlin

This Pico has jalapenos added to the recipe.

There is nothing better than fresh summer fruits and vegetables and this is the time of the year for tomatoes. I have a dear friend who is from Mexico and she was visiting the farm a few years ago in August. After brushing the horses, feeding the pigs and helping collect eggs, we ended up at the garden on a pre-dinner collecting expedition. As we filled the basket with cucumbers, peppers, onions and tomatoes, Sandra exclaimed with delight over my abundant and over-sized jalapenos.

“Do you make pico?” she asked.

“Make what? I asked.

“Pico de gallo! You know fresh salsa!” I love salsa and I had made regular cooked salsa and tomato salads but never this mysterious pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo literally means “beak of the rooster” and it’s not entirely clear where the name comes from though online discussion boards offer two possible ideas. One is that to calm fighting roosters, trainers would put the rooster’s head in their mouth and at first the rooster would peck the tongue similar to the bite of the hot peppers in the pico de gallo salsa. Another is that the finely minced ingredients looked like chicken feed. No matter where the name comes from, pico de gallo is a salsa that originated in Mexico.

In the kitchen, Sandra rummaged through the basket and selected two spectacular heirloom tomatoes, two jalapenos, and two smallish onions. After we finely diced all three ingredients we mixed them in a bowl and seasoned it with salt and pepper. That was it! I expected lime juice or cilantro or some other secret ingredient, but this was how Sandra’s mom had made it so that was that (though many variations do include cilantro and lime).

We split open a new bag of tortilla chips and dug in… and it was AMAZING! Sandra’s kids clustered around the bowl with my kids.

“I can’t stop eating this!”

“Wow, Mom this tastes even better than usual!”

“I don’t care if my lips are burning, give me another chip.” (This from one of my kids who had never willingly consumed fresh jalapenos before)

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The bowl emptied in five minutes flat. The two older girls began dicing more tomatoes to make another bowl and Sandra explained that the fresh heirloom tomatoes really made the pico taste incredible. Ever since that Sunday afternoon we have regularly made pico de gallo from the beginning to the bitter end of tomato season. Canned salsa is for the winter but pico is for the summer!

Sandra O’s Pico de Gallo
Ingredients

• 1 large tomato
• 1 large jalapeno
• 1 small onion
• salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Wash all ingredients and peel onion.

2. Finely dice the tomato, put into bowl.

3. Finely dice the jalapeno, test for heat level and dice with pith and seeds for a spicier result, remove for a milder version. Add to bowl.

4. Finely dice the onion and add to bowl.

5. Stir together and add salt and pepper.

Hints and Tips:

• We like fresh juicy beefsteak style heirloom tomatoes for pico de gallo but in a pinch any tomato will do, just remember the better the tomato the better the pico.

• Don’t be shy with the salt, add a bit taste and add a bit more if you want to ratchet up the flavor.

• If jalapenos scare you, this is wonderful with bell peppers (it’s just missing that magic spicy kick that I love) I make it with bell peppers for my husband.

• I find this makes a great condiment for scrambled eggs, over corn on the cob, and on top of baked potatoes as well as with quesadillas and other salsa-y applications. Sometimes I just eat it with a spoon, Mmmmmmm. .