Tag Archives: seasoning

Preparing dried peppers for kitchen use

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Does it bother you when you go to a restaurant, order something spicy, and the plate comes with a bunch of cockroach-sized peppers intact scattered into the food?  No way of eating them if you still own your appendix and want to continue in that vein.

Ancho is a favorite of mine because they aren't much hotter than bell peppers, but they have a strong flavor.  Dusky, smoky flavor.  But only rarely will you find them fresh.

Ancho is a favorite of mine because they aren’t much hotter than bell peppers, but they have a strong flavor. Dusky, smoky flavor. But only rarely will you find them fresh.

Same applies for home cooking.  Some of the best, such as anchos, can only rarely be found fresh.  And using them dried requires some preparation if you want to taste the flavor.

 

The blender beats any other method I've ever found for reducing them to a worthy size. Unless it's the heat you're after, such as with habenero. But that's an entirely different story.

The blender beats any other method I’ve ever found for reducing them to a worthy size. Unless it’s the heat you’re after, such as with habenero. But that’s an entirely different story.

Enter, the blender.  No need to dig out the mortar and pistle.  It wouldn’t work anyway.

ancho grinding 1

Starting with low speeds seems to work best.

ancho grinding 2

Be patient and hang in there.  You’ll be able to see the particle sizes decreasing.

`ancho ground

Eventually you’ll end up with this.  Ready to use ancho, not ground enough to qualify as molido, a bit coarse, but with enough surface areas exposed to bring out the flavor.

I suspect one of the reasons so few people use dried peppers is a result  of not knowing what the hell to do with them.  Reducing the particle size enough to bring out the flaver and render them capable of being digested helps.

Old Jules

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Onion ice cubes, jalapeno ice cubes

onion ice cube jalapeno ice cube

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.  This is an idea of mine that worked out really well.  Hell, it wasn’t my idea.  It was Jeanne’s.  But I’m the one put that whole bag of onions in the blender, liquified them, and poured them into ice cube trays.  Jeanne just thought of it because the onions go bad so quickly these days.

Anyway, even before the low sodium fanaticism and the sexual experimentation with various foods that followed, counting sodium mgs the way other people count calories, even before that I used a LOT of onions, a lot of jalapeno [and other peppers].

But Jeanne’s ice cube idea throws the entire thing into a new realm.  A new threshold, new horizon of culinary potential.  And you don’t have to chop them every damned time you get hungry and start searching for something to cook.

The onions turn into tiny onion chips when thawed, and a lot of onion juice.  They make an onion broth quicker than I can type it.  And the jalapeno ice cube are great anywhere.  Shove a popsicle stick into them and you have a jalapeno popsicle.  Otherwise just use them the way you’d normally use a jalapeno shaped like an ice cube.

Remember where you heard it first.  It was here.  Not Jeanne’s Library blog.  But if I could think of a way to keep them from melting I’d send some postcard style to her Johnson County Library Postcard Art project.  Because damn me, these are art.  Tastiest damned art I’ve ever eaten.

Old Jules

 

It’s an ill wind that blows no good

sriracha hot chili sauce

Hi readers. 

I’ve always loved Sriracha Chili Sauce, hate knowing they’ve come on hard times.  I’d guess the people in that California town would live to be 110 each if they’d gut it out, breathing that stuff three months out of the year.

City: Odor from Sriracha chili plant a nuisance

As many as 40 trucks a day pull up to unload red hot chili peppers by the millions. Each plump, vine-ripened jalapeno pepper from central California then goes inside on a conveyor belt where it is washed, mixed with garlic and a few other ingredients and roasted. The pungent smell of peppers and garlic fumes is sent through a carbon-based filtration system that dissipates them before they leave the building, but not nearly enough say residents.

“Whenever the wind blows that chili and garlic and whatever else is in it, it’s very, very, very strong,” Sanchez said. “It makes you cough.”

I’d love to be downwind of it when it’s in operation if it weren’t for the fact it’s in California, and if I went to California next thing I knew I’d be having to get along with Californians.  For me it’s a bit late in the day to take on that job of work.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what the good is I referred to in the title to the post.  Here it is:

His recipe for Sriracha is so simple that the Vietnamese immigrant has never bothered to conceal it: chili pepper, garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar.

“You could make it yourself at home,” he told a visitor during a tour of the plant on Tuesday. But, he added with a twinkle in his eye, not nearly as well as he can.

The secret, he said, is in getting the freshest peppers possible and processing them immediately.

The result is a sauce so fiercely hot it makes Tabasco and Picante seem mild, though to those with fireproof palates and iron stomachs it is strangely addicting. Thirty-three years after Tran turned out his first bucketful, Sriracha’s little plastic squeeze bottles with their distinctive green caps are ubiquitous in restaurants and home pantries around the world.

Now if those Californios shut him down at least a person has the basics to cook the stuff himself.  Fill the RV up with the odor as many months of the year as he wants to. 

The government hasn’t learned the potential joys of this yet, so they haven’t made it illegal.  I can close all the windows on the RV,  zonk up on it, me and the cats.  Lie back against the cushions and try to learn to play the harmonica.  Or listen to any of about a million songs my bud Rich provided for me to play on an hmmm MP3?  A tiny thing that plays songs – holds a few hundred at a time.  One of the few inventions since lawsuit to really add to the joy of life for the average human being.

Old Jules