Archive for the ‘habanero’ Tag

01-07-2016 Journal–2016’s First Salsa Day!   Leave a comment

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What do you do when you’re bored?  Everyone seems to have a few ways of dealing with boredom and so do I.  When I’m bored it’s usually being bored with the people around me and occasionally with life in general.  Over the years I’ve  had a very low tolerance for boring people up until the time I finally became one.

It’s only January seventh and I’m already going a little crazy being stuck in the house for most of the day.  I read a quotation once upon a time and it’s stuck with me over the years.  I’m not sure who the author of the quote was but I still find it pertinent all these years later. “Everyone is a bore to someone. That is unimportant. The thing to avoid is being a bore to oneself.”

Help Me!  I beginning to find myself really effing boring.  I plan every year to have a sufficient number of chores and projects to help me through these long winter months.  My biggest problem this year is I’m not the least bit motivated to do anything. The situation started becoming a real problem this week which forced me into taking immediate action yesterday.

The one thing that always helps me to get my mind right is to cook something. I made a quick trip to the supermarket and picked up all of the necessary ingredients and spent one evening watching Netflix and dicing jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, and habanero peppers. Then dicing piles of red and white onions, sweet bell peppers, parsley, and cilantro.  Yesterday was to be the first Salsa Day for 2016.

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‘First prepare the jars and lids.’

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I started by adding all of the ingredients together and allowing them to cook slowly. Then the hard work began as I seasoned and tasted, seasoned and tasted, and using a variety of hot peppers set the level of heat I was looking for.  I wanted this batch to be as hot as possible but not so hot that people couldn’t eat it.  It took a while but I was pleased with the results.

I also love the flavor of beans and use some combinations of them in many dishes. Since the salsa I was making is Roasted Corn & Black Bean I needed a way to add bean flavor without having the salsa look like a three-bean salad. I took three varieties of beans and pureed them into a heavy slurry. I slowly poured the slurry into the pot and hoped for the best. I also hoped that slurry would thicken the consistency of the salsa as it cooked.  I really didn’t want to use tomato paste because the flavor is almost too strong. 

After all was said and done here is the result.  Thirteen quarts of Roasted Corn & Black Bean salsa that’s hot enough to make your head sweat and bring tears to your eyes.  Just the way I like it.

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My boredom disappeared almost immediately and one thing is for certain. The flavor of this salsa is as far away from boring as you can get.

Bring on the chips it’s time to eat.

09-15-2015 Journal – Hot Damn !!!   Leave a comment

Do you have a favorite food?  I think everyone does but unless you ask you may never know what it is.  For most of my life bacon was my favorite but as with all things, changes can occur.  I still love bacon and will eat it until I die regardless of the possible consequences to my health.

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‘My favorite pie.’

I now have a new love in my life that captured my attention about ten years ago.  For me it was like finding the Holy Grail.  I’ve been obsessed with it ever since and there’s no end in sight.  What is it you ask . . . Habanero Peppers.  They’ve changed my life as well as my taste buds, FOREVER!!

Many people love hot food laced with Cayenne, Serrano, or even Ghost peppers but heat isn’t everything.  I require as much heat  as possible but I also want flavor as well.  I’ve tried almost every hot pepper I could find over the years and even came up with a few exotic mixtures in my lame attempt to find excellent flavor with head-sweating heat.

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‘Red-Savina’

After a few years I began hearing about a type of habanero pepper called red-savina.  I ordered some from a place in New Mexico and my life was changed forever.  Since my discovery I’ve made many batches of chili and salsa using red-savina’s as the heat.  The flavor is incredible and the heat is a killer. The perfect pepper for me.  It’s difficult to find them in regular markets but my solution was to periodically purchase a red-savina mash on–line.  It lasts a reasonable length of time in the frig and I can get a half pint for approximately $10.00.  That will last me a good six months.

Recently I found myself running out of red-savina’s and was forced to temporarily fallback to using the standard habanero peppers.  Some were grown in my garden and the remainder were purchased from a local food store.  Then it was time to get to work. I put on my extra thick latex gloves and began the process.

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‘My babies.’

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‘Sliced and Diced’

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‘And Dehydrated’

If you’re going to try this make sure you wear the appropriate mask to keep the dust from your nose and sinuses as you’re grinding it.  You’ve been warned, it really is painful.  The end result is a  small jar of habanero dust good to use with almost any meal you’d like to prepare.

I’m working on a new recipe which uses habanero soaked bacon strips laid across a stack of tasty pancakes covered with maple syrup.  Sinfully delicious and hot enough to make you cry.

08-14-2014 Journal Entry–Wet Weather & Hot Salsa!   Leave a comment

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Now that the rain has finally stopped I might be able to get out the house for a few hours. The last week minus two days has been pretty damn wet.  Last night at 2am I took a peek out the rear window and surprise surprise, there was three feet of water in the back yard.  The runoff from the surrounding hills became so heavy there was nowhere else for it to go. Fortunately the yard drains very quickly and once the rain stopped the flood disappeared. 

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‘The Beginning’

With all the rain keeping us inside I decided to take care of another cooking chore while I had the chance. I spent a good part of the day yesterday making salsa.  My normal salsa recipe makes 10 quarts or 20 pints but I decided to increase it by fifty percent. I purchased the necessary ingredients, returned home and got to work.  It took longer for me to dice the peppers, onions, and tomatoes than it did to complete the entire batch.  Three hours later the kitchen looked like a tomato bomb had exploded but the end result was well worth the effort. I finished the batch with 13 quarts and 8 pints of some killer Roasted Corn & Black Bean salsa.

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I changed the recipe a bit and added more habaneros, less jalapeños, and a healthy heaping tablespoon of cayenne pepper.  I call this batch my Commando salsa. As your eating it,  it slowly creeps up behind you when your not paying attention and blows the top of your head off.  It has an immediate hit of habanero to jolt you a little and then the jalapeños lessen the burn somewhat.  Just when the heat is subsiding from those jalapeño’s the cayenne kicks in at the  back of your throat and nails you hard.  With that mixture of peppers the more you eat the hotter it gets but man it’s a wonderful pain.

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‘The End Result’

As of this morning it’s been canned, labeled and placed on the shelf. There should be more than enough to keep us salsa happy for this entire winter. I’ve worked my winter cooking list down to just two remaining items.  I need to make a huge batch of chili and some hot pickle relish. Once those are complete I’ll pretty much be done with the garden for this year.  I should be able to start removing some plants and begin the cleanup in two or three weeks. 

Fall is fast approaching and I can’t wait. 

07-27-2014 Journal Entry – Harvest Time Begins!   Leave a comment

I know it’s a little early in the year but with the garden filling up with cucumbers it was time to get busy.  Last night I gathered all of the equipment together in preparation for canning.  I cleaned jars, gathered lids and rings, pots and pans, and updated my experimental pickle recipe. We normally make hot Bread & Butter pickles and a lot of them.  I’ve made dill pickles in the past but never was really happy with the results. My approach to things has always been to identify a problem and then fix it and this new recipe for Hot Mustard Dill Pickles is the fix.

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I took my normal kosher dill recipe and jacked it up with a number of additional ingredients and spices. The end result will be pickles that are extremely hot, canned in a liquid containing dry mustard, curry, habanero powder, and a handful of other minor ingredients.  I soaked the cukes in canning Lime overnight which should help keep them crispy once their canned.

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Yesterday afternoon we picked the cucumbers, zucchini’s, and jalapeño’s from the garden along with some herbs.  I’d be making my mustard pickles and my better-half would be making her new experimental recipe for hot pickled zucchini or as she calls it Hot Zucchini Pickles. She’s trying to come up with a few solutions for processing and storing of the large number of zucchini’s we’re expecting.  She’s always made a lot of zucchini breads but we can only eat so much of that.

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We work well as a team and set up an assembly line in the kitchen.  I sliced the cukes, the habaneros, and a few jalapeños and set them aside. She prepared her zucchini,  and jalapeños, and we were ready to rock and roll.  She was responsible for packing the jars and I then added the brine, capped the jars and placed them into the water bath.  It took a couple of hours of work but we rolled along like a well oiled machine.

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After all was said and done we had ten pint jars of the mustard pickles and six additional pints of pickled zucchini.  The jars sealed properly and will be ready for labeling tomorrow. Unfortunately we have to wait a month or so before we can taste the finished product.  The veggies need time to absorb the flavor from the brine and the heat from the hot peppers.  We can’t wait to try them and will keep our fingers crossed for the anticipated good results.

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“The Finished Product”

01-13-2013   Leave a comment

Another quiet day spent in the kitchen attempting to duplicate something I’ve been paying a high price for on the net.  I use a great deal of red-savina habanero paste when making many of my dishes but in recent months the price of the paste has sky rocketed.  After a little thought I decided to try and make my own version.   Normally this paste when purchased is superhot and it was crucial that I get as much heat as possible in my recipe as well as a decent flavor.

Off to Wholefoods, a place I normally won’t shop because of their inflated prices.  I’m forced into it today because none of the local markets carry quantities of fresh habaneros.  I purchased 1.5 pounds of habaneros and an additional pound of Serrano peppers.  So far so good.  I must warn you in advance if you’d like to try this, WEAR THICK LATEX GLOVES. The next step involved cleaning, seeding, and dicing all of the peppers.  Take your time and be sure to get them finely diced, then placed into a sealed container and refrigerated overnight. I like to give them a chance to mingle their flavors.

The next day I placed the diced peppers into a large blender, added 3 tbsp. of my home made Jalapeno vinegar (standard white vinegar works too), and three heaping tablespoons of ground red pepper.  Set it on liquefy for approximately ten minutes.  You’ll end up with about 16 oz. of extremely hot paste which can be used to add serious heat to any meal. I’ve experimented for years and have a good idea how much to use.  Experimentation is a must your first time if you don’t want to burn your lips off.

I bottled the paste into two 8 oz. bottles  which should last at least six months in the fridge.  I’ll be making a meatless pasta sauce tomorrow and I’ll be using my newly created pepper paste.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now for you Baby Boomers out there.  I didn’t forget about the Boomer Test answers I promised earlier so here they are.  If you’re proud of your score comment back and let me know how you did.

Below are the correct answers:

1.    B – Bounty

2.    D – Wonder Bread 

3.    D – Cassius Clay 

4.    B – Crest

5.    B – He Is us 

6.    A – Good night, Chet 

7.   D – When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent 

8.   C – Maynard G. Krebs

9.   C – Almond Joy & Mounds

10. C – Pants on fire

11. D – The American Way 

12. B – It’s Howdy Doody Time 

13. D – Oh my 

14. B – Chiffon Margarine

15. C – Over 30 

16. B – Joe Namath 

17. D – A little dab’ll do ya 

18. D- Wendy’s

19. D – On Blueberry Hill 

20. A – Mary Martin 

21. D – John, Paul, George, Ringo 

22. B – Who wrote the book of Love 

23. B – Cause I eats me spinach 

24. C – Smile, you’re on Candid Camera 

25. D – Melt in your mouth not in your hand

01-05-2013   2 comments

Today is going to be creative cooking day for me.  I have a few hours to kill so I decided it might be a great time to adjust my favorite salsa recipe, Corn & Black Bean. I want to make it a little more flavorful than usual with a few new ingredients I’ve not attempted before. This takes a while to do but adjusting the written recipe is always much easier than making it work in the pot.

In the past I normally add the black beans (my fav’s) to the pot towards the end of the cooking process. This allows them to cook slightly in the pot and more during the twenty minute canning process. If done properly they’ll cook just the right amount and won’t be mushy.  My problem was getting the corn to be more flavorful.  I wanted a natural smokiness to come through my salsa without using something manufactured, like Liquid Smoke, to do it. My solution was to switch from whole kernel yellow corn to white Shoe Peg corn.   I prefer the flavor of Shoe Peg and it seems to hold it’s shape better when cooked. If everything cooks to mush it makes for a salsa with little or no texture.

I propose to  take the corn from the cans and spread it on an cookie sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil. Then lightly spray the corn itself and sprinkle with Cumin.  Place in the oven at 425 degrees until golden brow then remove it, stir it up, and replace in the oven. When it’s roasted to my liking I’ll remove it and set it off to the side.  That’ll give the corn a huge boost of flavor with some crispiness as well.

I normally make my salsa’s extremely hot but without losing all of the flavor to the heat.  I love habanero and in my opinion it has by far the best combination of flavor and heat.  I also intend to  add a dozen diced jalapenos for addition flavor and 6-8 Serrano peppers for more heat.  That should allow me eliminate Cayenne pepper from my old recipe.  While Cayenne has great heat it lingers in the back of the throat which I really don’t like. 

I want a person eating my salsa to initially taste nothing but the flavors of the ingredients and then slowly feel the heat begin to rise.  The more you eat the hotter it will get and to me that’s perfect.  Well, I’m off to shop for ingredients at the local supermarket and I shall return.

Do-Wa, Do-Wa, Do Do Ditty (Just a time killing tune)

I’m back with two bags of all of my favorite things; assorted hot peppers, fresh herbs, white onions, and my absolute favorite, red onions.  I have at least an hour of dicing up these goodies in preparation for cooking.  I like to throw them all into one container so they can mix and mingle their flavors overnight in the fridge before I toss them in the pot tomorrow. Hopefully by Sunday afternoon I’ll have ten quarts of dynamite, smoking hot, and tasty salsa .

I can’t wait.

Posted January 6, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Cooking, Just Saying

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