Tuesday, October 30, 2012

spicy pickled peppers

happy halloween everyone!  it is pepper week at food network's fall fest and i thought i would share one of my favorite ways to preserve fresh peppers for use during the fall season...spicy pickled peppers.

peppers are abundant during harvest here in new mexico.  farmers' markets are packed with numerous varieties...hot, medium and mild....roadside stands pop up everywhere, neighbors give away bushels full and the smell of roasting chiles permeates the town.  for a chile lover like me, life is pretty good.  this recipe allows me to satisfy my peppers cravings for a few months after they are out of season.  i make a number of batches at the end of october (happily pepper week coincides with my preserving) and keep them in the fridge for use throughout november and december.  the peppers are spicy but the pickling tames them just a bit. 

i use the peppers to top sandwiches (wonderful on turkey the day after thanksgiving), add them to scrambled eggs, chop them up and add to pasta sauces, soups, chilies, stews.  they are delicious added to a cheese plate, stir-frys and vegetable salads. nachos anyone?  try them on hamburgers and hot dogs.  or be like me and just eat them as a snack.  get creative...and please let me know how you use the peppers.  happy peppers week everyone!

spicy pickled peppers
1/2 lb fresh jalapeños
1/2 lb fresh new mexican or anaheim peppers
1 large fresh poblano pepper (sometimes called pasilla pepper)
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sea salt
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 whole garlic cloves (peeled)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp cilantro leaves

wash the peppers.  cut 4 large slits in each jalapeño.  slice anaheim and poblano peppers widthwise into large rings.

add vinegar, honey, salt and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring until salt dissolves.  turn off heat and leave pan on burner.

add half the peppers to quart sized canning jar. pack them down tightly.  add the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf, chili flakes and cilantro leaves.  add the remaining peppers.  again, pack them down tightly.  pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers ensuring they are covered. (note, you may have some liquid left over.  discard.) close jar tightly with lid.  set aside until peppers cool.  place in refrigerator and allow to sit for 2 weeks.   can be refrigerated for up to 8 weeks.

other peppers recipes to try:
roasted pepper relish
italian sausage and peppers pasta
spicy roasted red pepper dip

and check out my newest blog red or green chile? to see my spicy roasted peppers recipe.  yes, i have a theme :)

now check out the delicious sounding peppers recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers.  fall fest begins at noon on wednesdays during fall.  please come back then to see the other recipes. ***note, due to sandy this week's fallfest is being delayed...will keep you updated...

have a good week!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

roasted pumpkin & black bean stew with chorizo and pepitas

it is pumpkin week at food network's fall fest and i decided to forgo a sweet recipe to share.  with cold weather and the holiday season fast approaching, i will be baking plenty of pumpkin pies, muffins, cookies and cupcakes during the next few months.  don't get me wrong i love pumpkin desserts, but for today's submission i thought i would post something savory...and spicy...and warm...and filling...and a bit different.  how does roasted pumpkin with black beans, chorizo and vegetables sound?  what about if they were stewed in a riff on mole sauce?

i am in taos, new mexico right now (more on that in another post) and there are pumpkins everywhere...at the farmers' market, at roadside stands, growing  in neighbors' yards...everywhere.  i bought a few large jack-o-lantern ones for decorating and a bunch of the smaller sugar pumpkins for eating.   these are the ones you want to use in cooking or baking.  the large ones are really tough and stringy...best just for halloween.  but the sugar ones...sometimes called "pie" pumpkins...are sweet and tender when cooked.  this recipes calls for you to first roast the pumpkin before adding to the stew.  here is a tip....taste a few pieces of the roasted pumpkin.   you will fall in love!  i roast double the amount i need just to have some to snack on.  you can use as a side dish in place of the more typical squash whenever you like.

i used soyrizo instead of chorizo in my stew.  it is healthier, has less fat, no cholesterol and keeps the dish vegetarian as i have lots of veg friends and family members.  to be honest, no one has ever been able to tell the difference. feel free to use regular chorizo if you wish...just switch the recipe a bit to ensure you thoroughly cook the chorizo first and then drain before you sauté the onions, garlic and pepper.  one last note...the cinnamon, chocolate and chile powder may sound odd...trust me, don't leave these ingredients out of the stew.  you won't be able to taste any of them individually, but together they meld  to add depth to the finished dish.  if you can't find true new mexican red chile powder skip it...do not substitute regular chili powder.   ok...enough of the notes and tips....try this stew.  my family finds it addictive! (me too)

roasted pumpkin & black bean stew with chorizo and pepitas
4 lb sugar pumpkin (sometimes called pie pumpkin)
extra virgin olive oil
12 oz "soyrizo" or chorizo, remove casing and chop
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 oz. dark chocolate
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp new mexican red chile powder, optional
2 15.oz cans unsalted black beans, rinsed
1 bunch cilantro
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
pepitas (from pumpkin)

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  prepare the pumpkin:  with a sharp serrated knife, cut the pumpkin in half.  scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers. (i use a heavy metal spoon for this)  reserve the seeds for making pepitas*.  cut the pumpkin in wedges.  carefully cut the peel from the flesh following this process:  using a very sharp knife, place the blade between the flesh and the peel.  for safety, place your free hand on top of the pumpkin flesh to keep it from sliding.  run the knife between the peel and the flesh, like you were preparing cantaloupe.  cut the pumpkin into 2 inch cubes.  place on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet.  drizzle olive oil over...3-4 passes of the bottle...and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  roast in oven for 20 minutes.  remove from oven, stir and add back to oven.  roast an additional 10-15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender with a caramelized crust.  set aside.

prepare the stew:  add 2 tbsp olive oil and onion to stockpot.  sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  add garlic, green pepper and soyrizo.  cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and soyrizo is crispy on the sides.  add broth and chocolate, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.  reduce to high simmer, add cinnamon, chile powder if using, 2 tbsp. cilantro and beans.  cook for an additional 20 minutes or until liquid has thickened and reduced by half. add roasted pumpkin and salt & pepper to taste. cook for an additional 5 minutes.  serve topped with cilantro and pepitas.

pepitas recipe
(thanks to the farmers at the taos market for providing this technique...it worked!)
add the pepitas and the pulp to a large pot.  cover with water and, using your hands, swirl the pulp around in the water.  scoop out all the loosened seeds and add to a small saucepan,  continue the swirling and scooping process until all seeds are free.  you may need to pull some directly from the pulp to get them all.  cover the seeds with water and 2 tsp salt.  bring to a boil.  boil for 5 minutes. drain and add to a small rimmed roasting pan.  roast 5 minutes at 400 degrees.  stir and roast and additional 5-15 minutes until pepitas are toasted and crunchy.  do not roast for longer than 20 minutes to preserve nutrients.  *note...for this stew i like the pepitas plain.  but for other uses you can add any kind of seasoning or spices you like during the last 5 minutes of roasting.  i particularly like the ground new mexican red chile mentioned earlier.

another pumpkin recipe you might enjoy:
pizza with spicy pumpkin sauce, black beans and fresh corn

check out the delicious sounding pumpkin recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Chez Us: Pull Apart Pumpkin-Pecan Bread With Maple Bourbon Frosting
And Love It Too: Vanilla Pumpkin Swirl Cake With Vanilla Palm Sugar Glaze
Haute Apple Pie: Creamy Pumpkin Penne With Italian Sausage
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Pumpkins
From My Corner of Saratoga: Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake
Made By Michelle: Pumpkin Scones
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Pumpkin and Black Bean Stew With Chorizo and Pepitas
Devour: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Pumpkins After Carving
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Pancakes With Maple Cream and Candied Vanilla Pecans
The Heritage Cook: Gingery Pumpkin Mousse With Whipped Ginger Cream
Thursday Night Dinner: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie
Cooking With Books: Pumpkin-Bacon Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: Primping Up Pumpkin
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Pumpkin Wedges With Chili, Lime and Cotija

have a good week!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

mashed turnips with caramelized onions and balsamic

i really appreciate food network's fall fest this week as we focus on turnips!  i confess that i do not prepare turnips, parsnips or rutabagas very often and when i do i usually roast or mash them.  i like them...i just forget about them most of the time.  so i can't wait to read all the creative recipes from my wonderful and talented fellow bloggers.

i used purple topped turnips for this dish  (photo courtesy raw diet.com)
i am sharing a different take on mashed turnips for my contribution.  i wanted to sweeten them up and add a bit more complexity to the dish so i experimented by caramelizing onions in a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce and then added the combination to the mashed turnips.  a tiny bit of maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil added more sweetness and body.  i then finished it off with a drizzle of method tradizionale aged balsamic...(the good stuff!)  you know what?  i really, really like the finished result. perfect with roasted meats or poultry and a wonderful salad.  i made roasted chicken, stir-fried broccolini, the turnips and a green salad with pear, cranberries and toasted walnuts for dinner. perfect for fall or winter.   give the turnips a try and please let me know what you think. 
happy turnips week everyone!

mashed turnips with caramelized onions and balsamic
2 lbs turnips
1/2 white onion, diced
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp italian parsley, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
aged balsamic vinegar (method tradizionale...the good stuff!) for drizzling (optional)

peel the turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces. place them in a large saucepan with water to cover and a large pinch of salt. bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until easily pierced by a knife, about 35 minutes. drain.

while turnips are cooking, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until deep golden brown. (about 15 minutes).  add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until vinegar begins to thicken.  add the maple syrup and a pinch each salt and pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes.  remove from heat.

add the drained turnips to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. (alternatively, you could use the pulse motion on a food processor).  add the onion mixture and half the parsley.  stir to combine.  add additional olive oil (up to 1/4 cup) if the mixture appears dry.  taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.  mound on a serving platter and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar over top.  sprinkle remaining parsley over turnips and serve immediately.

other turnips recipes you may enjoy:
pan fried turnips in extra virgin olive oil
roasted root vegetable casserole
southern greens, napa farmhouse style

check out the delicious sounding turnips recipes from the all of the other participating bloggers:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Chinese Turnip Cake
Cooking With Elise: Balsamic Roasted Turnips and Thyme
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Vegetable Soup With Chimichurri

Feed Me Phoebe: Turnip Hash With Basil Vinaigrette
Thursday Night Dinner: Honey Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
Made By Michelle: Roasted Turnips and Carrots
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Turnips
FN Dish: Fall Into Turnips

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