Pepper Roulette

October 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

One of the many joys of the Santa Fe Farmers Market is the abundance of shishito and padron peppers. These are small, bright green chile peppers. Mild but flavorful taste. However, be forewarned. Every now and then you may encounters a blazingly hot one. BSK did just that at the very good Bones Restaurant in Denver. It was so hot that it took BSK’s breath away and BSK almost fainted. Anyway, take a chance. These peppers are a treat. Shishito peppers are an East Asian variety. Padrons originated in the Galcia province of Spain. HG can’t discern any taste difference (Padrons fend to be smaller). HG/BSK were introduced to fried, garlicky padrons–Pimientos de Padron—at a Galician restaurant in Madrid near Madrid’s museum of modern art (it’s the museum that houses Picasso’s “Guernica”.) HG/BSK relished the peppers as well as tender octopus (polpo de gallego), shrimp in garlic sauce (camarones de ajillo), Spanish saffron rice and a big pitcher of sangria. There are two schools of padron frying. Both call for the peppers to be fried in a very hot cast iron pan. One school calls for the peppers to be cooked in olive oil. The others pours olive oil over the peppers after they have fried. BSK cooks the peppers in oil and adds plenty of minced garlic. Sublime.


Hot, Hotter, Scorching

July 16th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Some like it hot. Count HG among that number. HG likes food prepared with spicy ingredients or accompanied and enhanced by condiments packing much heat. HG/BSK have a kitchen arsenal that attests to love of culinary fire. There are the peppers: White pepper (ground); black pepper (in the form of peppercorns); smoked black pepper (ground); Aleppo pepper (red and vibrant from Turkey); Berbere (very hot); Italian red pepper flakes; Szechuan peppercorns; whole dried red chiles used in Chinese and Mexican cooking. Powders: Red chile (medium and hot); Chipotle (dark and smoky); Coleman’s English Mustard Powder. Condiments (in bottles, cans and tubes): Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce; Frank’s Red Hot Ketchup; Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chile; Chinese Sweet Chile Sauce; Fire Oil (Roasted sesame oil mixed with very hot chile. This is used in flavoring Dan Dan noodles); Sriracha; Matouk’s West Indian Hot Sauce (An HG favorite, it’s from Trinidad); Tabasco (for Bloody Marys); Queen Majesty Scotch Bonnet & Ginger Hot Sauce (fiery stuff from Jamaica by way of Brooklyn); Wasabi (for Japanese food); Sambal Oelek (Indonesian); Chinese Chile Garlic Sauce; Harissa (for Middle Eastern food); Chipotle peppers in sauce (also various bottled “picante” salsas as well as pickled JalapeƱo peppers and Italian cherry peppers and horseradish). HG’s secret heat weapon (served only to masochists or heat veterans) is skhug. This is bottled hot sauce originated by Yemenite Jews. Just a tiny dab will give food a delicious blast of smoke and fire. (HG’s thoughtful brother-in-law, Yossi M., brings this back from Israel for HG). A wonderful hot sauce is chile de arbol. This is served (upon request) at New Mexico’s Sopaipilla Factory restaurant. HG adds some to a bowl of menudo to banish chill, gloom and hangover. It works. Viva la vida picante!!


Modest Treats From The Supermarket Shelf

April 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There are times when HG and BSK can be found at the Farmer’s Market choosing only the freshest, local produce and humanely raised local meats. At those times our carbon footprint is so light as to be negligible; other times the supermarket shelf is our larder and our footprint is more like a size 13 combat boot — RIght now is one of those times! Delicious jars of Piquillo Peppers from Spain are starting to appear on supermarket shelves. Take advantage. These are much better than Italian roasted peppers. Wonderful with anchovies or some chunks of fresh mozzarella.

HG has fallen for a sweet treat that can be found at Trader Joe’s — Petit Palmiers. A palmier is a delightful, lacy, crisp cookie made from puff pastry. Nice with morning coffee, dessert ice cream or as a companion to the evening’s last glass of red wine. In Paris, HG always nibbled at his Petit Palmiers with morning cafe au lait, finding them preferable to croissants. Yes, you can still get a good baguette in Paris but croissant baking seems to be a declining craft.The palmier has much in common with “kichel”, the sugared pastry that was produced by Bronx Jewish bakeries and consumed in quantity by HG’s father accompanied by many cups of very strong tea.

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