Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

It seems like the popularity of shishito peppers has exploded overnight. Once a rare treat that I could only get on the menu at one of my favorite Boston restaurants, Toro, now they’re everywhere: farmers markets, bistro and pub menus, and of course…my own garden!

 

Shishitos are on almost every menu these days!

 

Shishito peppers are mostly mild…but you can get hold of a spicy one every 10 peppers or so…kind of a Russian pepper roulette!

 

Shishitos straight from the garden!

 

Shishitos are incredibly easy to grow…just like any other pepper. They love a full day’s worth of sun, and lots of fertilizer. If you have success growing tomatoes, shishitos should be on your list. Plus, they’re really quite prolific: it’s not uncommon to find a couple dozen peppers growing on each plant!

Shishitos are also easy to prepare, and take just minutes. Ideally, if you’ve already got a charcoal grill going, you’re almost there. Simply place the shishitos in a bowl and drizzle in a little olive oil. Toss the peppers to coat, and place them directly on the ashed-over coals of the fire. Work quickly turning them over with tongs. You want them to blister, but you don’t want them to burn! They’ll pop, deflate, and get soft. That’s when they’re ready. Simply place them on a serving plate, and sprinkle some really good sea salt (I like Fleur de Sel) over them while they’re still hot.

 

 

If you don’t have the time for a charcoal grill, you can still prepare delicious shishitos by placing them in a pan. Sprinkle in a little olive oil, and toss them around to coat them. Turn the burner on high, and cook the shishitos until they’re blistered, but not burned. Cook them on all sides, carefully flipping them over with tongs. Like on the charcoal, they will pop, deflate and get soft. Transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle immediately with salt.

 

To enjoy shishitos, you simply grab them by the stem and bite!

I’m a wuss. I can’t do heat. But I’ve always been fascinated by jerk chicken: it looks amazing and smells fantastic. So I decided to try making a kinder, gentler version by eliminating the number one high-heat ingredient: Scotch bonnet peppers.

On the scale of hotness known as the Scoville scale, Scotch bonnets reach anywhere between 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units. To give you an idea how hot that is, jalapenos only reach 2,500 to a maximum of 8,000 Scoville units! That means those suckers are 40 times hotter than jalapenos! And that’s why I left them out of my recipe.

I found that when I left the Scotch bonnets out, there was still plenty of fragrant, hot and smoky flavor in my jerk chicken.

 

Jerkalicious.

 

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon black pepper, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 lbs. chicken, parts or whole birds quartered

 

In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and salt. Process it into a coarse paste.

With the machine on, add the soy sauce and olive oil in a steady stream.

Place the chicken pieces in a large Ziploc bag, and pour the marinade in. Zip the bag up and squish it around to make sure the marinade touches all parts of the chicken. Place the bag in a bowl (to prevent accidental leaks) and place the bowl in the fridge overnight.

Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking.

Indoors: Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes. At the end, move the baking sheet under the broiler and cook a few minutes more, to get some caramelization going.

Outdoors: Light a grill and cook the chicken over a medium fire, turning it so it doesn’t burn. Cover the grill if you like, for smokier flavor. Make sure the chicken is cooked through before serving.

 

 

 

An easy way to marinate beef is to simply throw the meat in a bag and dump some Italian dressing into it. As simple as that sounds, it flavors the meat really nicely. But I’ve got a problem with anything that comes from a jar and was made in a factory, especially when it’s so easy to make my own marinade.
I recently bought some sirloin beef tips and after trimming the fat and silver skin (they always leave it on the meat), I cut it up into 1 inch cubes. I put the pieces in a Ziploc bag and then made the marinade…

For the marinade:
1/4 cup decent quality balsamic vinegar–not the expensive stuff
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

2 lbs. sirloin beef tips, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
avocado oil
3 onions, sliced into rings
2 sweet bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
splash of white wine

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour them into the bag or container with the meat. Mix it around so that every bit of the meat gets coated with the marinade. Seal the container and place in the fridge overnight.
Next day, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before cooking.

Marinated beef, ready to cook.

Marinated beef, ready to cook.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet until hot. You may not need to add oil, since the meat has marinated in it. Using tongs to shake off any marinade, place the beef tips in the skillet, and brown on all sides, constantly flipping them. Cook the meat until it is done: medium to medium rare. (Of course, a hardwood fire is great for cooking these, too.)
Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl to the side. In the hot pan, toss in the sliced onions and peppers. Cook until the onions and peppers are caramelized, and splash a little white wine to de-glaze the pan if you like. (The alcohol cooks off.) If there’s any left over marinade in the bag or container, you can pour it into the pan at this time.

Return the beef to the pan being sure to include all the juices that may have settled into the bottom of the bowl. Mix through until thoroughly heated and serve immediately.

I made a lot more...forgot to take the pic before devouring!

 

peppers2

I came up with this crunchy appetizer a few years ago, when I needed a tasty bite for one of our summer parties. I wanted something fresh that highlighted the veggies of the season, so a quick trip to the farm stand helped me decide on the ingredients.

 

Baby bell peppers
1 dozen ears fresh corn, removed from the cob
1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered, grilled, chopped
Juice of 1 large lime
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Frank’s Red Hot
1 lb. Queso Fresco, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

 

Cut corn from ears, and saute very briefly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and let it cool.

Peel and quarter the Vidalia onion, and throw it on a hot grill with a little olive oil to get some nice grill marks on it, leaving the onion still crispy, not soft. Remove, let cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until the onion is chopped into small bits, just smaller than the corn kernels. Add onions to the corn.

In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo and Frank’s Red Hot. Pour in the crumbled Queso Fresco and mix well. Pour this into the corn and onion bowl and mix well.

Add lime juice to the bowl and mix well again. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the baby bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff the peppers with the corn mixture and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to eat, but serve them cool but not cold.

Options: You can substitute small seeded tomatoes for the peppers. Frozen organic corn works well when fresh isn’t available. And you can caramelize the onion in a saute pan rather than grill it.

 

 

 

An easy way to marinate beef is to simply throw the meat in a bag and dump some Italian dressing into it. As simple as that sounds, it flavors the meat really nicely. But I’ve got a problem with anything that comes from a jar and was made in a factory, especially when it’s so easy to make my own Italian seasoning.
I recently bought some sirloin beef tips and after trimming the fat and silver skin (they always leave it on the meat), I cut it up into 1 inch cubes. I put the pieces in a glass container–a plastic bag would be fine–and then made my marinade.

Ingredients:

For the marinade:
1/4 cup decent quality balsamic vinegar–not the expensive stuff
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

2 lbs. sirloin beef tips, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes

avocado oil

3 onions, sliced into rings

2 sweet bell peppers, sliced into thin strips

splash of white wine

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour them into the bag or container with the meat. Mix it around so that every bit of the meat gets coated with the marinade. Seal the container and place in the fridge overnight.
Next day, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before cooking.

Marinated beef, ready to cook.

Marinated beef, ready to cook.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet until hot. You may not need to add oil, since the meat has marinated in it. Using tongs to shake off any marinade, place the beef tips in the skillet, and brown on all sides, constantly flipping them. Cook the meat until it is done: medium to medium rare. (Of course, a hardwood fire is great for cooking these, too. It’s just a question of wanting to freeze your butt off outside or not.)
Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl to the side. In the hot pan, toss in the sliced onions and peppers. Cook until the onions and peppers are caramelized, and splash a little white wine to de-glaze the pan if you like. (The alcohol cooks off.) If there’s any left over marinade in the bag or container, you can pour it into the pan at this time.

Return the beef to the pan being sure to include all the juices that may have settled into the bottom of the bowl. Mix through until thoroughly heated and serve immediately.

I made a lot more...forgot to take the pic before devouring!

I made a lot more…forgot to take the pic before devouring!

This recipe is gluten-free. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you may want to skip the onions and peppers, since they’ve got natural sugars. The amount of sugar in the balsamic is minimal, when you spread it out over 2 lbs. of meat.

Last summer, we had a party with 100+ people. I needed something fresh that highlighted the veggies of the season. When I spotted these baby bell peppers in the supermarket, I came up with this tasty, crunchy appetizer.

Ingredients:

Baby bell peppers

1 dozen ears fresh corn, removed from the cob…or organic frozen corn

1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered, grilled, chopped

Juice of 1 large lime

¾ cup mayonnaise

20 shots of Frank’s Red Hot

1 lb Queso Fresco, crumbled

Salt and pepper

Fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

Cut corn from ears, and saute very briefly in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and let cool.

Peel and quarter the Vidalia onion, and throw it on a hot grill with a little olive oil to get some nice grill marks on it, leaving the onion still crispy, not soft. Remove, let cool, then place in a food processor and pulse until the onion is chopped into small bits, just smaller than the corn kernels. Add onions to corn.

In a separate small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Frank’s Red Hot. Pour in crumbled Queso Fresco and mix well. Pour into corn and onion bowl and mix well.

Add lime juice to the bowl and mix well again. Taste mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the baby bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff the peppers with the corn mixture and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

If preparing ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to eat, but allow some time for them to warm up to room temp a bit.