Monday, August 24, 2009

The Spice of Life...

I don't think I have been shy to admit that I love pickles. My favorite batch of pickles is, as mentioned in previous posts, very spicy. This is because of the delicious pickled cherry peppers which float atop the brine. I am also particularly fond of pickled whole chilies, a la the canned ones you get in the Spanish section. I ate them like chips in Mexico. In my garden I planted two cherry pepper, and two chili pepper plants. I had little other plans for these jewels other than to pickle and enjoy them.

About a week ago I had my first opportunity. I had about 6 or 7 cherry peppers and no chilies, but that was ok. I also wanted to get some hot oil out of the deal, so I began to do the following: First, I removed the stem and seeds of the peppers. Next, I sliced the peppers and put them in a pan with vegetable oil. After a quick saute, I added about one and a half cups veg. oil, and about one cup of white vinegar and let it boil. When the peppers were soft and resting in a red oil, I removed to a jar and let cool.

I was so excited. I couldn't wait, a day later, I gathered my brother, mother, and grandfather, and bragged about what I had done. I made some crackers with cheese, served and watched. Not even my mother minded. I quickly threw one in my mouth... nothing. How could I have been so stupid?

You see? I relied so heavily on the vinegar increasing the spice by opening taste buds that I forgot to put the spice in in the first place. you see, the peppers spice lies in the ribs and seeds. The very ribs and seeds that I removed in the first step.

Round two. I have about 9 cherries, and close to 10 chilies now. I put slits in the chilies and sliced the cherries WITH SEEDS. I now want to make a spicy vinegar since I now have a pepper oil, so I boiled 2 cups white vinegar and half a cup water. I added to this a tsp Koser salt, 1 tbsp sugar, and a clove of garlic. I layered the peppers in a jar and poured the boiling mixture over, covered with a paper towel, and let sit til cool.

The result. Very spicy. the aroma alone made me cough since I was not ready for it. Threw one in and chewed, spice filled my tongue, the vinegar made the whole flavor pop. Very bright and very delicious. I just cant get enough of these little treasures. Good and good for you.

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