What’s Haute Today? Shishito Peppers!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oh Welcome Spring!  Today I am going to harvest some seeds from these sweet little darling Japanese Shishito Peppers in hopes of having myself a nice tidy little crop for summer fare. These little fingerlings are just delish and a bit like Russian Roullete as every once and a while you hit one that’s got a little heat to it and when it hits, what a surprise!

  • Oh So Good!

This East Asian sweet pepper is picked fresh when green, however it will turn a bright pop of red if left on longer as well as the skin will become thicker for the effort. This pepper is thin skinned when green, mild and easily roasted or blistered in hot oil. It is quite popular in Japan and quickly spreading out into other areas of culinary adventure. I found my little treasure surprisingly at Trader Joes this week.

They lend themselves well to a simple snack to be enjoyed, alone or dipped, raw or roasted. They can easily send you over the moon with just a dusting of Himalayan pink or Basic Sea Salt, or you can give them a squeeze of lemon or move onto a nice yogurt based dipping sauce. You can incorporate them into a tempura or a saucy little stir fry. They cook up so easy that there truly is no reason to not give them a spin in your cast iron pan right now.

Pan Blistered Shishito Peppers accompanied by a Spicy Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1lb Shishito Peppers
  • 3 tbs of refined Coconut oil
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Cracked Tellicherry Pepper
  • Lemon
  • 2tbs prepared Horseradish
  • 1cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2tbs raw local Honey

Instructions

Heat pan on Medium High, add Coconut Oil and toss in and coat the Shishito Peppers. Toss and cook until the skins become blustery roughly 10-15 minutes. Plate dust with Salt and Pepper. Squeeze lemon over them.

In a bowl combine the Greek Yogurt, prepared Horseradish, 2 tbs of honey, salt and pepper to taste and grate a bit of the lemon’s zest in and mix. Serve peppers whole dipped in sauce. Don’t forget to set one or two peppers aside before your whole operation and seed, set the seeds aside and dry and give them a whirl in your garden. Try starting g seeds indoor in a sunny place 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. After last frost plant in your garden.

Advertisements

Allspice: All That and a Pinch More.

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Botanical Name: Pimenta Dioica
  • Family: Myrtle
  • Parts Used: Berries
  • Origin: West Indies, Jamaica, Caribbean, South America.
  • Uses: Culinary, Medicinal

Growing up I don’t ever recall seeing any spices or herbs in my home bar the little quirky raisin boxlike packet of  “Bell’s Seasoning” at Thanksgiving, cinnamon and sugar for toast and finally the cellophane sealed, more than likely ancient seed pouch, for the annual boiled dinner to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. That little packet, I recall, held an array of spices I was completely unfamiliar with.  I honestly would not have been able to pick out the allspice in a lineup, yet allspice had a starring, if somewhat sad sort of role to play there.

Fast forward many years and my decades long affair with spices and I can say that Allspice exudes a sense of the exotic, while warming one with an aura of familiarity. This is one of my very favorite spices to work with. A dried dark brown berry similar in appearance to peppercorns surrounded by the aroma of cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with the addition of a peppery punch.

image

Whenever I catch the scent of Allspice my creative juices start to flow. There are just so many ways to feature this aromatic little treasure. I can easily build a spice blend up around it, such as a Jamaican Jerk rub, a dusting for spiced baked apples, or an Indian inspired Chai Tea.  I will bring it in as an addition to anchor the other spices in a Portuguese kale soup or to punch up a roasted paprika & garlic chicken with an enticing flair.

Allspice can be easily paired with a plethora of spices whether you are attempting to incorporate it into a sweet dish like a dark chocolate mousse or a savory Moroccan styled spiced potato.  Look to blending it with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, ginger, mustard, chili, paprika, mace, juniper, star anise, just to name a few. It adds an earthy, yet awakened tantalizing depth to caramelized onions and a smoldering elegance to a pumpkin bisque, not to mention the kick it adds to some fresh baked ginger snaps.

I implore you if you aren’t harboring a few allspice berries in your spice cabinet, you must pick up this little treat on your very next outing and let your imagination run wild. If your anything like myself, you will soon be buying it by the pound!

(purchase whole berries and grind yourself, they last much longer than ground spice)

Baked Corned Beef and Cabbage

The Spice Rub

  • 1 Tbs Allspice Berries, Ground
  • 3 Tbs of fresh Black Pepper, Ground (tellicherry is my favorite)
  • 2 Tbs Coriander Seed, Ground
  • 1 Tbs of Paprika, Ground. I prefer Hungarian
  • 1 Tbs of Chili Powder, Ground, I prefer Ancho or New Mexican Chili
  • 1 TBS of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbs of minced Garlic
  • 2 tbs of Onion Powder

The Spread

  • 2 Tbs of course ground prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup of marmalade

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs of Corned beef
  • a bundle of carrots, diced
  • 1 Rutabaga, diced
  • 3 Sweet Potatos, diced
  • 4-5 Potatos, diced
  • 1/2 head of cabbage diced
  • ghee or olive oil

Wash the corned beef multiple times to remove the overwhelming amount of salt. Pat dry.

Turn oven onto 325F

Mix spice rub, reserving 2 tbs. Drizzle olive oil or rub ghee all over the corned beef then liberally rub the Spice Rub onto all sides of the corned beef. You can, if you have time, leave the spice rub on the corned beef to meld, this can even be left in the refrigerator overnight, however if your pressed for time and just came across the recipe you can proceed from here. Turn on your burner to medium high heat, bring your dutch oven to temp and add a bit more ghee or a high temp oil and sear the corned beef on both sides.

Remove from heat and take out the corned beef. Make a layer with the rutabaga and drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkling some of the reserved Spice blend. Now lay the corned beef over the rutabaga. Add the rest of the ingredients and sprinkle with spice rub over the vegetables. You can add a beer or a cup of water here. Cover the pot and place in oven for 2 hours. Remove from stove and shmere “the spread” on and place back in the oven uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Bake until fork tender or until temperature read is between 160-175

Enjoy!

Ajwain Seeds

Tags

, , , , ,

  • Botanical Name: Trachyspermum Ammi
  • Plant Family: Parsley
  • Parts Used: Seeds
  • Origin: India, Pakistan, North Africa
  • Uses: Culinary & Medicinal

No Wallflower Here, let me introduce you to the Ajwain Seed. Bold and assertive, finishing off with a tingling taste of,…earthiness! It is a small green and beige striped seed, very similar in appearance to anise, fennel or cumin. If pressed, I would say that it has a bite similar to a quasi-fusion of Thyme & Cumin, with an extra kick. You wouldn’t want to meet this one down a dark alley. Ajwain seed is also known as Carom Seed or Bishop’s Weed, which was actually the name I first came across when I discovered it tucked into a box of spices I was gifted.

ajwain

Ajwain is most often found in Indian cuisine; added to vegetables and legume dishes. These little but powerful seeds take up a nice role in a tadka, which is a combination of spices tempered in fats that are added at the finish to a dish. The spices are heated in fat, be it oil or clarified butter, with the goal of infusing the fats with the essential oils released from the spice. Most spices are not bioavailable without the process of heating, so to get the most healing benefits out of them it really is a good practice to temper them. Ajwain is frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine without the need to temper, so decidedly so, the heating isn’t necessary for medicinal uses but I think it helps to mellow the overwhelming notes in the spice and to fully release the essential oils our bodies crave.

Amongst the many attributes of Ajwain is the high levels of Thymol it contains, which make it a perfect accompaniment when eating high fiber and heavy foods as thymol aids in digestion. A good tried and true remedy is to make it into a tea for indigestion by simply adding 1 tsp to a cup of water and bring it to a simmer until reduced by half. This tea is also quite good at relieving sore throats, coughs and brings relief to breathing difficulties, add a bit of honey and it makes it go down all the easier while incorporating the additional healing attributes of honey itself. If that doesn’t seem to be enough to send you out to pick up a little ajwain, I personally have had issues with kidney stones and learned that my habit of drinking black iced teas in the warmer months was only contributing to the problem. I was excited to learn that supplementing with an Ajwain tea would help prevent the formation of kidney stones and the infection that can often accompany them.

I honestly don’t know why this spice isn’t more widely used in the states. I gladly add it to a nice hearty chili and with the addition of its ability to take the toot out of the magical fruit, it is actually an ideal ingredient. Ajwain Seeds lend themselves easily into Mexican inspired dishes, because it is reminiscent of it’s cousin cumin, so add it to your chilis, sauces, toast it up with potatoes and chorizo, light handedly of course, as it can quickly become a bit overwhelming for the palette. I even have it featured in my own special African Berbere blend which is, I might say, overwhelmingly fantastic!

Ajwain can easily be incorporated into many other cuisines. So truly have no fear just temper and toss over a pizza. Think of it as a lovely addition and even feature to a creamy vinaigrette, sprinkled over chicken, roasted with garlic and lustily smeared over a tenderloin. Come on, you can do this I assure you, try tempering it up in a tadka with chilis and garlic to spoon over a nice plate of linguini. You really can use this spice with a little imagination, swap it out in most places designated for the use of the herb thyme, without the additional worry of spoilage as fresh herbs have such a short life span that we often don’t have them on hand and can sub Ajwain in a pinch, literally. A quick flash through a dry hot pan or tempered in fat, perhaps just steeped at a minimum as it only amps up it’s abilities to fuse & heal while being,… Oh So Yummy!

Garlic, Orange & Ajwain Seed Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp Ajwain Seeds
  • 2 Oranges
  • Zest of one Orange
  • 1/4 cup roasted Garlic
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp ghee or a high temp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste

Temper the Ajwain seeds in a hot pan with the ghee or high temp oil. Temper until until the oils of the seed bloom, you will smell the aroma of the Ajwain release, this takes just seconds. set aside and allow to cool.

Add the juice of two oranges, the zest of one orange, the roasted garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender, adding in the cooled ajwain seeds. Start the blender and slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue blending until creamy.

ENJOY!