Homemade Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers

It seems as though I have always had a love for chili peppers. I assume that I got this love by watching, learning, and probably tasting hot sauces at an earlier age. It was probably hanging around our kitchen and my dad cracking open a bottle of hot sauce and asking me to try. Maybe not. Whatever the case, I love chili peppers and I probably eat at least 1/2 dozen (or more) each week. With that being said, it’s a bit sad that we had to harvest the rest of our vegetables from our garden last night. We still had a lot of tomatoes that have yet to ripen, plenty of chili peppers, and a broccoli plant that only wanted to yield it’s baby crown! I can’t say that it was anyone’s fault as to why we had so much left on the vines but in about two more weeks, those tomatoes would probably be perfect! Oh well.

Pickled Pepperoncini Recipe
Pickled Pepperoncini Recipe

That’s OK though. As much as I would like to harvest everything that we grow, I realize that we must sacrifice a few things to get what we needed from the garden. I often plant an array of chili peppers each year so I was excited to see what was flowering and low and behold it was the pepperoncini, and sure enough one of my favorite eating ‘snack’ chili peppers. There were so many peppers on the two bushes that I did not know what to do with all of them. The pickling was the first batch, and now I must figure out what to do with the rest of them. I have some ideas up my sleeve, but in the meantime, here is a quick recipe for pickling chili peppers.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mason jar
  • ~25 whole pepperoncini peppers, washed, slit with a knife
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skins removed, lightly smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Just to note, Spring may be one of my favorite time of year, only for the sure pleasure of knowing that we will be able to plant, and plant something new. This is the first year we planted this peppers, and as we planted two bushes this year, I will most likely decide to plant one next year. One plant/bush will yield a ton of peppers, and probably too many for the average person depending on how much you enjoy chili peppers.

Start by making sure your peppers are cleaned and cleared of any dirt. Once cleaned, take a sharp knife and make a small slit into each pepper. Why the small slit? My plan is to let those great pickling juices infiltrate the interior and make for great flavor.

Drop each pepper into the mason jar along with the bay leaf.

Pickled Pepperoncini Ingredients
Pickled Pepperoncini Ingredients

To a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, then remove from the heat and let it cool.

Once cooled, pour in the pickling solution and once it is completely cool, seal and place in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days before digging in.

The beautiful thing about these pepperoncini peppers is that not only are they crunchy, slightly spicy, and are a perfect side dish (and snack (yes, I eat these for snacks sometimes)), but they are great in making them your own in terms of pickling variants, but geez are they ever easy to make. I know I was winning when we, yes I say ‘we’ because my wife participated in trying and eating more than one of them! That’s a huge deal!

To be honest, at first I had no clue as to what these peppers were when we planted. I knew what pepperoncini were, but the seeds did not state that. When trying a raw one, I fell in love, as did my wife. The pickled pepperoncini are awesome, but the raw (feel free to freeze them raw) are dynamite! I’m curious, what is your favorite quick pickle go to recipe? Enjoy!

You might enjoy:

 

Filipino Bulalo

I often wish that there would always be a pot of soup of the stove. Warm and ready to go any time of the day, all day, and every day. How cool would that be, especially if you had a wood burner or something and it was your task to keep that warm pot of goodness warm all day long. I know I would be into something like that! I don’t want to be premature but I think fall sprung in Wisconsin. What does that mean? Well, what it means every fall Sunday at the Phillips house; comfort food season.

This weekend was no exception. The chicken pot pie came rolling out as did pumpkin spiced ‘you name it desserts’, as well as soup. The thought of soup seemed like a warm blanket on a cold afternoon. Granted chicken pot pie is that thickening agent that just coats your stomach lining, and almost putting you instantly to sleep, but that soup on the otherhand, well that got me thinking. Thinking not only about how delicious each bite would be, but thoughts of making a rustic bread,, and leaving that soup of the stove all darn day only to be had more of later. That’s when I thought of the communal Filipino soup known as Bulalo.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

The thing about bulalo is that it might be intimidating if it is served in front of you without ever have tried it. It’s almost like a Mexican caldo de res where you get large chunks of meat and vegetables. It’s definitely a spoon, fork, knife, and hand meal so probably best to eat around close friends and family in case you get down and dirty and want to roll up your sleeves, not have a care in the world and just get to town on some bone marrow!

Yes, the bone marrow. It’s the luxurious part of this soup and part of the beauty. Beef bones with marrow, cooked really low and slow until pot roast tender. That’s this soup. Simple, delicious, and slurpable.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs of beef shanks
  • water
  • 2 bundles of bok choy, quartered whole
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into half, or quarters
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off (exposing cloves)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, more to your liking
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • limes, optional
  • cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • fried shallots, optional
  • fried garlic, optional

Start by adding cold water to a stock pot. Add the beef shanks (find these on the cheap at local Mexican grocery stores), and turn on the heat to a medium high heat.

Cook the shanks for about 15 minutes or until they come to a boil for about 5 minutes. During the boil, get a large spoon out and skim the top surface of all of the bone scum. Discard the scum. We are going to discard the water and scum anyway but it’s always nice to get rid of the majority ahead of time.

Put a strainer in your sink and pour the beef and water into the strainer. Rinse the beef well.

Rinse out the stock pot. Place the bones back in the pot along with the onion, garlic, and peppercorns. Fill to cover with water, and return to a boil.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

While the beef is boiling, continue to skim off any scum that comes to the surface and discard. After about 4 hours, remove the garlic, onion, and any peppercorns.

Season the stock with fish sauce and some salt. Stir and taste. If the stock is getting a bit low, add a bit more water to your liking, just keep the beef stock flavored as you add more water.

Add in the corn and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or so. Once the beef is ultra tender, add in the bok choy and cabbage. I tossed in a small amount of fresh green beans from our garden as well (not necessary), and give that a good stir. Good for another 10 minutes or so, give a taste and adjust salt if necessary.

When you are ready to serve, transfer some of the soup mixture into a soup serving bowl, ensuring some beef bone, corn, and cabbage, then give a good squeeze of lime. Serve alongside a big bowl of cooked jasmine rice, and dig in! I like to top mine with fried garlic chips and shallots, and some fresh chili, but that’s just me.

Not only is this a great communal dish, but it is one that is perfect for long, cold days and evenings, and one that is sure to please a crowd.

Get a plate. Take some rice onto the plate. Slurp some broth. Spoon out some chunks of cabbage or beef onto the rice. Get into it. Repeat.

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

It was not too long ago where our families got together for an early summertime barbecue, or cookout if you will. I tend not to be a snob when it comes to the terms barbecue and grill out (or cookout), but when I hear a barbecue I think of meat smoked low and slow, then served while grilling is typically done over charcoal or wood, or for those that use gas, cooking at a faster pace. Regardless, any get together is always a fun time in our book, and we always like to bring something to the get together. When I ask the question to my wife if we can bring anything to the party, when I hear the word ‘Dessert’ I often panic in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out or anything, but dessert is typically not my cup of tea and I typically only make dessert for my wife and kids. I am more into the savory, not the sweet.

So when I heard a dessert, I immediately thought of taking this one on myself and making something very simple, sweet, and something I knew adults and children would love. That’s when I came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup salted caramel (or caramel chips)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Graham crackers or sliced apples

Again, this dip is way too easy to make and everyone crushed it. I think there was about 1/2 tablespoon left when we gathered the kids to leave the party. Yes, it’s that good, and a bit addicting.

Start by adding the cream cheese, butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients

Next add in both of your chocolate and caramel chips. Mix again to make sure all of the chips are combined.

Now get your silicone baking spatula out and get all of those goods scraped out and placed into your serving bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

When you are ready to serve, place your serving bowl next to a plate lined with graham crackers and sliced apples. Spread onto either one and get to town. These are sweet, creamy, and have a great little texture from those mini chips.

This is a quicker winner of a dessert. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots

Summertime is finally here, and sometimes that is s a great thing or a bad thing. The bad only being that it has been a scorcher in Wisconsin. The temperature has been in the upper to mid 90’s lately with a high percentage of humidity. I don’t perform well in humidity, and as I normally run hot to begin with, when you add humidity that only means I’m a walking puddle.  The great thing is that all of the wonderful produce that my wife and family love is in full harvest, and one of them being corn. I’ve always related corn and tomatoes to summertime while living in the midwest, and as we grow a lot of tomatoes in our garden, corn is pretty much on our lunch or dinner table several times a week.

While living in Dallas, I was first introduced to Mexican corn (Elotes), and I fell in love. It was addicting. Grilled or steamed corn smothered in mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili powder and cotija cheese, what was not to love? I had elotes on my mind after buying a handful of corn on the cob, and after rummaging through my freezer (trying to purge frozen items), I located some nice tater tots. I love tater tots, and after looking at both the corn and the tater tots, I knew I could only do justice my making some loaded Mexican Elotes Tater Tots.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Forget the nachos. These are a game changer.

Let’s get started.

  • 2 ears of corn, steamed or grilled, then cut off the cob
  • 1/2 a bag or about 15 oz of frozen tater tots, cooked by directions on bag
  • 2 cups of Supremo 3 Cheese Mexican blend cheese (Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Cotija)
  • 1/3 cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/2 lime, optional

Start by preheating your oven by directions, or fry the tots if you desire. I baked mine on a cast iron fajita skillet (love), and during this time steam or grill your corn.

Once the corn is cooked to your liking (I like mine a bit al dente), cut it off the cob and place it into a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, chili powder, and a bit of salt and pepper. Those tater tots need some salt and pepper.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Ingredients

Once the tots are close to being done (and to your liking), and some like them a bit tender and some like them nice and crispy like myself, remove the skillet or baking sheet from the oven. Top all of the tater tots with the Mexican shredded cheeses and place back into the oven and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

Once the cheese is nicely melted, remove it from the oven and slide onto your serving plate. I keep mine on the cast iron skillet and place it on top of the wooden board that came with the fajita skillet.

Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe
Mexican Elotes Tater Tots Recipe

Top with the corn mixture, shower with fresh cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge for additional acidity.

Now block yourself from others, just kidding, and dig in. You talk about everything you can love about Mexican Elotes, these Mexican Elotes Tater Tots just bring it over the top. Simple, quick, and delicious. This is a perfect Summertime snack. Enjoy.

If you are looking for other takes on Mexican elotes, or other corn ideas this summer, give these a try: