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:

 

Indian Style Red Onions

As you probably know, I am a fan of all sorts of ethnic cuisines, probably more so than the standard American foods (granted my last meal will be fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and sweet corn), and that is saying a lot as I do love great American food.  I could, and probably get away with it, eat some different ethnic food on a daily basis whether that be Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai, or Filipino. You name it, I’m in. Lately, however, I am really craving Indian food. Maybe it is that simple, yet complex, notion of lentils cooked down in a curry gravy only to be swiped through with delicious warm naan bread, or maybe it is something like chicken tikka masala served alongside some rice, and well these Indian style red onions. It’s the simple things that get me.

It was years ago when I fell in love with Indian food, or Pakistani food for that matter. These platters would arrive and there would always, or most likely, be a small mound of simple red onions on the platter and I often scooted those to the side. That is until recently. I dabbled in them and low and behold those onions were definitely not there for garnish, they were there to boost the dish and cut through some of the richness of the dish. Not only that but they exploded in flavor, and that really intrigued me. Intrigued me so much I think about serving them along side most meals.

Indian Red Onions Condiment
Indian Red Onions Condiment

After dissecting the ingredients, I thought I would offer them up to my family during a recent hummus, grilled chicken, and pita party at the dinner table. I think they liked them. I know my wife did, all of the kids tried them, and I was eating them like chips alongside the rest of the meal.

These Indian style red onions are much like those trendy pickled red onions you are starting to see on like every burger nowadays (something I made back in 2009), but a bit more simple to make (believe it or not) and to me, loaded with more flavor. Addicting if you will.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala (find at your local Indian store)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

That’s it. Your only challenge, and a minor one at that is to get the chaat masala. You can Google it and make your own, but it is a lot easier to buy the store bought. Chaat masala is essentially a blend of Indian spices including cumin, coriander, ginger, dried mango powder, hing, and some chili powder, among other spices. The flavor profile is incredible to say the least.

Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients
Indian Style Red Onions Ingredients

Soak the onions in cold water for about 20 minutes, then strain the water.

Add the onions, lemon juice, salt, chaat masala, and cayenne pepper to a bowl. Stir well. Cover and let them marinade for about 1 hour until you are ready to serve.

Soaking the onions takes that ‘bite’ out of the onions which is great in my opinion and you are not walking around after eating them with onion breath. Serve the onions alongside your meal and dabble in there, grabbing a few and include them after some bites. Talk about snap, crackle, and pop! These Indian style onions are sure to please and go really, really well alongside grilled meats, or heck even a bowl of great hummus, pita, and olives. Feel free to cover and refrigerate any leftovers for about a week. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad

My wife and I go through this dilemma, probably like most of you, about once every couple of weeks and that is that we really consider eating ‘more healthy’ and incorporate more fresh vegetables and ‘good’ stuff into our weekly dinner plans. This is not to say that we do not eat healthy. In my opinion we do really well and rarely go out to eat, limit our intake on junk foods, and eat fairly well balanced meals throughout the week. Granted, we are eating more meat than we probably should but I think that defaults to my kids as if it were just my wife and I eating we would most likely be very content eating a nice salad on a daily basis. So not too long ago my wife had mentioned this idea and stated that she would really like to eat more quinoa. I listen to that stuff, and felt it was my duty to turn her on to a nice fresh garden salad. A quinoa salad that was packed full of crunch vegetables, and loaded with flavor.

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe
Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad Recipe

This quinoa salad is simple to make and is perfect as a main meal, or side dish. It’s got great crunch and an awesome citrus kick to boot.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste

If you have never cooked quinoa, it could not be easier. It is as simple as rice (without the rice cooker). Simply add water, add quinoa, stir, wait, and fluff.

Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes.  The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients
Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa.  If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.

Now you are ready to serve. This quinoa salad is not only super healthy for you, but darn it is delicious. A perfect side dish for a family night meal, or a great leftover to pack for your daily lunch. Enjoy!

Fresh Garden Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup skillet fried chick peas, optional
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Let’s begin by bringing 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the quinoa should be translucent. Taste so that it is tender. Once tender, remove from the heat, dump it into a mixing bowl, and let it cool.
  2. Next, prepare all of your diced ingredients. I will leave it up to you if you want to leave the skin on your cucumber or not. I’m a fan on skin on with my vegetables whether that be cucumbers, potatoes, or carrots. Again, I will leave it up to you. Just make sure you get rid of the seeds. Once you have all of your veggies chopped and diced, add them to the bowl of quinoa. If you are going with a bit more protein, add the skillet fried chickpeas (great for texture).
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper. Give this a good stir to mix everything, and then give it a taste. Does it need more salt, pepper, or oil? If so, go for it and adjust to your liking.
  4. Now you are ready to serve.

More Quinoa Recipes:

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: