Pickled Thai Chilies

I’ve been in a pickling mood for some time now. No clue why, but I have been. It’s most likely because I have had an abundance of chili peppers growing in the garden, and as I normally freeze them and use later, I also love doing a quick pickle and use the chilies on pizza, rice bowls, and omelets. I wouldn’t say that I am a true chili head, but I do love the spice, and the vitamin content that normally goes with them.  One of my favorite peppers has got to be the Thai bird chili pepper.  They have a great punch of hit along with some really nice citrus notes, and when used in sauces such as Nuoc Cham, well, hands down it’s a real winner.

Pickled Thai Bird Chilies

I know, big deal, these just look like regular Thai chili peppers right? Well, yes, but then again, they have been pickling for a couple of weeks in a great, and simple pickling mixture that makes these chilies pop even more.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Thai bird chilies
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

That’s it. Great stuff.

Start by adding everything but the Thai chilies in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and let the sugar melt with the vinegar and water. Remove and let cool.

How to make pickled Thai Chilies

Once the mixture has cooled, add the chilies to a small, sealable container, and pour the vinegar solution into the container, making sure you have covered the chilies.

Seal, and place in the refrigerator for about two days. Then use freely.

Again, I love Thai bird chilies, but with the addition of the vinegar and sugar, and lemongrass really makes these shine even more. They are great sliced and served  (if you like that type of heat), with any type of dishes where you want to add a bit of heat. If you like chili peppers, you will most likely love these. Hope you enjoy!

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 12 whole medium sized tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!

Denver Omelette

Come every spring, I ask my kids what they want to plant in the garden. Two of my kids are pretty pumped with ideas, where one simply is not. That’s perfectly fine in my book. Regardless, my wife defaults to tomatoes and cucumbers, while the kids default to green bell peppers and green beans. I take the liberty of choosing either things, and in this case I decided upon watermelon, hot peppers, sage, rosemary, strawberries, and red onions. We have been picking a ton of tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, and fresh herbs, and as of last week we picked our first green bell pepper.

Denver Omellete Recipe

I had this darn green bell pepper on my cutting board for a few days, and every time I looked at it, I thought what was I going to use it in. It was only one green pepper, and as I thought of stuffing it, or making a chop suey, I always think of dicing it up and turning it into a Denver omellete.

I love a Denver omellete, and in fact, it could be one of my favorite omelletes. It’s simple, delicious, and very fulfilling.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped deli ham
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

Start by adding the water, or cream if you want to the beaten eggs, and mix well.

Heat a skillet on medium, to low heat. Add in the 1 tablespoon of the butter and let that melt.

Toss in the ham, bell pepper, and shallots. Stir, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the peppers are slightly softened, yet still firm.

Remove from the skillet and place the mixture in a bowl.

How to make a Denver Omellete

Return the skillet back to the stove, and on medium heat, melt the remaining butter.

Add in the beaten eggs, and give that a gentle stir.

Using a spatula, or in my case a worn down rice paddle, begin lifting up the edges while maneuvering your skillet to let any wet egg mixture to to the edges. Continue this until the eggs are almost set.

Add in the bell pepper mixture into the center of the eggs, and gently fold over the eggs. Cook for another minute or so, or until how you like your eggs, and then slide onto your plate, and serve.

The result is everything you want in a great omellete. Tender and soft eggs, with the great salty and smokiness from the ham, and then the great, and fresh green bell pepper.  Hope you enjoy! What is your favorite type of omellete?

 

Mexican Red Sauce

I don’t know about you but we have tomatoes that are just growing off the charts right now. We planted a variety of tomatoes back in May, and now they are finally beginning to ripen. We have bowls of cherry tomatoes, as well as these great roma tomatoes sitting on our kitchen counter right now. In the meantime, I am pulling these great, large tomatoes off of the vine. With that said, I’ve been creating things such as loaded bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, simple pico de gallos, and recently came up with this Mexican red sauce.  I’m calling this a sauce because it is so diverse that I have been marinating with it, topping omelettes with it, and well, pretty much using it on a majority of things, including drizzling it on pizza.

Mexican Red Sauce

What turned me on to creating this sauce is some dried chilies I recently purchased, the Puya pepper. After reading Pok Pok, I was interested in the puya pepper as Chef Ricker was using them in his Thai cooking.

The puya chiles have an intense heat that is somewhat pungent and have a light fruity flavor profile with an almost berry flavor. Puya chiles are grown in Mexico, and are somewhat similar to the guajillos chilie. I thought they would be perfect in a sauce, and they were.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, such as Beefsteak or Better Boy
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 puya chilies
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • additional water

Start by adding the puya chilies to a skillet, and cook on medium heat, flipping along the way for about 4 minutes. Remove the chilies, and let cool.  Once cooled, slice, and remove the stem and seeds.

Mexican Red Sauce with Eggs

During this time, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Add in the tomato and the chilies. Cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the tomato and chilies with a slotted spoon, and let cool on a plate.

How to make Mexican red sauce

Add the chilies to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Remove the skin from the tomato. The skin should easily come off.

Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste and adjust any salt to your liking.

Pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

This sauce had just the right amount of heat to it. A subtle punch of heat in the beginning, and then that fruitiness from the chilies, along with the garlic and onion. It’s really good. If you are looking to try a new Mexican chili, give the puya a try. I’m certain you will love it. Enjoy!