Thursday, August 29, 2013

Habanero Pepper Jelly

    Hubb's friend sent me these beautiful habanero peppers from his garden, but I was a little afraid to eat them straight up. I was thinking hot sauce but finally decided on a pepper jelly. I turned out way better than I expected and not blow you away hot at all to my surprise. I think this is such a versatile condiment, any where from over cream cheese or brie, on corn bread, even chicken, chicken wings, pork, fish, the possibilities are endless. This is the recipe I came up with, it is very easy to put together.

8 orange habanero peppers seeded 
1 yellow bell pepper seeded 
1 small poblano pepper seeded
4 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of cider vinegar
4.7 oz can of powdered pectin
a pinch of salt and pepper
orange food color (optional)
I pulsed the peppers in a food processor to a fine dice, and just added them to the pot with all the rest of the ingredients, brought it to  a boil and cooked it until thickened, about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. I let it cool a bit and put it in a large mason jar. I covered it and kept inverting it upside down and up right so that all the pepper would be evenly dispersed as it cooled. Simple as that!!
*I didn't care for the the color it was turning so I added the orange food coloring because you eat with your eyes first, but you can leave it out if you wish

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Home Grow Tomato Sauce

    Hubbs came home from work with a bag full of home grown native tomatoes from his friends garden, they were beauties!! After admiring them on my window sill for a few days I decided their fate would be a fresh tomato sauce. I had 10 large perfect specimens to work with and here is what I did.

10 tomatoes finely diced
1 lb of italian sausage
1/2 cup finely diced white onion
3-6 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
8 large basil leaves torn, and a few more fro garnish
4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bag of frozen ricotta cavatelli

Add 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over med heat and brown the sausages on all sides. Next add the onion and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Now add the diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, the rest of the oil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours or until it reduces by half. Toss with the cavatelli and garnish with some basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Top with grated cheese I always use a combination of equal parts parmesane and romano.
*a nice bottle of red wine and a crusty loaf of garlic bread would be the perfect accompaniments.
**beg your friends with gardens for some tomatoes and make this dish, it's simple and easy, invite them over for dinner and you will be a kitchen star!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

    This is a recipe passed down from my Italian Nonni, although I always called her Grandma, to my Mother and lastly to me. I was told that it's Italian peasant food because they used day old stale bread and no meat. They always used red bell peppers but I found some local farm grown cubanelle's for 99 cents a pound and decided to keep the peasant theme and used them instead.

For the stuffing I used:
diced up Italian bread (for the 4 peppers pictured here I use 1/2 a loaf)
20 black olives sliced
2 tablespoons of capers chopped
5 anchovies minced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoon of parsley minced
enough extra virgin olive oil to moisten 
salt and pepper to taste
mix well, the best way to do this is with you hand a little messy but the only way to blend all the ingredients well.
    Next seed the peppers and stuff them with the bread mixture.

    Fry in oil over medium heat until they are lightly golden brown, not too long or they will fall apart. This makes a lovely vegetarian meal with a nice side of pasta, rice or a simple salad. Give this recipe a try you will not be sorry!!!
*Be careful when frying them they spit and splatter a lot
**My Grandma added raisins and pignoli (pine nuts) but I leave them out because I don't care for them in this dish, add them if you like