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Freezing Bell Peppers

DSC_8866 (1600x1060)We had a couple of pepper bushes survive our neglect and produce some fruit so I took a few hours this morning to deal with them.  After removing the stems and seeds the food processor with a slicer blade made short work of them:DSC_8867 (1600x1060)We’ve always used zipper bags to freeze our produce but decided to try the vacuum seal gadget this time.  I think it’s a pretty good choice of methods but the truth of it will be when we pull a bag from the freezer to use in a recipe.DSC_8869 (1600x1060)I kept a few out for lunch:DSC_8872 (1600x1060)

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Five Pepper Jelly

My jalapeno jelly was good enough last year to warrant another go at it so I looked around for recipes and found this one.  I have several pepper varieties so I adapted the recipe for the ones I wanted to use.DSC_8794 (1600x1060)The recipe called for a total of three cups of chopped peppers so I stuck with that.  My recipe used one green bell, three red Anaheims, five or six ripe jalapenos, six or seven red serranos, and two habs.  The habs I didn’t run through the blender, I just boiled them with the rest and then pulled them out before jarring.  Yeah, I chickened out.  I had more peppers chopped than the recipe wanted and I ended with seven half pints to process.DSC_8808 (1600x1060)Every jar sealed, I did find one jar with a chip in the rim when I ran the damp paper towel around it just prior to putting the lids on so I hurried to swap jars out, I usually sterilize more jars than I think I’ll need just to be on the safe side.  I had a small taste of the hot jelly left over and there is a nice tang to it.  I think I could have used those two habaneros without it turning out too hot.DSC_8805 (1600x1060)I left a few chunks of pepper for the texture rather than smoothing it all out in the blender.  I think it’s jelling pretty well.  This is the first time I’ve used liquid pectin.  I’ll open a jar soon to try it.  I’m optimistic!

Burritos, maybe?

DSC_6239 [1600x1200]I’ve been making these things a lot lately, not really sure what to call them.  Or, I should say, what someone who knows what they are calls them.  Burritos may be the closest even though the ends aren’t folded shut.  I could live with tacos, but tacos usually aren’t rolled closed and grilled in a skillet.  Anyway, these are filled with more of the brisket, and green bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, cabbage, cheddar cheese, and a smear of ancho sauce.

Pea Soup, with Enhancements

I’ve been looking at a jar of split peas in the pantry for a while, decided today was the day for them.  Took the opportunity to scrounge some tasso and ham from the freezer.  I’ve been using from those two packages of meat as required for this and that, this dish finished them both off.  I always dice onions for my pea soups, and lately have been adding carrots for the color if for no other reason.  This pot had been simmering for a couple of hours and wasn’t getting quite thick enough to suit me and so I diced and added a couple of potatoes for the starch.  I may do it every time because this was some very good soup.  There are a few bay leaves in it, and a half teaspoon of dried thyme along with some onion and garlic powders.

Soup needs some decent bread.  I made some cornbread for this batch, I bet a good hearty hunk of whole wheat bread fresh from the oven would just kill with this.  The cornbread is the standard recipe from the back of the corn meal canister, with additions of cheddar cheese and minced red and green bell peppers.  The link goes to a recipe with bacon and jalapenos but it has the basic recipe in there too.  Makes a nice garnish, eh?

Mmm…sauteed tomato pizza sauce

Absolutely the last of the patio cherry tomatoes.  Mrs J hauled the last container away today after harvesting what tomatoes that remained.  We wanted to do something nice with the last batch.  We had enjoyed the sauteed tomato and pasta dishes so much we decided to try the same process for a pizza sauce.  We believe it worked.

Enjoy!

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Salsa Verde

Wasn’t very long ago that I made my first batch of this stuff.  It’s pretty easy but it does take time to cook the peppers and to drag the blender out and then clean it up.  While at the farmer’s market yesterday I took note of all the nice peppers and decided to make a larger batch for canning.

Into the pot this morning went 2 onions, 4 poblanos, a double handful of sweet banana peppers, 2 green bell peppers, and 2 heads of garlic-peeled and crushed.  I added enough chicken stock to aid in cooking them and let them simmer for 15 minutes.

I dipped those out of the pot and into my blender in  batches and pulsed it to reach the desired texture, and then pureed a small last batch to provide a thicker liquid base for the salsa.

I poured it all into 3 pint jars and processed them in a boiling water bath.[*]  Consult your local county extension website for proper canning method.  [Canny advice-Eds.]  Groan-jeffreyw.  

[*] Edited to add:  A comment at another venue warned that a boiling water bath was not appropriate for this recipe!  Use a pressure canner or preservatives to prevent botulism!  h/t waiowai.

Mmm…roasted chicken

With another iteration of the Mexi-corn dish, and some very nice roasted potatoes.

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The potatoes were tossed with olive oil, crushed garlic, thyme leaves, and rosemary, sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 oven.  I grated some parmesan on them when they were starting to brown.  Very tasty.

The corn is sweet corn from the local farmer’s market, sliced off the cob, and sauteed with olive oil and butter.  Diced red and green bell peppers along with a bit of diced red onion give it color, and some ground cumin plus some of that Tex-Mex ancho/chipotle seasoning, ground coarsely, give it a nice smokey flavor with little heat.  Mrs J eats it up so it isn’t a bit hot, though a few serranos or jalapenos would carry the dish far if you are headed that direction.

Mmm…Mexi-corn

Well, that’s what one of the big food companies calls their version.  I cut the kernels off three ears of fresh sweet corn, diced some bell peppers, a few cloves of garlic, and half an onion.  Saute the veggies in an olive oil/butter mix, salt and pepper and Yum!  Cooks with more tolerant spouses will add minced jalapenos or the like, and maybe a sprinkle or two of chili powder, or some ground chipotles and/or anchos.

Standard meatloaf-hamburger, sweet Italian sausage, onions, an egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, some dried herbs, chopped bell peppers, salt and pepper, garlic powder-you know the drill.  This one was reading 180+ degrees in the center after 50 minutes at 350 so I took it out- the lack of toasty brown crust notwithstanding.  That’s Heinz chili sauce on the top, just a wee bit tastier in this application than ketchup.  YMMV

The chunks of Yukon Gold potatoes were tossed with a garlic-y olive oil and roasted.  Kosher salt and fresh black pepper finished them off.

All in all, a decent dinner:

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Mmm…hot sauce

Remember, kids, hot sauce is an important part of a healthy breakfast!

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These were fun and easy. I started out with the green salsa.  Was at the grocery this morning and saw they had tomatillas in the produce aisle.  I grabbed several, and a couple of poblano peppers while I was right there.  Got them home and plopped them into a pot with some chicken stock, added some frozen Anaheims from last summer’s bounty, and a half of a jalapeno.  Cut a nice sweet onion into pieces and dropped that in there as well, along with a few cloves of garlic.  Brought the pot to a boil and gave it ten minutes.  Drained, the hot peppers went into the blender and were reduced to a lumpy puree.  This went into a hot skillet to cook for five minutes then the broth that was reserved from the boiling was added back and left to simmer for fifteen minutes or longer.  Set that aside.

Cook some chicken pieces, I had some boneless thighs that worked well, boneless breasts would work great.  I seasoned the thighs with dried and ground ancho and chiplotle peppers, salt and black pepper.  When the chicken is cooked, remove to cool and add to the same pot some onions and bell peppers, cook them down a bit, then add the chicken back after it’s been shredded or cubed.  Continue cooking the chicken and veggies, add some sour cream and shredded cheese.  I had some French onion dip that I used and some pepper jack cheese.

Pour some of the green salsa into the bottom of a casserole, and roll the chicken mixture into some flour tortillas and arrange over the salsa.  Pour the rest of the salsa over the rolled tortillas and add more shredded cheese.  I had a fairly large chunk of queso blanco I added on top.  Pop it into a 350 oven for thirty minutes or so.

Enjoy!

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