Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Urban Farming: 2011’s veggies

Home-grown tomatoesWe got our order from a few days ago and today, Dan will start the seeds in the sunroom. It should be quite a crop, and we may even have some extra plants to share, even though we’re thinking about expanding the square garden.

After this cold, snowy winter, I can’t wait to get the garden going. Some of the lettuces we planted last fall are starting to come back with the warmer temperatures we’ve had this last week.

So here’s what we got:


  • Kimberly – early season, 1-2 oz. red fruit
  • Margherita hybrid – mid-season, 5-6 oz. red paste tomatoes, great for pizza, pasta and roasting
  • Oaxacan Jewel – late season, bicolor – yellow with ruby streaks, 6-16 oz.
  • Purple Brandy – late season, deep pink-purple beefsteak, 8-16 oz.
  • Rose de Berne – late season, Swiss heirloom, dark pink, 6-8 oz.
  • Virginia Sweets – late season, heirloom, gold-red bicolor, at least 1 lb. each

Peppers and Tomatillos

  • The Big Early Hybrid – bell peppers, 8″ long by 4.5″ wide
  • Ancho 101 – used for Mexican stuffed peppers; can be dried and ground into chile powder
  • Ixtapa Hybrid – 4-inch-long jalapenos
  • Golden Greek Pepperoncini – great for pickling and in Greek salad
  • Purple Tomatillos – We will probably have dozens of green tomatillo volunteers, so we thought we’d try the purple ones this year.

We’re also planting yellow and red onions, green beans and peas. Later we’ll add cucumbers and maybe some melons. We got one edible cantaloupe last year, so I’d like to try again and see how it goes. And I have some garlic cloves in the kitchen that started sprouting, so I need to get those in the ground, too.

Grow Your Own: Tabasco Sauce

Grow Your Own 2008We planted a pretty good variety of peppers this year, both hot and sweet. We had so many Tabasco peppers, I decided to make homemade Tabasco sauce.

So I Googled for recipes, and the same one kept popping up. That seemed like a good endorsement, so I tried it. I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually tried this on anything yet. I mean, I like hot food, but after whizzing it in the blender, I gave it a sniff and you know what? I have one piece of advice: Don’t sniff the blender 😉

Tabasco peppers

Homemade Tabasco Sauce

12 large Tabasco chile peppers, stemmed (I used 15 because that’s how ripe ones many I had)
1 clove peeled garlic
½ cup vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar

Boil the chile peppers and garlic in vinegar in a small, non-metal saucepan until tender. Puree in a blender with the salt and sugar. Run through a metal sieve if necessary.

Dilute this paste with more vinegar until it is the consistency of rich cream. Pour into a non-metal saucepan, bring to a boil, then pour into a hot, sterilized bottle to within ½ inch of the rim.

Run a sterilized knife around the inside of the bottle to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and seal with a scalded top. Store in the refrigerator once opened.

From: Red Hot Peppers by Jean Andrews

Tabasco sauceThis is my entry in Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event that celebrates homegrown produce and other items, originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this time by Heart and Hearth.

The roundup of all the recipes is here.

Grow Your Own: Ceviche

Grow Your Own 2008I just love ceviche. For years, I was afraid to try it – I was concerned about getting sick somehow from eating raw fish or shellfish, even though it’s “cooked” in acid (lemon and lime juice), which probably kills pretty much all the pathogens that might be on it.

Then a couple of years ago, my friend Barbara and I went to visit our friend Liz in Colorado. Of course, Mexican food is very popular there, and we ordered ceviche one night at dinner. It was great! Tangy, spicy, with the sweet shrimp and savory cilantro. I fell in love. There’s a Peruvian restaurant in Norfolk called Imperio Inca that has some delicious ceviche, as an appetizer and a couple of dinner platters. I tried making it myself once, but we weren’t crazy about how it turned out.

Then last month, Liz had a gallery opening at the d’Art Center and a party at her house afterward, where she served homemade ceviche, which was fabulous. Well, now I had to try it again. After looking through my cookbooks, I found a wonderful recipe for it in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best International Recipe. So I made it again, and it was deee-lish! I bought a bag of lemons and limes so I can make it again!

Shrimp Ceviche

1 lb. large or extra-large shrimp, large sea scallops, fish fillets or a combination
1 tsp. grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
1/2 cup juice from 4 lemons
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine (I used a red pimento pepper)
1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 scallions, sliced thin
3 tbsp. cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper

If using shrimp, peel, devein and slice in half lengthwise (I also cut them into thirds). If using scallops, remove the side tendon and slice into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. If using fish, remove any bones and slice into 1-inch squares about 1/3 inch thick.

Stir the lime zest, lime and lemon juices, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a bowl. Gently stir in the seafood, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until seafood is firm, opaque and appears cooked, 45-60 minutes (mine took about 75 minutes – the shrimp should be pink). Stir about halfway through marinating.

Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, leaving it a little wet, then return it to the bowl. Gently stir in oil, scallions, cilantro and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.


This is another entry for Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes about a year ago, and hosted this month by Noob Cook. GYO celebrates the food we grow ourselves. The red pimento and jalapeno peppers came from our garden. And check out the tomato jam, also from our garden!

In the Garden: Tabasco Peppers

This is the first time we’ve grown Tabasco peppers, and they’re funny little dudes. They grow upside down, pointing up! They look like they’re about ready to taste. I need to find a recipe for Tabasco sauce.

Tabasco peppers

Monthly Mingle: Appetizers and Hors d’Oeuvres

Monthly Mingle, May 2008It’s time for another Monthly Mingle, an event started by Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey?, and hosted this month by Mansi of Fun and Food. The theme this time is vegetarian Appetizers and Hors d’Oeuvres.

As it happens, in March, our neighborhood civic league sponsored a progressive dinner, where our house hosted the appetizer course, and two other neighbors hosted the main dish and dessert courses. There were several vegetarians in the group, so my co-hosts and I made mostly veg appetizers. One favorite was Crostini with Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppers. It was a hit, so that’s my submission to this event.

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppers

1 loaf French baguette
2 red and 2 yellow bell peppers, or 1 15-oz. jar roasted peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. goat cheese

Slice baguette on a diagonal into 1/2-inch slices. Toast in a 350-degree oven till lightly browned. Cool on wire racks and set aside.

Preheat broiler on high. Halve, core, and seed peppers; flatten with your hand. Broil 3 inches away from broiler flame on cookie sheet for 8 minutes, until skin is charred black. Remove from oven and place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to steam; pull off and discard skin.

Cut peppers into 2-inch x 1/4-inch strips and place in a baking dish or other wide, flat dish. Sprinkle garlic, oregano, vinegar and olive oil evenly over peppers. Set aside to marinate for 2-3 hours.

Stir peppers to mix up the colors. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on baguette slices. Top with peppers and serve.

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppers

Grow Your Own: Southwestern Potato Salad

Grow Your Own 2008Back in March, Dan and I went to see Bobby Flay do a cooking demonstration in downtown Norfolk. It was lots of fun, and I got an autographed copy of one of his books: “Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen.” I’ve made several recipes from the book and loved them all – although I’ve tweaked a couple 🙂

We both really like this recipe for Southwestern Potato Salad – I’ve made it three or four times now. This last time, I used green onions, a red onion, and cilantro from our garden. I know the cilantro looks a little funny, but it’s trying to bloom and I’m trying to stop it 😉

Southwestern potato salad: Ingredients from our garden

I’m trying to expand my taste horizons, so I went ahead and added the red onion, even though I don’t like the flavor of raw onion. Guess what? I still don’t. But Dan does, so next time, I will just dice an onion for him and he can add it to his portion.

Also, the recipe says to add one jalapeno pepper, finely diced. If you like a lot of heat, go ahead and do this. I made it this way the first time, and it was too hot for us. The second time, I removed the seeds and membrane first, and it was too mild. The third time, I cut the pepper in half and removed the seeds and membrane from one half, leaving them in the other half. This time, it was just right 🙂

Bobby Flay’s Southwestern Potato Salad

2 lbs. small new potatoes (I used Yukon Gold potatoes)
Kosher salt
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tbsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped (I used 2 roma tomatoes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (I used two)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add 1 tbsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pieced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes.

Drain well, let cool slightly, and slice 1/4 inch thick (I cut into 1/2-inch chunks). Put in a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you prepare the dressing.

Stir together all remaining ingredients except black pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the warm potatoes and mix gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. This can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated.

We had this with cole slaw and our first smoked BBQ ribs. It was a great meal.

Southwestern Potato Salad, with cole slaw and smoked BBQ ribs

This is my contribution to the Grow Your Own food blogging event, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

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