Friday, December 9, 2011

This is Why I'm Hot

Now that some snow has fallen and the garden is done for the year (except for a bit of kale I'm still pulling out), it's nice to look back at things that make me warm.  Like chiles. 

I went for variety over bulk quantity in the 2011 garden- I had purple jalapenos, regular jalapenos, cayenne chiles, tabasco chiles, Wisconsin lakes sweet peppers, mini chocolate bells, and a few more that I forgot to write down.  On the day I pulled the last of them out, I tucked them in the fridge to use up in various dishes... But a couple of weeks later I was still left with about a pound of various types and colors of chiles.  

The perfect recipe for this situation?  Tigress in a Pickle's "Hot Damn Chile Pickle".  You can use any chiles and don't have to de-seed them or anything.  Just remove the stems and roughly chop (or food process) them. You should, however, wear gloves!  

I tasted this the night I made it (easily two months ago) and it was so fire-y I couldn't even tolerate a drop of the oil on my tongue.  Now, after some time to mellow, the flavors are spectacular and not nearly as abrasive.  Keep in mind, though, that "mellow" is a relative term here.  It's still crazy, crazy hot.  But edible now.

Last night I busted this stuff out with some brown rice, mustard greens and tempeh.  I didn't season anything at all, except for a dash of Bragg's aminos and a DAB of this chile relish.  And it was spectacular.  I have a feeling this is going to be a popular condiment for me this winter!

***Note: you might be alarmed to see garlic and chiles preserved in oil.  Normally this is a no-no for canning and preserving since garden produce, and garlic in particular, can easily have clostridium botulinum spores on them and sealing them underneath oil can form an air-free (anaerobic) environment where the botulism toxin could grow.  That's why it is SO important that this recipe contains vinegar.  I know the recipe isn't canned and you might not even think to worry about botulism and vinegar ratios since it isn't canned.  But the clostridium botulinum bacteria can grow anywhere that is a pH over 4.6 and has low or no oxygen.  So don't can this recipe and don't skimp on the vinegar.  And keep it refrigerated!

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