Posts Tagged ‘Chilies’

Pickled Habanero Chilies

May 14, 2009

habanero chilesOn a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the hottest, habanero chilies have got to be a 9.  They are firey and make some of the best hot sauce and pickles.  Habaneros come in green, orange, and red depending upon their ripeness.  Bottles with multi-colored chilies make attractive gifts for chili lovers and they are available nearly year-round.

The Tongans in Polynesia, pack red chilies into a bottle with just seawater.  After a week, they use the chilied brine for spicing up fish, meat, and lu (pronounced loo).  Lu ika (ika: pronounced ee-kah) is fish wrapped in taro leaves with coconut milk, onions, and garlic.  The lu takes on the shape of a ball then is wrapped in banana leaves and baked in the umu (oo moo).  They also make lu with chicken, corned beef, and lamb.  It is delicious, especially with a few dashes of pickled chile.

The recipe here is my own version of pickled chilies with lime, oregano, garlic and sea salt.  The Tongan oregano is much like that found in Mexico.  The leaves look and feel like the leaves of an African violet, very pungent in oregano flavor, and grows abundantly in the South Pacific.  I was forever thinning out my bushes so they wouldn’t invade every other herb in the garden.

To make pickled habaneros

In an 8oz. sterilized  jar or wide-mouth bottle, drop 1 garlic clove, 2 sprigs of oregano, and 1 tsp sea salt.  Prick each chile 3 or 4 times with a 2-pronged corncob holder (or a knife point).  Pack chiles tightly in the jar without crushing them.  In a small stainless-steel sauce pan, place the juice of 2 limes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring just to the boil, remove from heat and pour into jar.  Wipe rim and seal.  Set in a cool, dark pantry for 1 week.  Refrigerate after opening.

Chiles En Nogada

April 17, 2009
Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada

A classic Mexican dish popular on Cinco de Mayo with green poblano chiles, white walnut cream sauce, and red pomegranate seeds depicting all the colors of the Mexican flag.  Cinco de Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army by the peasants of Puebla in 1862…shortly thereafter the French army triumphed again to overtake the country.   Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo because of the heroic efforts of the peasants, the holiday has nothing to do with mayonnaise or Mexican Independence Day.   Everyone is a little Mexican on Cinco de Mayo just like everyone is a little Irish on St. Patty’s Day.  Parties abound at pubs, restaurants and homes.  You can have your own party and celebrate this fun holiday with mariachi music, dancing, sombreros, margaritas, lots of flamboyant zinnias, piñatas, and wonderful Mexican food like this chile stuffed with beef or pork picadillo.

  • 6 large green poblano chiles
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef or pork
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp raisins, softened in 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
  • fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish

Roast chiles over a flame or under a broiler until blackened.  Let rest in a plastic bag for 5-10 minutes.  Remove skins, slit open one side of each chile and remove the seeds and veins.  Warm oil in a skillet over medium high heat, add meat and brown until nearly done.  Add the garlic, onion, apple, almonds, spices, raisins, and cilantro.  Cook for 5-7  minutes.  In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, sift flour over egg whites and fold in, then fold in beaten egg yolks  with a pinch of salt.  Warm 2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Stuff chiles with meat mixture, dip each stuffed chile in the egg mixture and fry until golden brown, turning once.  Whisk sour cream with evaporated milk, add walnuts, sugar or honey, and pour over hot chiles just before serving with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds on top.  Serves 6.