Posts Tagged ‘Condiments’

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.

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Pickled Ginger (Gari)

March 26, 2009

sushi-with-gingerI’ve been using this recipe for the last 20 years and it never fails to impress my guests.  It’s from Jeff Smith’s book, The Fugal Gourmet – Our Immigrant Ancestors.  The only thing I’ve changed is to substitute the red food-coloring with a sliver of red beet.  Be sure to buy fresh young ginger root and wear plastic or rubber gloves when peeling and shaving the root.   Otherwise, your hands will be on fire for the rest of the day.  Use a potato peeler to shave strips from the root.  This is a Japanese condiment used to cleanse the pallet between sushi courses and is served along with wasabi, takuan pickles and the like.  Try it with pork roast, roasted chicken, or ham steaks.

1/4 lb. of fresh young ginger root, peeled and shaved paper thin

1/2 cup Rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 slice of raw red beet

In a stainless steel sauce pan, place the vinegar, sugar, salt, and beet slice, bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.   Add the ginger, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.  Remove beet slice once the ginger is lightly pink in color.  Pack sterilized jars with the ginger, pour brine over and seal.  When cool, refrigerate up to one month.

Once you have your  ginger pickles and daikon pickles made, plan a sushi party and include tempura veggies, hijiki seaweed salad, pear and saki sorbet, and almond cookies.

Daikon (Salad & Pickles)

March 26, 2009

daikonDaikon radish is fairly common in supermarkets and Farmers Markets these days.  And it’s not just for Asian cuisine anymore either.  It tastes very much like our little red radishes, perhaps more mild.  If you haven’t tried daikon,  it could be an acquired taste, I urge you to buy a small one and experiment.  Here’s a couple of simple ideas :

Wash and peel daikon like a carrot.  Make long threads of daikon on a mandolin or with a zester.  Do the same thing with a carrot so you have  equal  parts daikon and carrot.  In a small bowl whisk together 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or any vinegar you have on hand), 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp soy sauce.   Pour over the angel-hair daikon and carrot and toss lightly.  This can be added to a master-piece Chef salad or your favorite green salad.  It’s crunchy enough for a sub-sandwich and of-course it can be added to a sushi box or sashimi plate.

Daikon has amazing health benefits, such as digesting fats and as a diuretic, and you can get those facts on the web, just google daikon health benefits.

This Japanese pickled daikon (called Takuan) is good with fish and meats and very simple to make.   It’s usually yellow in color from the addition of yellow food coloring, however you can attain the same color with a small slice of fresh turmeric or 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric.  Fresh turmeric  is available at Asian markets and looks like ginger root.  Once pickled, Takuan will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks and makes a great gift for foodie friends…add it to a basket of your homemade pickles. 

Takuan (Daikon pickles Japanese Style) 

 6 medium Daikon radish – peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick and halved

1/4 cup sea salt or pickling salt

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 sliver fresh turmeric root (or 1/4 tsp ground turmeric)

1 dried chili pepper – chopped

1 cup water

Pack sterilized canning jars with daikon.  Boil all the brine ingredients until sugar is dissolved.  Cool.  Remove turmeric root.  Pour over daikon in jars and cover.  Place in refrigerator.   Shake jars occasionally.  Pickle will be ready in about two days.

Sweet and Sour Dried Figs

March 10, 2009
Sweet & Sour Dried Figs
Sweet & Sour Dried Figs

Many years ago I lived in a small cottage overlooking Puget Sound in West Seattle.  Outside my backdoor was a green fig tree which literally dripped with sweet syrup when the figs were ripe.  The harvest of these jewels yielded many jars of fig butter with walnuts, dried figs, preserved figs for gifts, and a splendid salad with feta cheese, prosciutto and baby greens.  Serve this condiment with sausages, pate’, chicken, curries, or other Middle Eastern dishes.  Pickled figs wrapped in prosciutto with arugula also makes a tasty hors d’oeuvre.

Figs have a fair amount of potassium, magnesium and calcium plus fiber.  Be sure to buy organic dried figs, especially if you’re sensitive to sulfur dioxide.

1 lb dried figs*

1-1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp sugar

8 whole cloves

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cook vinegar, sugar, cloves and cinnamon in sauce pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Add figs and simmer for 10 minutes.  Pack figs in sterile jars, pour hot syrup up to 1/2 inch from tops of jars.  Seal and process in water bath for 10 minutes.   Cool.

* May substitute dried apricots, prunes or pears

Plum Pickles

March 9, 2009
Pickled Plums and Pork Roast

Pickled Plums and Pork Roast

Grandpa stewed dried prunes every morning before going out to milk the cows.  He claimed they “kept him regular.”  Prunes are simply dried small plums and they do aid the digestive tract.   Preserved as a pickle they make a gourmet gift for any “foodie” and can be made anytime of the year.   Cover the tops of jars with pretty callico and a ribbon.  Add a gift card with this quick recipe. 

1 lb. dried prunes

2 cups water

1 cup vinegar

1 cup brown sugar – firmly packed

1/2 tsp. whole cloves

4 sticks of cinnamon – broken into pieces

Cover prunes with boiling water for 1 hour.  Drain and reserve liquid.  Combine sugar, vinegar and 1/2 cup of reserved liquid with spices and simmer for 12 minutes.  Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks, pack prunes in sterile jars and pour hot syrup to 1/2 inch from top of jar.  Seal and water bath in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.  Serve with your favorite pork, chicken or lamb dish.

Fresh Horseradish Sauce

March 7, 2009

Fresh horseradish is superb compared to store-bought, inexpensive and easy to make with home-grown horseradish roots.   They do like moisture so plant them close to an outdoor spigot and harvest in the fall.  Your local farmers’ market is another good source.  I always get my supply from my good friend, Juanita Jones Antonio, but there just never seems to be enough to go around once the rest of the gang partakes.

1 lb fresh horseradish roots, scrubbed and trimmed

2 Tbsp salt (or to taste)

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup vermouth or dry sherry

Chop the roots, place in a food processor or blender and puree.  Mix with remaining ingredients, pack into glass jars, and store in the refrigerator.  Just before using, add enough sour cream or yogurt to bind the sauce for a condiment or use without  the dairy in recipes calling for horseradish.