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3 Pepper Delights and 3 Holiday Book Gifts

November 22, 2014

P6150727It’s National Pepper month but peppers are good any time of year! As we’re eager to promote peppers, many are looking for gifts for the holiday season, and here’s my chance to share both with you!

Peppers are a nutritious and tasty part of the food offerings from gardens, produce stands and preserved. If you are putting up peppers, consider what you have. If some are mature to red, they’re often sweeter than green. Green are more common. If you are freezing or drying, add 1 part colored to 2 or 3 parts green peppers and you can pre-measure for instant identification. For example, dice one and a half cups of green peppers with a half cup yellow or red and freeze. When you need 2 cups for family pizzas you can tell at a glance over the one cup bags that are all green.

Chili Powder Blend
Makes ¼ cup
2 tablespoons chopped or crumbled dried Ancho chili peppers or other mild type
2 teaspoons dried cumin seeds
2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano leaves

2 teaspoons ground paprika
1 teaspoon dried garlic slices
½-1 teaspoon chopped or crumbled dried cayenne chili peppers or other hot variety
Combine all ingredients in a small electric coffee mill/spice grinder, and process until fine. Use for chili, bbq sauce, bean dishes, meatloaf and wherever you want a taste of the southwest. – The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods

The book above is an awesome resource for someone on your gift list who is interested in doing more of their own food preparation. Easy to follow and tasty recipes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Yeasted Jalapeno and Roasted Red Pepper Cornbread

1 cup room temperature water

2 1/4 active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour, plus more as needed

2 cups (11 1/2 ounces) corn meal, plus more for pans

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup diced roasted red peppers, well drained (1 large red pepper)

1 jalapeno, cored, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1.Combine all ingredients in stand mixer and knead with the dough hook until smooth. You can also mixe the ingredients in a large bowl, then knead by hand. The red peppers add moisture to the dough, so if it is wet and sticky and won’t form a cohesive ball, add a bit more flour (a tablespoon at a time) just until the dough comes together. If you are using a stand mixer, the dough should form a ball around the dough hook and clean the sides of the bowl. Don’t worry if the dough seems too soft – the cornmeal in the dough will hydrate overnight, making the dough denser.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour in a warm room.

3.Meanwhile, spray four 5×3 inch loaf pans with baking spray. You can also sprinkle them with cornmeal, for more corn flavor.

4. When the dough has risen, flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Divide it into four equal pieces. Form each piece into a log about 5 inches long, and place one log in each pan. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Baking day – Take pans out of the refrigerator and heat oven to 350*F. Remove the plastic and bake the loaves until they are browned and the internal temperature reaches 195*F on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Transfer the bread from the pans to a rack and let them cool completely before slicing.

Tip – try 4 ounces of sharp cheddar, coarsely shredded, added with other ingredients.

This is from Make Ahead Bread – many want to have fresh bread but don’t have a great deal of time. This book is for you. Do the prep work, then take it out and bake for fresh bread when needed! There’s white, wheat and other flavors of breads included too, but it gets beyond the ordinary. (The Cinnamon Swirl bread recipe looks heavenly!)

Smoky Pepper Chili Sauce

12 cups chopped roma tomatoes OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4 cups chopped onions

3 cups chopped red bell peppers

2 cups finely chopped celery

2 tablespoons pickling or canning salt

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

2 dried ancho or mild New Mexico chile peppers

1 cup boiling water

2 drained chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

2 tablespoons adobo sauce

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pot, combine tomatoes, onions, red peppers, celery, garlic, brown sugar, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cumin and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until chili sauce is reduced by about half and is thick enough to mound on a spoon.

In a heatproof bowl, combine hot chili peppers and boiling water, let stand for about 30 minutes or until peppers are softened. Remove peppers from liquid and discard liquid. Discard stems and seeds and finely chop peppers. Stir into chili sauce with chipotles and adobo sauce and boil gently, stirring often, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

Combine all and ladle into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of rim, remove any air pockets and adjust headspace, if needed, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Turn off, remove canner lid, Transfer jars to towel lined surface and let cool Check seals, refrigerate unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks. Makes 6-7 pint jars.

Perks up scrambled eggs, burgers, sliders, meat pies. From Best of Bridge Home Preserving. Loaded with photos, tips, recipes, this is a great idea for those seeking to buy local but still interested in having food in December. These make great gifts too!

All three of these books add to the pantry shelves if used, and add some new tastes to daily life.

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