I put some olive oil in a skillet and heated it with some peppercorns and anise seed until it was perfuming the air.
Then I added chopped onions (1/2 an onion) and one minced serrano chile and sautéed.
I cut up one small parsnip and 2 carrots into thumbnail chunks and added, with a bit of salt and pepper, and cooked until nearly done. Then near the end, I added about 6 brussels spouts that I had cut in half and an apple I cut into chunks and tossed them in to cook until tender. Tossed a bit of rice vinegar on to finish. Salt and pepper. This made two large servings.
This was the most delicious vegetable sauté I can remember. It was earthy and warm, piquant with the vinegar and parsnips. The brussels sprouts gave it a lovely earthiness and the chile gave it some heat. The sweetness of the carrots and apple added another flavor note.
I served it with a pork loin, but it is a vegan dish that you can serve with anything.
I have my groceries delivered and sometimes the person packing my order makes a mistake as when I was recently sent 2 pounds of serrano chiles rather than 2 chiles. Oops! Well, I did cook with more serranos this month than usual, but there is no way I was going to use them all up before they spoiled, so I had to figure out what to do with them. I thought about making salsa, but just as I was about to do that, it occurred to me that some pickled peppers might be perfect. So here goes.
The pickling liquid is always a one to one ratio of water and vinegar. You only want enough liquid to cover the chiles so what I did to get the right ratio was add 1 cup of water, then 1 cup of vinegar, then 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar until the chiles were covered. In this case, it took 2 1/4 cups of each. For a bit of deeper flavor, I used 1 cup of white wine vinegar in place of one of the cups of white vinegar. This is 4.5 cups of liquid The ratio of salt and sugar is 1 TBSP of each for each 3 cups of liquid, so I used 1.5 TBSP of salt and sugar.
So the final recipe for this quantity of peppers (1.8 pounds)
- 1.8 pounds of serrano peppers, cleaned and pricked with a knife, about 3 to 4 times for each pepper.
- 2 1/4 cups of water
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 1.4 white vinegar
- 1.5 TBSP of sugar
- 1.5 TBSP salt
- I added 2 bay leaves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 TBSP white peppercorns
- 1 TBSP black peppercorns
- 1 TBSP rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
I put them all on to boil. Once it reached a rolling boil, I reduced heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then let it cool, put it in containers with brine, covered and refrigerated.
I can’t really tell you how it turns out for a week – after the flavor has had time to fully be a absorbed, so I will update when they are ready.
Update: After 36 hours, they are amazing! They have that combination of sweet, sour and heat that you associate with pepperoncini, but with with about double the heat.
This is a variation on my Cuban Bean Salad. I decided to call it a Baja Bean salad because I used limes and red peppers instead of lemons and tomatoes. It’s fresh, delicious and full of protein.
To start rinse and drain 1 can each of black beans, garbanzo beans and red kidney beans. Toss them in a large bowl. Clean and chop 3 stalks of celery, 2 red bell peppers and 8 baby dill pickles. Add and mix well. Set aside while you make the dressing in a separate bowl.
Crush 3 garlic cloves, sprinkle with salt and let rest while you add the other ingredients to your dressing in a small mixing bowl. Clean and finely chop one serrano chili and put in the bowl with 3 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP white vinegar, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne and the juice of 2 fresh squeezed limes. By now the salt will have made the garlic very juicy. Mince it and add to the dressing. Mix well and pour over salad. Put a lid and shake to distribute the dressing throughout the salad.
Now clean, strips the leaves and chop of 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro.
The salad tastes good right away, but it’s heavenly the next day. This is subtly spicier than the Cuban salad, with a bright, fresh flavor that’s addictive. This makes way more than a single serving, but it keeps its flavor, freshness and texture well. It’s a real win at potlucks.
This makes a lot more than one serving, but generally I like making a good size batch of soup and reheat for a few meals. In a medium sauce pan, add 1 onion chopped, 1 diced serrano pepper to a 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook until softened. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile chop up a whole cauliflower and toss in the pan and cover with water. Toss in a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. After it’s cooled, puree and put back on the heat, adding a small package of frozen corn, salt and pepper and some parsley.
This has the consistency and look of a chowder but has a much bright, fresh flavor that blends well with the heat from the serrano. If you don’t want it vegan, adding sour cream as a garnish or into the puree would give you a slightly more mellow taste.
In a saute pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 diced garlic cloves, 2 tbsp chopped onion and 1 serrano pepper diced small. Saute until tender and add 3 chopped mushroom and 6 oz of ground turkey. Saute until brown.
Start water boiling for tortellini. Add and cook until they all float.
Add 1 diced tomato and 1 chopped zucchini and juice of 1/2 fresh lemon to the mix in the saute pan. Cook down to a sauce and stir in cooked tortellini.
This is not your usual celery soup. It’s light, lean and spicy with a rich earthiness that is in every way the opposite of the Cream of Celery soups that were used to add a vegetable to church potluck casseroles. It’s also quite possibly the easiest soup in the history of soups. Quite simply, you take a head of celery and chop it into big chunks and toss it in a a pot with a chopped up carrot, half an onion, a couple twigs of thyme and a serrano chili. If you want it milder, you can carefully clean the chili. I went for heat and just chopped it up a bit and left the seeds in. I tossed on some salt and pepper and put it on to cook. To show you how ridiculously simple my chopping and prep was, here’s a snap of the pot just before I turned on the heat. Yeah, I spent two minutes chopping.
So then I let it come to a boil and then turned it down to a high simmer. I checked it a couple of times by trying to smoosh a piece of vegetable with my spoon. When it cooked enough that my spoon could squash (but not disintegrate) the veggies, I took it off the stove to cool down enough to puree. I use a Magic Bullet and if it’s too hot, there’s no opening it back up without help. Once it was a bit cooler, I pureed it and sat down to a delicious soup. I ate it plain since I don’t like crackers in my soup, but some chopped pecans or almonds might have been a nice touch.
There’s a earthy, umami flavor from the celery and a nice spicy heat from the chili, the carrot adds a mild touch of sweetness to balance the flavors. It’s a filling, hearty soup though with no oil, no cream and no meat, it’s almost no calories. This makes 8 servings, but since it is not a cream soup it will keep for several days in the fridge.