Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Herbal Gift Series #13 Hot Stuff

I know it is sexist to say this, but I think that hot peppers and food of their ilk are generally man food. I like hot and spicy foods to a degree, but after sitting at a table where 2 men sat on either end having a duel with hot pepper eating, well, you just almost never see women use food as a weapon. Those guys continued even though they couldn't see through the tears. Their noses ran uncontrollably and they could barely speak. But they were having fun, you see.
Not all men are like that (I'm particularly fond of a man who has a thing for scented candles), and I've known women who took the challenge. Somehow sitting in a nice restaurant with every part of my face dripping doesn't seem like a good thing, but that's just me. But if you have a man on the list who needs a little something, there is still time to make some vinegar. The following instruction and recipe is from our book, Making and Using Herb Vinegars.
This recipe was originally on a hang tag from Cider Mill Vinegars in Maryland. They don’t seem to be around anymore, but this is a great dish.
First you’ll need to make some hot pepper vinegar. This is really not too tough.
Take white wine or apple cider vinegar (we like apple cider vinegar for this one) and pour it into a pan with hot peppers. We’ve used dried peppers or fresh, depending on the time of year, and what was available. Heat the vinegar to almost boiling and keep it at a low simmer for 5 minutes.
Fill a large clean bottle about ¼ with peppers. When the vinegar has cooled, strain it and pour it into the bottle(s). Allow the vinegar to ripen for 2 weeks, and it’ll have a nice kick.

Now here’s the recipe:
Garlic Chicken

2 lbs. Boneless chicken breasts
½ c hot pepper vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
2 T honey
15 (yes…15) cloves of garlic, peeled and split
1 oz. soy sauce

Wash chicken and cut in half. Brown in vegetable oil in a heavy skillet. Add garlic and cook a little longer, until browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until chicken is done and glazed with sauce. Turn chicken several times while cooking.

To put together a basket, here are some items that are good additions:
Hot Pepper Jelly - poured over cream cheese and served with crackers, it is incredible.
Dark Chocolate bars with Hot Peppers - Some of the gourmet bars have chilis in them
Cocoa mix with Chili Pepper
Hot Sauces - we carried "Scorned Woman" in the shop for years. Some of the names are hysterical.
Horseradish Sauces
Spicy Dip Mixes
Chocolate Dipped Chili Peppers With Canolli Filling Recipe
(found on by mystic_river1)
The flavors of sweet canolli filling, hot jalapenos and then the rich dark chocolate flavor of the dip make this a taste sensation.
Filling for Chilis
2 c. or 1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate bits
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. candied cherries(optional)
12-20 long chilis of your choice
bottle of thick dark chocolate fudge syrup
Directions for making filling:
Blend cheese and sugar until smooth. Add remaining ingredients.
wash chilis
cut off the tops: about half an inch
clean out seeds and ribs if there are any
put ricotta filling in pastry bag
pipe into chilis
with a little puff on top
Plate in a circle with thick ends pointing out
In center of plate put a deep bowl with the chocolate fudge(hot or cold)
Dip each chile in fudge return to plate and serve. OR let each person dip their own.

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