Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nature nurtured...

"Smoke 'em if ya got 'em"

Fresh chiles are always a welcome site at the peak of the growing season.  I always look forward to that first bite of heat in a simple salsa.  My CSA had bins of poblanos and jalapenos that they were giving away by the truckload.  I filled a reusable shopping bag and headed home with my treasure. 

I couldn't help but roast a batch as soon as I got in the house.  They were extra hot this year because of the favorable growing conditions.  I partook in all that I could handle.  The charred remains went into the refrigerator for use throughout the week.  Not enough to justify freezing.  I topped off two pint mason jars with a green hot sauce.  I'll use some to spice up a pot of chili on a cold day, the bean kind of course.  I have yet to venture the Texan route.  However, I have made a delightful vegetarian version with roasted eggplant and barley.  I forgot to pull about a dozen out of the bag and discovered them a week later.  A coincidental break in the humidity shriveled them into red beauties with no signs of rot.  I'm set for the winter and didn't have to spend a dime. 

Inspired by the Hatch Chile Festival, I contacted my CSA and proposed to run a chile roast and smoking event next year.  I suggested that members gather with their grills and smokers for a day of alchemy.  Maybe I'll even make some chile rellenos and tortilla soup to share.  It'll be a nice way to make use of some great product and get a community together to celebrate a successful harvest.

Who knew that a mere pepper could be transformed into a variety of forms and flavors?  Most processes were born to preserve a perishable product without the luxury of refrigeration.  It's a bonus that they're so tasty.  On their own, they add a little spice and depth to our dishes.  In a chef's hands, they're completely transformed to push the pallet in ways we never imagined.  

OCQ was put together to investigate their inspirations, so we can attempt our own spins.  Keep to The Plan...  

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