Hello to all from chilly unseasonably freezing Indiana! I was thrilled when Dave asked me to fill in for him for a moment while he was off…vacationing and enjoying things I probably wish I was enjoying. Now, for some reason I wanted to grill something for this post. Hmmm. But I didn’t. No charcoal. No nice weather. No motivation. But while standing outside, I began to look around…in search of inspiration. Leaves changing colors, a chill in the air, kids chasing a football…all of that Fall in the air…but still I spied a long row of plants. Green and overflowing, even! Orange, red, yellow and light green interspersed the row of some of my favorite little treasures… chile peppers! And YES, in a perfect world, I could magically make charcoal and motivation appear…but in my world, I decided to do the next best thing…PICKLE THEM!
I pretty much adore pickled food. Not only is it an age-old way to preserve your bounty, it is also a way to add fabulous, tangy flavor to your meal! Have you ever grilled a nice piece of meat…any meat, you choose…then sliced it up nice and thin, and put it into a warm corn tortilla (that you so conveniently threw on the grill after your meat was finished), added some cold, pickled chiles? Roll that baby up and take a BIG ol’ bite! Be careful, though…all of your senses may go into overdrive, threatening imminent flavor satisfaction. The earthiness of the corn hits you first. Then your teeth sink into that smoky, juicy grilled meat which is so perfectly complimented by the tangy bite of the pickled vegetable…and some mouth-tingling heat if that pickled vegetable happens to be a pickled jalapeño. Oh yeah, it’s that good. I hate to tempt you with grilled meats though, as there will be none…but I had to fit that grilling in somewhere.
If you know me, you know my love for Rick Bayless (can you say genius?). He knows his sh*t and he knows it through and through. He has an amazing recipe for Pickled Jalapeños that I’ve been using for years…it works with all types of chiles, though. Yes, I’ve tried. And it doubles…or even triples perfectly!
Jalapeños in Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)
From Rick Bayless’ Mexico One Plate at a Time
(click the title for the link to Rick's site)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced…or use whole baby carrots
12 oz. (~20) fresh jalapeño chiles (~3 c.)
1 large white onion, sliced…I’ve used various types of onions and they all work nicely
1 ½ c. cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
2 large sprigs EACH fresh thyme & marjoram or ½ tsp. EACH dried…I’ve used a combo when I had to…it works
Gather and rinse your chiles.
Clean and slice your carrots (and onions)... I love using this crinkle cutter, especially if I’m giving the final product as a gift…who doesn’t love a good, wavy vegetable?
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, chiles and onion and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is translucent, ~5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, bay leaves, herbs, a generous teaspoon of salt and 1 ½ c. water, bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 10 minutes.
See the chiles…beginning their fade…inevitable fade…towards army green?
Cool. Transfer to non-aluminum container, cover and refrigerate a day before eating or using in a dish. There should be enough pickling juice to completely cover the chiles; if there isn’t, mix up what you need to add using half vinegar, half water and season with a bit of salt. Stored in the fridge, they will keep easily for more than a month. I put them in canning jars…just to store and to give away. I don’t can. I should. I want to. But…I’m too afraid I will kill everyone off with botulism. Plus, I don’t know if the acid-ratio is correct for canning. That’s okay….they honestly keep a LONG time in the fridge. If need be.
I know I was talking about how great they were with grilled meats…but they’re also amazing with countless other things. (One of) My favorite breakfast for example…Poached eggs, buttered toast and a pickled jalapeño to crunch on with each bite. Bliss!
Thanks for having me Dave…hope you’re enjoying the Big Easy!
******************************Dave again... Do me a favor and drop by Heather's site (GIRLICHEF) and thank her for being a guest blogger today. Peppers are an important part of grilling. It was terrific of her to introduce to us another way to serve them.
Just a reminder, I am in the middle of the BIGGEST giveaway contest I have ever held... Coupons for 4, 15-oz bottles POM WONDERFUL (you pick the flavor). Check my post from Sunday (you can get there by clicking HERE) for the details on how to win, but one of the important ways to enter is to go to http://girlichef.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment, then return here, and comment to me that you thanked Heather for her guest blog. You will get one entree for each of my guest bloggers you thank for giving me a blog vacation. On Sunday, I will select one commenter to win this terrific prize!