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peppers

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Holy hot sauce, what a crazy month! Things have been moving here at the FFF headquarters, and tomorrow I’m venturing off to Montreal for a few days…Did someone say bagels?!

Jalapenos

Before I go, I wanted to welcome the first day of fall on here together, and since I’m not ready for any sort of cool weather just yet, I’m bring you something a little fiery instead.

Whip a batch of this up with the last of the summer season’s jalapeños, and pull it out on the first real cool day. They say warm climates call for spicy foods, but I’m telling you, a spoonful of this is bound to make you feel all warm inside. At the very least, your tongue will feel the fire.

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Perfect for fish tacos, breakfast tacos, portobello tacos, any kind of tacos…this recipe lends itself to a wide range of uses, as long as you like spicy. It’ll make about 16 ounces, so be prepared to enter a lot of hot sauce eating competitions with your friends. Or just pull out some small freezer containers like I did, and divide it on up.

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

P.S. You can expect more squash-filled, appley, autumn-inspired recipes soon. In the meantime, I’m still hanging onto summer.

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Homemade Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Recipe via All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 20 fresh jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a medium glass or enamel lined sauce pan over high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion and salt; sauté for 4 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add the vinegar. Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator.
https://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2015/09/23/homemade-jalapeno-hot-sauce/
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Roasted Garlic Basil Pepper Poppers

Mini Sweet Peppers

Every Saturday, I get to talk food.  I get to share recipes, discuss veggies and sell people healthy food. It’s great. I’m totally in my element, which makes waking up on Saturdays to work feel almost like a treat. (The Honeycrisps snatched for breakfast helps those mornings out too. As does the coffee from the nearby train station cafe. — Shout out to Elcy’s for being adorable.)

As I’ve said in recent posts, I’ve been helping a family with their weekend farmer’s market. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, this is the same family I used to spend summers with as a full-time “farmer” throughout school. The same family that taught me how toss watermelons around like basketballs, ventilate a high tunnel, and run an entire CSA operation. Reflecting on it now, I had no idea at the time what a life experience that was. It’s not everyday a girl learns how to drive a tractor. After moving to the city — where farming is  romanticized — I realized that was a pretty bad ass time in my life.

Since the move to the city streets and pavement, since becoming a recipe developer / journalist / food writer, among other things, I’ve come full circle. Once again, I’m working with both vegetables and a family that loves having me there. It’s a return I wouldn’t have foresaw, but a circle I’m happy to complete. It’s also such a nice feeling lending a hand to people who really value you being there. Life has taught me that.

And I have to say, I’m pretty sure I’m their best salesman. That’s not too vain, right?

I know how to talk Red Russian kale vs. Lacinato kale, white eggplant vs. regular, pie apples vs. eating apples, etc. etc. better than any of them when it comes to cooking. Which is why when a customer comes up to the stand and inquires about anything to do with taste/flavor, they get directed straight to me. We toss around recipe ideas, eating and storage suggestions. And then I send the customers home after they’ve bought a few extra pounds of produce. And vitamins and yumminess. Boom.

Farmer's market produce

People will often swing by and tell me what they’re cooking, which I absolutely love for inspiration. One Saturday, these mini sweet peppers were the topic of discussion. A man was telling me how he liked to stuff them with cheese and pop them in the oven. Brilliant.

The little peppers are gorgeous in themselves, so I love the idea of serving them whole. I started thinking how I could do a vegan variation of my customer’s idea, and so home I went to try experimenting on my own. Naturally, I turned to garlic, a favorite ingredient of mine. The first time around, I added cilantro too, which was a success, and then the next time, basil, which would land a spot on my blog. Both herbs work well. If you’re a cilantro fan, I’d say go with that, along with a few dashes of chili powder to season the peppers. Basil is also nice though, and would lend itself well if you decide to bring cheese back to the equation. A simple appetizer at its best.

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Simply Roasted Veggie Tacos with Goat Cheese

Roasted Veggie Tacos with Goat Cheese

 

There need be no rhyme or reason for tacos. Eat them for breakfast. Eat them for lunch. Eat them for dinner. In my kitchen, every time is a good time for tacos.

As I said in my last post, summer is a season born for simplicity in the culinary world. Locally harvested produce needs little labor. Throw a bunch of veggies on a baking sheet, add a little marinade and roast. What you’ll end up with is a tray full of beautifully enhanced, caramelized vegetables that’ll taste so good, you could easily grab a fork and start chowing down.

Taking the next step, however, will make your experience that much more satisfying. When wanting to turn roasted veggies into an easy meal, grab tortillas, black beans and goat cheese, and call it a day. Boom. Easy as tacos.

Tacos are my college kid’s pasta. A satisfying go-to and perhaps my self-prescribed, lazy man’s guide to cooking. With a ton of fresh veggies in season, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ll take lazy any day if it means tacos for dinner. If you agree, you’re welcome for dinner at my house during any week. They usually make it onto the eating agenda at least once in a 7-day period.

Feel free to switch up the veggies below with whatever you have on hand. Zucchini are nice, as are roasted beets. I do, however, recommend keeping the mushrooms in the mix, as they’ll add a lot of flavor and a nice, chewy texture.

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White Beans with Eggplant and Roasted Pepper Pesto

Potato salad? Check. Deviled eggs? Check. Salad? Check.Veggie dogs/hot dogs? Check. Hummus? Check. Brownies? Check. Every other item of food needed for a picnic? Check.

In a family full of cooks, the basics are nearly always covered when it comes to throwing a party with the Dickinson crew. “Why don’t you just relax and not make anything this time,” my mom tells me. It’s the same thing she told me on Labor Day. And on Memorial Day. And probably the past five holidays before that.

“Because I WANT to make something.” Of all people, I’d think she’d understand this. But maybe not.

Regardless, I always end up making the experimental dish on the table that I typically give some long, made-up name no one could ever guess. More often than not, it’s also always the talk of the party. Not to be cocky, but generally the adventurous eaters are the people who enjoy talking about food, and when an innovative dish shows up on their plate, they come running with an eager bunch of questions. That leaves me to sweep in and run through the rhyme and reasoning of the ingredients. Rinse and repeat, and I end up sending a majority of the party home with a new recipe to make.

Luckily, it’s a process I can happily handle. Being told not to cook for a party on the other hand, well, that not so much.

This one came from the idea and desire of combining two of my favorite summer eats, pesto and roasted eggplant. With a lot of bell peppers on hand, I threw them into the mix too, bulking up the pesto with their flavor. If you have red bell peppers available—which sadly I did not—I presume this dish might turn out a tad prettier. Either way, top this dish off with a splash of tomatoes for a fresh finish. And be prepared to explain what other ingredients went in it.

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Pasta with Basil and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This sauce is a wonderful change from tomato sauce. It still has that saucy, red pop but with a slightly less acidic, slightly more intense flavor. Plus, it comes together quickly, with a brief period of oven time replacing hours of simmering on the stove.

I roast the peppers after slicing them, and take a nontraditional approach of leaving the pepper skins in tact. I’m not entirely sure why pepper skins are always removed, with the exception that when peppers are roasted whole, they’re often torched to the point where the skins turn a charcoal-like black. For sake of time, this recipe shortens the roast time, and therefore the skins needn’t come off. Likely, this is a nutritional bonus, given that many produce items contain a ton of vitamins and antioxidants in their protective skins. The food processor will do all the work to blend them into the rest of the sauce.

Olive oil and onions sweeten up the sauce, while beans bulk it up with a punch of protein. The end result is a full-flavored sauce, perfect for standing up to nutty, whole wheat pasta. Perfect as all those garden peppers start to turn red right about now!

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