July 20, 2008

Ripening Chile Pods

The temperature outside has gone into a more normal range, leaving the heatwave behind us. There were thunderstorms in the Los Angeles area last week and while we remained dry, the river nearby is high with runoff waters from the mountain rains.

My garden needs weeding and the gravel paths are full of invasive plants from the neighbor's yard. I've been so busy with work for the past two months that I've had little time to spare for my garden. Fear not, chiles thrive on neglect! All of the chile plants have pods. Sweet yellow italian horn peppers, cherry bombs, fatali, kung pao chiles and a mountain of red scotch bonnets. I harvested a few cherry bombs for my weekend omelettes this week, enjoying that crisp and clean bite of heat with my breakfast. You simply don't get that kind of flavor and texture from supermarket chiles. My only concern with the plants is that my scotch bonnet has fallen over due to the excessive weight of the pods growing on it, but so far the plant seems to be just fine. I haven't lost it. My Carribean Jerk Chicken recipe is safe! I should be able to make up a few packets of the marinated chicken for my freezer and enjoy the perfect grilled dinner later in the fall. The rest I will dehydrate and make into powder that rivals cayenne for heat and flavor.

I saw a new chile recipe on Sara Moulton's new cooking show this morning called "Chicken with Sausage and Hot Cherry Bomb Peppers". It was chicken and italian sausage sprinked with halves of pickled cherry bomb chiles and all simmered in a white wine sauce. It looked simple, but also very tasty. It is giving me incentive to pull out my water bath canner and contemplate pickling cherry bombs...just for this recipe. It was nice to hear Sara Moulton confess that she is a chilehead and that she cooks with hot chiles at home all the time. I guess she is lost like the rest of us! LOL