Saturday, November 23, 2013

Know Your Peppers

I love to cook and I love spicy peppers.  Recently, I've been combining the two.

Today, I was in a new gourmet store which has dried peppers from Mexico.  I bought the "Dried Chile Ancho" which are actually dried poblano peppers.  Here's a picture of what they look like on the left.

Ancho peppers are sun-dried and as healthy as nature made them.  They have mild to medium heat with a sweet fruity flavor; the flavor reminds you of cherries and prunes.  The peppers are used often in Mexican cooking, such as mole (which is a dark sauce containing peppers and chocolate -- yes, chocolate!).

Not all peppers are spicy.  Anchos, for example, are quite mild.  I add them for flavor, not heat.

Two other popular peppers you should know are spicy.  They are jalapenos and habaneros.  Jalapenos, despite their reputation, are only medium-heat.  I eat them raw and whole.  They have a nice vegetably flavor which matches their green color.  You can toss a few in any dish to improve its flavor.  They add a modicum of heat.

Habaneros are another story.  They are at the top of the pepper pile.  They are very, very hot.  Let me say that once more, as a warning -- they are very, very hot!  One small pepper will make an entire pot of food searingly hot.  Habaneros are what I received as a gift recently and what I used to make hot sauce.  I turned thirty of these potent suckers into less than a cup of hot sauce, meaning the sauce is intensely spicy. 

Do you ever cook with peppers?  Or hot sauce?


  1. I am pretty sure that you would be the best roommate ever. I am drooling just looking at these! I like to cook with spices, fresh hot chili peppers mostly. I have to be careful now that Liam is always over though.

  2. Stuffed ancho chiles are one of my favorite things to make! Here is the recipe if you would like to try it:

    It sounds like dinner at your place would beyond rock, Ally! There would be awesome outfits and amazing spicy food and beautiful music playing on the record player.

    1. Yes! I've uncovered the secret to happiness. :-)

  3. oh my goodness! 30 habaneros into 1 jar of hot sauce, I have never tried anything that hot, but I like chilli's, they are pretty addictive though x x x

  4. I'ma woos. No peppers for me. Worst date in college involved me nearly choking on a pepper that was accidentally added to my food :P

  5. I am not a lover of hot/spicy food ~ although my son on the other hand LOVES it. Well done on combining your love of cooking and peppers ... always interesting to see what you are getting up to in the kitchen!

  6. Recently I have a couple of chilis from the garden filled with olive oil in a bottle .... and painted a skull symbol on - not that one tilts the content generously over the salad :-)

  7. In principle, I like a little heat (say, up to a medium salsa or curry), but alas it does not jive well (at all) with some of my medical conditions, so I avoid it pretty much all the time. Once or twice a year I'll treat myself to some mild salsa, but that's as wild as I'll go - least I pay the consequences big time for it afterwards.

    ♥ Jessica