Phyllis' Kitchen...And All Around the House
Father and son team from Wild Carrot Farm, Ken & Colter Hubsch, have a line of condiments that they have created in their booth at Bardstown Road Farmers Market, and both love to cook. Ken used to cook for the old Hasenaur’s restaurant, and Colter is sous chef at Buck’s restaurant in Old Louisville. Both know a thing or two about raising vegetables, and how to use them. They have a couple of hot pepper concoctions that tempted me after I tasted their Smoky Tomato Salad Dressing, even though I am not a big fan of hot sauce. I tried their Hot Pepper Butter, which was good, and then their Chipotle Hot Sauce, which is not just hot, but very, very flavorful. I find myself using that Chipotle Hot Sauce on grits and guacamole, as well as some cheese dishes. Delicious!
Then I started thinking about all the hot peppers that still abound at the market, and asked if they would share a recipe for hot sauce. As luck would have it, Ken shared one of his hot sauce recipes, and you can try it for yourself. The good thing is that you can use most any hot peppers, and make it as hot as you like. Here’s Ken’s recipe:
Ken Hubsch’s Hot Sauce
2 pounds of fresh hot peppers (His favorites are Cayenne, Jalapeno, and Serrano as he doesn’t like too much heat. If you are a “Heat Seeker,” mix in some habanero, Bhut Jolokia (ghost chiles) and or some Scorpion Trinidad’s. Those will definitely take it up a notch.)
1 ½ cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
2-3 cups water
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup sugar
Wash the peppers and trim the tops off. Cut peppers into 3 inch pieces. Put them in a sauce pan and add the water. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until soft and tender. Drain peppers, reserving the liquid. Place in food processor and add vinegar and 1 cup of the reserve liquid. Blend till smooth. Run thru a food mill to extract the seeds and skins. (Foley food mills work fine)
Return pepper pulp to pan and add the 2 tablespoons salt and ½ cup sugar. Bring to a simmer.
Every batch of peppers seem to require some adjustments to the salt/sugar ratio. He prefers a slightly sweet sauce, as sugar helps tame the vinegar taste. Some people prefer the salt so adjust as necessary. If the sauce is a little too thick for you, add ½ cup additional water or reserved liquid if there is any left. Simmer 10 minutes, cool and bottle*. Refrigerate. (Ken encourages everyone to try adding some additional flavors to their sauce. Try some onions or garlic and even some carrots…….maybe a little pineapple which goes pretty well with the hotter peppers. Just add those items to the pan to cook them down a little before running thru the food mill or add them afterwards and use a stick blender to mix them in.)
*These could be canned using ½ pint canning jars with metal rings. Pack in sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for15 minutes.
Most hot sauces by nature are high acid products. (PH of 4.5 or lower) If you like for it to keep for a long while in the fridge he suggests a PH of 4.1 or lower. Making the basic version should produce a sauce having a PH of 3.6-4.0. If you can a lot of fruits and veggies, buying a PH meter is a good investment. Here is a link to a Mother Earth News hot sauce that ferments the peppers.
Fall Greens get better and better, with more cool nights. It even seems that frost is good for greens, so we don’t really mind so much when frost hits the greens. I thought I had tried every good recipe for kale and other fall greens until I recently re-read a book by Mark Bittman, New York Times Food Editor, and my favorite food writer. The book, “Food Matters,” is a great book for folks on a journey for healthier food, but Bittman goes one step forward: it’s not just heathy food. It’s excellent quality, uniquely flavored healthy food. And he urges readers to find local food and shop locally. He actually goes out on a limb on some recipes, using flavorings that are a bit edgy.
Take, for instance, his “Stir-Fried Greens with Cashews,” a variation of “Stir-Fried Greens with Tofu,” in “Food Matters.” These recipes have a sauce for the greens that contains Thai Fish Sauce. If you’ve ever used Thai Fish Sauce you know that it is a very vile smelling condiment, indeed. In fact, you will be tempted to not use it, but substitute soy sauce. But there’s something about the combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and a chile that goes perfectly with bold greens such as kale. Believe me, if I didn’t love Mark Bittman’s recipes, I would never have tried this recipe, but I do think you will love it, especially if you like vinegar with your greens.
Stir Fried Greens with Cashews:
1 ½ pound kale, Napa Cabbage, bok choy, or other thick-stemmed greens
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more if needed
3 tablespoons nam pla (Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce) or soy sauce
1 small chile, stemmed, seeded if you like, and minced, or crushed red chile flakes to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice or rice vinegar, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 or 3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
Salt and freshly ground black peppers
Put a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat and add about half the vegetable stems*, and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re browned and slightly tender, 3-5 minutes. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining stems. Remove and repeat with leaves. Remove. While greens cook, combine nam pla, chile, sugar, and lime juice or vinegar in a small bowl.
Add a little more oil to skillet if necessary, followed by the cashews, stirring to lightly brown the nuts. During the last minute of cooking, add the garlic, return the greens to the pan, and stir. Turn off the heat, drizzle with the dressing, and toss again. Taste and add salt if necessary, and add lots of black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.
*I did not use the stems.
Pumpkin/Winter Squash: By all means, cook your pumpkin instead of carving it. You can draw all kinds of faces with a Magic Marker to celebrate Halloween, but remember that pumpkins—and especially winter squash—have lots of food value and make excellent vegetables, soups, and desserts. While I often use pumpkins and winter squash interchangeably, the following recipe is a bit better with pumpkin, because it is paired with sweet potatoes, which are already sweet. This soup is really a main dish, since it contains peanut butter, and if you add a salad to the menu, you’ve got a well-balanced meal. The recipe comes from “The New Basics Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Since the two vegetables in the soup are orange, that means they are tops in nutrition. And oh, so easy!
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups cooked or canned pumpkin (or butternut squash) pulp (fresh is best)
2 cups cooked, pureed sweet potatoes
1 cup smooth peanut butter
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon, each, salt and freshly ground black pepper
Snipped chives, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter.
2. Add the stock, pepper, salt, and stir well until smooth. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Before serving, garnish the soup with chives and sour cream. Makes 8 portions.
Check out our radio show, “La Vida Local” on Crescent Hill Radio:www.crescenthillradio.com, with former Courier-Journal food editor, Sarah Fritschner, Patty Marguet and me. If you know a great cook, please recommend them for an interview. You may stream the show on the CHR website at 1 p.m. Saturdays or find it on the sound cloud or on Facebook under La Vida Local. Bardstown Road Farmers Market vendor Todd Childers was a recent guest. Check for other recipes on my website, www.phyllisfitzgerald.com, and you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Vida Local