Sunday, August 26, 2012

banana pepper rings

i have 4 banana pepper plants in my garden this year, and they are producing nicely.  i've been able to harvest 5-10 at a time, a that's quite a bit of banana peppers all at once!  my favorite way to enjoy these veggies is to pickle them.  i have a simple recipe and method that takes very little effort, yet produces delicious pickled peppers; the recipe is adapted from a refrigerator pickle recipe shared with me by my mother in law.

5-10 banana peppers
white vinegar (1-3 cups)
water (1-2 cups)
1-3 garlic cloves

  1. remove pepper tops
  2. slice the peppers
  3. remove seeds & white flesh within the peppers (i prefer to do this after slicing, as it proves to be more efficient - a few minutes in a salad spinner, after being sliced and rinsed, helps as well).
  4. place clean, sliced peppers in a gallon-sized ziplok bag, or another container.  i use a tupperware pick-a-deli and it works PERFECTLY!  i highly recommend it!!
  5. add enough vinegar and water to cover the peppers.  a 50/50 mixture is probably ideal.  i prefer a bigger bite, and tend to go heavier on the vinegar than the water.  this recipe doesn't require a perfect science - experiment and see what your taste buds prefer!
  6. add the garlic cloves - i always add 2-3.  if you love garlic less than i, perhaps use only 1 small clove.
  7. refrigerate overnight, and they will be ready to go the next day!!!
  8. they keep for weeks (1+ months) in the fridge.  if you eat them quickly, you can reuse the vinegar/water mixture for a second batch (though i usually top off batch #2 with a bit more vinegar).
  9. feel free to add sea salt, a hot pepper (jalapeno or red hot chili), or anything else you might enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

fudge puddles

my sister's mother-in-law shared this recipe with me.  the recipe is rather simple, but is more time consuming than basic chocolate chip cookies.  there is nothing healthy about this delectable dessert, but your taste buds will surely approve :)

"wet" ingredients
1 C butter
1 C peanut butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

dry ingredients
2.5 C flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

filling ingredients
12 oz milk chocolate
12 oz dark chocolate
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla

cookie instructions
  1. preheat oven to 350 F
  2. mix wet ingredients
  3. add dry ingredients - mix or cream together
  4. place paper cups in tiny tart pan or cupcake pan 
  5. add cookie dough
  6. bake 15 minutes for mini tarts, or about 18 minutes for cupcake sized (or until browned)
  7. remove from oven, and press each cookie with "tart smasher," creating a hollow space for filling
  8. this is what i refer to as a "tart smasher" - there may be a proper term to which i am ignorant.   mine has a small end for mini tarts, and a large end for cupcake-sized tarts.
  9. let cool - remove from pan to wire rack until about room temperature

filling instructions
either use a double broiler, or a stock pot + sauce pan - i use the latter and will proceed with those instructions

  1. fill stock pot with enough water to cover sauce pan (i.e. add water to stock pot, and place sauce pan within, to determine proper amount of water).
  2. set stock pot to high heat to boil water
  3. combine all filling ingredients into sauce pan
  4. once water is boiling, place sauce pan within
  5. stir mixture continuously until well melted and consistent texture (20 minutes or so)
  6. pour the hot filling into the hollowed cookies/tarts (i use a 4 cup pyrex glass measuring cup - i heat it in the boiling water, and then empty the contents of the sauce pan into it - be very careful not to burn yourself - you'll need a well insulated oven mitt, or, a rubber handle cover for a cast iron skillet).
here's a sample of the finished product (cupcake-sized).  i failed to take a photo while they were displayed beautifully on the cake plate, so this will have to suffice.

* these tarts freeze well!!!
** recipe makes about 3 dozen cupcake sized tarts, or 6-8 dozen mini tarts