Friday, July 18, 2014

Ghost Peppers!

The Ghost Peppers are finally here!   If you like hot, you would love these guys.  The seed catalogs say they are 400 times hotter than a Jalapeno, but I think they're hotter than that.  A few years ago the seeds were hard to find, but I finally scored a dozen seeds for $12 bucks online (yes, a dollar a seed!).   They came with really good instructions on how to grow them.   Very slow to germinate, you need to start these in late spring or early summer.   The first year I started all 12 plants, and I think 5 of them survived to maturity.  I kept the seeds from those first plants and tried them again the next year (last summer).   Planted 9, got 5.   Only 2 survived.  They are very particular and hard to grow, and the 2 that survived never got bigger than a few inches tall, and never bloomed.  Tom decided to try to baby them through the winter in the greenhouse.  I had my doubts, and at times they looked horrible! But they did survive and grew, and finally bloomed in the spring!  Then we had a cold spell and all the flowers fell off.  They bloomed again, and we had an extremely wet spell and all the flowers fell off.  Argh!   Amazingly they bloomed AGAIN and the weather seemed to be straightening out, so off we went on vacation for 5 days.  Came home to find them totally withered from hot drought-like conditions, and yes, all the flowers fell off!   I had about given up on them by then (this was in May).  But sure enough, they bloomed yet again, and this time the flowers survived and now we have ripening Ghost Peppers!   We really only use them for hot sauce . . . they are much too hot to eat raw, and even cooked in most things.  But they do make great hot sauce (we mix maybe one or two Ghosts in with other peppers like Jalapenos or Cayennes to make the sauce).   Chop them up, boil them in vinegar, and strain the peppers out through cheesecloth, and voila . . . hot sauce!  Warning - your eyes might water while they're cooking, and do NOT lean over the pot to smell them while they are cooking!  That steam is hot, hot, hot!   If you like things hot, and you like to play in the garden, get yoursel some Ghost Pepper seeds.   You can find them in most of the seed catalogs nowadays.  Enjoy!

Ghost Peppers

One of the plants we babied in the greenhouse all winter

Monday, June 30, 2014

Smoked Salmon Dip

So we took a little time off here at the "Chef" to get the summer garden going.   Pics coming soon to the "Garden" page!  My sister just got back from a trip to Alaska and had this wonderful salmon shipped back.  So here's a great little appetizer for your next summer get-together . . . Fourth of July long weekend is coming up soon!   Enjoy.

Fresh salmon, hot off the smoker!


Ingredients
8 oz. Smoked salmon (we marinate ours with lemon juice, black pepper & olive oil for about 45 min. before smoking)
1 cup low-fat sour cream (you can substitute ½ cup Greek yogurt and ½ cup sour cream)
6 oz. low fat cream cheese
dash of hot sauce
2 tbl. finely minced onion
¼ tsp  garlic powder
good dash ground black pepper
good dash dried dill
½ tsp. Horseradish
dash of sea salt
Smoked Salmon Dip
Directions
  • Break up the salmon into smoked salmon into small pieces
  • Mix all ingredients in food processor until well blended and fairly smooth (if too thick you can add a little buttermilk to thin it)
  • Chill at least one hour before serving (can be made a day ahead)
  • Serve with good chips or crackers