Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stuffed Chili Peppers

And if you are in Aus, it's Chilli. With two "l"s...

Before I let you know about how I stuffed the chili's and how they were cooked, let me reply to my massive fan club (all 3 of you , thanks!) about my question of what to do with the chili peppers I got.

Suzer: Yup, chili was on the agenda. In fact that'll be tonight's dinner. I just picked up 5 pounds of lamb off-cuts for a dollar yesterday. This morning I seared the fat and it's in a big pot of boiling water. I'll get more than enough meat for the chili, plus some good skimmed fat for cookin', and then a load of lamb stock for soup. The chili should come out to around 60 cents a serve, cool. Hmmmmm, lamb chili... I'll let you know how it tastes. Oh, I was planning on roo chili (like you suggested) but couldn't pass up the lamb deal.

You should be glad you won't be here later this week as it'll be back in the 40's for a couple of days; definitely pool weather :)

RunninL8: Pizza... drool... We have it about once a week. Thanks for the dough recipe, it's almost exactly the same as mine except I don't put the herbs in the dough cus someone here (BIL) doesn't like it like that. I think it's very cool that there's still folks in the US (sorry, Alaska) that make traditional Italian pizza, very very healthy and tasty. How many blokes do you know who have 2 pizza stones and use them regularly? They're great for cooking biscuits and some breads on too :)

The pizza last night was a bit of sauce (tomato, herbs, garlic), cheese, lots of peppers, a bit of bacon, shrooms, and smoked oysters. It was gooooood... BTW have you ever had a BBQ Roo pizza?

OT for runninL8: WP is a solitary, so is MIL (she's been reading runes for over 80 years), and BIL is a wiccan who chairs the local Uni religious centre.

Arvay: When you eat spicy food in hot weather it actually cools you off. Why? Cus all them spices dilate your capillaries so you blow off heat. Most cultures in hot climates have been doing this millenia before a/c was invented. It's cheaper too :) And tastier :)

I did stuffed chilli's for two nights in a row as a side dish for 3 of us (BIL is a wussy food weenie) so we obviously were on the same wavelength. Yes, cheese was involved :)

Ricotta Stuffed Chilli Peppers!

Mmmmmmmm, tasty and tangy.
Here's what the chilli's look like:
chili peppers 04

On a scale of 1 to 10; with a bell pepper (called a capsicum down here in Oz) being zero, a jalepeno being a 4, a habenero (sp????) being 8, a thai chilli being 8.5, and the ungodly horror that grows in India (your fingers blister if you touch it and eating one seed of it will leave your mouth in agony for up to half an hour) being 10 zillion gajillion; I'd say these come in around 1 or 1.5. In other words, not very spicy at all, but just enough to taste it.

Take two of the peppers, slice them lengthwise, take out the membrane and seeds. Next, mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese with a tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp dried mint, 1/2 tbsp of dill weed, and 2 tsp of corn starch (called corn flour down in Oz).

Place the halved chillis on a baking tray and fill with the ricotta mix. Then generously sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of each (there'll be four!) and pat them down a bit. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground cumin powder. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Then bake them suckers! Around 180 C (350 F) for 15 to 20. Then turn the heat up to 220 C (425 F) for a couple of mins to crispy up the top. You'll know they're done with the tops are crispy but not burned.

Makes a great side dish, each person gets one of the halved chillis to go along with whatever else you are making for dinner.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Call for HELP!

I need some input from all 4 of my ever faithful readers. See, when I'm out grocery shopping it's pretty darned hard for me to go past a really damned good bargain.

See, here's proof:

chili peppers 01

That's 99 cents aussie for 500 grams, or equal to 72 cents US per pound. But just what's in the bag? Glad you asked:

chili peppers 02

Lots and lots of chil(l)i peppers! Well, ok, there was one capsicum (bell pepper) in the bag too. See, here they are all spread out:
chili peppers 03

These suckers are pretty darned big:
chili peppers 04

Now, I've got many ideas as to what to do with them. In fact one of them will be used as my side dish to the Malaysian Squid & Prawn Curry I'll be making for dinner. Ummmm, the other folks in the house are treating these puppies like they are toxic! Well, that's one way to get them out of my kitchen, eh?

So, what's y'alls ideas? Any suggestions? I'll be pickling at least one, and drying the bell pepper, btw.

Chili Relenos (sp????) come to mind... does anyone have a good batter for that dish?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chili Cherry Chutney

There are literally an infinite numbers of chutney recipes. You can pretty much do anything with a chutney you'd like.

Now, some chutney enthusiasts insist on a few certain ingredients and a specific way of making said chutney.

This. Recipe. Is. NOT. For. Those. Folks.

This is one you can make easily and only has a few things in it. I came up with it after we came back from Belair with 2.5 kilos of fresh, wild, tart, just barely ripe cherries. I was planning on making cherry syrup and cherry jam only. However, I kept back a couple of ladles of the syrup to experiment with... This was then born:

Dingo Dave's Excellent Chilli Cherry Chutney.

I've reconfigured the amounts --are YOU really gonna have access to five and a half pounds of cherries? Thought not. This should be sufficient make a chutney that'll fill a small salsa sized jar, about two cups.

Here's what you need:

200 grams fresh, tart cherries
1 cup of raw sugar
2 to 4 cups water
1 or 2 fresh Thai chilli peppers (them little, red, skinny ones that are about 2 inches long and are really really really hot)
small handful of finely minced onion
1 clove of crushed garlic (or 1 tsp of prepared garlic)

Here's what you do:

Give the cherries a good rinse and remove the stems. Give each cherry a quick slice partway through --don't pit them, just give each one a little slice so that as they cook all the cherry goodness is released.

Put the cherries and the sugar in a stainless steel saucepan and then add enough water to cover the cherries plus about an extra inch of water for cooking down.

Cover the saucepan and put it on low heat. Give it a stir every 5 minutes of so. If the water has cooked down the the cherries haven't turned to pulp, then just add a bit more water. This'll take 20 to 40 mins depending on your stove-top. You should end up with around 2 cups of really good tasting cherry syrup.

Now you get to strain it! This is a lot easier than you think. Pour the liquid, pulp, and pits into a fine metal seive --Ummmmm,make sure it's over a bowl cus the syrup in what you want! Now instead of trying to use a spatula or spoon, just put your fingertips into the pulp and pits and start stirring it around in the seive with your fingertips juuuuuust grazing the seive. Waa-La! 20 seconds later all the syrup is extracted from the pulp and pits.

This cherry syrup also makes a great ice cream topping, but we're gonna add some goodies to it!

Slice each chili pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (but don't toss them out). Finely mince the chilli pepper flesh and then add them and the whole seeds to the cherry syrup. Add the minced onion and the garlic. Give it a good stir and let it sit while you sterilise your jar and lid.

I usually just use boiling water to sterilise my storage jars. It's, ummmm, not difficult.

Once the jar (and lid) have been out of the boiling water long enough for you to handle the glass with your hands (but still pretty warm), it's then a good time to pour the chutney in. Make sure you seal the jar tightly!

In about 30 minutes the sealed jar should be cool enough to put in the fridge --NOTE: if you are doing this in the aussie summer heat you'll put it in the fridge but if you are anywhere else just put in it your pantry.

Put it waaaaaaaay in the back and forget about it for a month.

After a month, this will taste soooooo good! You can dip crackers in it, potato chips, pappadams, corn chips or whatever. Pour it onto your morning toast! Guaranteed to wake you up.

Once you've opened it, then make sure you refrigerate it (if you don't polish the whole thing off in one sitting.

It also makes a great marinade for roasts, chickens, lamb, fish, whatever. Just remember to keep it covered in the cus the sugar will caramelise and you don't want it to burn.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chocolate Log Cabin Part 4

This is the Fourth and Final Fragmented Featurette of the saga of Dingo Dave's Chocolate Log Cabin, at the end of Year 4705.

I'm sure y'all will be looking forward to my next entry. Chilli Cherry Chutney!

But in the meantime, how's abouts we add some ice and snow to that thar cabin we wuz werkin' on last time. Remember though, if you've just stumbled into this blog and are totally lost, then read these: Cabin part 1, cabin part 2, and cabin part 3.

Ok: icycles!

You'll need about 1/2 pound of white milk chocolate. Melt it in the nuu-queue-lerr machine (microwave) as per instruction in part 2. And then (this is the important part) let it cool till you can juuuuust stir it. Otherwise the icycles won't form when you spoon it onto the over-hanging roof rafters.

See, this is what I mean:
chocolate log cabin 30

And don't worry about any "ice" on the "ground" around the cabin, it just makes the snow taste good!
chocolate log cabin 31

And make sure you get the back rafters too
chocolate log cabin 32

It's now time to make it snow! This involved a litre and a half of heavy whipping cream, one cup (or so) of raw sugar, and then the heck beat out of it until it was very stiff! Here's a pic of the bowl in front of the cabin:
chocolate log cabin 33

Then slather the snow over the roof using a flexible rubber spatula
chocolate log cabin 34

Pile the leftover "snow" around the outside of the cabin
chocolate log cabin 35

And don't forget to shovel out the front door!
chocolate log cabin 36

Next time I'll use a lot more cream! I'll make a whole snowfield around the cabin, a woodpile, a chimney, a dog yard, and (of course) an outhouse. Stay tuned for that!

It was then time to eat this sucker! It took the four of us chocolate lovers 2 and a half days to polish it off. Mmmmmmmmmm...

Here's some pics of the carnage:

chocolate log cabin 37

chocolate log cabin 38

chocolate log cabin 39

chocolate log cabin 40

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chocolate log cabin 46

Mmmmmmmmmmm... chocolate... mmmmmmmm...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chocolate Log Cabin Part 3

Here's where we get to put the roof on, "paint" on the windows and doors, and "seal" the roof. Wee-hoo: more chocolate!

Now two weeks ago (sorry, it's been hot here) I left you here:
chocolate log cabin 19
Remember, let the above construct set overnight so the "glue" (melted chocolate) firms up

Don't forget to read part one and part two if you are lost.

Remember I had only 9 long "logs" for the roof, so obviously a bit of trickery and sleight of hand was called for... Note to self: double the dough next time ya moron!
chocolate log cabin 20

Notice that I don't have enough "logs" to make a leak proof roof. No worries, we'll fix that soon with loads of cocoa whipped cream! The important thing to note with the above pic is the very generous use of melted dark chocolate as glue. Also I used the snipped ends from the wall "logs" as spacers so the roof logs didn't slide down.

Now, I only used 8 of the 9 roof logs for the roof. I also had some short leftover logs. So I used all the leftovers to fill in some of the roof gaps. And lots and lots of melted dark chocolate for glue! Here's a view of each side after shoring up the roof gaps:
chocolate log cabin 21

chocolate log cabin 22

At this point I had given up hope of having enough time (it's bleedin' hot down here in Oz at Chrissie Time!) to cut out windows and a door. So I decided I'd paint on an outline of the front door and the window frames.

Hmmmmm, what to use... How's about 600 mls of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup of raw sugar, and 1/2 cup of raw cocoa powder? Yeah, that'll work. Chuck it all into a bowl and beat the heck out of it till it's stiff! It'll look something like this:
chocolate log cabin 23

The chocolaty creamy goodness was then loaded into my piping bag and then I did this:
chocolate log cabin 24
This'd be the front door. I tried to make a lift up wood timber for a latch... obviously it didn't work... But what the heck, it added more cream and chocolate!!

Next is the window frames, both sides and the rear were done like this:
chocolate log cabin 25

You'll note there is a LOT of chocolatey cream left over. This is for the roof! Just trowel the creamy-cocoa goodness onto the roof. Like this:
chocolate log cabin 26

At this point, I decided to not use the cocoa cream for the muntin (or sash bars if you so desire that term) of the window frame. Why? Well as the cocoa-cream "set" it got darker. So much so that you almost couldn't tell it from the wall. Next time I'll do not only the muntin but also the frame in white chocolate.

How to make an edible window muntin: melt some white chocolate in your nuking machine. When it's just melted, use the blunt end of a bamboo skewer to "paint" on the muntin. Like this:
chocolate log cabin 27

Stay tuned for part 4: Icycles and snow!

And I promise you won't have to wait two weeks for it. Why? Cus I wanna finish up with the chocolate log cabin so I can tell you all how to make really good Chilli Cherry Chutney (with onions and garlic). Mmmmmmmmmm, even WP (Wifey-Poo) likes it!