Archive for September, 2011

Picking a Peck of Peppers

September 26, 2011

I love it when the peppers arrive at Farmer’s Market. I used to be quite undisciplined and get home with a wild salsa-making assortment, plus some to hang on a string to dry in the kitchen.

But my family is less enamored of peppers and does not agree that heat in a pepper is a good thing. So I have been developing discipline and trying to focus trips to the pepper stand on specific goals.

First of course is peach salsa. A good Walla Walla sweet onion and a collection of the sweet and mild peppers. I bring up the heat in just my serving with Tabasco which ensures the widest audience of eaters.

Fire roasted peppers ready for cleaning, dicing and drying for pepper flakes

Then I learned to use the medium peppers, diced and dried, to make flakes to shake on pizza. Turns out, when you have a shaker of peppers on the dining room table there are lots more uses than pizza. I make a year’s supply of flakes (about a cup dried). I clean and dice the peppers then toss them into the food dryer. This year I got the peppers fire roasted at market first. I understand you don’t need to dice, just slice open and clean out but the drying takes longer – then you run the peppers in the food processor to flake.

Last year I tried making paprika. They sell the paprika pepper in a couple of heats, I go mild. I dice and dry like the pepper flakes above then toss into the blender until powdery. The bits come out in a range of sizes, I just pretend that I run a fancy restaurant and this is a feature.

This year I experimented with pepperochinos. I like them when I find them in salad bars. Krista was making refrigerator Dilly beans, and I guessed that the same technique would work. Cut peppers into bite-sizes and put in a canning jar with one cup white vinegar, one cup water, 1 tsp salt and 3 minced cloves of garlic and a tsp of last years pepper flakes. After a week this is pretty good, and not being heated by canning, the peppers are more crisp than commercial.


Questions from a Real Hero

September 24, 2011

This item was left as a comment to an unrelated blog post and was moved from there to here.

I have been following your various postings for some time and have a few questions for you that I would appreciate if you answer in a public forum preferably by posting and replying to these questions on your website.
1.      You claim to be a proponent of “Smart Growth”  and yet you live in a large suburban house on a large lot with another smaller house next door. Also, from what I can tell you have a cabin up north. How do you reconcile this?
2.      You claim to be a proponent of various forms of social justice however you seem to support things that arguably would make life more difficult for your average person either in the Moscow Pullman area or in general.  For instance you oppose “big box” stores and “sprawl” but do not explain how smart growth or businesses such as the Coop will make life easier for people of modest means.  Also, along those lines do you have any real research to substantiate your claims? For instance by having restrictive zoning in Moscow and Pullman has that actually reduced environmental impact and housing affordability? Or do the upper middle class folks still own big suburban homes in town while the lower income people have to commute in from elsewhere because they cannot afford to live in the area?
3.      You make a number of commentaries about a variety of subjects ranging from education to environmental policy and economics. Do you have any specific expertise in these areas?
4.      On your Facebook page you mention that you are “gainfully unemployed” and that you are only willing to take a job that fits your desire to be “socially responsible”. I am curious first people who do not have jobs usually cannot afford to live, let alone in big suburban houses, if you are not employed where does your money come from? Second, how do you think that someone like for instance an unemployed mechanic or logger who cannot  find any work even if they are willing to travel and take a job they don’t necessarily like feels about you describing yourself as “gainfully unemployed”?
5.      Many of your positions such as your preference for organic food, or your dislike of cars and any other number of things you seem to support seem honestly to me to be more like fashion statements and icons of an upper middle class individual who has never really been uncomfortable in their life or has not really considered what the world would be like if all of their “preferences” came to complete and total fruition. You also, seem to ignore little hypocrisies of your own existence. As I questioned above you have no problem owning multiple houses or for that matter using highly environmentally intensive electronics  to do most of your work, while at the same time telling the rest of us that we should make do with less. How exactly is this not the same brand of elitism that you seem to accuse many conservatives and other people of?
As I said before I would appreciate you posting and replying to these questions. I believe in holding people accountable for what they say and how they live.
Best regards,
Real Hero


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