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Chile peppers bring both sweet and fiery zest to dishes — discover a fascinating and seemingly endless variety within the pages of this delightful book.Contrary to popular belief, a pepper does not need to make your eyes water or start a fire in your mouth to qualify as a chile. “Chile” is simply the common name for the fruit of the capsicum plant and chiles come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and flavors.

There are five major species of chile peppers and thousands of varieties, in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Even experts disagree about how many there actually are. So it is probably not surprising that the spelling for the word itself is somewhat problematic. Is it chili, chilli or chile? You are likely to come across all of those spellings if you are reading up on the topic.

This comprehensive book (which serves as both a reference and a cookbook) from bestselling author and expert researcher Judith Finlayson takes you through dozens of chiles and provides absorbing information on everything from the historical and geographic origins of chiles to information on the Scoville scale (which measures the hotness of a chile and was invented by Wilbur Scoville) to the health benefits of chiles and finally, 250 delicious and inventive recipes.

Full color throughout, this book takes inspiration from chiles and embraces them with an enthusiasm that maximizes their true flavor potential. From fiery Tex-Mex inspired meals to savory and sweet Thai dishes, this incredible collection of recipes is sure to make you a lover of all things chile.

Green Chimichurri Sauce

This sauce  is ubiquitous in South America, where it is a significant player in the art of churrasco: meat, most often beef, that is grilled over charcoal or a wood fire. Parsley is the traditional base, but cooks vary the herbs and spices. I flavor my green chimichurri heavily with robust, earthy oregano, which is what the gauchos use, according to famous Argentinean churrasco chef Francis Mallman. Chile is not typically added in Argentina, he says, but this seems to be a very purist approach in practice. Pass the sauce at the table or use it as a marinade.

Moreover … It is amusing to note that chile peppers do not grow well in the country of Chile. The climate is too chilly (pardon the pun) for them.

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Sangrita or Mexican – Style Tomato Juice

Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season.  It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila.

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Romesco Sauce

 

This classic Catalan sauce is often thickened with fried bread; here, I have used almonds, which are also traditional and make the recipe gluten-free.  Romesco sauce is a wonderful finish for grilled fish and seafood (especially shrimp), poultry and meat (especially pork) and even vegetables. It is actually a slight variation on a sauce served in the province of Tarragona in Catalonia, where it stars in an annual celebration along with a local onion known as the calcot.

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Making Chile Sauce

Spring is in the air

 

 

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Spring is in the air. If you are thinking about taking the family camping during spring break, how about putting fajitas on the menu? They are a great communal meal. Everyone has fun making their own and rolling them up. And then there are toppings to add. Even if you are pitching a tent in the living room or just enjoying a family dinner at home, this Tex-Mex classic is a great mealtime choice.

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