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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.

Mexican-Style Tomato Juice (Sangrita)

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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Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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If you have the ingredients on hand, this tasty dip can be ready to serve in about 5 minutes. Serve it with crudités, crackers or pumpernickel rounds for an elegant appetizer at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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Walnut Dusted Cheese Balls

 

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The combination of soft, sweet mascarpone, slightly astringent Gorgonzola and bittersweet walnuts is quite glorious. Spread this on a plain cracker and enjoy with a glass of robust red wine.

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Potato Tortilla with Peppers

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This variation on tortilla, a traditional Spanish tapas dish resembling an omelet, adds green and red bell peppers, a chile pepper and a liberal amount of sharp cheese to the traditional potato and egg combination. Traditionally it is served cold or at room temperature.

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