Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweet and spicy

Anyone who has been reading for a while knows that July and August are incredibly busy here.  I do my best to post something every now and again, but as most of my time is spent in the Cantina, I don't find myself having very much to say (a least, nothing particularly interesting, apart from the normal restaurant stories about people being crazy and so forth...) but I do have some time to throw together some kitchen experiments every now and again.

Cooking is how I relax.  It also stems from a deep loathing of throwing any perfectly good food away.  When the four hot pepper plants on my garden started all sprouting shiny, temptingly dangerous red peppers in small orbs or long, thin fingers at the same time, I panicked.  What does one do with so many hot peppers at the same time?

From the left in the photo above, we have hot pepper infused olive oil, middle, pickled cucumbers and hot peppers, and then, on the right, my first attempt ever at making homemade hot sauce.  I will not traumatize anyone by posting the recipe, which is actually too hot even for me.  It's made with fresh nectarine and these little calabrian hot peppers no longer then your little finger that will literally have you tearing up after just one seed.  Lessons learned.  

However, my newest step into desserts turned out much better.  With the overflow of nectarines and golden plums we have at home, as well as more kumquats from our little garden, I put together a pannacotta of greek yogurt and vanilla topped with the summer fruit I had in the house.  The pannacotta recipe is from one of my absolute favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  Pannacotta, which means literally "cooked cream" is just that.  Cook it on the stovetop, add some gelatin, pop it in the fridge for a few hours, and eat away.  I added a bit more sugar, a drizzle of vanilla and a few extra squeezes of local lemon to the recipe before letting it chill - but it's quite literally the easiest dessert I've ever made, and another great way to use up the abundance of stone fruits that I can't help buying during the summer.

Also, it's a great way to cool off my burned tastebuds after that hot sauce...

1 comment:

  1. Ciao Christine, I can't imagine how much of a zoo it is in the summer and still have time for canning, so good job for you. They look great and I really love the made in Italy on the jar lid how true is that. Hey have a life and write when you can, that's what your there for.
    Thanks for the update!