Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nice Spice

As stated in my last post, I am somewhat hesitant to move on from the topic of herbs and spices, mainly because I am learning so much about them. One thing I'm "learning" is that spices, specifically chilies, are becoming a mainstay of my pantry. I grew up with a father who loved "spice" but didn't cook and a mother who cooked but didn't like the heat (and maybe the gastronomic effects) of spicy food. I was lucky enough inherited a love of cooking and a love of spice, or spicy foods. To this extent, an abundance of (mainly) peppers have shown up on my shelves. I'm not sure which came first, the peppers or the recipes but I have increasingly found a slew or dishes which call for all manner of peppers. My favorite, from the New York Times, can be found here. These newcomers to my kitchen are pepper with amazing health benefits which I had never seen the likes of in my mother's Irish kitchen.

While peppers 'pep' up your dish without question, they also posses a host of benefits. According to WebMD, peppers are often high in potassium as well as vitamins A and C. One of the key components of hot peppers, capsaicin, can possibly kick start one's metabolism if one is not used to spicy foods. A few of the peppers new to my pantry can be found below:
 (Note: Many of the listed peppers are dried. To use, cut off the stems, scrape out the seeds and soak in hot water for twenty minutes. Cut and use in a dish as specified.)

Ancho Chili: Ancho chilies are simply dried poblano peppers. Comparatively, they are mild usually falling between 1,000 and 5,000 Scoville Units (out of 5,300,000).

Guajillo Chili: The guajillo chili is a dried variation of mirasol chili. Ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville Units, it is a bit hotter than the ancho chili but described as having, "berry overtones," according to its wikipedia site.

Tabiche Chili Peppers: These are the peppers I remembering my father asking for extra of at Chinese restaurants. They are long, red and slender and carry anywhere from 85,000 to 115,000 Scoville Units. They're not too hot but can add a kick to anything from dressings to soups.

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