Come July 3rd, the Pope of Peppers will ham it up on Cookstr.com. In other words, Dave Dewitt will be the website’s Chef of the Day. He and his mug will be the first thing viewers see on the site’s home page. Be sure to check it out!
While you’re there, take a look around. Cookstr does a great job of organizing some of the best cookbooks in the world and giving you quick access to their recipes on one easily searchable website. You can look recipes up by chef, ingredient, or recipe title. Each recipe also has stats for difficulty, prep time, and relative cost, to boot. The nutritional breakdown listed with the recipes is great information. It will not, however, assuage your guilt when you overindulge. You’ll just have to suck that up on your own, cupcake.
I made a quick search while I was there using the word “jalapeño.” I tried habanero, bhut jolokia, and ghost pepper first but there were no results. Maybe that will change after Dave’s day in the sun, though. Here’s a cross sampling of some of the recipes I found (and plan to make).
by Christopher Idone
1/3 cups yellow or white cornmeal
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lard
¼ cup cold water
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups milk
4 whole eggs, lightly beaten
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Salt, freshly milled pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese
7 fresh jalapeño peppers-seeded, de-veined, and cut into ¼-inch strips
10-inch tart pan
Aluminum baking weights (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, and salt together. Cut in the lard. Add the cold water and mix. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough in a tart pan, fitting it evenly over the bottom of the pan and pressing it against the inside edges. Trim off excess dough by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan. Cover the pastry with aluminum foil and weight down with beans or aluminum baking weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sides are set. Remove the weights and foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden, reserve; leave the oven on.
In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, milk, whole eggs, and egg yolks. Blend thoroughly. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sprinkle the cheese over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strips of jalapeno over the cheese. Pour the filling mixture into the shell. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the custard sets. Allow to cool for 1 hour before cutting.
Heat Scale: Mild to Medium
Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Dip
by Rick Rodgers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook uncovered, stirring often, until the onion is browned, about 6 minutes. During the last minute, add the garlic. Let it cool slightly.
Combine the red peppers, onion and garlic, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and cumin in a food processor and process to a puree. Season the mix with salt. Transfer it to a medium bowl and let it cool completely, then cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and serve chilled. The dip can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.
Serves: 2 cups
Heat Scale: Mild to Medium
Caveman T-bones with Hellfire Hot Sauce
by Steven Raichlen
For the steaks:
4 T-Bone steaks (10 to 12 ounces each), cut about 1 inch thick
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked black pepper
Hellfire Hot Sauce:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced crosswise
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Grill the steaks. Build a charcoal fire and rake the coals into an even layer. When the coals glow orange, fan them with a newspaper or hair dryer to blow off any loose ash.
Generously, and I mean generously, season the steaks on both sides with salt and cracked pepper. Place the steaks directly on the embers about 2 inches apart. Grill until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning with tongs.
Using tongs, lift the steaks out of the fire, shaking each to dislodge any embers. Using a basting brush, brush off any loose ash and arrange the steaks on a platter. Let the steaks rest loosely tented with aluminum foil, while you make the sauce.
Make the hellfire hot sauce. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet directly on the embers, on the side burner of a gas grill, or on the stove. When the oil is screaming hot, add the jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro. Cook over high heat until the sauce is aromatic and the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour the sauce over the steaks and serve at once.
Heat Scale: Medium to Hot