Calabrian Chili Paste

This summer I fell in love with Calabrian Chili Peppers!  They are mildly spicy (is that a thing? In technical terms they are 1300-2500 on the Capsaicin Scoville Scale) and they become incredibly creamy when roasted and blended with garlic and EVOO.  We’ve tossed this paste with penne and copious amounts of parmesan for a spicy pasta side dish and mixed it with Raos Marinara Sauce for a spicy pizza sauce.  You could use it as a sandwich spread, blend it with ricotta or cream cheese and fresh herbs for a quick hors d’oeuvres with crackers, use it as a condiment for roasted or grilled meats… the list goes on and on.

Apparently there is a jarred brand of this paste, but I have not been able to find it, so when I discovered them at my farmers’ market, I decided to make my own.  Savoie Organic Farm grows these beautiful peppers and I bought a pound to process into the paste and then froze the paste in ice cube trays for perfectly portioned (1 Tbsp-ish) sized cubes.

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Calabrian Chili Paste

Makes about 12 Tablespoons

1 lb. Calabrian Chili Peppers

4 cloves garlic (my garlic cloves are really large (thank you Squared Roots Farm!), so plan on at least 5 Tablespoons minced)

1 1/2 cups good EVOO (like California Olive Ranch)

Roast chilies until they are charred on all sides.  Let steam in a paper bag for 5-10 minutes and then peel, remove stems and seeds and cut into smaller pieces.

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Combine roasted chilies with garlic in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse a few times to chop and mix.  Then process while slowly streaming in the EVOO.  You may have to scrape down the sides of the processor a few times and continue to process until a creamy paste forms.  The paste will keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.  I used some right away in my Calabrese Salami Pizza sauce and froze the rest in an ice cube tray.  Once the cubes are frozen, I stored the frozen cubes in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

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Fermented Garlic Honey

I met my friend Sue 20 years ago and although I now live on the east coast and she is still in Denver, we remain super close and connected.  Over the past decade, Sue has also collected the most amazing group of loving, supportive and fascinating girlfriends.  This summer Sue married the love of her life in Sea Isle, New Jersey, bringing together (most- we missed you Lisa!) of these Fabulous Babes for a truly magical weekend.  We feasted on blue crabs prepared lovingly by Sue’s hubby’s cousin Ricky, slurped up spaghetti with crab gravy a la Sue’s new MIL, enjoyed Italian hoagies on the beach and drank “all the rosé”.  It was a South Jersey food enthusiast’s dream!

This was also the weekend that I was introduced to the most delicious garlic I’ve ever tasted.  You may be thinking, “garlic is garlic”, but if you are, you are dead wrong.  Dana is one of the Babes who flew in for the wedding from Oregon, bringing samples of the garlic that she and her husband Jeremy grow using organic farming methods.  As soon as I got home from the shore, I started cooking with the garlic.  I tucked it under the skin of a spatch-cocked chicken with lemon and parsley before grilling it over indirect heat achieving the most flavorful meat and crispy skin, I sliced it and sautéed it in EVOO to toss with crisp-tender green beans, I rubbed the raw cloves on toasted Tuscan bread and piled fresh mozzarella, basil and heirloom tomatoes on top.  The flavor of the garlic is intense and beautiful in every application and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on more.  Luckily, Dana and Jeremy ship their garlic and you can order it from their website, squaredrootsfarm.com, which is exactly what I did.  Twice now!  Sadly, the season is over and the bulbs they are about to plant will not be ready until next spring, but I am stocked up and I am storing the garlic in a cool pantry in the ventilated paper bag in which it arrived.  It should keep well for a while, but I have become obsessed with the method of preserving through fermentation and fermenting garlic in honey creates an elixir with a multitude of practical uses.  The garlic flavors the honey and the honey candies the garlic and it’s just absolutely delicious.  Not only can you drizzle the honey on anything that benefits from a sweet/savory accent, but a spoonful a day keeps “the crummies” away.  You can read all about the various health benefits that eating raw garlic offers on Dana and Jeremy’s website.  There is also a ton of information about the different varieties of garlic they grow and it’s just so cool!  For my fermented honey, I used Majestic Porcelain.  It’s super easy and you can use whatever garlic you have access to, but I do recommend using organic and sourcing some artisan garlic from a farm near you or bookmarking this post to remember to order from Squared Roots Farm next spring.

Garlic from Friends

Making the Garlic HoneyGarlic HoneyGarlic Honey Jar

Fermented Garlic Honey

Adapted from “It’s Alive with Brad” -Bon Appétit

Makes about 2 cups

1 whole head of garlic, peeled and cloves crushed

1 1/2 cup raw honey

Cover garlic with the raw honey in a clean 1 pint ball jar.  Make sure all of the garlic is coated with the honey and tighten the lid.  Set on the counter and let sit for 3 days.  On day three, slowly open the jar.  You should hear a slight escape of gas and smell the garlic.  Yum!  You will most likely see little bubbles at this stage, which is a sign that the fermentation process has started.  Stir the honey and garlic and reseal.  You should “burp” your garlic honey once every other day for a week before using.  To burp your garlic honey, just unscrew the lid slightly to let the gas escape.  The honey will become more liquid-y over the next week.  Store the honey in your pantry and use it on everything!  My current favorite is drizzled on Calabrese Salami Pizza…do it!