Archive for September, 2009
The beginning of fall has arrived and the summer is officially behind us. Pumpkins are shaping up and stone fruits are shipping out. Heirloom apples are filling baskets at the market, as are pears and soon, persimmons and winter squashes. The chile peppers are at their peak with several varieties tempting our palates eyes and mouths. Here are the chile newcomers to the market (each from heirlooms seeds) representing regions and quintessential to traditional and modern cuisines from around the world…
Fushimi Pepper – Windrose Farms: sweet chili pepper from Japan widely used in Asian cooking at its green stage, especially in tempura. Full flavored, measures 6″ long, with thin deep green walls that will eventually turn glossy red.
Negro Pasilla Chile Peppers – Windrose Farms: an elongated, tubular chile, measuring 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Dark purple when ripe, the Pasilla’s crinkly body curves into an arc. This thin fleshed chile has a berry flavor with herbaceous tones. Great dried and ground up for powder seeds and all too!!
Sigaretta Dolce Pepper – Windrose Farms: known as an Italian fryer, the Sigeretta Dolce is a slim, crinkly and long “cigar” type pepper that is sweet and savory vs. hot. It has a lime green colored skin that turns red when it fully ripens.
Shishito Pepper – Coleman Family Farms: an old Japanese variety, the shishito is a wrinkly thin skinned savory and mild flavored peppers that is about three inches long. This peppers should be harvested when its skin color is bright lime green. It is 100% edible, including the seeds.
Padron Chile Pepper – Coleman Family Farms: Petit Padron chile peppers are slightly crinkled and grooved, have a semi-matte finished deep green skin and generally measures about two inches long. When small and immature, this chile pepper offers a crisp and mildly sweet pepper flavor. The larger the Padron chile pepper, the spicier the flavor, which incidentally makes it much less enjoyable to eat. Its formal name is “Pimiento de Padrón”.
THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER~
A field trip to Fallbrook Mushroom Farm on Monday was an educated journey into a virtual Chinese forest where mushrooms were dominating the landscape. Long and narrow, screened barns are home to thousands upon thousands of oyster “spawns” and shitake logs. The mushrooms are cultivated on agro-waste (which is essentially recycled agricultural food sources) in spawns filled with rice, grains, cotton, straw, wheat, millet and maize that serve as the mushrooms’ food and protein source. The spawned bags (see picture above) are stored in low-lit raised shelving as they begin colonizing. They are watered from a sprinkling system above daily to retain the appropriate levels of moisture for the mushrooms to grow prolifically. Harvests occur approximately every 60 days and are picked before the mushrooms begin to spore. The most effective way to harvest the mushrooms is to remove the entire colony from the spawn’s stem so that a new crop can grow all at once. One spawn bag can cultivate about 3-5 harvests.