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Peppers Best in Fall

Nov 01, 2020 08:56AM ● By Lesley Stiles

Lesley Stiles

Peppers Best in Fall

Hatch Chile Pepper- Sweet, Earthy and Herbal

Crossover month comes upon us as the world turns toward winter, even during COVID. It’s an old normal that disease cannot change or obliterate. Late season tomatoes beg to be lovingly layered with fresh mozzarella and just picked basil at the same moment your mind is calling on butternut squash to turn itself miraculously into a creamy soup for your dinner. Air is getting lighter as trees begin a long-fought decision to shed leaves while making luminous silhouettes in the waning sun. Summer gardens reawaken from a month of treacherous heat and may even produce a few more gems of summer.

Winter gardens planted this month or last perform mysterious underground maneuvers and ready their upper growth for chilly days ahead. Some crops awaken from the heat by surging last minute production of their sweetest, most in-season trinkets of gourmet love. Peppers come to mind, being at their absolute best ripeness in fall seasons. Yummy as green, suddenly scarlet, blackish purple, and deep green gashes of color, they display lush, prodigious growth.

Mystique and curiosity enshroud New Mexican chili peppers. Originating in 1894 at New Mexico State University, when Fabian Garcia started crossing peppers with each other, amazing chiles from these parts carry on with unconscious duration. New Mexico became so well known for their chile varieties that the Chile Pepper Institute was developed for more extensive studies of the versatile capsicum.

Hatch Chile peppers are named for the Hatch Valley where they are grown. Much like a Napa Valley appellation for grapes, New Mexico treats their chiles similarly; authentically Hatches may only be from the valley of Hatch to be called Hatch. Say that 10 times. Located in the heart of the Rio Grande agricultural region, Hatch, New Mexico, is referred to with unwavering loyalty as the chile capital of the world.

Hatches are mild on the Scoville scale. A touch of interesting heat allows usage of any kind with this sweet, earthy, herbal, and obliviously alluring pepper. Amazingly easy to grow and prolific to a fault, chargrilling and freezing batches works extremely well to utilize your bounty all winter.

Scrumptiously composed of alluringly smooth, firm skin and elongated but not too big, Hatch work well as additions to any sweet or savory concoction you can imagine. Hatch ice cream, bizarre as it may sound, is stunning in its color and mild taste scooped atop a chocolate tart. Charred with onions and fresh tomatoes and blended with olive oil and lemon juice, it’s art on a chip.

Looking to another, under-used chile, identity crisis pervades every essence of our sweet yellow wax pepper. Mistaken frequently for the incendiary capsicum Hungarian wax pepper, the yellow pepper, aka banana pepper due to its yellow color and shape on the vine, is exceptionally low on the Scoville Chart of hotness and falls more in line with pepperoncini, pimento, or even bells. Extremely easy to grow, these peppers perform prodigiously, allowing for a quick pickle every week or so to brighten up sandwiches or pizza dishes. For fancy hors d’oeuvres, quaintly diminutive wax peppers lend themselves well to stuffing with a little goat cheese and tossing on an oiled grill to blister. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and lemon oil to finish wowing guests. Perfectly ripe in the cooler autumn months, the yellow wax turns scarlet with a few low mercury evenings and even sweeter, plushily compelling one to squat garden side before your lovely plant, chomping away on one, channeling that little squirrel you chased away.

Hiking in our valley right now is beyond amazing. Changing seasons and light and temperature all come together to create a magical atmosphere to relax or play in. We joined a herd of over 60 people riding the amazingly popular E Bikes. OMG. It got me back on a bike and I love it.

Roxx on Main continues to be ever ready along. We are not going anywhere and greatly appreciate all the love and support we are receiving from our community and beyond. Thank you, and hope to see you soon!!

Roxx on Main    627 Main Street, Historic Downtown Martinez

925 370 7699 (ROXX)  www.roxxonmain.com

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Tuesday - Friday 11 am to 8 pm   Saturday 2 pm to 8 pm  Closed S and M

Butternut Squash and Lentils with Greens

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch squares

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups lentils, cooked

1 pound mixed greens

3 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup stock

Kosher salt and pepper

 

Toss squash in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Roast in a 400*

oven for 20 minutes until soft and caramelized. Toss cooked squash,

lentils, greens, vinegar, stock, and olive oil in a pot along with spice

mixture and heat up to wilt greens. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4. Option: Garnish with crumbled feta cheese, Greek olives,

and torn cilantro leaves.

 

Toss squash in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Roast in a 400*

oven for 20 minutes until soft and caramelized. Toss cooked squash,

lentils, greens, vinegar, stock, and olive oil in a pot along with spices

and heat up to wilt greens. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Option: Garnish with crumbled feta cheese, Greek olives,

and torn cilantro leaves.