I'm always delighted when someone gifts me something they made or grew. It's one of the best things about the work that I do. A few visitors to this site have sent me gifts in the mail – artisanal palm sugar and a cookbook arrived this summer and late last week, I received a priority mail delivery of a bag of gorgeous homegrown chile peppers (photo above). They came from Annette in Elk Grove, California. We’ve been corresponding for a good year now about how she grows chiles in her yard. Lucky for me, she decided to share them some! She emailed a photo of her bumper crop (do note that she’s got what looks like a dragon fruit plant on the left there) and followed up with a zip-top bag of chiles in the mail. Look how she's used chiles as a beautiful border plant in that garden bed!
I immediately used four of the chiles in a stir-fry of eggplant and felt the heat long afterwards. Annette, you grow mighty potent peppers! I’ve frozen them for the time being but when I get back home (I’m traveling to Australia to talk at the Sydney International Food Festival), I’ll be using the chiles for batches of killer homemade chile garlic sauce and Thai-style Sriracha sauce.
Right now is when red hot chiles are coming to farmer’s markets so keep your eyes open. Last week at the San Francisco Ferry Building, McEvoy Ranch turned my head with their gorgeous display of red chiles. The Oaxacan was delightfully sweet-hot.
Get the chiles while you can. Freeze them or preserve them in homemade chile sauces!