Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

The Chile Harvest August 19, 2008

Filed under: gardening,In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 2:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
(thanks,, for the photo!)

(thanks,, for the photo!)

The chile peppers are growing quickly in our garden. I watched no egrets pluck one small purple pepper off the stalk and eat it. “How is it?” I asked. “It’s a nice slow burn,” he said, as sweat started forming on his forehead.


We have found peppers easy to grow and beautiful on the vine. No egrets started them as seedlings and now they are ouside in pots. The longer you wait before harvesting them (or eating them straight from the vine), the hotter they get. Slicing up peppers is fun, but don’t touch anything until you wash your hands. The chile oil, called capsaicin, burns. Should you get chile oil on your face or on other sensitive areas, use rubbing alcohol to dull the burn. Aloe vera and yogurt are two other soothers.


Here are some tasty things to do with your harvest or CSA stash.

Heirloom Pico de Gallo

Take an assortment of heirloom tomatoes (Non-heirloom tomatoes work well too, just make sure they are local, otherwise you risk pale pink tomatoes with the consistency of celery.) and dice very finely. Chop up an onion (I prefer a red onion for this, no egrets prefers Vidalia onions) and as many of your home-grown peppers as you can stand. Add a clove or three of garlic. Put them in a bowl with a handful of cilantro. Douse liberally in lime juice.* Add a good dollop of olive oil. At this point I usually add cumin, paprika, and a little chili powder for a diversity of spiciness and leave it at that. You could also add salt and pepper.

*Lime note: I am not a true localvore, I just have localvore tendencies. To make this entirely local, you could use a local vinegar instead of lime. Green tomatoes can also add sourness.

Peach-Cucumber Salsa

(I adapted this from a recipe I found on Seasonal Chef)

Dice a bunch of peaches and a small cucumber. Add a bunch of cilantro, lime juice, 2 Tablespoons of apricot preserves, and as many home-grown peppers as you can stand. Sweet and spicy. No egrets says it’s all the rage these days.

No Egret’s Pad Thai Sauce

Saute 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and one Tablespoon of whole coriander in olive oil. Add your chile pepper of choice (sliced and seeded, if you want it milder, keep the seeds if you want it spicy). After the garlic gets all sizzly and light brown around the edges, deglaze the pan with 1/8 cup of rice wine vinegar. Add 1/8 cup of fish sauce and 1/8 cup of soy sauce. Add most of a jar of all natural peanut butter. Mix it all together and until the peanut butter becomes saucy.


Serve over one-and-a-half pounds of rice noodles. Add some combination of shrimp, tofu, chicken, julienned red peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro, crushed peanuts, cucumbers, and limes. It tastes good plain, too.



Enjoying Beets July 8, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 12:41 pm
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Katherine’s Raw Beet Slaw

A few years ago I spent a month at an artist’s colony, where, on Sunday nights, all the writers and artists would cook together. The administrator of the program made a raw beet slaw, telling us that no matter how we felt about beets, we would all like it. And we all did.


(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

(thanks, tinyfarmblog!)

The Slaw

Finely shred two to three of your beautiful CSA beets until your fingers are tired and stained red. Then shred of slice very finely half a head of cabbage, a small onion, a pepper, and as many carrots as you have wilting in the bottom of your refridgerator. Add a bunch of parsley or cilantro. Mix together, wash your hands, and make the vinaigrette.



The Vinaigrette

1 clove of garlic (or more) mashed and diced

1/2 tsp cumin (if you used the cilantro)

1/2 tsp oregano (if you used the parsley)

1/4 cup cider vinegar or lemon juice

3/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Pour the vinaigrette into the slaw and mix. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors get to know each other.


Thierry’s Favorite Beet Salad

My brother-in-law is French and this is his favorite salad. Are you going to argue with a Frenchman about food?


Boil a bunch of baby beets until tender (this takes a long time, don’t get discouraged, but make sure to start cooking before you are hungry). Remove from the water and let cool.


While the beets are cooling, prepare a nice bed of CSA Arugula or other spicy lettuces. Crisp up a few slices of Haloumi cheese in your favorite olive oil. Drain on a clean rag or paper towel.


Once everything has cooled, slip the skin off the beets and place them whole or sliced on the lettuce. Garnished with dry-roasted walnuts or pine nuts, the Hauloumi, and red onion slices.


Make a vinaigrette using 1 part orange juice (with zest if you’re using a real orange) to 2 parts olive oil. Add homemade croutons and dress.