Back to school is a little bit of an experiment. We’re busy, but we’re trying to make it work and there is a lot of trial and error. Turns out little girls who pick out their own clothes look like Cirque du Soleil performers, that paper lunch bags, although cheap, are ineffective (“epic fail,” according to my boys), and that 10:00 is too late of a bedtime for a football-playing seventh grader. Still, we have had great success with sweet-hot experiments in the kitchen, such as with this Peach Salsa recipe and these Chocolate Covered Jalapeños. Such things remind us that trying new approaches to the tried-and-true can be fun.
First, the Chocolate Covered Jalapeños experiment… These babies were the 7th grader’s idea and he found a how-to video on you-tube. I was skeptical at first, but I have to say that I am a convert. They are a little spicy, a little smoky, and very chocolaty. Biting into a Chocolate Covered Jalapeño feels a little like biting into a chocolate covered cherry, although I can’t tell you exactly why. The directions are simple:
Take a handful of jalapeños, core them, seed them, and cut out the ribs. Consider wearing gloves for this. Cut them into long skinny strips.
Melt about 2 cups of dark chocolate in the microwave–I used wafers specifically made for candy making. If you use regular chocolate, you will have to add shortening. (Add 2 T. of shortening for every 2 cups of chocolate.) Heat the chocolate at medium power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in one teaspoon of cinnamon until it disappears into the chocolate.
Dip the Jalapeño strips into the melted chocolate, leaving just a tip of green. Place them on wax paper and stick them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so until the chocolate hardens. These Chocolate Covered Jalapeños are very Halloween-ish looking, and people may be doubtful, but leave them on a plate in the fridge and they will disappear before long.
And then the more conventional Peach Salsa experiment, also disappearing in nature…
In regular salsa, tomatoes are the (sort-of) sweet and peppers and onions are the spicy. This recipe subs peaches for the sweet. They are not acidic like tomatoes, but they are juicy and delicious, especially right now. This salsa tastes great on chips, but it also makes a great topper for grilled chicken or fish. I even like to put Peach Salsa on fish tacos, along with avocados and lettuce.
Here’s what you do:
4 peaches, chopped, not peeled
1 red pepper, chopped and seeded
¼ C. of red onion or sweet onion, chopped. Do not use too much onion, because you do not want to overpower the peachiness
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
2 T. cilantro (fresh), chopped
¼ t. ancho chili powder
1 T. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
The juice and zest of one lime (or lemon juice, if that’s all you have)
Put everything in a bowl and chill. Serve with chips or dinner. Say “peachy-keen” a lot and you will enjoy yourself even more.
I usually share the tried and true with you, but I am happy to branch out a little. I hope that this time before Labor Day is not too busy for you and that you are able to experiment with all of the delicious produce we have on our shelves.
See You at the Market.