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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State


Texas Peppers: The Jalapeno Cookbook
By Peggy Struble

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia: Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Hot Peppers, With More Than 100 Recipes
Dave DeWitt

Peppers: A Cookbook
By Robert Berkley







Two Takes on Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Jelly
Jalapeno and Cilantro Soup

here are hundreds of pepper flavors in the world – don’t be afraid to try them all!" advises Robert Berkley, author of Peppers: A Cookbook.

That's brave advice, given that some peppers are hot enough to set the partaker's culinary tract afire. But Berkley helpfully arranges the 49 recipes in the book by the degree of heat of the finished dish. If you don’t have an iron-clad throat, you can skip the back section of the book, home of such "very hot" concoctions as Cayenne Mayonnaise and Habanero Pepper, Onion and Coriander Chutney.

To further help in distinguishing mild, medium and hot peppers, the book contains full-color photographs of 19 common varieties, as part of an introductory section filled with tips on how to select and prepare them.

The following recipe comes from the "medium" section of the book.

Jalapeno Jelly
(makes 1-1/2 cups)

6-8 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cups white vinegar
cup sugar

1. Place all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about an hour, until mixture is thick.

2. Cool slightly and puree in a blender or food processor. Pour into a jar and allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Reata restaurant, in Fort Worth, Texas, apparently hasn’t heard Gerlach’s explanation that the chief virtue of peppers is that they are low-fat fare. The restaurant’s recipe for creamy jalapeno and cilantro soup is regularly reprinted, in response to readers' requests, in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It tips the scales at more than 900 calories per cup.

Jalapeno And Cilantro Soup

2 tbsp corn oil
3 jalapenos, diced
1/2 Spanish onion, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
16-ounce can tomatoes in juice, diced
8 cups heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
White pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp finely diced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil and saute jalapenos and onion. Add avocado and tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil.

2. Add all remaining ingredients and reduce, over a happy simmer, by 25 percent. You’ll end up with about 8 to 8-1/2 cups.

3. Adjust seasonings and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately.

4. If you prepare this soup in advance, reheat in the top of a double boiler and don’t stir in the cilantro until ready to serve.

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef