Thursday, July 29, 2021

Black Chiles

There are any number of black chile varieties, some sweeter, some hotter.  These are a little on the sweet side and very elegant in their (vegan) soup and fish.

I marinated  these beauties but I am not sharing a picture of the finished product because they faded in their brine and I want you to remember them in all of their ebony glory.

Marinated Chiles

More commonly, though less precisely, known as Pickled Peppers

Pack black chiles, or any chiles, into a sterilized pint jar.  You may slice and seed them, or leave them whole.

In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 3/4 cup water, 5  black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1 1/2  teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.  Bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot brine over the chiles, seal, and refrigerate.  Marinated sweet and hot chiles are welcome in salads and sandwiches.  Brine from marinated chiles is an essential ingredient for the world's greatest hummus.  I have special plans for this black chile brine.  Watch this space.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Spaghetti with Black Garlic and Oil



Here's the first thing I tried with Black Garlic and it is a good, good thing.  I used one head of the black garlic I made, but it was really big, so you might need two heads if working with medium-sized garlic.  While I love the almost syrupy sweetness and umami of the black garlic, I found I wanted to add a couple of cloves of un-blackened garlic (formerly known as "garlic") to  make the sauce a little more garlicky.

Spaghetti with Black Garlic and Oil

4 ounces spaghetti

1 very large or 2 medium heads black garlic

2 very large or 4 medium cloves garlic

olive oil (be liberal)


parsley, if you have some

Cook the pasta in liberally salted water.  While the pasta is cooking, warm olive oil in a skillet.   Peel the black garlic and mash the cloves with some of the starchy pasta-water.  Slice some of the raw garlic and cook it in the hot oil for a moment and add the mashed black garlic.  Add the cooked pasta to the pan, and grate in the rest of the raw garlic.  Add more pasta water as needed and taste for salt.  If you have some parsley, that is lovely too.

Got that?  Three garlics!  First, sauté some sliced garlic, then add the black garlic, finally, microplane in some raw garlic.

In The Food Lab, a book I recommend so ardently that I have caused some alarm, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has a recipe for spaghetti with three garlics: slow-cooked, quick-cooked, and almost raw.  This is good and I have had great joy using the same technique in other garlic-intensive recipes like ratatouille. I am thinking I would like to make this  into spaghetti with five garlics: Kenji's three garlics, black garlic, and this garlic confit

 And sure, scapes too, in season.  Six garlics.

Monday, July 12, 2021

שװאַרצער קנאָבל Black Garlic

דאָסמאָל האָב איך געטראָפֿן אין פּינטל! דער קנאָבל איז װײך און זאַפֿטיק,און שמעקט מיט פּאַטיקע, מאַלץ, אוּן אומאַמי

This time I got it just right! The garlic is soft and juicy and is fragrant with molasses, malt, and umami. 

It is delicious and I have plans.

Black Garlic

Wrap each individual head of garlic in a double layer of aluminum foil.  Then line a rice cooker with another double layer of foil.  Put the double-wrapped heads in and gather up and crimp the foil to enclose the garlic heads completely.  

Set the rice cooker to "keep warm," and keep on keeping warm for two weeks.  For me this meant remembering to reset the rice cooker every twelve hours.  I reset the cooker at the last moment before shkie Friday to maximize residual heat over shabes, and I briefly moved the garlic to an insulated foster home when I needed the rice cooker to cook some rice.  

After one week the house smelled amazing and the garlic looked like this:

 After two weeks it was black, beautiful, and intensely fragrant.  I have seen a number of websites suggesting six or eight weeks, but I think this would have been much too much.

This was my second attempt at black garlic.  The first time I used the "keep warm" setting on  a Crock Pot, and they were quite burnt after two weeks, possibly because the keep warm setting on a Crock Pot is higher than that on a rice cooker and possibly because I had not wrapped the heads nearly as compulsively.

ETA: Spaghetti with Black Garlic