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Peter Piper

Bear Bibeault
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  66

What to do with the peck of peppers that Peter Piper picked? Pickle them, of course.

Well, actually, it wasn't Peter Piper... it was me, picking chiles from my back yard *. And it's only about half a peck, but the idea is the same.



These'll be ready to enjoy in a week or so.


* Augmented with some Hatch chiles from New Mexico.


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Deepak Bala
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How do you have them usually ? In India most pickles are loaded with a good dose of red chilli powder and enjoyed with flavored rice.


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Bear Bibeault
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I usually enjoy them them on a salad; and use the juice as dressing. Or sometimes I'll just eat a few out of the jar; I'm weird that way.

The flavored rice idea intrigues me, what is the rice flavored with?
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Deepak, Indian pickles are a different beast than pickles in the rest of the world. Indians pickle things by dunking them in oil and spices. Rest of the world pickles things by dunking them in vinegar. So, when bear says he has pickled some peppers, he certainly means that he has vinegar in those bottles, which is a different beast than the pickle that you are probably thinking of.

They might still go good with rice though
Bear Bibeault
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This particular recipe has vinegar, yes, but also oil and spices. So maybe somewhere in the middle?

I snuck a taste tonight. Even though they're not thoroughly pickled yet, they are very good. A nice solid kick of heat, but not crazy stupid hot.
Bear Bibeault
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And...
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Indians pickle things by dunking them in oil and spices.

You would, perhaps, know of a good recipe? I'm adventurous in the kitchen...
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Well my mom is the cook, but usually when I ask for recipes, she doesn't give me ingredients in terms of measurable sizes. Her hand knows portion sizes. So, I'll just give you the general idea, and then you have to wing it

The basic idea is to first sun dry the vegetable that you want to pickle in the hot Indian sun. The idea is to dehydrate it which aids in preservation, and also prevents water from building in the pickle. if you dont have a hot indian sun available close to you, any convnetional means of dehydrating food will do. you probably could use the same method used to make jerky. Then you mix up oil, hot spices like red pepper, and salt, and mix the vegetable in it.

The spices and salts aid in preservation, and the oil sucks up the favors in the vegetable and the spices. Also the spices seep into the dehydrated vegetable making it really spicy. Most people use this pickle to spice up their food. However, its good just with plain rice (or even thinly spread on a piece of bread)

Sorry no specific recipe. The amount of dehydration required depends on what you pickle. Vegetables that are full of water may not work. Unripe mango is popular in India. So, is pickling whole peppers. Pearl onions are good too. You get lot of regional variations based on regional vegetables/fruit. If you garden, you might be able to just pickle anything that you have a windfall of.
Bear Bibeault
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Interesting! This time of year, the Texas sun would be a great dehydrator.

Thanks for the info!
Amit Ghorpade
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Indian pickles are the best add-ons to rice if you like spicy food. You can find pickles made of every vegetable you know of. There are even meat and sea food pickles.
I still recall of my first experience of pickle in US when the guy at the sandwich counter asked me if I want pickle in my sandwich. I said yes and then was stumped to see him toss few cucumber slices on it.
He recognized my face and said, "you said you want pickle, right?".
"Ahh, yes I wanted pickle" I said.
I am picturing Bear the same way when he sees Indian pickle on rice ;).


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fred rosenberger
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Well my mom is the cook, but usually when I ask for recipes, she doesn't give me ingredients in terms of measurable sizes. Her hand knows portion sizes. So, I'll just give you the general idea, and then you have to wing it

Interestingly enough, it wasn't until the late 19th/early 20th century that the idea of cooking with standard size measurements came into the public conscious in the U.S. Fannie Farmer came out with a cookbook defining how big various units were. Prior to her "The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book", people just used a 'pinch' of this, or a 'handful' of that. Or even "an amount equal to the size of an egg".

Now, my wife trained as a chef for a few years. The problem she has with recipes is that she doesn't use them. She'll start cooking something, and then look in the fridge or cabinet to see what we have. She'll just know that THIS would make it taste better, but not THAT. Then she'll taste it, and again know what else she needs to add.

When she brings a dish to a family gathering, they'll ask for the recipe, and she can't give it beyond "i threw in some vinegar, some salt, and some worcestershire sauce..oh, and maybe some mustard..." etc.


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Jayesh A Lalwani
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Yes, and in essence, all "cooking" is highly situational. There are too many variables that affect the dish that you cannot control for. That's why you keep tasting and adjust on the fly. Most accomplished cooks cook by feel rather than by recipe. The ingredient sizes are really suggestions, and are meant for beginners.

Baking, OTH, is a differrent game. The environment is a lot more controlled. Also, touching the environment changes it. You open the oven and heat escapes and changes the whole environment of the oven. Even doing things like overmixing the dough can change the chemistry of the dough. Once the ingredients are mixed they are mixed. You forgot to add salt and you already mixed your dough, you are screwed. Adding salt later and mixing it again might result in overmixing. That's why bakers rely a lot on measurements, measure very accurately and have to be very methodical. If they have to make adjustments, they can adjust the recipe next time they make it. Once the ingredients are mixed, they are mixed. You either throw the whole thing or you stick it in the oven and pray.

Cooking is like painting a picture. Baking is like running science experiments.
Bear Bibeault
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Cooking is like painting a picture. Baking is like running science experiments.

Jayesh and I must be long lost twins. I often say "Cooking is art. Baking is chemistry."
Bear Bibeault
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By the way, any interested in the science of baking should read Bakewise by Shirley Corriher.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Bear Bibeault wrote:
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Cooking is like painting a picture. Baking is like running science experiments.

Jayesh and I must be long lost twins. I often say "Cooking is art. Baking is chemistry."


Bear, as much as I would like to be your twin, I'll have to disagree with that because it makes it sound like baking is not art. Baking has a lot more science behind it, but it is an art too. It's more like "Cooking is playing jazz. Baking is playing orchestra" There is art in both of them. However, with jazz you start with a basic structure and improvise along the way. With orchestra, you do a lot of planning up front.
Paul Anilprem
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Deepak, Indian pickles are a different beast than pickles in the rest of the world. Indians pickle things by dunking them in oil and spices. Rest of the world pickles things by dunking them in vinegar. So, when bear says he has pickled some peppers, he certainly means that he has vinegar in those bottles, which is a different beast than the pickle that you are probably thinking of.

They might still go good with rice though


One of the most common of Indian pickles is the lemon pickle - it contains absolutely NO oil. In fact the preparation is so simple that it is unbelievable. Lemon chops + sugar + salt + red chilli powder. That's it! Ratios are as per your liking.

The best thing about it is that it changes taste gradually and it tastes great right from the day one to the last day of its existance, which could be a few weeks (usually) to a few decades (for medicinal purpose)


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Bear Bibeault
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I would not argue with you in the least. But I think our point is the same: baking involves a lot more science than cooking, and can go wrong much more easily.
Amit Ghorpade
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Paul Anilprem wrote:The best thing about it is that it changes taste gradually and it tastes great right from the day one to the last day of its existance, which could be a few weeks (usually) to a few decades (for medicinal purpose)

The older the better taste and the feel ;).
fred rosenberger
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Bear Bibeault wrote:I would not argue with you in the least. But I think our point is the same: baking involves a lot more science than cooking, and can go wrong much more easily.

and yet...i bake very well. I can't cook for s...quat.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Technically, IMO, the lime pickle described above is really vinegar. The sugar get fermented into alcohol and then converted to vinegar. The vinegar then starts sucking up the lemon oils from the lemon. That's why it gets better with age. It's a very slow fermentation process. A lot of very traditional Indians will probably freak out if they know that lime pickle contains a little bit of alcohol.
Deepak Bala
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Rest of the world pickles things by dunking them in vinegar. So, when bear says he has pickled some peppers, he certainly means that he has vinegar in those bottles, which is a different beast than the pickle that you are probably thinking of.


Yep, which is why I was curious about how they're eaten. I've seen these types of pickles before but never tried one. I wonder if they are as hot as the Indian pickles. Have you had the opportunity to sample both ?

Technically, IMO, the lime pickle described above is really vinegar. The sugar get fermented into alcohol and then converted to vinegar. The vinegar then starts sucking up the lemon oils from the lemon. That's why it gets better with age. It's a very slow fermentation process. A lot of very traditional Indians will probably freak out if they know that lime pickle contains a little bit of alcohol.


Sounds interesting. Where can I read more about this ? I tried searching but all articles point me to preserved lemons which are quite different.
Paul Anilprem
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Deepak Bala wrote:
Rest of the world pickles things by dunking them in vinegar. So, when bear says he has pickled some peppers, he certainly means that he has vinegar in those bottles, which is a different beast than the pickle that you are probably thinking of.


Yep, which is why I was curious about how they're eaten. I've seen these types of pickles before but never tried one. I wonder if they are as hot as the Indian pickles. Have you had the opportunity to sample both ?


IMHO, hotness has nothing much to do with Indian or non-Indian pickles. If you put more chilli, it will become hotter. The difference in Indian and non-Indian pickles is in the style of preparation. Very few of Indian pickles are made with vinegar (whether vinegar is produced automatically in the pickle, I am not sure but I am talking about adding vinegar explicitly), while most non Indian pickles are made with vinegar. I know of some north Indian pickles where they put vinegar (aka Sirka in India) such as Teent Ka Achaar but most are either with lemon juice or oil. The second difference is the spices. Most Indian pickles have several spices such as the Panchranga Achaar of the north or the Mango pickle of the south. Some of these spices give a different dimension of hotness to the pickles.

The hottest Indian pickle that I know of is the Bedekar's Green Chilli Pickle. This stuff is amazing. It is not just hot but also tasty.

Another thing that I have observed is that in US people eat pickle straight i.e. not as a taste enhancer for the main meal but directly. I mean, you pull out a pickled cucumber from the jar and eat it. You just can't do that with an Indian pickle... they are extremely sharp to be eaten raw. You have to mix it with rice or chapati. For the chili pickle mentioned above, I would say just a touch of it with a spoonful of rice or a piece of chapati is enough.
Jayesh A Lalwani
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Deepak Bala wrote:

Sounds interesting. Where can I read more about this ? I tried searching but all articles point me to preserved lemons which are quite different.


Google for "how to ferment vegetables", or basically you get the same recipe as pickle. It's hard for me to imagine that the lemon won't start to ferment in a salty solution. It's just basic chemistry. Because you don't put yeast, the natureal yeast will make it ferment very slowly, but it will ferment
Paul Anilprem
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Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:
Deepak Bala wrote:

Sounds interesting. Where can I read more about this ? I tried searching but all articles point me to preserved lemons which are quite different.


Google for "how to ferment vegetables", or basically you get the same recipe as pickle. It's hard for me to imagine that the lemon won't start to ferment in a salty solution. It's just basic chemistry. Because you don't put yeast, the natureal yeast will make it ferment very slowly, but it will ferment


My understanding is that salt makes a very good preservative. It does not allow any biological activity to take place in the lemon pickle.
Deepak Bala
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IMHO, hotness has nothing much to do with Indian or non-Indian pickles. If you put more chilli, it will become hotter.


Yes. I do not see any chilli on Bear's pickle which made me wonder how hot it would be. Most Indian pickles are generous with their dose of red chilli, and this seems to be uncommon with Bear's pickles. I remember another batch of his pickles that looked like molten lava.

Google for "how to ferment vegetables", or basically you get the same recipe as pickle. It's hard for me to imagine that the lemon won't start to ferment in a salty solution. It's just basic chemistry. Because you don't put yeast, the natureal yeast will make it ferment very slowly, but it will ferment


Thanks. I got the fermentation bit but never knew why the lemon oils were extracted slowly with age. Will read up.
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Deepak Bala wrote:Yes. I do not see any chilli on Bear's pickle which made me wonder how hot it would be. Most Indian pickles are generous with their dose of red chilli, and this seems to be uncommon with Bear's pickles.

Depends what you mean by "red chilli" (see below). See all those red chiles in the pickles? Those are from my garden and range from hot, to very hot, to very very hot. The orange ones are sweet chiles, and the green are Hatch chiles which I would describe as "somewhat hot". (There are some yellow Habanero chiles in there as well, but not evident in the photo.)

The gestalt makes for a pickle that I would describe as "quite hot".



I remember another batch of his pickles that looked like molten lava.

I believe that was my chile jelly -- made from the same red chiles from my garden.

This particular batch was renamed "Bear's Nuclear Napalm".



In much of the US, the term "chili" or "chilli" refers not to the fruit, but to "chili con carne", a recipe of meat made with chiles.



Ground chiles are called "chile powder", and chile powder mixed with other spices (such as cumin) is called "chili powder".

And to make this all even more confusing, this is all very regional. I'm reporting the terms as used in most of the southern US, particularly Texas.
Deepak Bala
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By 'Red chilli power' I meant a powdered version of these things.



All variations aside I'd love to try your picked chillis. Every time you post your eatables I wish they'd make a 3D printer for food so we can exchange delicacies. That would be fun.
Bear Bibeault
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LOL. The closest we can come to that is sharing recipes at the moment; something I'm always willing to do*.





* I do have one secret recipe that I cannot share.
Deepak Bala
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I do have one secret recipe that I cannot share.


ok I'll bite (pun intended ) Which one is it ?
Bear Bibeault
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It's a recreation of a recipe developed by one of my cousins for a snack cake that was sold by a local bakery where we grew up. The bakery has long since gone out of business and my cousin has painstakingly recreated the recipe and shared it with me on the condition that I never give it out. I will always honor that request.
Amit Ghorpade
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Deepak Bala wrote: I wish they'd make a 3D printer for food so we can exchange delicacies. That would be fun.


I recently saw a 3D food printer in action on youtube, sadly though, it cannot print the the recipe remotely.
Set aside the Bear's cooking skills.

I would like to fly to Texas someday to taste the Bear's Nuclear Napalm. I hope my mouth watering does not extinguish it before it reaches the taste buds.
Bear Bibeault
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I'm not sure I'll make the Nuclear Napalm again. That one was a bit too crazy stupid hot for my tastes.

It's all in the balance of sweet red bell peppers to hot red chile peppers. The base recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs of chiles, with a 50/50 mix of sweet to hot chiles. This makes a somewhat hot jelly that's just about right for general consumption. For the Nuclear Napalm, I used 100% hot chiles. Yowza!

Though I must admit, although it was a bit too hot to use straight up, it made for a fantastic glaze for meats!
Bear Bibeault
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P.S. Here's a photo of the pepper mash that's one of the steps for the Nuclear Napalm. It makes my forehead break out in a sweat just looking at it.

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Bear Bibeault wrote:I usually enjoy them them on a salad; and use the juice as dressing. Or sometimes I'll just eat a few out of the jar; I'm weird that way.

The flavored rice idea intrigues me, what is the rice flavored with?


you'll get hundreds types of flavored rice varieties in India. Rice is mostly used in the south part of India. Some of types I came across are: Pulav(Muglai), Biryani(Muglai), Bese bele bhat(South India), Pongal(South India), Khichdi(everywhere in India), fried rice(everywhere), indian style chinese(schezwan,hong kong etc), tamarind rice(South India), lemon rice(South India) ….

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Or even "an amount equal to the size of an egg".


That of an ostrich or of a sparrow?
Bear Bibeault
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Ivan Jozsef Balazs wrote:
Or even "an amount equal to the size of an egg".

That of an ostrich or of a sparrow?


And that is exactly fred's point. Back then, measurements were very subjective. The term "cup" wasn't a standard volume, but whatever coffee or tea cup you happened to have lying about; which could vary wildly in size.

One of my pet peeves today is recipes that use volume for stuff that's really hard to measure that way. For example, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. How much zest that means could vary across a wide spectrum depending upon how much you compress the zest. Same with grated cheese: 1 cup of grated cheese could be very different depending upon packing.

When I write my recipes, I always use weight for such ingredients; 4 oz grated cheese is unambiguous.
Amit Ghorpade
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Bear Bibeault wrote:That one was a bit too crazy stupid hot for my tastes.

I would certainly love to taste something like that. Back from where I belong, that would be "just average hot".
This conclusion is from experience of hot dishes I ate in US. They are mere plain for my taste.
Bear Bibeault
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I can't 3D-print a batch to you but I can send you the recipe. It's easy and there's only one special piece of equipment needed -- a jelly bag. Although I suppose a couple of layers of cheesecloth could do the trick as well.
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Amit Ghorpade wrote:I recently saw a 3D food printer in action on youtube, sadly though, it cannot print the the recipe remotely.

The Makerbot folks, before they started the company, built a cocktail maker. Same basic concept as a 3D printer, a bit simplified.

I expect that a robotic chef will exist in the next 40 to 50 years.

One that can clean up the kitchen after cooking will be a few hundred years farther into the future.
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Pat Farrell
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http://web.ncsu.edu/abstract/science/daubert-3d-pizza/

Working with researchers from the Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), a materials and technology development company based in Texas, NC State researchers are figuring out the best ways to use a 3-D printer for printing pizza in outer space.
 
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