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Enjoy The Chili Days Ahead

Must be all the over-the-top heat we've endured that contributed to my great luck this summer growing Shishito and their cousins, Padron peppers.  Now if I can just find a way to use them all up.  Here are two of my favorites.

The fun thing about both Shishitos and Padrons is that while most are mild, about one in ten is hot.  Since you can't tell the difference by looking, every bite is another spin of the pepper roulette wheel.  I might have let my Padrons stay on the plant a little too long this time around because not only were they bigger than others I've had, they were all hot.

My very favorite way to use either Shishitos or Padrons is tapas style.  Just grill until charred or toss in a hot pan with olive oil till blistered and then sprinkle with coarse salt.  Eat 'em whole and don't forget the beer.

I also recently made them dim sum style, stuffed with minced shrimp.  I don't really go by a recipe so I can't give you measurements, but here's a link to a decent one.  When I make this dish I add minced lap cheong sausage to the stuffing mix.  Tip: Dust the the surface of the pepper with cornstarch before pressing on the filling.  Helps to keep it in place.

Credit Stein / KNKX
Padrons and Shishitos stuffed with shrimp and lap cheong sausage.

Even Nancy Leson, who swears she can grow only herbs ("I kill everything else"), says her Serrano plant is going gangbusters.  Nance and I both like those vicious little Thai Bird's Eye chilis, too.  At 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville units or about 23 times as hot as a jalepeno, neither of us uses very many at a time.  We buy them in bags, take out a few for the recipe and freeze the rest.  I've had some in my freezer for almost a year and they're still fine.

Hot Pepper Bonus! 

I ran into singer Gail Pettis at a recent KNKX event.  "I'm just back from Chicago and I brought you something," she told me.  It was just what I was hoping for.  A bottle of Chi -Kryptonite green relish and the absolute must for any Chicago Dog, a bottle of Sport peppers.  What a pal!

Credit Stein / KNKX
The two things no Chicago dog can do without. Thanks Gail!

"I was looking forward to some real capsicums, fresh from the bush and oozing their pungent piperine."  –James Street, The Grains of Paradise.

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.

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