Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Thanks to their distinctive smokey flavor, canned chipoltle peppers really bring this recipe to life, but they can be a little intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before.

map of MexicoThe chipotle pepper is not actually a pepper, but rather the process of smoking jalapeño peppers. Such process is said to have originated in the area surrounding Mexico City.

The chipotle pepper, once smoked and dried, tends to be brown and shriveled. It loses very little if any, of its heat or spiciness through the smoking process. It is enjoyed by many for its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

You can remove some of the heat from a chipotle pepper by carefully cutting the pepper in half down the center and gently removing the seeds and membranes that hold the seeds to the inside of the pepper. There will still be a little heat, as the flesh of the fruit also contains capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot and spicy.

Be assured though, with the seeds removed, most of the heat is also removed.

A word of caution, if you choose to remove the seeds, be careful not to touch your eyes during the removal, as the pepper can be extremely irritating to the eyes and skin. If you want, just wear some gloves while removing the seeds.

Because of the chipotle pepper’s spiciness, only a small amount of the pepper needs to be used in a recipe, large or small to provide flavor without creating a dish that is too hot.

Freezing Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce For Later Use

can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauceMost recipes call for a very small amount of the chipotle, which means you will end up with an almost full can when you finish. To get around this, remove the peppers from the can and pour all of the flavorful liquid into a food processor.

If you don’t have one, use a small glass bowl. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out and discard the seeds. The seeds pack a lot of heat, so keep some of them if you like extra spice.

Place the peppers in your food processor and pulse them until a paste is formed. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them to the bowl of reserved liquid. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Next, line a large plate with plastic wrap and scoop the pepper paste in 1 teaspoon measurements onto the plate, leaving enough space between them that they don’t run together. Place plate in the freezer to harden.

Once set, wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the now-firm pepper paste portions and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Pull out 1 or 2 teaspoon-sized portions and use in your favorite recipe that calls for a little heat.

Start small with the amount of chipoltle peppers you use. You can always add more if you like a little more heat.

Our featured recipe is Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons himalayan salt
2 teaspoons frsh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teasapoons from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

spicy chicken wingsLine a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next add chicken wings to baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure wings are not touching.

Season wings with salt and pepper, then place in oven. Bake until skin is crisp, approximately 45 – 50 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the wings are done, add garlic and butter to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until garlic becomes translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add ginger, chipoltle peppers, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes syrupy.

Transfer the sauce to a glass bowl and add the cooked wings. Toss until coated and either serve immediately, or place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place under broiler for two minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with a side salad.

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How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato Garden

How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato GardenBlossom rot, or blossom end rot, is a common problem encountered by professional and back yard tomato gardeners. You may be asking what is blossom rot? It is a disease that that can be identified by a dark, rotten spot at the blossom end of developing tomatoes.

But no need to despair, as there are techniques you can use to counter act blossom rot before it even starts. It is pertinent that you follow through with the methods, because once the end rot appears on an individual fruit, there is no way to cure the affected tomato.

You can cut away the rotted portion of the tomato after you harvest it and safely eat the portion that was not affected, but it is best to eliminate the problem before it reaches that point.

How To Prevent Tomato Blossom Rot

Let’s examine these questions:

  1. How does blossom rot start?
  2. How can I prevent it from showing up in the first place?

Blossom end rot is a physiological affliction of the tomato plant. Initial symptoms can  and consist of small, light brown flecks and lesions occur initially on green fruit that are clustered on the blossom end of the developing fruit.

As the disorder worsens, a circular to oblong, dark brown, firm lesion develops on the blossom end.

If blossom rot is left unchecked, you can lose a large portion of your entire tomato crop to this condition.

What causes blossom end rot is the plants deficiency in calcium. Adequate amounts of calcium are needed in order for tomato plants to produce their fruit properly. Even if you have plenty of calcium in your soil, your plants may not be able to effectively absorb it for a number of reasons. When this occurs, your plants are at risk of contracting blossom rot.

Prevention

Now to answer the question of how to prevent blossom rot in the first place? To prevent blossom end rot is making sure your plants have getting enough calcium and are able to absorb enough of the mineral.

soil test kitBefore planting your tomatoes, be sure to have your soil tested or do it yourself with an inexpensive soil testing kit.

Ideally, your soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH somewhere running between 6.2 to 6.8. The plants also need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients as well (Bonnie Plants).

To start, if your soil is too acidic, add some limestone to increase the pH. Use caution when adding this soil amendment, because adding too much will cause the soil too be, to alkaline.

If this occurs, or if your soil is naturally alkaline, you can amend it with rich organic matter, elemental sulfur or an acidifying fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate. It can be very challenging to lower soil pH, however, because limestone in the ground is continually dissolving.

If you live in an area where alkaline soil is a fact of life, you may want to build raised beds to create a more favorable environment that tomato plants will thrive and produce tasty fruits.

water base of tomato plant

Image Credit: HGTV – Garden

Once your soil is at the optimum pH level, you’ll want to ensure your plants are receiving adequate moisture.

Optimal tomato growth requires regular and deep watering, so that water gets all the way down to the entire root system.

Make sure your plants are receiving 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, and more if a warm spell comes on.

To reduce the chance of foliar diseases, water the base of tomato plants and avoid getting water on the leaves, especially if you’re watering in the evening.

Blossom end rot will usually occur at the start of the season as the first fruits appear. If you notice your tomatoes are showing possible signs of blossom rot, make sure your plants are watered deeply every 4 to 5 days. If it is extremely hot in your area, water them even more frequently.

To determine when it is time to water your plants, dig down 3 or 4 inches into the soil. If the soil is moist, wait 24 hours and check again. When the soil at that level is dry, it is time to water again.

seaweed extractFinally, many tomato gardeners also swear by liquid kelp (seaweed) extract as a way to combat blossom rot. Sea Kelp contains a natural substance you can use to condition soil, and it can contain more than 70 vitamins, minerals and enzymes essential to the health your tomato plants.

The extract and fertilizer are readily available in local garden centers, large home improvement stores or via online retailers. You may want to test it out on part of your garden to see how it works for you.

Although blossom rot can be a garden dilemma, it is time will spent in preparation and planning your tomato garden, which will go a long ways towards eradicating blossom end rot from your garden.

Header Article Image Credit: Durham County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

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Food Parts That Are Still Surprisingly Useful

Food Parts That Are Still Surprisingly Useful

Don’t toss the food scrapes just yet! You can still use them to make or prepare something you may never given any thought too.

Watermelon Rinds

Watermelon rind has nutritional benefits. It contain vitamin-C and vitamin B-6, both great for skin, immunity, and the nervous system. Here’s something that maybe a surprise to you the rinds may help your sex life. A 2008 study at Texas A&M University research reported that watermelon rinds have high concentrations of a compound called citrulline, which the body converts into an amino acid that helps improve circulation and relax blood vessels.

After cutting up a watermelon save those rinds and blend them into a fruit smoothie, or try using them in a stir-fry. The rinds when cooked have a zucchini-like texture, with a slightly sweeter flavor.

Banana Peels

A 2013 study found that around 40 million tons of banana peels are thrown in the trash and go unused worldwide. Did you know you can use the peels to heal wounds, just rub the pulp side on bruises and scrapes to deliver potassium to heal the wound.  Soak the peels in a jar of water, for a few days, then mix five parts water to one part banana-water, and fertilize your potted plants .

The Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2011) wrote that banana peels contain carotenoids and polyphenols, which are thought to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Wash the peel in water then blend into a fruit smoothie. India boasts a dry vegetable curry using chopped banana peels boiled with turmeric powder and salt, then mixed with other ingredients, such as mustard seeds, green chilies, and cabbage.

Sweet Potato Peelings

After peeling a sweet potato, use the peels help lighten those persistent dark circles under the eyes. Even some have used the peels as a remedy to fad away freckles and age spots o the skin. It’s the enzyme called catecholase in the potatoes that give the peelings of the sweet potato this ability.

Stale Bread

Stale bread has always been used to make crumbs or croutons But did you can know you can run stale bread through your spice or coffee grinders to remove any leftover odors or residue?

If you have smudges or marks on the walls, including crayon marks, stale bread can help. First remove the crust, then wipe the marks or smudges with a soft cloth, then rub semi-stale bread against it. The sponge like texture will work like a store bought cleaning eraser.

Onion Skin‘s

The wrapping around onions is rich in the nutrient quercetin, a plant pigment that helps to prevent your arteries from clogging, and helping with lowering blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.

A 2011 study reported that in the European Union alone, around 500,000 tons of onion skins go to waist each year. Though the onion skin is not palatable, you can reap the health benefits by tossing the onion skins into beef, chicken or vegetable broth while cooking soups and stews. The out come will be a rich, flavorful soup. Don’t for get to remove the skin before serving.

Olive Oil

Do you have a bottle of olive oil that has lost its fragrant taste? Will don’t toss it. There are still ways to use it.

Do you have a pair of paints that has a zipper that just won’t budge? Dab some oilve oil on the teeth of the zipper to make it zip again. You can even use it to wipe off eye makeup. Surprised? Just try it and see for yourself.

Other uses include rubbing into the leaves of potted plants to make them shine and look healthier, or even use to polish your leather shoes.

Swiss Chard Stalks

Those of us that use Swiss chard, always toss the stalks, but wait, German researchers reported that the stalks contain glutamine an amino acid , which boosts the immune system, and can also aid the body to recover from surgery and heal wounds.

Cut the stalks into one-inch cubes, roast for about 20 minutes, and season with lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Add a whole Swiss chard (stalks included) to the blender for a powerful boost to your green juice or smoothie.

If none of the for gone ideas sound appealing to you, you can toss those scrapes into a mulch bend to add to the soil in your garden. Even if you don’t garden, give your scrapes off to a friend who does, or to your local community garden.

 

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