Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Things have quieted-down. Finally. It has been busy, busy, busy.
My day job business partner, our dedicated staff person and our newly-hired associate convened at the farm for the annual strategic planning meeting. This is where great minds dream big thoughts and set grand goals for the next five years. Think of it like a five year budget on steroids. The busy part was the children. My partner and the new associate have four children between the ages of 1 and 5. I can personally vouch for why only young people should procreate. Attending to small children is not easy. And keeping track of them is hard work. Moreover, training small children to not wave food around in the presence of a couple of hunting dogs is done at one's own peril.
But just like the guys at deer camp there is nothing like a big breakfast of pancakes and porkies to assuage the savage toddler.
The trouble is that there is the pitter-patter of little feet at 6 AM. And this is after a big, late-night blow-out at the Council Ring the night before. Ugh.
In any event - after everyone left the dogs were exhausted. And Jill and I were too.
By mid-day I reached deep into my reserve and summoned enough energy to pick banana peppers. I ended-up filling a small canvas tote. Last weekend my pal Sid made a mighty fine batch of banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and a bunch of other stuff. I happen to like sliced, pickled peppers on a tuna sandwich or as topping on a hot dog. I was determined to pickle my tote of peppers for use in the coming year.
A word of advice. If you attempt this at home wear nitrile gloves. By the time I was finished with coring, seeding and cutting the hot peppers my hands were burning. They weren't on-fire burning but they were a very high level of tingly burning. One more thing - if you don't wear gloves DO NOT touch anything with a mucous membrane. Ugh.
Hot and Sweet Pickled Peppers
8 cups of vinegar
2 2/3 cup of sugar
Celery seed and mustard seed
Pick, rinse and drain a tote of banana peppers. Start the sterilization of some pint jars in the dishwasher. Dissolve the vinegar and sugar in a non-reactive pot and start to heat. In the mean-time cut the stems off your peppers and roughly core the seeds. Slice and place in a sink full of cold water. Drain. This will remove most of the remaining seeds.
Your brine should now be bubbling. Into each sterilized jar add a 1/4 t of celery seed and mustard seed. Stuff tightly with sliced peppers and add the hot brine. Leave a scant half inch of headspace. Top with a sterilized lid and band and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and when your lids 'pop' the jars are sealed.
I've never made these before so this definitely qualifies as a dangerous kitchen experiment. Hot peppers in a sweet brine. I'm going to allow them to rest for a couple of weeks and I'll render a report after the official sampling.