Being a food blogger has its perks. For example, when my friendly FedEx Guys drops an unexpected package at my doorstep on a hot spring weekend morning when we were just packing up for a few hours at the beach. Dropping my old magazine like a hot chili pepper, the new cookbook from Melissa's Produce, The Great Pepper Cookbook, immediately took its place in my bag and I spent an enjoyable day lounging by the waves with one of my favorite activities... cookbook reading.
Feeling a little left out after Liv's schedule had me missing what sounded to be a fabulous event introducing the book at Melissa's Headquarters (you can read about it at Barbara Cook's), receiving the book had me giddy from the first page.
Melissa's Produce, the largest variety distributor of fresh and dried peppers, brings this new cookbook filled with pepper-packed recipes appealing to everyone form the heat-averse to the ultimate chile-head.
Beginning with the Scoville Scale (Wilber Scoville developed a test to determine the "hotness" of peppers) then moving you through various varieties of fresh and dried peppers, the Great Pepper Cookbook then brings some 140 pepper recipes on pages splashed with gorgeous colorful photos. From breakfast and brunch to sandwiches, salads and soups and on to main entrees, sides and desserts, peppers have a place at every meal and the choice of "hotness" is up to you.
While I can personally vouch for the Mexican O'Brien Potatoes and the Tomato, Cucumber and Grilled Corn Salad, it was this Spicy Strawberry-Banana Mango Slusher that took the prize for our favorite recipe... so far.
My husband, the above mentioned "chile-head", can't seem to get enough heat in his food. Making salsa for the family he usually forgets to check if the pepper he is using is hot and simply adds the whole thing or two, occasionally making it so hot no one else in the family can eat it and he gets a bowl to himself.
Hence, this spicy slusher seemed the perfect morning wake-up for him, and I loved serving it, watching him grab the smoothie without looking and the surprise on his face when after a few sips his beloved heat filled his mouth. Melissa's book had called for a fresh Manzano pepper, which I unfortunately didn't have on hand, but the idea to spice it up was set and a simple grind of my pantry staple, crushed red pepper, made a wonderful substitution. Next time I'm out I'll be on the lookout for the Manzano which is said to be round and about the size of a walnut, but until I find one, crushed red pepper brings a nice spice to this special smoothie.
As for The Great Pepper Cookbook... if you are a pepper fan this book is a must have. Bringing a little spice or simply a pepper flavor into the average dish, I've got enough pages turned down to keep me busy for months. Next up? Guajillo Chile Zucchini Bread... stay tuned!!
Spicy Strawberry-Banana Mango Slushers
Sweet with a touch of spice (you control how much you like!), this smoothie brings fruits to go as you head out the door. With requests the last 3 days to "Please make that again!", I'd say we have a winner.
Recipe from The Great Pepper Cookbook, page 47
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled
2 cups frozen mango chunks
1/2 fresh manzano chile pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped (we substituted crushed red pepper - about 1/4 tsp, adjust to your taste)
*We also added about 1/4 cup vanilla flavored unsweetened almond milk
Place all ingredients in a blender, process until slushy and not quite smooth. Serve and enjoy!
|Red bell pepper in the field - Coachella Valley | 2014|