There is a vast linguistic confusion in English on the subject of “hot” food, or “spicy” food. Why? And why does no one even ask why? Then, beyond mere words, there are many other facets of culinary heat-worship we generally do not consider…as we expose our digestive linings to ever-higher examples of Scoville-chart explosive devices at Sichuan restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Indian restaurants, etc. Today, let’s look at the whole range of chile confusions–hoping, of course, to enjoy our food better at the end of the day!
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Enjoy these hot recipe videos that feature Henry Family Farm’s Varietal Chile Extracts!
Greek cooks love filling their exquisite filo pastry with vegetables, or other things, and making pies–known as Pitta in Greece. The only one that has gotten on to the American radar screen is the famous spinach-and-cheese-stuffed pie, called “spanakopitta” (but usually spelled with one “T” in the U.S.) At Greek-American restaurants, if you order it–as an appetizer, or as a side-dish, reflecting Cretan practice–you will probably get a triangle shaped cut from a pie of spanakopita. The dish, however, is also popular at American parties–where hosts and hostesses sometimes turn it into hors d’oeuvre finger food, stuffing the filling into filo in such a way as to make individual, triangular pieces (not unlike Indian samosas.)
Potato pancakes–beloved of many cultures–are especially associated with the Jewish Hanukkah table. But no matter who’s frying them, you’ll see a basic dichotomy in styles: thick, heavy ones vs. thin, light, crispy ones. I prefer the latter latkes, and find the pancakes from the following recipe to be positively lacy. A classic deli way to serve them is with applesauce as a first course, but I think latkes have no higher calling in life than as a pot roast side dish with a good brown gravy.
One of the main main-course options at Moroccan restaurants in the U.S.–as at Moroccan restaurants in Morocco–is a long-cooked stew known as a “tagine.” The name comes from the conical, terra cotta pot in which it’s cooked–also known as a tagine, and available at American kitchenware stores. But please, if you don’t have a tagine, by all means make the following tagine in any pot you do have. Tagines often (though not always) feature something sweet and something starchy along with the meat–and our California dried apricots, along with our butternut squash, are beautifully up to the assignment. This dish is really wonderful nestled on a bowl of steamed couscous–but buttered orzo or rice would also hit the spot.