I f you’re looking for specific ingredients or something “new” to try (and have the expenses to fork out), go to Marx Foods. The website has a small, yet, extremely worthy selection of specialty and uncommonly found items for sale by season. It is expensive, of course due to weight and volume for shipping, but I would buy it all if it was possible. They have truffles - truffles! - wild mushrooms, edible flowers, and hard to find micro greens, but, that is only skimming the surface. Once I get some gift money, I’ll go for it along with spending some at Melissa’s Produce. Considering the prices of some of the products, Marx Foods frequently hosts giveaways and easy tricks to win some samples. I was lucky enough to win samples of their hottest chilis. I forget what was all included, however, I do know for a fact that I have the ghost chili pepper, which I will fashion into a hot sauce at some point for my brother in law, the hot sauce enthusiast of the family. Regardless of his pepper toleration, I can still out do him with heat - muahah. Anyway, the one pepper I used in this recipe was the pequin pepper. According to Wikipedia, the pequin or penguin pepper is a very hot pepper (hotter than jalapeno) with a citrus/smokey/nutty flavor. It is rated 3 on the 5 scaled pepper meter. Two were enough for me to give the recipe a real kick, yet, not to the point where my taste buds singed. What also perfectly, perfectly, paired with my recipe was the sweet potato grits that I am now obsessed with to beyond the imaginable standards. Also to cool the heat, I served the barbeque beans in lettuce wraps (told you I’d bring them up again). Now, when thinking barbeque, automatically what comes to mind? Tomato and brown sugar, right? Well, not in Alabama. In that state, barbeque sauce is made with a combination of mayonnaise and vinegar. To also deter the heat, I used a parsnip and pureed it. I would have done it finer if I had the chance and not been starving to death since I was scheduled to work without a relief individual. So I was going to work from 9:30 AM to 7 PM, but, the owner called and saved me. The color combination was awesome, black beans, white sauce. Another key to the sauce is lots and lots and lots of black pepper. I only upped it a notch (or “kick it”, as Emeril would say), by adding the penguin peppers. Okay, pequin, but I like saying penguin! They look like a penguin’s beak!
The grits were a spur and, as always, the spur of the moment recipe turns out to fall into the ‘to die for’ category. Since I hadn’t a lot to eat earlier, as my stomach keeps playing games with me, I splurged on some extra carbs for dinner. On some days, who honestly really gives a rip? I’m thinking of taking this recipe, too, and turning it breakfast savy. Stay tuned for that one.
White Out Back Beans With sweet potato grits ½ cup black beans, cooked 1 small parsnip, diced into small cubes ¼ red onion, diced 1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp nayonaise (or mayonnaise or whatever you prefer) ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 1 tsp stevia 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed/grind 2 dried penguin pequin chilis, crushed
Lettuce leaves to serve (optional)
In a small pot, bring the water to a boil, add the parsnips, and boil until tender. Transfer to a bowl or food processor and puree.
In a pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onions until soft then add the garlic and lightly brown. Turn down the heat and whisk in the mayo. Stir until it begins to break down, then add the vinegar, salt, peppers, and sugar. Add in the parsnip puree and stir until the sauce thickens. Finally, add in the beans and cook for a few minutes more.
Transfer into serving bowl or leaves.
Sweet Potato Grits 1 small sweet potato ¼ cup stone-ground grits 1 cup water ½ tbsp nondairy margarine A small dash of salt
Clean the sweet potato, scrubbing it lightly, and cutting off the eyes. Poke holes in the sweet potato and microwave it until it reaches a soft state. Set it aside to cool, or if you’re like me with pre-calloused hands, go for it and peel.
While that cools, in a small pot combine the water and grits. Bring it to a boil then turn down the heat and cook until the grits thicken. While that cooks, in another bowl mash the potato and when the grits do thicken, add it to the bowl along with the margarine and salt. If it appears too thick, add a bit more water, but it really depends on your preference of consistency. I liked it mushy and thick.
I think I could eat a bowl of this over and over again without growing tired of it. Oh, the possibilities.