Cowgirl Candy.

Doesn't look too fancy, right?

Doesn’t look too fancy, right?

There are recipes all over the internet for something called “Cowboy Candy”. This recipe is pretty much the same thing – it’s just that I’m a lady, I’m the one who makes these, and I love these sweet and spicy jalapenos.

So, y’know, that makes them Cowgirl Candy in my books.

Cowgirl Candy is delicious in nachos, on burgers, on their own, with cream cheese on a cracker, on their own, in soups or casseroles, on their own.. you can find plenty of uses for them if you like spicy sweet foods.  It is not actually candy. This will not fool your kids.

This recipe makes approximately 7 (250mL) jars of candy, depending how tightly you pack ’em, and will also leave you with approximately one jar of delicious jalapeno syrup to add to mashed potatoes, swirl into your quinoa bake, or to use as a marinade for meat.  As you can see (sorta’) in the photo, I don’t pack them very tightly – I like each jar to have a bit of extra syrup in there – but that means the peppers will float a bit.

Cowgirl Candy

Ingredients:

3 pounds jalapeno peppers, washed
2 cups cider vinegar
6 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoons celery seed
3 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. I highly recommend that you wear gloves while working with any hot peppers – but I can’t force you to be sensible.
  2. Slice off the stems and tips from all of the peppers. Toss these into your compost bucket.
  3. Slice the peppers into uniform 1/4 inch rounds. I like to use my mandoline because I enjoy taking my life into my own hands around sharp blades. Also, it makes the slices very neat and tidy. But you can totally do this with a knife. Set the pepper slices aside.
  4. In a large pot, combine the cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic, and cayenne pepper. Over medium-high heat, bring this mixture to a boil while stirring.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. For real. Time it. You don’t want them to get mushy and they’re going to get softer later when you process them.
  7. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the peppers into clean jars. Fill to about 1/4 inch line and pack them as tightly as you want them to be.
  8. Turn heat up in the pot and bring the syrup to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes. Time it. For real!
  9. Spoon or pour or ladle the boiling syrup into the jars – covering the pepper slices. Fill each jar to the 1/4 inch line.
  10. If you want to keep a jar or two of syrup, fill those up too!
  11. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel – get all the goopy sticky seeds and whatnot off.
  12. Put on your lids and bands. Process for the usual 10-15 minutes (depending on your altitude)
  13. Set aside to cool overnight and look for the happy ping’ed lids that mean everything has sealed up properly. If they haven’t sealed, put the jars in the fridge and eat ’em soon (I recommend nachos.)
Advertisements

Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese.

jalapeno

I  love jalapeños.

I love macaroni.

I love cheese.

I do not love the way any of the photos I took of this dinner turned out, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  Picture a bowl filled with perfectly cooked pasta, coated in a creamy sauce, dotted with jalapeños. Imagine eating something that has the flavour of a deep fried jalapeño popper, but without the deep frying.

The recipe can be tweaked depending on your personal preferences for heat. Add more, or substract some, of the jalapeños. Use regular shredded mozzarella in place of the habanero cheese if you want to tone down the heat!  We use low-fat or “light” versions of the ingredients whenever possible – the recipe turns out just fine with low fat and with the full-fat ingredients, so use whatever you prefer. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

Here’s the recipe:

Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese

Makes enough for about 12 servings for normal people – or one dinner plus a bit left over for our family of hungry wolves.

Ingredients:
  • 24 oz. uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups milk (we use 1%)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (light)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (light)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light)
  • 8 oz can sliced jalapeños, drained and diced (or leave them large if you prefer)
  • 2 cups shredded habanero pepper cheese (or your preference)
Instructions:
  1. Cook your pasta in a big pot of boiling water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, grab a second pot and prepare your sauce. Heat the vegetable oil up, add garlic, and stir it around for a minute or two. Add the milk, cream cheese, and parmesan – use a whisk to get everything well-mixed.
  3. Once the cream cheese has fully melted and the mixture is hot, turn the heat to low and add the sour cream.
  4. Add the jalapeños into the sauce, stirring to combine and warm them.
  5. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot (remove from heat). Pour the sauce onto the noodles, stir until well mixed, then add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Spicy Smoky BBQ Sauce.

Stacked pints!

Stacked pints!

I wanted to continue to involve my 13 year old son in the process of canning things, so we decided to make BBQ sauce together. The process didn’t involve much chopping or dicing (though he was unimpressed with the onions stinging his eyes and the amount of time that it takes to press the garlic) and it came together fairly quickly. It was messy, however, and involved a lot of measuring.

We used this recipe and doubled it (for a total of 15 pints). We then pressure canned it (so we could stack, as noted in the photo above).

One jar leaked (ew) and two didn’t seal properly (so they’re in the fridge) but the taste is pretty darned good!