What's Cookin' at The Jalapeno
This Mexican celebration
continues to grow in popularity in the United States. It
started out being celebrated in the towns along the USA/Mexico
border and now it is celebrated all over the US. What many
people do not know is that this is not Mexicos Independence
day, that is on September 16.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates
the Battle of Puebla, which occurred on May 5, 1862. A courageous
group of Mexican soldiers, led by Gen. Ignacia Zaragoza,
defeated well armed and trained French soldiers sent by
Napoleon III to take control of Mexico. The battle showed
the courage and determination of the Mexican people to be
free of foreign rule.
If you are planning
a Cinco de Mayo celebration, check Jalapeno Cafe's Recipes
section for authentic Mexican dishes.. Tostados
de Tinga is a popular dish in the state of Puebla. Mole
was supposed to have been created by the nuns in Puebla.
Try the Chicken
Mole' Tostados, too. Top the celebration off with an
is an update on my chile pepper crop. The
Pequins and Lemon Drops are producing heavily
right now, but the Chiltepins are just starting.
I have one small problem with the Chiltepins
and that is that the Blue Jays and Mockingbirds
love them. I have to chase them out of the
garden two or three times a day. I had some
old rubber snakes that I used to keep on
a brick wall to scare the Grackles away.
I put the snakes out in the garden by the
Chiltepins yesterday. Too soon to tell if
this works. I grew the mild "False
Alarm" Jalapeno pepper and I do like
it, even though it is really not hot enough
for my taste. Overall, it has a good jalapeno
flavor without the heat. So you Jalapeno
Lovers who want a milder pepper, give this
plant a try.
not yet ripe.
is a gardening update.
We received our pepper plants from Cross
Country Nursery in early April and immediately
planted them in the garden. They are doing
very well, thank you. The ones that I raised
from seeds are up too, in fact I am giving
away jalapeno plants. I had planted chiltepin
seeds which had not sprouted after two weeks,
but I was just too impatient because these
seeds have sprouted too.
is a snap shot of the beautiful plants shipped
from Cross Country Nursery, a picture of
our garden and pictures of the chiltepin
plants after a few days in the ground.
raised beds in our garden since we live
on a land formation called the White Rock
Escarpment. It is very hilly and beautful,
but it means we are on perched on limestone
rock. The only way to grow anything around
here is to dig down about 24 inches and
remove the limestone mix, replacing it with
good garden soil or to build raised beds.
We have done both.
a lilac bush in my yard that I have nursed
through the hot Texas summers for about
8 years. Each spring, it puts out a few
sickly blooms. I decided if the plant did
not produce more lilacs this year, I was
going to dig it up and put in a shrub more
suited to the Texas climate. Well, the plant
must have known that it was facing extinction,
because it is loaded with blooms. Every
day last week, the bush was covered with
butterflies. Here is a picture I took with
my digital camera.
sorry to report that the chiltepin seeds
that I planted did not sprout. But not to
worry, I found a source for chile plants,
Cross Country Nursery in New Jersey.
Their selection is huge! They must grow
every type of pepper plant known to man.
I placed an order for 3 dozen plants, and
we should be receiving a shipment any day
now. I ordered three types of Chiltepin,
a native Chiltepin, a cultivated Mexican
Chiltepin and a Texas Chiltepin. That way,
I can find out which one has the hottest
of chile seeds that I planted indoors is
growing really well, so I have a big crop
of "Lemon Drop" seedlings on my
window sill. We will start the Jalapeno
seeds outdoors as soon as we have a few
hot days. I hope to have some photographs
of the pepper plants for you soon.
tomato growers, we purchased some Early
Girls at the local nursery and put them
out in early March. We had to cover them
a few nights when we had frost, but they
survived and they are blooming! We grew
our other tomatoes from seeds. We have put
out Big Boys, Mortgage Lifters, Nebraska
Wedding, Slicer, and 2 French heirloom tomatoes
that I can't remember the name of. Last
year, the Mortgage Lifter was the best producer
in our garden. I grew Brandywine last year
and they were the best tasting tomatoes
I've ever grown. But they tend to put out
a lot of leaf and not many tomatoes, so
I did not grow them this year.
you checked out the enchilada recipes that
I posted on the main
recipe page. Try the recipes, they are
easy to make and taste so good. Please note
the pictures I took. I am finally mastering
my digital camera and I will post more food
photos in the future.
March - It
We have had the perfect
winter here in Dallas. It snowed one day,
a wet heavy snow. School was canceled and
the kids were able to sled and make snowmen
and everyone, including me, took pictures
of the beautiful snow covered trees. The next
day, it warmed up and all the snow melted.
Yes, that's my idea of winter. Here is a picture
of my front yard and Kiesthill Dr. where I
February, I tried some new green enchilada
recipes, which I have posted on the recipe
page, but no new desserts this month.
planted our tomato seeds (8 different varieties)
in flats and the little plants are up and
sprouting more leaves every day. I am going
to plant my pepper seeds this week-end.(Then
we'll be out of sunny window sills). Our garden
is turned, and we worked in more compost and
orange peel (for the nematodes) so in three
or four weeks, we will be moving the plants
outdoors. I will be growing Jalapagos (mild
and hot), New Mexico Joe Parkers, chiltepins
and pequins. I will share my chili growing
experiences with you this year. Please send
me your plans for preserving, pickling, drying,
freezing and whatever else you do with your
Get Ready for Easter
is coming up and it's time to start saving
egg shells for cascarones. These colorful
confetti filled eggs are an important part
of the Easter celebration for Mexican families
in Texas. It's supposed to bring you good
luck to have a cascarone cracked on your
head. In San Antonio during Fiesta week,
everyone has cascarones to crack on their
friends' heads. Last year, I sent some to
my grandson who is attending college up
in Rochester NY, and he told me they were
a huge hit. I usually make enough to give
a dozen to each child and of course the
grown-ups have to have some too. This is
a good craft project for kids.
people make elaborately decorated cascarones,
and others just spray them with spray paint.
I color mine with Easter egg coloring and
fill with paper confetti. One year, I made
the mistake of using the mylar confetti
sold at the craft store. It does not degrade
and I think is is still in my lawn. Sometimes
I can find paper confetti at the Mexican
party stores, if not, I get out my scissors
and snip enough crepe or tissue paper to
make a bag of confetti.
started, you will need to eat lots of scrambled
eggs and omelets and save the egg shells.
To open the eggs, take a knife and punch
a tiny hole in one end of the egg. Break
the egg open at the other end, making a
large enough opening shake the egg out into
the empty egg shell and put it in an egg
carton. When you are ready to make the cascarones,
dye the shells just like you would Easter
eggs. Put them back in the egg cartons to
dry. Once they are dry, you can write or
draw on the shell or paste on gold stars.
Fill each egg with confetti and paste a
piece of tissue over the top to hold the
are some website that tell more about the
custom of cascarones. Cascarones
Send a cascarone
e-mail card. Let's make cascarones -
project. Cascarones -Egging
at Mexican Fiestas What
Egg-Zactly are Cascarones?.
the time I finish putting away the Christmas
decorations, the seed catalogs start arriving
in the mail. They are filled with pictures
of tomatoes, sunflowers, herbs and all the
things I love to grow. It lifts my spirits
to flip through the pages, reading the claims
that promise bumper crops of vegetables
and flowers. Before I know it, I have my
pencil out and I'm jotting down my selections
on the order form, my head filled with visions
of baskets full of ripe tomatoes, corn,
and colorful cut flowers.
have so much more variety if you grow your
plants from seeds. We use the little miniature
greenhouse planters, placed on a sunny window
sill to sprout the seeds, then transplant
them to peat pots to grow until time to
plant in the garden.
year was the year of the Tomato for us.
We filled our beds with many different varieties
of heirloom tomato plants that we raised
from seed. The heirloom tomato seed, Mortgage
Lifter, was the best performer in our garden.
The Brandywines had the best taste, but
did not produce well in the Texas heat.
year, I am going to have one bed just for
jalapenos. I will try to grow different
varieties of jalapeno from the mildest to
the hottest. Then I will try different preserving
recipes. I'll keep you updated on this project.
you pepper fans, I noticed that the Burpee
has seeds for the Chiltepin. This is the
little wild pepper that is so hard to find.
I will definitely plant some of these seeds.
For everyone who wrote me about where to
find mild jalapenos, the Burpee catalog
has one called "False Alarm" and
the Pinetree Garden seed catalog (www.superseeds.com)
has one called "Senorita." I also
noticed that Pinetree has seeds for Pineapple
tomatillos which sounds like something fun
of my favorite seeds are the Little Gem
a miniature head of romaine lettuce, the
Star Burst squash that is little buttercup
yellow Patty Pan squash (the raccoons like
it, too), Cinnamon (Mexican) Basil (smells
so good) and Love-Lies-Bleeding (www.selectseeds.com),
an old fashioned cut flower that has long
chenille like tassels of crimson red. All
of these plants are easy to grow from seed.
finally purchased a digital camera so I
will photograph the peppers in the garden
throughout the growing season. In the meantime,
I posted my first food photograph, the Sonora
to the Jalapeno Cafe
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I will be sending out recipes,
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I just want to keep in touch
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Return to the
Check out the new
cookbooks. I have researched the web and found
the best of the best hot and spicy cookbooks, and
information regarding chilies. I will be adding
to this list often so keep visiting!
favorite hot and spicy recipes, I will post them immediately.
I would love to help you share your recipes with the
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MOST IMPORTANTLY, have a good time at this mystical
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REMEMBER, IT'S ALL
IN YOUR MIND
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