Nothing takes the wind out of your sails more than losing a blog post just as you’ve finished writing it, especially when it’s been a few months since a post has gone from “draft” to “published”. (One day that recipe will make the blog – when I can look at the title without wanting to cry.)
It has been quite a busy few months, with moving, weddings, pre-wedding parties, traveling, conferences and language courses… just writing it is stressful! It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m looking forward to more time to sit down and write about all the food I’m cooking.
Today’s post is inspired by something that arrived in the mail recently…
Thanks to Riverford Farms, I was chosen to receive a few vampire chilies to try out a potential new crop. Anyone who received them was tasked with coming up with a recipe (or in this case – 3) that we could try these pretty chilis in. As an aside, I’m not sure why they’re called vampire chilies, and the internet didn’t seem to have any good reasons, either.
I wanted to try a bunch of different recipes – and with only 4 chilis, they needed to do a lot of work. In the end, I used them to fill in for jalapenos, which can be hard to find in the UK (and happen to be my favorite chilis).
In the end – the verdict on vampire chilis is that if it happens to be a spicy one, there’s a nice kick to them. However, they’re really not the most exciting peppers – they taste like green bell peppers when they’re not very spicy. If you’re looking for something that adds spice without too much other complexity, these seem to be good for that, but as a strongly flavorful ingredient, they didn’t really shine.
The gentleman and I joined forces to get these three recipes out – and I deferred to him for the guacamole, since he makes a pretty great guac. The recipes are salsa, guacamole and baked vampire “poppers”.
If you get a chance to try out these beautiful dark purple peppers, let me know what you think!
Vampire Chili Salsa
8 small plum tomatoes
1 vampire chili
1 medium garlic clove
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
juice from 1/4 lime
4 flour tortillas
Halve tomatoes, remove seeds. Dice tomato flesh and onions. Have and slice chili, don’t remove the seeds and ribs.
Combine all vegetables and coriander, and season with salt, cumin and lime juice. Toss to combine. Set aside for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Heat oven to 200C. Meanwhile, brush each tortilla with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt. Cut the tortillas into triangles. Lay the triangles in one layer onto a baking tray. Bake in 5-minute intervals until lightly golden.
Vampire Chili Guacamole
1 slightly squidgy avocado
1 tasty tomato
1 red onion
1 vampire chilli
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Halve avocado, remove pit, scoop out of skin. Squish avocado a bit in a bowl. Roughly chop tomato, throw it into a bowl. Finely chop onion, throw it in. Roughly chop chilli, throw it in. Add some salt to taste. Add lime juice. Stir to combine.
Baked Vampire Poppers
2 vampire chilies, sliced, with stems intact
3 tablespoons cream cheese
1 oz cheddar, crumbled
2 green onions, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1 slice smoked bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled (optional)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 200C. Remove seeds from chilies, put into bowl. Add cream cheese, cheddar, green onions, coriander, bacon, paprika. Combine until all ingredients are well integrated and cream cheese is creamy. Stuff cheese mixture into each pepper half. Roll top of each pepper in panko crumbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crumbs start to brown. Serve.