Jalapeño Cheddar Scones

Jalapeño Cheddar Scones on a baking sheet

Hot Ones
The growing season in California this year has been bizarre, to say the least. It is the first week of October and my tomato plant is finally producing tomatoes at a rate that would normally happen in early August. On top of that, I have two chili plants that are producing Fresno and Jalapeño chilies that are nuclear hot.

I love jalapeños because they are relatively mild but still give you that spicy chili punch of flavor. The chilies that I am pulling off of my plant are volcanic. A few weeks ago, I decided to pickle some of them because we are a family that likes nachos and nachos are better with some pickled jalapeños. I will generally open the windows in my kitchen when I do this because the gases from the chilies can make your eyes water.

These chilies? We ended up opening every door and window in the house. It permeated every corner. It was like someone had emptied a can of pepper spray in the living room. The good news is that pickled jalapeños generally mellow once you process them and let them sit a bit…or so I thought.

Last week my husband was working from home and decided to use the canned chilies in a quesadilla. According to him, he didn’t use that many chilies. But, his idea of not a lot is other people’s pile it on. His text said that his entire mouth was numb. That lasted for an hour. And yet, a few days later, he went back for more. Feel the burn, indeed.

Since it’s been on the cooler side lately, I made a batch of chili to have on hand for the nights that I just can’t. I’m one of those people who can’t eat chili without some cornbread or something carb-y to go with it. I’m going to take a chance that baking with my chilies will result in good flavor and not harm my family. And, these Jalapeño Cheddar Scones are a perfect accompaniment to a hearty bowl of chili….

Jalapeño Cheddar Scones Recipe
Adapted from Bake It with Love
Yields 8 to 12 scones

These Jalapeno Cheddar Scones are big on flavor and loaded with cheddar and jalapeños. They are great at dinnertime—especially alongside a bowl of chili. Read more…

Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Photo of Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies on a baking sheet before they are set.

Mandolin Rain
We have a number of mandolins in our house. Some of them make beautiful music (well, if you’re into that kind of music. It’s all relative.). Two of them will slice potatoes so thin that the gratin you’re making will melt in your mouth and make you cry. Those two reside in the kitchen and one of them did damage to my finger Sunday night.

I will spare you the details. But, suffice it to say, after a trip to Urgent Care and a whole lot of gauze, I will be avoiding anything with a hint of danger in the kitchen for the foreseeable future. There will be no chopping, dicing, and certainly no slicing. There WILL be a glass of wine while I sit on the couch because I am also using this moment to avoid anything hot like an oven, the grill, or the open flame of my stove.

In short, the family is just going to have to fend for themselves for a bit. It will be good for them. Nothing like cereal and mac and cheese for a few nights to give them perspective on the dangers I face walking into the kitchen each night to make them dinner. My husband is considering a suit of chain mail because, sadly, this is not the first time something like this has happened and it will most likely not be the last because I am that person. The one who always manages to injure themselves in sometimes strange, but never surprising, ways.

And, as someone who has actually been thrown from a horse (more than once I might add) you do in fact need to get back on and try again. So, give me a week and I will be back at it. Although, I am considering a chain mail glove like our butchers have. I refuse to give up that gratin…

Truthfully, I am not going to pull myself completely out of the game—mainly because I want to make these beauties below. They are no-bake but they do require the use of the stove. I’m going to take the risk. After the week I have had, I’m worth it!

There are hundreds of versions of these Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies available online. I like this one from Food Network.

Peanut Butter Chocolate No-Bake Cookies Recipe
Adapted from The Food Network
Yields about five dozen cookies

These cookies begin on the stovetop and are set in the fridge. They are easy to make and yield a lot of cookies. It would be easy to substitute out the milk and butter to make a vegan version. And, you can always swap out the peanut butter for a nut butter of your choice. Plus, they are gluten-free. Read more…

Peach Crumble Bars

Just Peachy
I have a problem. A peachy problem—my peach cup runneth over. And, now I have to figure out ways to use or preserve the peaches, so they don’t go to waste.

The obvious solutions of eating them as a snack, slicing them up for the freezer, as well as handing them out to friends have already happened. I have made a cobbler or three. And, this weekend I will be canning some of the peaches in light syrup. I might also be making ice cream. But there are still some left…and more on the tree.

What to do with the leftovers? Sure, I could make a pie. But, the thought kind of makes me tired. I’m thinking this situation screams for a bar cookie—Peach Crumble Bars. I figure if it can be done with apple pie and pecan pie, why not peaches?

Peach Crumble Bars Recipe
Adapted from Pastry & Beyond
Yields 16 bars Read more…

Strawberry Hibiscus & Honey Ice Cream

Photo of a bowl of Strawberry Hibiscus & Honey Ice Cream

Something Totally Different
I have been overwhelmed with recipes since starting my journey into the flavors of Africa. Unfortunately, there are too many wonderful options to consider—and not enough time.

The recipe below for Strawberry Hibiscus & Honey Ice Cream is one I definitely want to try but just haven’t been able to get to. So I am passing it on to y’all in the hopes that someone out there is willing to give it a shot and let me know how it turns out.

Dried hibiscus flowers can be challenging to find. As an alternative, I recommend using hibiscus tea as a substitute. If you go that route, let me know what tea you use. I thought the Tao of Tea Hibiscus Ginger might be fantastic for this.

Strawberry Hibiscus & Honey Ice Cream
Adapted from Africana by Lerato Umah-Shaylor
Yields about 1 Quart Read more…