This is the first time we grow jalapeño peppers. Lynard is happy for the new additions in our vegetable garden. The four jalapeño plants are doing quite well. There are lots of green peppers growing on the plants, more than I expected.
Although jalapeño is America’s favorite chile pepper, it is fairly new to me. As I start eating more jalapeño peppers, I absolutely fall in love with the grassy, green flavor. I discover new ways to eat jalapeño peppers in my main dish, appetizer, dessert or side dish. You can saute it, fry it, grill it, bake it, pickle it, or eat it raw in salads. I love the special-kick it adds to the food. Jalapeño and chocolate are made for each other, or so I’ve heard. Will try it one day.
But before I get a chance to make jalapeño brownies, I discovered jalapeño omelet. It was one of those days that I put things together just because I have it. A small chunk of char siu (Chinese barbecue pork) was left in my refrigerator begging for attentions. Seriously, nobody should waste good char siu. Lynard picked some chives and two jalapeño peppers for me. I am going to make breakfast. Or should I say brunch? Time goes really fast in the morning.
How can I make breakfast without eggs? There are many reasons I eat eggs. Eggs are easy to get, easy to make, easy to eat and provide lots of health benefits. I diced up the char siu and jalapeño peppers, sauteed them in a small pan, seasoned it with salt and black pepper, added chives at the end. The next step was a no-brainer. In a separate skillet, I made the omelet with the char siu mixture. Wow, I would have never expected jalapeño char siu omelet can taste so delicious. I almost fell off the chair after the first bite. It was that good. Happy Fourth of July!
Jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper. Most jalapeños are produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas. The growing period is 70–80 days in hot weather. When mature, the plant is about two to three feet tall. Typically, a jalapeño plant produces about 25 to 35 pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red, which have less flavor. Green jalapeño peppers have a lot of tiny lines on the surface when they are extremely hot and ready for picking.
A mature jalapeño fruit is about 2 to 3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green. Once picked, individual peppers may turn red on their own. The flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper. The heat is concentrated in the membrane surrounding the seeds, which give the spicy flavor we all love.
When preparing jalapeños, don’t rub your hands on the eyes. Capsaicin, the chemical in jalapeños that makes them hot, can cause painful burning and redness. Fresh cut jalapeños can give your hands a burning sensation for hours. I found that out myself.
Jalapeño peppers can be used green or red in Mexican and American cooking. Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños, a Mexican favorite.
I have only discovered jalapeño in Chinese cooking recently when I needed some chili peppers to make black bean garlic ribs (豉汁排骨). The results were wonderful. Four pounds of baby back ribs disappeared quickly. Wow, I can think of many ways to use jalapeño in my cooking. Oh, yes, I will definitely grow jalapeño peppers in my vegetable garden next year.
One good thing about the extreme hot weather is that our long beans are growing fast and furious. Last week we had only 5-6 beans every morning. Today we picked at least 20-30 beans. We have cooked a lot of beans lately. I cooked this dish with two new sauces. It is not the flavor I have expected. But it is very easy to make, lots of flavor. A little too spicy for me. I think I can get used to it. Next time I will add some onion and garlic to give more flavors. This is a northern Chinese dish. A lot of people like it.
Chinese Long Beans
Stir Fried Spicy Beans ( 炸醬炒豆角 )
2 cups Chinese long beans, 2-inch long pieces
2 tablespoons bean paste
2 tablespoons (or less) chili oil
2 tablespoons (or less) hoisin sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Saute beans, onion and garlic for about 5-8 minutes over medium heat. Add bean paste, chili oil and hoisin sauce. Quickly stir fry until fragrant. Add about 1/4 cup water, cover the pan and cook another 5-8 minutes on medium low heat until beans are soften. That’s it. A nice side dish.
The best part about vegetable gardening is you get to see how plants grow from seeds to seedlings and then mature into crops. It is really a good experience watching the entire growing process. It makes you appreciate vegetables much more.
This year we (me and hubby) are growing the Chinese long beans (豆角 in Cantonese) for the first time. I asked my father for some seeds so we can learn how to grow them. We did not know what to expect since we have never done it before. But thanks to the gardening experience we have had the past few years, the beans are doing really well. We planted eight seedlings, only one did not survive. Their flowers are so pretty. The dark green beans have purple flowers. Light green beans have white flowers. I did not know the flowers only open for a few hours in the morning when the sun comes out. They develop into bean pods in the same day and continue to grow. It takes 60 days, from sowing to pods. Matured long beans hang in pairs. Learn more about long beans here.
Dark green long beans have purple flowers.
Bean pods are always in pairs.
Light green long beans have white flowers.
Lynard made a video for me. It shows the bean flowers developed into bean pods.
Spring is for gardening. After a long busy month, we finally got a chance to buy some seedlings for our backyard garden. However, we had to grow the long bean seedlings from seeds ourselves. We like to try something new each year. Now we have the seedlings, let’s plant them in the garden.
We bought tomato, bell peppers, chives and cilantro.
Here, we are growing long bean ( 豆角 ) seedlings for the first time.