Chili in the morning. Chili in the evening. Chili at suppertime….
I love August with the sudden embarrassment of riches: zucchini, Swiss chard, corn, peaches, plums, tomatoes, beans, blackberries… and, of course, peppers. And not just those lovely shepherd peppers. I’m talking about devilish little peppers.
A couple of weeks ago, our wonderful neighbour called over the fence to us: “Hey!! You’re letting me down. There are lots of red chilis that need cutting.”
I had been monitoring the chilis. I really had. Or at least I thought I had. But even though we have all the time in the world these days, it has a way of ticking by.
Every time I head out on my bike, I look over at J’s two chili plants that he planted this year just for us(!) in his many-many containers garden by his garage. In those containers (discarded blue bins, garbage pails, and buckets) J grows vegetables galore: carrots, beets, chard, tomatoes (several kinds), peppers (also several kinds), celery, turnips, beans, peas, spinach, ground cherries, and zucchini. Almost everything thrives. Some things get nicked. (Last year, J reported that he found several not-quite-ripe tomatoes, each with one bite taken out of them, scattered across the lane. Masked bandits in the night!)
J’s chilis are legendary. They are hot hot hot. But when you get past the searing heat, they are sweet and citrussy. They are the best.
In the beginning of August, scissors in hand, I was heading over to cut one or two bright red chilis and gazing longingly at the several still green chilis still hanging. And, as J pointed out, suddenly, all of them seemed to have ripened at once.
We made chili omelettes, Thai curry, Indian curry, added chilis to Swiss chard (along with J’s blackberries – remind me to rave about that!), added chilis to cornbread, strung chilis onto threads to dry, and still there were chilis galore. Indeed there are even more chilis that haven’t yet been picked!
But the really great thing about chilis is that you can’t really get tired of them. They are addictive.
As T was nobly cutting up three almost but not quite over-ripe peaches to put together a pie-let (smaller than a pie but bigger than a tart – just the right size of pie for two hogs), it suddenly occurred to him to throw in some of J’s beautiful cayenne chilis.
Wow. Wow. Wow. What a brilliant idea!
Do you have some ripe peaches and stunningly red cayenne chilis? If so, you neeeeeeed to make this pie! The chilis lose some of their intense heat in the sugar and seem to make the peaches taste even peachier – if that’s even possible in this height of peaches season.
Dig in. Just don’t forget to have a little bowl of yoghurt at hand to counteract the sweet intensity of the peaches and chilis. They haven’t lost all of their heat. …and the little devils like to hide.