A harvest moon will soon be hovering over the horizon, imbuing us with the golden, hazy memories of autumns past. We will sit by our bonfire, warming ourselves as every orange tongue of flame lights our faces and the images of years gone by come to life. Sitting around a fire in the fall with friends and family is a custom we never tire of. In this circle around the fire, gazing into those hypnotic flames, as surely it’s happened since the beginning of time, we reflect, we laugh, sometimes we sing, and, certainly, we always eat.
This past weekend, with the hint of fall weather in the air, spectacular blue skies and crisp weather, we decided at the last minute, to have a carne asada for friends in the garden. There were salsas to prepare and grocery shopping to do. Never backing away from further complicating my life, I decided to make pickled vegetables and serranos for us to nibble on while the fire got going. My parents always had jars of these things in Laredo. (Who would ever show up to our house without a jar of pickled peppers in hand?) My parents ate them in great quantities, plus you found them on every restaurant table in Nuevo Laredo, it was the equivalent of the ketchup bottle you would find here in a fast food restaurant. But it’s not fast food, and it is something good to have in your refrigerator (or pantry if you trust your canning skills).
So, if you have a bounty of peppers, now is the time to put them in vinegar along with carrots, small onions, cloves of garlic, and marble sized potatoes, if you can find them.
- 4 cups marble sized potatoes
- 1 cup serrano or jalapeño chiles
- 6 cloves peeled garlic
- 5 carrots, cut into thick slices
- water to boil the vegetables
- white or apple cider vinegar to add to the boiled vegetables
- aromatic herbs: bay leaf, oregano, and thyme
- Place the potatoes, chiles, carrots, and garlic in a pot of boiling, salted water that is about one inch over the level of vegetables.
- Cook slowly, uncovered with a low boil.
- They should be cooked after about 10 minutes: check the carrots, or the potatoes for doneness.
- Drain most of the water and add the vinegar. It should be approximately half water, half vinegar.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, adding the bay leaf, sprigs of oregano and of thyme.
- Pour into canning jars and store in your refrigerator after they’ve cooled.
- Serve in bowls as an appetiser.