HUNGARIAN BLACK PEPPERS
Most recognizable in their deep purple stage, Hungarian black peppers mature to red when they spend more time on the vine; they also get hotter and sweeter. Similar in shape to jalapeños, these chiles have their own crisp, fresh flavor and deliver a friendly level of heat. Assess the spiciness as you chop them for cooking and use the seeds if you want more kick.
A favorite of both cooks and gardeners, the plants are speckled with pretty purple blossoms all season long. If an early snowstorm threatens your garden, remember that chiles continue to ripen indoors so it’s worth scrambling to pick them.
Fall is the beginning of root vegetable season, and some, like parsnips, are delicious raw especially when young and freshly harvested. Use a vegetable peeler to get long ribbons, crisp them in ice water for a few minutes, then add the strips to salads. As the creamy-colored roots grow larger and mature, you’re better off enjoying them cooked. Cut slices, chunks, or elegant long halves, coat them with olive oil, and roast at 400°F until tender and beginning to caramelize, with or without similarly sized root vegetable friends like beets and potatoes.
Thanks to Benjamin Deuling and his team at SporeAttic, we can enjoy Oyster mushrooms at their peak freshness most months of the year. Find their mushrooms at farmers markets and on local restaurant menus.
When you bring mushrooms home, keep them in a brown paper bag with a few holes poked in—you want the mushrooms to retain their moisture without getting soggy from too much condensation. When cleaning them for cooking, brush off any dirt or debris with a crumpled piece of paper towel, resisting the urge to use water because they are like little sponges and soak up every drop.
A dry sauté is a great way to cook mushrooms. Start with a hot pan, tear the mushrooms into manageable pieces, and cook them (perhaps with a sprig of thyme) until they release their liquid and begin to brown. Add a little butter or olive oil toward the end of cooking and tumble them out onto a buttered slice of toasted sourdough or alongside roasted potatoes. For more mushroom cooking ideas, check out the recipe from Kenan as the recipe section at sporeattic.com.