Posts Tagged ‘ark of taste’

Cooking with pickles part 2 – Beaver Dam Pepper tater skins

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Our pickled Beaver Dam Pepper is super versatile for many tasty appetizers and snacks - in a bloody mary, with polenta cakes for an elegant finger food or try it in this recipe mixed with gooey cheddar cheese and Italian sausage on a potato skin!

Grow it to save it – Who will be the Beaver Dam Pepper Champion 2013?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

The time has come for you to join Slow Food Chicago, Slow Food WiSE and Scrumptious Pantry in the Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration this year, and if you’re wondering how you can participate then you came to the right place. Join our Beaver Dam Pepper Championship! Who will grow the largest Beaver Dam Pepper this year and become the Beaver Dam Pepper Champion 2013?

Participating is easy - First you need to obtain a Beaver Dam Pepper seedling! If you are in Chicago take advantage of the Peterson Garden Project's plant sale May 10th – 12th. In Milwaukee, you will find Beaver Dam Pepper seedlings at Webers Garden Center, 4215 North Green Bay Avenue or at the Village Green Street Fair in Wauwatosa on June 1 at the booth of Slow Food WiSE.

Seedlings will give you a kick start, but  if you don't have a chance to get your hands on one, planting a seed should hopefully still work - though you will get less peppers and get them later (order seeds at Seed Savers Exchange).

Then, find the perfect place to plant your Beaver Dam Pepper. You will need a 1 ft. square plot in your garden. Even a large planter on your sunny front porch would work. The pepper takes about 80 days to come to fruit and may require trellises, as the peppers can grow up to 9 inches long!

And finally, the last step to participate in the Beaver Dam Pepper Championship is to watch your pepper grow and report its progress by posting photo updates of your growing peppers on our Facebook page or on twitter using the hashtags #BeaverDamPepper #pepperazzi. We also hope you will be sharing recipes you come up with. And if you have questions and need growing tips, our farmer team will give answers on Facebook and twitter, too.

The Beaver Dam Pepper Celebration will culminate in a weeklong extravaganza from September 16-22nd: we'll have awesome Chefs in Milwaukee and Chicago preparing special dishes with the Beaver Dam Pepper for our Tour de Menu, pop up at Farmers Markets with our roadshow - and we're organizing a huge & fun Beaver Dam Pepper Community Potluck in Chicago. The winner of the Beaver Dam Pepper Growing Competition will be announced at the potluck on September 22 - up for grabs is a Scrumptious Pantry gift basket valued at $100.

Will you be the 2013 Beaver Dam Pepper Champion?



Be part of the Beaver Dam Centennial Celebration – Eat it to save it!

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

This September, it has been 100 years that Joe Hussli brought the pepper seeds with him, when he came over to the new world from Hungary. He settled in Beaver Dam , Wisconsin, and started cultivating the pepper that must have meant so much to him. If you were to pack two bags only and move to the other part of the world - what would you pack!?

Joe passed the seeds to neighbors and friends and the pepper became known as the Beaver Dam Pepper. Unfortunately today, when you meet someone from Beaver Dam, chances are they have never heard about it, because most farmers abandoned the pepper's cultivation as hybrid varieties became widely available. The new peppers did not require trellises and were much easier to grow, so over time, the Beaver Dam Pepper was forgotten.

To change that, we started pickling the Beaver Dam Pepper last year and we have been very happy about the great success our pepper has had. It's just too tasty not to fall in love with the warm, flavorful heat.

For September, we have teamed up with Slow Food to organize the "Beaver Dam Pepper Centennial Celebration" in Chicago and Milwaukee. For two weekends (Sept 21-23 in Chicago, Sept 28-30 in Milwaukee), some of the cities' best local restaurants will be creating special menu items to showcase the Beaver Dam Pepper to share the story of the pepper. We also have scheduled a number of tastings in retail stores where we will pass out samples, recipes, and seed packets,  and in Chicago will be popping up at select Farmer’s Markets, to boot.

Be part of the Beaver Dam Pepper Centennial Celebration - and eat it to save it!


Beaver Dam Pepper Tour de Menu September 28-30

Braise (closed Sundays) with Tea and Crumpets featuring a Beaver Dam Pepper Jam, Tea Smoked Chicken with an Herbed Crumpet

Glorioso's Italian Market (1011 E. Brady St.) -- with Gamberi e linguini con banane pepe in salamoia (tiger shrimp, beaver dam pickled peppers, oil cured black olives, leeks, goat cheese and olive oil)

G. Groppi Food Market (1441 E. Russell Ave.) -- with Beaver Dam Pepper Pizza with ricotta, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, red onions and pickled Beaver Dam Peppers

Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub (222 Erie St., closed Sundays)

The Rumpus Room (1030 N. Water St.) -- with Beaver Dam Pepper Hash

Demos and in-store tastings

Friday, Sept 28

Groppi's Food Market, 5pm -7pm


Saturday, Sept 29

Glorioso's 11am - 3pm

Sendik's on Oakland, 4pm -6pm

Putting the heirloom in pickle

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I believe in canning, putting up the glory of summer for winter. I always loved the fresh tasting flavors of the quick refrigerator, but could not get around liking the store bought ones. Even the fancy brands seemed to be tasting too much like vinegar, salt and spices. To my palate that is. Hence I got my mind set on a line of pickles very soon - especially as here at The Scrumptious Pantry it is all about making foods that are connected with the culinary heritage of a region. If not pickles made in the Midwest, then where? All those immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe - pickling was their preferred choice of preserving the summer bounty.

And that is the keyword PRESERVE. We wanted to make pickles that preserve the flavor of the ingredients, accentuate the character of the veggies - not alter it to a point that if you took out the texture component and taste a pickle blindfolded you would be unable to identify the veggie.

Today, we are launching our first two products in the new line of pickles. It has been in the works for two years now. Our obsession with authenticity led us to put up jars and jars of pickles, trying every pickle recipe we could find in historic recipe books. Just for the fun of it, I just counted the open jars in my fridge that represent the various stages of testing (and which I am eating no matter how they taste cause I cannot throw food away. A salty dill pickle for example is great in an omelette w. potatoes) - 38 jars. I still have 38 open jars in my fridge, and 47 jars that have already been cleaned and stored away for the next round of testing. That equals 85 different test batches on four products. Now, surely that is not a lot of R&D for big food companies. It is a lot for us.

Besides canning batch after batch in the test kitchen, this project  led us to browse seed catalogues and speak with agricultural historians, in our quest to identify vegetables that have a history in the Midwest. With all the Polish & German immigration patterns beets made it onto our list pretty early in the process. The Giardiniera was decided on without much discussion, too, because this vegetable medley is the signature "vegetable preserve" of Chicago. The Lemon Cucumber we fell in love with at local Farmer's Markets. And then the Beaver Dam Pepper jumped out at us, when we were researching the Slow Food Arch of Taste – a listing of culturally significant varietals at the brink of extinction. The Beaver Dam Pepper was introduced to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, around 1913 by an Hungarian immigrant. It has a mildly spicy flavor and is just delicious. But it is very difficult to grow – the peppers can get enormous, requiring to put up trellises. So although it was a great tasting pepper, it was abandoned in favor of the easier to grow varieties


                                                                                       John of Stone Circle Farm with a small (!) Beaver Dam Pepper

Luckily by word of mouth we found a farm in Reeseville – Stone Circle Farm – that had been growing some experimental Beaver Dam Pepper plants last year. And how excited we were to hear that John would be willing to give the Beaver Dam Pepper a try on a larger scale. He brought on another Farm close to Beaver Dam – Good Earth Farm- and we were ready to go. We had some setbacks and we had some great successes. Some beautiful peppers and some pretty ugly ones, scarred up with sunburn. The spice profile for brine we developed for the Beaver Dam Pepper was reminiscent of the flavors of Hungary, and we are pretty excited about what we think is a greatly balanced flavor, supporting the characteristic taste of the Beaver Dam Pepper.

Today, we are launching the Beaver Dam Pepper and the Lemon Cucumber. Giardiniera and beets should follow before Thanksgiving. We want to thank our Farmers - John, Nicole, Rink, Jenny, Alison, Alex, Andy and Dirk - for trusting us with their beautiful veggies. A special thank you also to all our taste testers, that might not have tasted through all 85 batches, but still ate a considerable amount of pickled veggies. I personally want to thank Andy Fair, my partner in the kitchen, for not giving up on me and my quest for the perfect preserved pickle.

All our pickles make great additions to a Cheese plate or as an antipasto, but my favorite match so far are slow cooked beans with pulled pork over rice and a Beaver Dam Pepper on the side. How do you like to eat our pickles? Have a taste and let us know! They are available in our online store and moving to your trusted retailers in these days, too.