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Biquinho Chile Peppers From Brazil, A Treat Pickled Or Raw

Move over peppadews: There’s a new mini chile to add panache to your food. Introducing binquino, a petite chile pepper that’s native to Brazil and sold in the US.

Rating from 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville heat scale, it packs a wee punch—about the same as ground chili powder.

The biquinho (bee-KEEN-yo), also known as the sweety drop, is typically sold pickled. It adds a kiss of flavor to everything it touches.

But if you can find them fresh (or grow your own), their smokey-sweet flavor is delicious on crudité platters, in salads, stews, stir-fries, and baked into breads, savory muffins, and scones.

The little chile delivers color, flavor, elegance, and whimsy. Their small teardrop shape and zesty flavor are alluring with gourmet appeal.

The marinades are usually tangy-sweet, creating a pickled chile pepper that’s just right for special occasions or casual snacking.

> Related chiles on the Scoville scale.

> The different types of chiles.

> The history of chile peppers, and why they’re called chiles (correct) and peppers (less accurate).

They’re tiny tear drop-shaped peppers about the size of a nickel. The name means “little beak,” referring to the pointed tips (photo #1).

Most commonly red, you can also find them in yellow. The combination of the two colors adds many creative options to your fare.

Thanks to our colleague Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog for the introduction.

Hannah says: “If you crave the salty, briny bite of pickles like I do, it’s hard to resist popping them in your mouth straight away. Soft, tender flesh gives way to crunchy seeds for a wholly satisfying bite.

“Of course, if you can delay that gratification, there’s no end to their use in everyday and special occasion dishes alike.”

Just open the jar and use the peppers for:

  • Adorned cheese or charcuterie boards
  • Beguiling appetizer picks, with cubes of cheese, ham, olives, and/or cocktail onions
  • Delightful drinks: Bloody Marys, Martinis, tomato or vegetable juice (photo #2)
  • Flavorful sandwiches or wraps
  • Perfect pickle replacement
  • Perky pizzas (add after baking)
  • Salads with amped-up colors and flavors (photo #3)
  • Wild cards: canapés, omelets, tacos, you-name-it
    Don’t throw out the marinade, by the way. Pop in some grape (pear) tomatoes—or even some grapes—and let them sit for a day or two in the fridge. You’ll have more pickled possibilities.

    If you can’t find biquinhos at an olive bar near you, look online. We found these on Amazon:

  • 4.3 oz/122g jar
  • 170g jar
  • 28-ounce can
    You can also buy seeds to grow your own. Also see photos #4 and #5.

    You’ll have lots of food fun with these creative peppers, which add both elegance and whimsy to your food.

    The pepper has a distinctive smoky flavor like other members of its genus and species, Capsicum chinense.

    While biquinhos are very mild (between 1,000 and 2,000 Scoville Heat Units), it has species relatives that include the habanero and some of the hottest peppers in the world—like the bhut naga with Scoville Heat Units of more than 2 million.


    Biquinho Chile Pepper
    [1] The petite biquinho pepper from Brazil is about the size of a nickel (photos #1, #2, AND #3 © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    Bloody Mary With Biquinho Chile Pepper Garnish
    [2] For a cocktail garnish, or a larger appetizer pick, the pickled biquinho is perfect.

    Salad With Biquinho Chile Peppers
    [3] For color and flavor, toss them into salads, on pizzas, canapés, and so much more.

    Yellow Biquinho Chile Peppers In A Bowl
    [4] Grow yellow biquinho peppers—it’s less common to find them pickled. Buy seeds from Rare Seeds (which also has red biquinho seeds (photo © Rare Seeds).

    Red Piquinho Pepper Plant
    [5] Another source to grow your own: Pepper Joe, a specialist in chile seeds and plants (photo © Pepper Joe).




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    A Savory Corned Beef Tart Recipe For St. Patrick’s Day

    Corned Beef Sweet Potato Tart Recipe
    [1] Fusion food: St. Patrick’s Day corned beef meets Southern mashed sweet potatoes (photos #1 and #6 © Hatherleigh Press).

    Corned Beef
    [2] Corned beef (photo © Omaha Steaks | Facebook).

    Whole & Mashed Sweet Potatoes
    [3] Mashed sweet potatoes (photo © Burpee).

    Grated Cheddar Cheese
    [4] Grated Cheddar cheese (photo © Szakaly | Panther Media).

    Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese & Grater
    [5] Grated Parmesan cheese (photo © London Deposit | Panther Media).

    A Return To Ireland Cookbook Cover
    [6] Ready for more recipes? You can find this cookbook on Amazon.


    Here’s something special for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond: a recipe from cookbook author Judith McLoughlin, an Irish chef now living in the southern U.S. who has created her own unique food fusion by blending the techniques of her homeland with the flavors of the American South.

    Thus, her Crumbled Corn Beef & Sweet Potato Tart combines the South’s sweet potatoes with the corned beef that’s traditional in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day*.

    The recipe is one of 100 featured in her cookbook, A Return To Ireland: A Culinary Journey From America To Ireland.

    You can serve this savory tart with a salad at lunchtime, or as a first course at dinner.

    Good question. A quiche is a savory French custard tart. The key ingredients in this recipe—corned beef and sweet potato—aren’t French. But here are the basic differences between tart and quiche:

  • While tarts can be savory or sweet, quiche is always savory.
  • While tarts do not require a custard filling, a quiche always has a custard filling.
  • Both savory tarts and quiches can include other ingredients: cheese, proteins, and/or vegetables.
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Pastry

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2–4 tablespoons ice cold water
    For The Filling

  • 7 ounces corn beef, crumbled into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts and some green
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 sweet potato, cooked and mashed
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

    1. MAKE the pastry. Combine the flour and salt in a medium size bowl or food processor. Use a pastry fork or the processor to cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough is moist enough to hold together to form a ball. Flatten it into a disc and wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    3. LIGHTLY FLOUR a surface and roll the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Place it in a 9-inch pie plate or fluted tart pan. Trim off any excess pastry and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.

    4. PRE-BAKE† the crust before filling it. Line the crust with a double layer of foil and bake for 10 minutes to prevent browning. Remove the foil and bake the pastry for a few more minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack; leave the oven on.

    5. MAKE the custard‡ filling. In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the leeks for 3–4 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat.

    6. ADD to a food processor or mixing bowl the eggs, cream, mashed sweet potato, salt, and pepper. Blend to combine thoroughly.

    7. ASSEMBLE the tart: Layer the corned beef, leeks, and cheeses on the bottom of the crust. and then pour the egg mixture on top.

    8. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until the egg sets and is firm to the touch. Allow the quiche to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

    Growing up in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and setting down roots in the South, over the past decade Judith McLoughlin has become one of the most recognized Irish faces and brands in Atlanta, throughout the American South and abroad.

    She regularly contributes to food columns in national newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and leads numerous discovery tours from the U.S. to Ireland annually. Her first Irish-Southern fusion food cookbook is The Shamrock and Peach.
    *Corned beef and cabbage isn’t an Irish dish, and is not eaten on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. The dish was brought to the U.S. by German-Jewish immigrants. Irish immigrants who settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan learned the dish from their Jewish neighbors there.

    The popularity of corned beef and cabbage never crossed the Atlantic back to Ireland. Instead of corned beef and cabbage, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal eaten in Ireland is lamb.

    †This is also known as blind baking.

    ‡Whether savory or sweet, all custards are made basically the same ingredients: mainly eggs and/or yolks, as well as cream or milk, and salt; sugar for sweet custards; and appropriate flavorings and optional inclusions for both.




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    Lady M’s Elegant Mille Crepes Cakes For St. Patrick’s Day

    For almost 20 years, we have been fans of Lady M cakes. The luxury confections brand, famous for its signature Mille Crêpes Cakes, opened its first New York City cake boutique in 2004, and we were in line waiting for our slice.

    There are cakes for every palate and every season. If you’re looking for a luxurious St. Patrick’s Day dessert or gift, there are even three green cakes.

  • Green Tea Mille Crêpes Cake. Green tea is infused into every aspect of this cake, which features 20 layers of handmade crêpes filled with green tea pastry cream and finished with Japanese powdered matcha (photo #1). Order yours here.
  • Pistachio Mille Crêpes Cake. Its 20 crêpe layers are filled with velvety pistachio pastry cream and finished with a spin of pistachio pastry cream and crushed pistachios (photo #2). Order yours here.
  • Green Tea Mousse Cake. A delicate green tea sponge cake is filled with light green tea mousse and covered with whipped cream and a fine dusting of green tea cake crumbs (photo #3). Order yours here.
    If you can’t use a whole cake, look for a Lady M boutique near you and treat yourself to a slice or two.

    While there are seasonal flavors, the current roster of 9-inch Mille Crêpes Cakes includes:

  • Chocolate Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Dulce de Leche Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Earl Grey Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Green Tea Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Pistachio Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Signature Mille Crêpes Cake (vanilla)
  • Tiramisu Mille Crêpes Cake
  • Tres Leches Mille Crêpes Cake
    There are seasonal flavors: Chestnut for the holidays, Champagne for the new year, Passion Fruit for the summer, and so on. Keep checking and you may find Purple Yam, Red Bean, and Salted Caramel.

    For spring, the seasonal flavors include Sesame Ti Kuan Yin Tea Mille Crêpes.

    You can even order a three-tier wedding cake, each layer made of “mille” crêpes.
    > The history of cake and the different types of cakes.

    Lady M is a New York City maker of luxury confections, with more than 50 boutiques worldwide. Established in 2001, Lady M is the creator of the world-famous Mille Crêpes Cake.

    One of Lady M’s founders, Emi Wada, invented the Mille Crêpes Cake and sold them in her Paper Moon Cake Boutiques in Japan beginning in 1985.

    The Mille Crêpe Cakes she created consist of 20 thin handmade crêpes layered with light pastry cream and topped with a caramelized crust.


    Lady M Green Tea Mille Crepes Cake
    [1] Green Tea Mille Crêpes Cake: 20 layers of crêpes filled with pastry cream (all photos © Lady M).

    Lady M Pistachio Mille Crepes Cake
    [2] Pistachio Mille Crêpes Cake.

    Lady M Green Tea Mousse Cake
    [3] Green Tea Mousse Cake.

    Lady M marries French pastry techniques with Japanese sensibilities, resulting in delicate cakes that are a touch sweet and beautiful to look at.

    In 2001, Wada helped found Lady M as a wholesale business delivering cakes to hotels and restaurants in New York City. By 2004, the Lady M cakes had become so popular that the company decided to open a store in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    Wada later relinquished ownership of Lady M so she could concentrate on business back home in Japan.

    Today there are seven boutiques in the greater New York City area, more than 50 worldwide, and a thriving online business.

    All cakes are handmade and prepared fresh without food additives or preservatives. The crêpes cakes are a very special treat, although Lady M makes a variety of delectable cakes and confections. Learn more at


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    The Best Foods To Buy Frozen: It’s National Frozen Food Month

    Package Of Dole Frozen Mixed Berries
    [1] You can mix frozen berries into your oatmeal and enjoy them immediately (photo © Dole).

    Package Of Butcher Box Frozen Ground Beef
    [2] Save money with frozen chopped beef. You can even cook frozen burgers without defrosting them (photo © Butcher Box).

    Package Of Frozen Mango Chunks
    [3] It’s much easier to enjoy mango frozen at the peak of sweetness than to figure out how sweet a fresh mango will be (photo © Kroger).

    Package Of Birds Eye Frozen Brown Rice
    [4] Frozen rice is a great deal. It helps us eat more brown rice (photo © Birds Eye).


    March is National Frozen Food Month (National Frozen Food Day is March 6th). Our working mom loved the convenience and cost savings of frozen vegetables. We had a huge freezer, and we kids enjoyed our nightly choice of picking the two boxes of frozen veggies we wanted for dinner.

    Decades later, frozen foods still mean convenience and savings. Frozen food companies know to pick and freeze fruits and vegetables when they are just right to eat. Specialists in frozen fish and meat know just how to deliver the proteins at their tastiest.

    Mom used to steam our frozen veggies, but according to Buffalo Market:

    “Sauteing frozen vegetables on the stovetop guarantees the best texture and flavor. As a secondary option, you could roast them in the oven or even cook them on the grill. All three of these options are going to result in better-tasting veggies than if you boil, steam or microwave them.”


    And don’t defrost frozen vegetables first, because they can lose their crunchy texture. (As always, read package directions before cooking anything.)

    > Here are more Buffalo Market tips.

    In our own kitchen, we toss berries, corn, edamame, and green peas directly from the freezer into batter/dough, omelets, salads, and soups.

    According to Eating Well:

    “The average American throws away around $1,300 per year from wasted food. That’s more than Americans’ average annual spending on vehicle gasoline, apparel, household heating, or property taxes.”

    > The history of frozen food.

    Berries. Berries in season have a short shelf life. If you don’t eat them in a couple of days, they can dry up and develop mold. Berries out of season aren’t as sweet and are pricier. They’ve traveled overseas to get to your grocer’s (more food miles†).

    Chopped Beef. Save money on burgers, meatloaf, pasta sauces, shepherd’s pie, and other dishes by buying frozen chopped beef. If you eat burgers regularly, you can cook them frozen; and you can also thaw them and use the chopped meat in other recipes.

    Corn, Green Peas & Edamame. Our three personal favorites in the veggie department. We like them in casseroles, omelets or scrambled eggs, pasta, salads, stews, and soups.

    Fish. Frozen fish fillets* or steaks thaw overnight in the fridge or in 10 minutes by using the hot water technique.

    Mango. We got tired of trying to peel a mango in a way that looked presentable. Plus, we often misjudged its ideal ripeness: Peel it too soon and it’s hard and fibrous, too late and it’s mushy. But frozen mango chunks seem to be just right.

    Rice. Microwaved individual packets of brown rice (and other grains) are on the table in 3 minutes, fluffy and delicious. We learned to buy frozen rice from a nutritionist who wanted us to eat more whole grains.

    Spinach. Frozen spinach was perhaps the first frozen food we ever bought. It was specified for a spinach-artichoke dip we made for a party—and it remains the best form of spinach for dips and spreads. We also use it in casseroles and stratas, manicotti and stuffed shells (mixed with ricotta), omelets and quiches, pizzas, smoothies, and more. Just let it thaw and squeeze out all the water.

    Other Vegetables. In addition to the veggies we’ve already mentioned, we happened across Southern Living’s favorite vegetables to buy frozen include broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, lima beans, okra, and peas.

    Are you ready to add some frozen food to your arsenal? Pick out at least one to celebrate National Frozen Food Month. We bet you’ll be adding more frozen options as the months go by.
    A note about frozen fish: Some imported frozen fish are not farmed sustainably. For example, Seafood Watch advises to avoid sutchi catfish (a.k.a., pangasius) that is farmed in Vietnam. “The hyper-intensive production that occurs in Vietnam generates large volumes of effluent, and many farms are reportedly engaging in illegal dumping. Data on chemical use is not available, but there’s evidence that it’s very high and includes the use of antibiotics that are critically important to human health.”

    However, there is some good news: “Farm-level eco-certification is increasing in Vietnam. Look for pangasius that’s been certified by Aquaculture Stewardship Council (‘ASC’), Best Aquaculture Practices (‘BAP’), or Naturland.”
    †Food miles, or the distance between the place where food is grown to your plate, has a high carbon footprint. The carbon cost is actually around 19% of all food-related transportation emissions. Here’s more about it.



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    Easy Crown Roast Of Pork Recipe For National Crown Roast Of Pork Day

    March 7th is National Crown Roast Of Pork Day. If you love pork roasts, consider a crown roast of pork for a special occasion.

    What is a crown roast of pork?

    Cut from the rib portion of the loin, a crown roast—whether lamb, pork, or veal—is one of the most impressive special-occasion entrées.

    The “crown” is made from two rib racks that are bent into a circle and then tied together with kitchen twine. A butcher can do this and present you with a handsome circle of ribs, ready to cook (photo #4).

    A pork rib roast is a smaller, simpler version of a pork crown roast, just one of the rib racks.

    A delicious crown roast recipe follows.

    This classic recipe is a crowd-pleaser. It’s from Betty Claycomb of Alverton, Pennsylvania, for Taste Of Home.

    Says Betty: “It looks so elegant that everyone thinks I spent a lot of time on this roast. But it’s actually so easy!

    “The biggest challenge is to remember to order the crown roast from the butcher ahead of time.”

    > Check out the other cuts of pork.


  • 1 pork loin crown roast (10 to 12 ribs, about 6 to 8 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
    For The Mushroom Dressing

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cups cubed day-old bread
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    You can see a video of the preparation here.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the roast, rib ends up, in a shallow roasting pan and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover the rib ends with foil. Bake, uncovered, for 1-1/4 hours. Meanwhile…

    2. MELT the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and celery; sauté until tender. Stir in the bread cubes, salt, and pepper. Spoon the dressing around the roast. Brush the sides of the roast with the preserves.

    3. BAKE until a thermometer inserted into the meat between ribs reads 145°F, 45-60 minutes. Remove the foil and let the meat stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

    If you don’t want to slice the roast at the table, bring the platter to the table to present it to family and guests, before returning to the kitchen to slice.
    *The difference between dressing and stuffing: While they have the same ingredients, dressing is cooked in a pan, outside of the meat (or in a separate pan altogether), while stuffing is dressing that is stuffed and cooked inside a bird.


    Crown Roast Of Pork Recipe
    [1] A crown roast of pork with mushroom dressing. The recipe is below (photo © Taste Of Home).

    Crown Roast Of Pork  Recipe
    [2] Each person gets a luscious slice of meaty rib (photo © Harry & David).

    Crown Roast Of Pork  Recipe
    [3] While the dressing looks impressive in the center of the roast, it’s messy when the ribs are sliced (photo © Mackenzie Ltd).

    Uncooked Pork Crown Roast
    [4] An uncooked crown roast, which consists of two rib racks tied together (photo © Robinson’s Prime Reserve).




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