I decided it’s time to post a few tips that I use in my daily cooking.  I hope to reference these tips in my future recipes and add other tips as I go along.  As many of you know I roast a variety of chiles often and have started roasting other foods as well such as tomatoes and corn. Roasting brings out the sugars in corn and tomatoes that you wouldn’t otherwise find.  Find out for yourself how easy it is and how good it tastes!

Roasting Chile

There are several ways to roast chiles but my favorite way is to simply set them over the open flame of a gas grill.  This grill was made with love from my brother Carl.  I have a round 14 inch cast iron grill/griddle that I place on top of it when cooking other things but the open flame is perfect for roasting chiles.

Just set them over the flame while they start to sizzle and pop.  Turn them with tongs often to roast all sides of the chiles.

Those look just about ready to take off the grill.

When they are charred on all sides, place them in a plastic bag and let them steam for 15 – 20 minutes.  Some chiles may roast faster than others and you can take them off the grill as they are done and seal the bag when all the chiles are roasted.

After the chiles have steamed  you can run them under water and the peel will slide off easily.  Use your fingers to gently rub the skin right off.

See how the skin virtually rinses off.  Really easy!

To take the seeds out, I usually just make a slit down the center and rinse them out.  Now they are ready for stuffing, dicing or freezing.

I left the stems on these guys and will stuff them with awesomeness!

An alternate way to roast chiles is to place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, place under the broiler at 500 degrees.   They will start to blister after only a few minutes.  Check often and rotate them using tongs until they are blistered over all sides.  Steam them in a plastic bag 15 – 20 minutes.  Rinse and peel.  I use this method more when it’s too cold outside to use the grill.

They peel really easy, only no leftover charred specs.

Keeping Herbs Fresh

I used to get so frustrated when I would buy a bunch of cilantro and within a few days it would start to ruin with that black mossy stuff.  At that point there was nothing to do but throw the bunch out.  I found out that you can keep cilantro in a jar filled with water for up to two weeks.  Just find an empty jar with an opening large enough to hold your cilantro and fill to cover the stems.  After about a week the water may start to turn brown, just drain it and replace with clean water.  You’ll be amazed how long it will last!

One more tip, cover the cilantro with a plastic bag before going into the fridge.  This keeps the leaves fresh.

Roasting and Freezing Red Peppers

It’s handy to have roasted red pepper in the freezer so when I find a good deal I stock up.   I try to find a recipe where I need fresh red pepper and then freeze the rest.

But first I roast them, just like I would with any chile.

Steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse, peel, and remove the seeds.

If you have a vacuum sealer it works great for chiles.  I prefer to seal one pepper per bag, that way I can pull out  as much or as little as I need.  You can also just use a zip lock bag, making sure to release as much air as possible before sealing.

Crispy Corn Tortilla Strips

I love crispy warm tortilla strips to top my soup or salad.  But they are also provide a little crunch on a burger or sandwich wrap.  I find that making your own tastes so much better than any crumbled tortilla chip.  Plus you can season them any way you want.  There’s nothing better than a warm crisp tortilla strip to accent any meal.

I take a pair of kitchen cutlery scissors and cut a few at a time, just enough for the meal I’m planning.

Take a small pan and drizzle with olive oil, not much just enough to coat each strip.  Do this in batches and cook only a few strips at a time.  They will start to sizzle and eventually curl.  Toss with tongs until they are crisp.

Remove to a bowl or plate lined with a paper towel.  Season with whatever you like.  I usually sprinkle a little salt and Aleppo pepper, but that’s just me.

Now you have a bowl of curly crispy corn tortilla strips that are absolutely addicting.  You’ll want to top everything with them!

Roasting Corn

Once I tasted roasted corn, I was hooked on it.  The flavor is so much better than the boiling method.  It takes a little bit of prep work but well worth the effort.  Pull the husks down partway and remove the silk from the corn, as best as you can Pull the husks back over the ear to cover.  Place the ears of corn in a bowl and cover with water for 20 – 30 minutes before grill time.

When your grill is prepped and ready to go, shake off the excess water and place ears either on a cast iron grill plate over a gas grill or over the hot coals of a charcoal grill.

Because my gas grill isn’t covered it takes longer, about 20 minutes.  They are just starting but I continue to rotate them every few minutes using tongs.  You may not get as much visible grill lines on the corn but it will steam inside just the same and taste really good.  If you have a covered gas grill it takes only 10 – 12 minutes.

Over on the charcoal grill things go much faster.  In minutes the outside husks begin to char.  Rotate the corn every few minutes using tongs and allow to cook about 10 – 12 minutes.

I prefer the charcoal method, but it takes more time to wait on the coals to heat and sometimes a girl just doesn’t have the time to wait!

Lastly, if I want to roast the corn just a little, I sometimes will place shucked ears straight onto the cast iron grill.  I have recipes that use fresh corn and this is a great way to get those sugars flowing without fully cooking the corn.

You’ll want to watch them closely and rotate often.

Just a small amount of grilling will make those recipes using fresh corn taste great.