Bringing in September
Returning to school and work after the Labor Day weekend, you’d think food news would be about lunchboxes and crock-pot recipes. Not so in Chesapeake Country.
Food events this week are about novelties plus the return of an old favorite.
Fresh Market at Annapolis Harbour Center hosts a Hatch Chili Fest Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10am to 3pm. Hatch chilies, grown in the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, are harvested and for sale only from late August through early October. Their exceptional quality is credited to temperature and soil. For the annual Labor Day Hatch Chili Festival, the town, with a population of less than 2,000, swells to 30,000.
Now it’s our turn to find out what all the fuss is about. Chilies are available for purchase by the crate. Find out how to use them with cooking demonstrations and roasting tips. Find recipes below.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Annapolis, Severna Park and Glen Burnie is offering free samples of a test product, coconut milk ice cream. Stop by Bruster’s through Saturday, Sept. 8, and give your opinion of this gluten-free, vegan-friendly, non-dairy option. Bay Weekly staffers tried three versions: chocolate, banana and strawberry. Real ice cream is still preferred by most of us, but we found the coconut milk version tasty and satisfying. Chocolate and banana were good, while we found strawberry somewhat off and not as naturally sweet. Go and judge for yourself.
In its 44th year, the Maryland Seafood Festival comes to Sandy Point State Park this Saturday and Sunday. Events have expanded to include a BMX stunt show, live musical entertainment, arts and crafts, craft beers and wines and watermen demonstrations. The star of the show is a tasting tent with chef demonstrations and sampling of 40 seafood specialties.
Will there be a 45th Seafood Festival? The loss of several large sponsors this year and tighter budgets mean we need to keep our fingers — and eyes — crossed for this old favorite’s future, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Duncan Troxell.
In restaurant news, Bonefish Grill makes its grand opening at the former Real Seafood location on Monday, Sept. 10. At the high end, Bonefish joins chains P.F. Chang’s and Brio at Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole.
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Hatch Chile Chicken Fajitas
1½ pound chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 cup Sweetwater Spice Lime Jalapeño Fajita Bath
1½ cups Negro Modelo Beer, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 whole onions, sliced
2 medium Hatch Chile Peppers, roasted, seeded and sliced
4 La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas
½ cup sour cream
fresh cilantro, for garnish optional
In a large glass dish, whisk together Fajita Bath and 1 cup of Modelo beer. Place chicken into the marinade for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Heat skillet over medium high for 2 minutes; add 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil and swirl to coat. Remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Sauté chicken until done and juices run clear, about 5-6 minutes. Place on serving platter and cover to keep warm.
Add ½ tablespoon of oil and onions; sauté onions until translucent. Add roasted Hatch Chile peppers and heat through, about 3 minutes. Add remaining half cup of beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until all liquid has evaporated. Serve chicken in the tortillas, topped with the onion and pepper mixture. Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro if desired.
Green Chile Salsa
3 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
3 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
¾ cup chopped onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ tablespoon vinegar, white or cider
2 teaspoons oregano leaves
1½ teaspoons table salt
Wash tomatoes, dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split and then dip into cold water. Slip off skins, remove cores and chop. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle into hot pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace.
Green Chile Stew
20 fresh diced roasted green chiles
1 lb. ground beef
1 red onion, diced
6 red potatoes, cubed
15 cups water
4 Tbsp. spike
2 tsp. garlic
½ cup rice (optional)
½ cup carrots (optional)
salt to taste
Brown ground beef. Put all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes and then a slow boil for 1½ hour. Serve with tortillas and plenty of your favorite beverage to cool the fire.