Cousin Charles, also known as Chuck, Chucky, Chuckles, Charlie, Carlos or Mr. Lahey (after a few too many pints), is a man of many talents.
He can build a fire, tell you the latitude and longitude coordinates of Liberia and isn’t afraid to ask a Hells Angels biker to bum a smoke, even if it’s the last one in the pack.
Happy go lucky Chucky also tends to be a tad frugal, let’s just say he knows the value of a dollar. This holiday season, Carlos has cooked up some tasty and thrifty gift ideas for everyone on your list.
Less than $5 a pop, these goody jars make the perfect stocking stuffer or garnish for your hangover caesar.
Carlos’ Mean Beans
- 16 oz mason jar (recipe for 3 jars)
- 1 1/2 pound of fresh green beans
- 6 red chiles cut in halves
- 3 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 cloves of chopped garlic
- 3 teaspoons of dill seeds
- 2 shallots finely sliced
- 2 1/2 cups of white vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons of course pickling salt
- Sterilize jar, seal & ring in boiling water
- Fill warm jar with pickling salt, garlic, chili peppers, dill seeds, shallot and beans.
- Meanwhile, bring vinegar and water to a boil to make brine.
- Pour brine into loaded jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.
- Add lid and ring to each jar, tightening evenly.
- Submerge jars into an almost boiling pot of water (water level should come just below the neck of the jars). Bathe for 10 minutes.
- Remove from water and let cool on counter.
- Once jars have popped store in cool dark area.
- Personalize jars with a label sticker from the dollar store.
- Ready to taste in 2 weeks.
Carlos’ Mucho Take It Easy Hot Sauce
- 8oz mason jar (recipe for 3 jars)
- 20 red chiles (6-8 per jar) remove seeds…these are mucho spicy so be sure to wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes, nose or genitals
- 12 very ripe red jalapenos (about 10 ounces)
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- ½ large cooking onion
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 2 small ripe mangos skinned and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sterilize jar, seal & ring in boiling water.
- Meanwhile, toss peppers, mangos, onion, garlic, salt and vinegar into pot over medium heat for 5 minutes to soften ingredients.
- Strain this mixture over a bowl reserving 2 tablespoons of your reduction liquid (to add into blender).
- Dump ingredients into food processor adding olive oil. Blend until saucy.
- Load jars, leaving ¼ inch head space.
- Add lid and ring to each loaded jar, tightening evenly. Submerge jars into an almost boiling pot of water (water level should come just below the neck of the jars). Bathe for 10 minutes.
- Let cool on counter and listen for the pop.
- Jazz up jars with customized label from the Dollar Store.
- Much like Rob Lowe, it gets better with age.
Happy Holidays…and stay tuned for Carlos’ Willy Dillies….
– Jeni Riddell