Category Archives: Cooking Tips

Common Hot Peppers at your Grocery Store

Every time I go to the grocery store to do my photo shopping I am amazed at how many different varieties of peppers there are. Hot or sweet, red, yellow or green, big or small. The variety is almost endless.

So I decided to do a little research and see how each of the peppers flavor profiles are different. Here is what I found.

The heat of a pepper is measured using Scoville units: The scale ranges from 0 (as in bell peppers) all the way to a scary 3,000,000+! Most dried chiles you will encounter fall somewhere in the middle but can still be pretty hot! The Scoville scale is a good start each type can vary based how and where they were grown. Peppers are also a good source of vitamins A, C, and E, they’re also rich in potassium and should be an important part of anyone’s diet.

 

BELL PEPPER

Also known as green peppers, red pepper or sweet bell pepper, they have a Scoville heat rating of 0. Relatively large in size, the bell-shaped pepper in its immature state is green with a slightly bitter flavor. As it matures, it turns bright red and becomes sweeter. You can also usually find yellow and orange varieties. With their high water content, bell peppers will add moisture and color to any dish.

BANANA PEPPER

Sometimes called yellow wax pepper or banana chili, these peppers have a Scoville heat rating between 0 and 500.

This mild yet tangy pepper adds a kick to pizza or sandwiches. This pepper usually takes on a bright yellow hue as it ripens, but occasionally grows to be red, orange or green instead.

 

CHERRY PEPPER

Also known as Pimiento and pimento peppers. They have a have a Scoville heat rating 500.

Characteristics: This lovely pepper is sweet on the outside and the inside. Bright red and shaped like a heart, this large pepper barely registers on the Scoville scale, but makes up for its lack of spice with a sweet, succulent flavor. You’ll commonly find cherry peppers chopped and stuffed into green olives, in pimento loaves and pimento cheese.

 

POBLANO PEPPER

The Poblano or Ancho pepper is somewhat large and heart-shaped, the poblano is common in Mexican dishes such as chiles rellenos. Are poblano peppers spicy? Yes, but only mildly spicy (Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 2,000). At maturity, the poblano turns dark red-brown and can be dried, at which point it’s referred to as an ancho or mulato. Anchos have a rich, raisin-like sweetness. The high yield of flesh to skin makes anchos great for sauces.

 

ANAHEIM PEPPER

Also know as California green chile, chile verde, New Mexican chile, this long pepper is relatively mild and very versatile. When mature, the Anaheim turns deep red and are referred to a chile Colorado or California red chile. Anaheims are popular in salsas and dishes from the American Southwest. The Anaheim is normally a very mild hot pepper, only tipping the Scoville scale at around 500 to 2,500 Scoville heat units. That makes the Anaheim normally at least eight times milder than the average jalapeño.

 

JALAPEÑO PEPPER

This Mexican pepper is typically plucked from the vine while still green. If allowed to ripen more, they will turn red and take on a slightly fruity flavored. Jalapeños are a tasty ingredient commonly used to in salsa and sauces. When dried, a jalapeño is called a chipotle. Smoke-dried chipotles come in two varieties: meco (mellow) and moritas (spicier). Smoky, woodsy, and spicy, chipotles are the perfect ingredient for salsas, sauces, escabeche, and adobo.will have a Scoville heat unit index of 3,500 to 8,000.

 

SERRANO PEPPER

Just a couple of inches long, with a tapered end, this small pepper packs quite a bit of heat. Beware: The smaller the pepper, the hotter it is. When ripe, serranos are red or yellowish orange—they can be cooked in both their ripe and unripe states. Serranos are common in Mexican and Thai cooking and have a rating of 6,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units.

 

CAYENNE PEPPER

Slender and tapered, this chile is probably most familiar in its dried, ground form—the powder known as cayenne pepper. Ground cayenne pepper is a main ingredient in the chili powder that flavors Tex-Mex dishes such as chili con carne. It’s one of the spiciest types of peppers with a Scoville heat units rating of 30,000 to 50,000.

 

TABASCO PEPPER

Best known for the sauce that bares its name, this pepper grows throughout the world. At maturity, the pepper measures one to two inches and is bright red. To create the famous tabasco sauce, the pepper is smashed and combined with salt and vinegar, which tempers the pepper’s heat the Scoville rating of Tabasco Sauce is 2,500 to 5,000 — a mere fraction of its rating as a pepper of 30,000 to 60,000 Scoville units.

 

HABAÑERO PEPPER

Small and bulbous, this chile, in the same family as the Scotch bonnet, is one of the hottest on the Scoville scale you can typically get at the grocery store. If you can get past the heat, habañeros also have a fruity flavor. They’re popular on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and in the Caribbean, where they’re used to make hot sauces. They pack a Scoville heat units rating of 150,000 to 350,000.

 

SCOTCH BONNET

Sometimes called Bonney peppers, ball of fire peppers, cachucha or Caribbean red peppers, this spicy pepper is called a scotch bonnet thanks to its resemblance to the caps men wear in Scotland (tam o’ shanter hats, to be precise). It’s the hottest pepper in the Caribbean and used to flavor all sorts of island dishes, including jerk chicken. Though the pepper is most often spicy, you will occasionally find a sweet variety, called cachucha. Scoville heat units cal top 80,000–400,000.

 

GHOST PEPPER

Sometimes called Bhut Naga Jolokia (bhut means ghost, naga means snake, and jolokia is chile), the name alone sounds daunting. This chile has a venomous bite! The ghost pepper hails from Northeastern India and is also cultivated in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. So how hot is this hair raiser? With more than 1 million Scoville units, it’s approximately half as hot as the pepper spray used by law enforcement but 100 times hotter than a jalapeño. One of the hottest (edible) peppers in the world, ghost peppers are used — sparingly — in chutney and curry.

 

The potent spicy heat you experience eating chili peppers is caused by capsaicin, a colorless, odorless, waxy compound found in the white pith of the pepper’s inner wall where the seeds are attached. Capsaicin can improve digestion by increasing digestive fluids in the stomach and by fighting bacteria that can cause stomach infections. You can trim and wash the pith and seeds away to dilute the capsaicin, but use disposable kitchen gloves and avoid wiping your eyes or nose. Be sure to wash your hands with vinegar or soap when you are finished working with hot peppers.

 

Bill Rice is the Publisher of Family Cookbook Project, which helps create and print custom cookbooks for individuals and families. He likes eating peppers with less than 50,000 Scovile Units whenever possible.

 

 

 

Where Does Your Beef Come From?

Ever want to know where your meat comes from? What part of a cow does a butcher use for his or her cuts of meat?

Now you can.

A talented artist from San Francisco, Alyson Thomas,has created a print that you can buy to display on your wall or in your meat aging room (if you have one!).

Here is what she says about the artwork:

This is a signed 13 x19 poster of my original gouache and acrylic painting. I *extensively* researched retails cuts of beef to fully flesh out what primal cut part of the cow they come from. The result is a both a highly accurate and informative diagram, as well as a bold and colorful piece of art. I’ve even had culinary students buy this piece to study.

You can buy this detailed cow butcher diagram here.

Family Cookbook Project is a great way to save your favorite beef recipes. Enter your recipes once and always have access to them. You can even print your own cookbook.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Family Cookbook Project Launches 4 new Pinterest Boards

Family Cookbook Project Pinterest Account

Many of our cookbook editors and contributors are frequent users of the social media sharing site Pinterest and one of the biggest categories are recipes. Who doesn’t like looking at photos of food and having access to the recipe to boot!

Family Cookbook Project is launching four new collections of recipes, known on Pinterest as “Boards”. Each one will focus on a different category of recipes contributed by our cookbook community.

These new Pinterest boards join our existing 11 boards:

If you are a Pinterest user, please follow Family Cookbook Project or any of the boards of interest.

If you are not yet a Pinterest user, what are you waiting for! You can click on any of the links above to see what it is like and then create a free account to save pins to your own board. And be sure to follow Family Cookbook Project!

 

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher of FamilyCookbookProject, a website that helps people create personalized cookbooks for families, friends and fundraising efforts.

How Many Recipes Does My Cookbook Need?

Cookbook-CoversOne question every cookbook editor wants to know is how many recipes should my cookbook have? Too many and printing costs are higher, not enough and the cookbook is not as valuable. What’s a family cookbook editor to do?

Looking at the thousands of cookbooks we have printed over the past decade, there is no real number of recipes that make up a good cookbook  – you have what you have.  We have printed cookbooks with just 15 great recipes and as many as 1200!  However, that 1200 recipe book was 750 pages – HUGE!

The average size seems to be around 150 recipes and that is why we use that number in our cost calculator.

When a great cookbook has less recipes, often the editor includes other content to augment the food offerings. Photos of each dish, a section of family photos, a family tree or family stories about people remembered can really add value to a smaller cookbook.

Larger cookbooks can be impressive simply by the number of recipes it contains. However, since printing cost is directly related to the number of pages that need to be printed, it is important to be mindful of your design choices when choosing your layout options.

At the end of the day, your cookbook is exactly that – your cookbook. You need to balance the number and quality of the recipes included with the needs of your family.

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Recipe Standard Measurements

CupsFor many generations, recipes were handed down by word of mouth from mother to daughter. Recipes consisted of a little of this and a smidgin of that. The food always came our great – or at least that is what we told out mothers! Today things are different. Computers make is easy to write down our recipes and share them with friends and family members over the Internet. However it is important to remember that cooking has a language of its own. It is a language of ingredients and measurements and directions. I believe the most important of these is measurements. If we did not have standard measurements for cooking, “T” could be a teaspoon, a tablespoons, a thimble full or a truck load! Here are a list of Standard Measures Abbreviations commonly used in recipes.

teaspoon……………………… tsp.
tablespoon…………………… tbsp. or T.
cup…………………………….. c.
quart…………………………… qt.
ounce…………………………. oz.
pint…………………………….. pt.
gallon…………………………. gal.
inch…………………………….. in.
pound………………………….. lb.
milliliter…………………………. ml
liter……………………………….. L
milligram……………………….. mg
gram……………………………… g
kilogram ……………………….. kg
millimeter……………………… mm
centimeter…………………….. cm
meter……………………………. m
Celsius…………………………… C
Fahrenheit……………………. F

Another important thing about standard measurements is that they don’t work if you don’t use them! Including an ingredient in your recipe without a specific amount is likely to leave someone trying the recipe for the first time scratching their head and wondering what to do. Remember know one will know unless you include it in your recipe.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Two New Covers Added to Family Cookbook Design Center

At Family Cookbook Project, we are always trying to improve our offerings to our members. We are please to announce two new pre-designed cookbook covers that you can choose when designing your own personal cookbook.

HeartsOnStickstxtHearts on a Stick – Hearts on a stick is a great cover for any food lover. It can also be the perfect cookbook cover for a wedding cookbook or a bridal shower cookbook.

 

 

greatfood1txtCarrot and Apple – Carrot and Apple is a simple but fun illustration that is perfect for a kids cookbook cover. It can also be effective for a school fundraising cookbook cover.

 

 

These two new covers join over 50 professionally designed cookbook covers for you to choose from when you create your personal cookbook with FamilyCookbookProject.com.

Scouting Cookbook Covers Added to FamilyCookbookProject.com

A great scouting fundraising idea is to create a Scouting Fundraiser Cookbook. While the Girl Scouts have their cookies to sell, most troops rely on other means to raise the funds for trip trips, Eagle projects, summer camp and upgrading camping gear.

The Family Cookbook Project knows how important a fun and easy fundraising project is for a troop to raise the funds to support the outstanding job at helping to develop our countries next generation of leaders. That’s why we help been helping troops raise money with Scouting Fundraising Cookbooks for years. Not only can it be profitable, but it is a fun project the scouting families can enjoy as well.

To help support the scouting community and make creating a Scouting Fundraiser Cookbook even easier, The Family Cookbook Project has introduced four new scouting-themed covers that can be used on a troop cookbook.

Scout Fundraising Cookbook Cover Scout Fundraser Cookbook Cover Scout Coobook Project Camping Cookbook Cover

 

Save

Recipe Standard Measurements

 measuring_cup

For many generations, recipes were handed down by word of mouth from mother to daughter. Recipes consisted of a little of this and a smidgin of that. The food always came our great – or at least that is what we told out mothers! Today things are different. Computers make is easy to write down our recipes and share them with friends and family members over the Internet. However it is important to remember that cooking has a language of its own. It is a language of ingredients and measurements and directions. I believe the most important of these is measurements. If we did not have standard measurements for cooking, “T” could be a teaspoon, a tablespoons, a thimble full or a truck load! Here are a list of Standard Measures Abbreviations commonly used in recipes.

teaspoon……………………… tsp.
tablespoon…………………… tbsp. or T.
cup…………………………….. c.
quart…………………………… qt.
ounce…………………………. oz.
pint…………………………….. pt.
gallon…………………………. gal.
inch…………………………….. in.
pound………………………….. lb.
milliliter…………………………. ml
liter……………………………….. L
milligram……………………….. mg
gram……………………………… g
kilogram ……………………….. kg
millimeter……………………… mm
centimeter…………………….. cm
meter……………………………. m
Celsius…………………………… C
Fahrenheit……………………. F

Another important thing about standard measurements is that they don’t work if you don’t use them! Including an ingredient in your recipe without a specific amount is likely to leave someone trying the recipe for the first time scratching their head and wondering what to do. Remember know one will know unless you include it in your recipe.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

A Mother’s Gift


We owe our mothers so much. They give us life, they nurture us, feed us and teach us.

Our mothers are also often our first teachers in the kitchen. From them we learn table manners, what a family meal is and how it brings us all together. Our lessons start when we watch and mimic what we see in the kitchen and at the dinner table. As we grow and understand, we are taught by being allowed to become a “mother’s helper” and do some of the simpler tasks of getting the family meal prepared. Later in life, we use all of the years of learning by contributing our favorite family dishes when the family gathers at holidays, taking some of the pressure off of our mothers.
As a mom, it is important to pass those life skills on to our children so they have the same foundation in the kitchen that we learned from our parents.
Here are some simple ideas to consider when teaching the next generation how to prepare the family meal:
Teach measurements– Find tasks for young ones that allow them to stay in one location, but keep them busy. Give them a measuring spoon and ask them to count how many teaspoons are in a cup of flour or water. Once they fill the cup, use it in your recipe.
Name the tools – Many of the tools of the trade in the kitchen have specific names and specific uses. Teach the names of the tool as well as their purpose in preparing the meal. That way when you ask for a wisk you don’t get a potato masher!
Plan meals together– For most families, dinner usually includes a main dish or entre, a side dish or two providing a starch and vegetable, and if we are lucky a dessert. Discuss why certain side dishes go together and how to plan a well-balanced meal.
Use recipes – Many mothers have made their favorite family recipes so many times, that they don’t even use a recipe any more or they never had one from their mother. Trial and error can come later, to start have a set of family recipes that can be used to provide step by step instructions to a young chef. If you don’t have them, write them down as you make a dish and start collecting them.
A great way to help mom collect and share her family recipes is to help her create a family cookbook. The Family Cookbook Project (www.FamilyCookbookProject.com) offers a gift certificate that can printed out and included in a Mother’s Day card. This gift will help any mom create an easy online family cookbook that can then be printed and shared for generations to come.
Mom’s can also give themselves a gift to help preserve their family food traditions. By creating a family cookbook and collecting your family recipes, you will be creating a helpful guide for future generations.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Tips to Keep Your Cookbook Contributors Motivated


As with any family project, getting everyone to contribute can be a challenge, especially if they have not seen the end product beforehand.

Here are some tips to keep your contributors motivated:

The more the merrier – Be sure to include everyone, not just the great cooks. Everyone likes to be asked to participate and the more you invite, the more recipes you’ll likely get. To add contributors and send an email invitation, > Use the Invitation Tool

Set a reasonable deadline – Set the submission deadline on the “Project Information Editor” page, but don’t set it too far in the future. We all tend to put off whatever we can and contributing recipes is often one of those things. A month is usually enough time to give everyone to find the recipes they want to contribute and get them entered. Two things to remember: most of the recipes will come in just in time for the deadline and second, you can always extend the deadline if you want more recipes.
Send regular updatesUse the Reminder Tool to email some or all of your contributors on a regular basis. Remind them of the deadline and ask them to meet a specific goal, like “please add one or two recipes to each category”.
Target the biggest recipe boxes – Every family has a handful of people who are known for their cooking (you are most likely one of them in your family!). Send a personal message to them either using the remainder tool or reaching out by telephone, Facebook or with a personal visit. People are flattered when their skills are recognized. Let them know the cookbook would not be complete without their contributions.
Ask for specific recipes – Send a reminder to everyone asking for a specific recipe from your family’s past that will get everyone thinking of past gatherings. Include your memories of that dish or the person who created it. It might help remind everyone why putting together a family cookbook is important.
Use social media – As you add your own recipes to your family cookbook, it is easy to post them to Facebook or pin them to Pinterest. Sharing your recipes this way shows other family members that you are contributing and shows them they should as well.
Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!