recipe: Incu-BaKe owner shares recipe for candied pickled hot peppers
I made a new friend recently at entre-Slam — a woman after my own heart who loves to cook and encourages others to do so, too. As the owner of Incu-BaKe, a licensed commercial kitchen located southeast of Lansing in the town of Holt, Marcy Bishop Kates is the proud "mom" to 20 different vendors who rent space to make their own fabulous creations. And her flourishing business is about to celebrate its first birthday.
How did she get started? Marcy "was looking for a kitchen to rent ... (to) do some catering part-time. No luck on that! I did find a kitchen I could rent full time, but had no desire to be a full-time caterer."
Fortunately, some representatives from the Michigan State University Product Center, a service which helps entrepreneurs, told her that "there was a need in the area for shared use commercial kitchen space." This turned out to be a perfect way for Marcy to utilize the "event planning, program management, and guidance skill set that (she) had built up over the years," working as a "conference center administrator, adjunct college instructor, textbook store manager, Upward Bound assistant director, AmeriCorps program director, AmeriCorps program officer . . . phew"! She even has a Master's degree in counseling.
Marcy is "always seeking out new ways to be challenged and engaged" and loves "to experiment with recipes." So running her own business — both managing the kitchen and making her own treats — as well as helping others to achieve their dreams seemed a perfect opportunity to pursue.
The "Ice Pop Diva," as Marcy jokingly refers to herself, makes "an ever changing array of ice pop flavors for the Holt Farmers Market (of which she is chair of the advisory board)." Incu-BaKe's facility boasts "a small but growing retail space" to sell clients' products, and features "a few other, non-food 'made in Michigan' items (right now, aprons, natural soaps, lotions, lip balms, and hot pads)."
Whether you're looking for ready-made products, sweet or savory, or whether you're looking for catering services or celebration cakes, Incu-BaKe has an entrepreneur/cook ready to serve you.
Marcy's first client was Dip Sensations, which was "already quite well established; but the owners — Bill and Vicki Goedert — were driving an excessive distance to use another kitchen, so were grateful to find one closer to home.
As Marcy says, "They make a huge line of incredibly delicious products, and Bill is a marketing and small business genius. He's been a great resource to not only me but also to many of the other 'kids.'" And Schenk's Salsa — ranging in heat from "a delightful mild flavor" to "ghost pepper HOT" — was recently named Best Salsa at the BWL Chili Cook-Off.
Marcy states that "the best part of being the 'Incu-Mom' (is) watching their small business successes — things like the first repeat customer (or the) first time they sell out of product."
When she first brings new ventures into her kitchen community, "it is just wonderful to see the change in demeanor of someone who has originally come in discouraged and thinking that they can never achieve their dream, often just due to what they perceive as red tape. I break down the steps, and work with them to get them up and running and licensed. There is such a sense of achievement and pride at that point." Like any proud mom, Marcy is happy to talk about her "kids" and relishes watching their success as their businesses grow along with hers.
Because Marcy is a fellow cook, I asked her to share one of her recipes. Yee-Haw Cowgirl Candy — candied pickled peppers — is another product that she sells at Incu-BaKe and at the Holt Farmers' Market, but here's your chance to try making it yourself.
Yee-Haw Cowgirl Candy
For me, summer cookouts are all about the side dishes and the condiments. It’s not so much the burger or the dog, but what you put on top of this. I make huge quantities of my sticky-sweet pickled jalapenos, but here’s a small batch recipe that can be made and stuck in the refrigerator — they’d just keep getting better for at least a couple of months, but they won’t last that long.
This is a small batch; after the first time you make them, you can adjust the types of peppers and the amount of cayenne you put in, as well as the amount of seeds you leave in the peppers.
1 pound fresh jalapeno or other peppers - I love to do a variety of sizes, colors, and heat levels
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1-1/2 to 2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon granulated garlic (I’ve subbed garlic powder with no problem)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Put on protective gloves, and wash and stem the peppers. If you don’t like things terribly spicy, stripe out the seeds and even some of the veins. Slice the peppers into 1/4-inch rounds. I personally keep all of the seeds and veins and make sure they go into the mix!
In a sauce pan, bring everything except the peppers to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Syrup should start to thicken slightly. Add the pepper slices. As soon as it returns to a boil, turn the heat off, and allow the peppers to sit in the hot liquid for 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers to a GLASS container (such as a 1 pint jar). Pour syrup over them to cover. Once the jar has cooled enough to handle, put on the lid and then refrigerate. (Please don’t refrigerate while boiling hot — glass could break. Wait until you can comfortably handle the jar.)
If you have excess syrup, it makes a terrific vinaigrette mixed with a neutral oil, or can also be used to baste meats on the grill.
Mary Bilyeu writes for AnnArbor.com on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions: email@example.com.
Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.
The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.