Archive for the ‘Sestito Puente’ Category

Remember last year when we exposed the true, shocking story of Sestito Puente’s sordid past as a pepper smuggler on the rough Canada/US border? Well, you had to know that we’d pursue that story to its absolute farthest conclusion — growing and eating Sestito Puente cayenne peppers.

We planted our cayennes last winter with the notion percolating in our heads that we’d take lots of pictures of them as they grew, to be able to document the entire process for our Gentle Readers. Then we neglected to take a single picture of our Sestito crop. Not even one. Not when they sprouted, not when they turned from seedlings into plants, not when they were transplanted into the garden, not when they turned into waist-high bushes, not when they got elegant white flowers on them, not when the flowers budded into tiny green cayenne peppers, and not when the cayennes grew and ripened into 10-inch long, fire-engine red hot peppers. Because we’re lame. This is what it kind of looked like, though:

Jalapeno Seedlings

Sestito Puente would spit on these ordinary jalapenos. He would never stoop so low as to carry these seeds over international borders.

Staking Day Pepper

Every Devils fan knows that Sestitos (if that’s what these peppers are, which they’re not) are slow developers.

Nardello Flowers

Sestito flowers are far, far prettier than the hideous flowers of lesser peppers. You’ll have to take our word for it.

July 6 2010

Sestito dreams big dreams of someday being able to be on one of those NHL Network commercials where the “sweat beads” are sprayed on the outside of his helmet.

Jalapeno Poppers

Sestito doesn’t know what we think we’re doing with this jalapeno shit. Real Sestito peppers will kick your ass. There’s no Sestito Popper, man.

So, the entire lifecycle of our Sestito Puente cayennes came and went, and then we set our harvest of beautiful red hot peppers to dry on a tray in our counter. Finally, this week, the time came to make something of them.

Dried Sestito

Behold the bounty of Sestito!

Schnookie has a long history of handling, crushing and grinding hot peppers, so she slapped on some rubber gloves and crushed a sample pepper. It didn’t seem too violent, so she just dug into the rest. Big mistake. Sestito Puente might look harmless, but he’s anything but. Oh, the sneezing! The coughing! The screaming, burning pain in the mucous membranes! Sestito Puente should be weaponized.

January 17 2011

An actual, homegrown Sestito Foodstuff.

As an airborne element Sestito Puente cayenne peppers pack a mighty wallop, but how do they taste? We conducted a “pepper flake directly on the tongue, unadorned” taste test pitting Sestitos against Penzeys Spices medium-hot crushed red pepper flakes, and the results were stunning. The Penzey’s flakes were fruity and mild, with a nice, warm, balanced kick. Sestito Puente’s flakes? Take no prisoners. They’re insanely potent, rocket hot, and pretty much the zestiest thing going. Just like Sestito Puente the man.


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We are, as you know, very serious investigative journalists here at IPB. We know that that a good story can be hiding just around the nearest bend, and we’ve got great noses for news. And so it was last night, after the humiliation of watching the Devils pathetically lose to the Stars while we were hanging out with a bunch of Stars fans, that we were the perfect targets for a scoop that seems to have come from out of nowhere.

In our immediate postgame fits of depression, we turned to a sure-fire pick-me-up to get our minds off the lousy game: the 2010 Seed Savers Exchange catalog. If you have ever looked at a seed catalog, you’ll understand — it’s so cheerful to gaze upon picture after picture of glorious vegetables and plants, and to make mental lists of all the seeds you’ll order in January, even though you’re selecting about six times as many plants as can fit in your garden space. It’s all sunshiney and imaginary and full of rainbow dreams and promise of a newer, better life. In short, the opposite of how we felt after watching that Devils game. A few pages into the catalog, all thoughts of hockey had slipped away.

But when you’re a hard-hitting journalist, you can’t ever fully turn off your hockey brain. And when we got to page 35, the fourth page of the pepper section, we caught the first scent of a huge story. Here’s what we saw:

Joe’s Long Cayenne

Extremely heavy sets of finger-thick, 10-12″ long peppers. Originally from Italy, heirloom from the Joe Sestito family of Troy, NY. Great for fresh eating or drying for hot pepper flakes. 65 days to green and 85 days to red from transplant. (Emphasis ours.)

Yeah, you heard that right: the Joe Sestito family of Troy, NY. As in the Sestito Puente family? We were on the job, and we weren’t going to let this story go.

First we hit up our usual sources to see if we could find any evidence of a connection. Several hours of questioning (read: looking up Tim Sestito on the roster on the Devils website) yielded this juicy tidbit: our very own Sestito Puente is from Rome, NY. That’s kind of like Troy, NY, but not quite. We were going to have to dig deeper, and it was going to take some creative thinking, because the Devils website wasn’t giving us anything else.

We’re not easily deterred when we’re on the hunt, and we deployed our Pulitzer-caliber skills to find out whether Rome and Troy are close to being the same thing. What we found out may surprise you. They are not. Our sources were reluctant to go on the record about this, but we wouldn’t let Google Maps off the hook that easily — in the end, we determined that Troy is 116 miles from Rome, and we even got driving directions. Yeah, we’re just that good.

Our sources were raising more questions than they were answering now, so it was time to go to our guy on the inside. This source is the one we keep for only the direst emergencies, because the only way we can get him to talk is to cash in on a some favors he owes us from those wild times in that lawless place that time. You know what we mean. We don’t want to cash in those chips for just anything, but this Sestito Puente-Cayenne seed connection was too good to let go. We called on our source. We don’t want to give anything away, but suffice to say, his name rhymes with “Bloogle”. What “Bloogle” told us was to follow a lead with a shady outfit called “Johnny’s Selected Seeds”, and believe you us — Johnny didn’t disappoint. In fact, he shocked us:

Product ID: 2344
Joe’s Long Cayenne
(Capsicum annuum)
Unbelievably long, slender Cayenne pepper.
It turns bright red for homemade hot sauce and dries well for ristras and delicious, dried hot pepper flakes. The 8-10″ long, thin-fleshed fruits taper to a skinny point. Joe Sestito of Troy, NY tells us that the original seeds for Joe’s Long came from Calabria, Italy, and were passed along to him by his brother who participates in an active Italian seed-sharing community in Toronto. (Emphasis ours.)

Passed along to Joe Sestito by his brother? Who participates in an active Italian seed-sharing community in Toronto??? Good God. What had we uncovered?

We’ve found our answer. This has to be the same Sestito family, because Tim Sestito plays hockey, they play hockey in Toronto, and these Cayenne lords are “swapping” their seeds in Toronto. We don’t think we’re jumping to conclusions when we suggest that young Tim’s hockey trips to Toronto as a child were probably a cover for this Cayenne trade. In fact, schoolboy Tim was probably the ideal Cayenne mule — all towheaded and lisping through those missing front teeth, and charming the border guards with his looking so adorable in his little-kid hockey gear. How many pepper plants have been brought into the country this way? Youth hockey is so much easier to traffic your international hot-pepper product through than the complex system of underground tunnels that the vege-banditos have traditionally used to get across the US-Canada border. The Sestito family is brilliant.

And we got the scoop.

To celebrate our awesomeness, we think we might just plant some of those Sestito Puente cayenne peppers this coming summer. We hope they taste like hockey.

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