Habanero and Garlic hot sauce

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I’m not a big fan of hot sauce because, well, it’s HOT but I figured that since I was growing Habaneros in my herb garden I might as well take a stab at making some and see where I wound up and if it turned out to be too hot for me then my son would take it because he likes the stuff. Now before you call me a wuss let me explain that I love spiced food I’m just not a lover of spicy food and when I say spicy I generally mean hot.  I mean let’s examine this for a moment. You go out to dinner or you make a really nice dinner at home only to douse it in Hot Sauce so you can no longer tell what the dish originally tasted like. Seems like a waste to me but hey…… whatever floats yer boat.

This particular recipe is one that is a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”—– meaning I have taken bits and pieces of various recipes to come up with this one and like I have said before “what fun is there in cooking if you can’t twist and turn a recipe to make it your own?”

I now present to you my first ever foray into the world of making Hot Sauce…… hope you like it.

Ingredients:

–  6 to 8 orange Habaneros

–  4 to 6 garlic cloves

–  2 Cups White vinegar

–  4 tablespoons white sugar

–  4 green onions – roughly chopped ( you can substitute a medium white onion if you wish)

–  2 Large Plum tomatoes – rough chopped

–  3 tablespoons Smoked Paprika

– 2 to 3 Limes

Putting it all together:

–  Wearing disposable gloves cut the Habaneros in half and seed them – careful not to wipe your eyes while wearing the gloves

–  Put the Habaneros, vinegar and garlic in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil — reduce heat and simmer

–  When the Habaneros have softened, about ten minutes, transfer the ingredients of the saucepan to a blender or food processor and squeeze in the lime juice

–  Puree until smooth

–  Add the remaining ingredients and again puree until smooth

–  Pour the hot sauce into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator

The finished product should look something like this

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As in everything else you can adjust the heat level to suit your own tastes by simply adding or subtracting Habaneros. You can even go so far as to use an entirely different hot pepper such as a Scotch Bonnet, Jalapeno or Cayenne.  You can even go so far as to add some Mango and impart a little sweetness to the heat. The choice is yours.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

So until next time………..

                                                                         Bon Appetit

Butternut Squash soup

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One of the very first soups I ever learned to make was Butternut Squash which in itself is rather amazing because I don’t like squash any other way but in soup. One of the great things about this Gourd is its versatility. It can be cubed, mashed, baked, grilled and made into soup but as I said the only way I will eat it is in a soup. The other great thing about this soup is that you can add almost anything you want in order to, as the Great Emeril Lagasse would say “kick it up a notch”. Things like Leeks, Curry, Bacon, Apples—- you’re limited by your imagination.

So here’s my version of a “simple but tasty” soup that is great anytime of the year.

Ingredients:

–         1 Large Butternut squash peeled seeded and rough chopped

–         3 Large Yukon Gold (or any other yellow potato) peeled and rough chopped

–         1 Medium White onion, peeled and rough chopped

–         4 Cups Chicken stock

–         1 Cup 35% Heavy cream

–         ½ Cup all- purpose flour

–         ¼ Cup butter

–         Salt and White pepper to taste

–         4 Tablespoons Olive oil

Method:

–         Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven

–         Melt the butter in the oil

–         When the butter has melted whisk in the flour and make a roux

–         Add the chicken stock, a little at a time, and whisk until smooth

–         Add the onions, squash and potatoes and bring to a boil

–         Reduce heat and simmer on medium until the squash, potatoes and onions are fork tender

–         If you have an Immersion blender blend  until smooth if you don’t have an immersion blender then use a Blender and blend the soup in small batches

–         Put the soup back in the pot and add the cream and stir until incorporated

–         Leave the soup simmering on medium for approx. 5 more minutes and the heavy cream will start to thicken the soup

–         Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy

So there you have it a “simple but tastey” AND inexpensive soup that really takes no time at all to make but looks and tastes like you have been at it all day.

See you next time…….

                            Bon Appetit

Basil Pesto

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Basil Pesto is one of those items where you look at it and wonder “is it a sauce or is it a condiment?”

For me it can be both since it can be used in pasta or as a pizza sauce or as a condiment/dipping sauce for grilled shrimp or scallops.

Here is a “simple but tasty” Classic Basil Pesto.

Ingredients:

–         2 Quarts Fresh Basil

–         1 ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

–         4 Ounces Pine Nuts

–         6 Garlic cloves

–         1 ½ Teaspoons Salt

–         5 Ounces Fresh grated Parmesan

–         1 ½ Ounces fresh grated Romano

Method:

–         Wash and drain the Basil well

–         Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend to a coarse paste

–         Remove the Pesto to a clean bowl and blend in the cheese

–         Refrigerate

There you have it a “simple but tasty” dish.

                  Bon Appetit