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

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

Chipotle Mayo

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Mayonnaise has, for the longest time, enjoyed the reputation of being that plain condiment that you add to a dish to make it creamy—- like in Tuna or Chicken Salad sandwiches—- or used on a burger or dog and yes… I put Mayo on my hot dogs.

Well Mayo has enjoyed a face lift of sorts the past little while in that you can now find it in different flavors and one of the most popular flavors is Chipotle Mayo. Now Chipotle is not some uber exotic ingredient that requires trekking days into a disease ridden swamp to find in fact it’s really nothing more than a Smoked Jalapeno pepper and even though it’s not the uber exotic ingredient you might think it sure tastes like it.

Chipotle Mayo has two things in common that you will find in 99% of all Chipotle mayo recipes…. Garlic and Chipotles in Adobo sauce and it’s the Adobo sauce that gives Chipotle Mayo its distinctive reddish hue (see the attached photo) however being the wild man that I am I prefer to smoke my own Jalapenos and do without the adobo sauce. You don’t get the same color but the taste, which is the important part, is the same and it’s great with french fries or on a Curried Chicken burger (see grilled chicken for the Curried Chicken burger recipe).

Ingredients:

–          2 Smoked Jalapenos

–          4 Garlic cloves

–          1 Teaspoon Salt

–          1 Teaspoon pepper

–          ½ Cup Mayo

Method:

–          Stem and de-seed the Smoked Jalapenos

–          In a food processor add all the ingredients EXCEPT the Mayo

–          Pulse until a paste is formed

–          Blend the Chipotle mixture with the Mayo until well incorporated.

–          Refrigerate until needed

This is a “simple but tasty” dish to add to your repertoire and if you are not lucky enough to have a backyard smoker or stove top model then smoke the Jalapenos in your oven using a smoke pouch (soaked wood chips placed in a tin foil envelope with holes punched in it) at 250 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit