Friday, October 28, 2016

Peppers 2016 and The Hot Sauce That Matt Likes

We really should come up with a catchier name, but sometimes you just have to call it what it is.
In general, Matt and I have a disagreement about spiciness levels in our meals.  I think almost everything is better with a little splash or sprinkle of cayenne or jalapeno.  Nothing crazy.  Not ten cayennes.  Not ghost peppers or anything super hot.  I don't want to melt my face.  I don't want heat to be the only flavor.    Just a little hint of heat.   I think that makes just about every other flavor sing--pizza, pasta, soup, potatoes, tofu, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, American...pretty much everything savory under the sun.  I think it is all lovely as is, but even better with the heat cranked up just a notch.
Matt, on the other hand, has a more narrow window for such things.  Tacos are supposed to be spicy.  Pesto is not.  Curry or Thai peanut sauce can be spicy.  Tomato soup or hashbrowns shouldn't be.   And so on.
He also has long objected to my preference for vinegar-heavy hot sauces.  My first hot sauce love was Frank's Red Hot.   When I started making my own that was my muse, my inspiration--a cayenne sauce with almost as much vinegar tang as heat.  Matt does not share my affinity for this style of sauce.  He finds the vinegar to be a bit much.
One day I set to make some hot sauce, but was dabbling and playing around a bit.  We'd had a tremendous harvest of hot peppers and I was experimenting with different ways I could make use of them.
I pickled some (not my favorite, as it turns out).  I made my regular hot sauce (yum!).  And then I thought I'd try to knock-off sambal oelek, a sauce I love, but pretty much never buy since most commercially available versions have artificial preservatives and junk in it.
In the course of my dabbling I made a sauce with milder, sweeter vinegars and a higher pepper-to-vinegar ratio.  I added some oil for mouthfeel.  I added a good bit of garlic.
And I came up with a recipe that has become known around the house as, "The Hot Sauce That Matt Likes."
I resisted it for a long time, sticking with my trusty ol' Frank's knock-off.  But you know what?  When I finally started using it I realized that I actually like it better, too.
Matt still only uses it for the "appropriate" foods, but hey, that's okay.  At least we've got a hot sauce he actually likes when the right dish comes along.
The Hot Sauce That Matt Likes

1 lb cayenne, jalapeno, or a mixture of the two.

3 C mild vinegar, such as apple cider, red wine, rice wine, etc.
1 T brown sugar

1 t salt
5-7 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil

Process until well blended and smooth.  Makes about 30 oz (ish).
We had a swell pepper crop this year, sweet peppers more so than hot peppers.  I, an avowed pepper fanatic, was so pleased.  So.  Many.  Delicious.  Peppers.  There are cups and cups and cups of them chopped and frozen, ready to go.  I also dried some more cayennes, even though I still have a string from last year.
We grew a sweet pepper called Corno di Toro (Bull's Horn) that was a real winner.  The fruits were prolific, ripened quickly, and while not as thick-walled as a standard bell pepper was never the less quite substantial to bite into.  That is pretty much everything I want in a pepper, especially how quickly they matured to a beautiful red.  Bell peppers got nothing on them there!   
*Sigh*  I love peppers.

2 comments:

  1. I am that way as well, so the name of the sauce sounds perfect. My Bill loves very spicy and I prefer mild with lots of flavor. I think peppers and the sauces we can make should be personalized for each one of us as that is how unique peppers are!
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is a good point! Now Matt and I are both perfectly spiced! :)

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