I love the flavors of good Caribbean food and the Jerk Seasoning in authentic cuisine is nothing like you can buy in a bottle. Although I must admit – the use of more than just a couple of habaneros really scared me (and I warned the family that our dinner might be way too spicy to eat), but in the end it was just the perfect level of heat for all to really enjoy! Thank goodness, I could not have been happier with the end results!
I might have mentioned before that we had a lot of habeneros (and by “a lot” I mean we only planted 2 plants but even 1 of these plants would have given me ten times more than I needed, so with 2 plants you can only image the amount of hot peppers that are going to waste). After making my Red Pepper Flakes I figured how hard could hot sauce be…
There are TONS of different recipes for hot sauce out there (ok, maybe not tons – but at least tons of variations). I decided after careful review that I was going to base my sauce after one that I found on Chow & make it a lightly cooked hot-sauce (I know that cooking lessons the heat a bit and figured it might be more edible that way).
Now here is some interesting information as well as a story for you…
Remember when I made Red Pepper Flakes & I mentioned that the house felt a little spicy? Well, compared to this process the drying of the flakes smelled like roses and chocolate!!
After about 2 minutes of the peppers being in the boiling water I started to sneeze and didn’t really think anything of it. Then after maybe 5 minutes or so I could not stop sneezing and my nose and eyes were watering and burning. Rich asked me what was wrong and I said it must ‘just be a little spicy from the peppers’. A few minutes later and the coughing can’t stop. Rich comes out of his office and is immediately overtaken with fumes and tells me in a very assertive voice to “get outside and bring the dogs with me because their noses are even more sensitive”. Finally after feeling like I had created war-grade pepper spray that was filling the house, the boil time was over. I brought it outside to set for a while and once the house was clear (a few hours later) I finished the process.
This whole experience just might have scared me off from ever making my own hot sauce again. I even asked a local hot-sauce company their advice on the heat, they said “open windows” and “face masks” and “yeah, you kinda just have to deal with it”.
SO – if after all of this you still decide that the store-bought sauce isn’t good enough and you have the urge to make your own hot sauce, I have some suggestions. They are: use milder peppers, use a no-cook method, be sure to have lots of windows open with fans, or have a face mask ready to protect yourself from this (and let me know if you come up with a better method).
Habanero Hot Sauce
adapted from Chow.com & makes about 16 ounces
- 15 habanero peppers
- 4 cayenne peppers
- 3 carrots (or use mini carrots – total about 1 cup chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Take the stems off your hot peppers. Throw them with the carrots and garlic in a small pot & cover with water. Boil for about 15 minutes. Let set/cool. Drain off the liquid then place the peppers with the liquid & salt into a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a container (I used an old Frank’s Hot Sauce container) & let set for a few days before using.
IMPORTANT WARNINGS: Wear gloves when cutting raw peppers, avoid touching your face/eyes during any step of this process, wash your hands well & often
Oh yeah, here are some other great sites I found online for Habanero Recipes (even if I didn’t use most of them): Habanero Recipes Blog, Habanero Madness, Chocolate Habanero Muffins which were tasty, & a recipe for Chocolate Habanero Ice Cream that I never made
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what food have you always wanted to try making but upon making it realized it wasn’t worth the process?
As a teacher, I often think about my personal vs. public life. This blog makes me think about those private/personal lines and my privacy as well (especially right now as I am teaching Internet Safety/Responsibility/etc). I am an adult, but I am also an educator and the shaper of young minds. My students know that I blog and I am sure that some of them have found it.
I’m an adult who is legally allowed to consume alcoholic beverages (not that I ever really do though, seriously, its pretty rare for me- I can count on my hands the number of times I have had a drink in the past year). Even though I am an adult – I always want to be a responsible role model for my students.
So here is the post, written by a teacher in her late 20’s who is a lover of food and exploring new ways to use her ingredients and who also encourages her students to make the right choices in their life…
I made Bloody Mary Tomato Juice for my Grandmother with lots of our garden fresh tomatoes and wanted some spicy vodka to go with it, especially since I was making the drinks for my grandmother who loves them spicy (a constant challenge to make them spicy enough for grandma)! We have an over-abundance of habaneros in our garden (all thanks to one plant) and I am trying to come up with ways to use them without burning my face (or hands) off! When I stumbled across Kitchen Konfidence, I knew that I had to make this for my grandmother (and share with my spice-loving neighbor).
At first I was not sure if I should add the bacon (by all means feel free to make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon), but it did add a bit of ‘smokiness’ to the vodka. Play around with it & be careful with the heat (no touching your eyes) and how long you let this infuse!!
Bacon-Habanero Infused Vodka
- 2 – 3 slices (cooked) bacon
- 2 habaneros, sliced in half
- 1 jalapano
- 2 cups (approx..) vodka
Cook, drain, & cool Bacon. Slice your peppers in half. Add all solids to a mason jar (or any clean recycled glass jar you have around the house). Pour your quality vodka over top. Allow to infuse for up to 7 days – the longer you let it set, the stronger it will be.
Feel free to use this after 2 days or so (at 2-3 days I took mine out and it was more than plenty strong for me – if you like it spicier, leave it) but after about a week, take out your solids & use your infused vodka with caution & enjoy responsibly!
And I Leave You with this, Today’s Question of the Day… What flavors of an infused liquid have you created or do you think you would enjoy the flavor of?
Do no get scared off by this title – I ‘only’ used 1 habanero in the pot of soup and it was just spicy enough for me to feel it in my nose a little but without being too killer.
We had a whole bunch of tomatoes in the fridge that would have gone bad on the counter. They had spots that needed to be cut off of them and I wasn’t sure what to make for dinner. We also had some leftover Enchilada Pulled/Shredded Chicken (I just shredded all of the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and heated it with a can of store-bought enchilada sauce which I doctored up with some extra cumin and such). I decided to make a Mexican Tomato Soup & of course our over-abundance of habaneros seemed like a logical choice to fit in with this!
This is an easy “after-work” meal. The first few days of school (and a long Labor Day Weekend) have thrown me off my normal schedule – but this soup has me back to my normal kitchen adventures, I have missed it! To create this meal I litterally just threw tomatoes in the blender & thought about flavors. Then pureeded batches of tomato & friends went into the pot to be heated/reduced/tasted/enjoyed. Perfect with a quick quesadilla on the side to finish off the “Mexican Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Dinner” theme.
Habanero Mexican Tomato Soup
- 8 cups pureed tomatoes (I just threw tomatoes in the blender and the amount of tomatoes I had which were ready to go ended up being about 8 cups – feel free to be flexible here
- 1 habanero (or jalapeno, whatever your tastes enjoy)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 roasted red pepper (from the jar or fresh – whatever)
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes (I have a jar in olive oil in the fridge)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 – 2 cups shredded chicken (if you don’t have leftovers: approx. 1 large breast – just boil and shred it)
- 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste) & 1/2 t pepper (to taste)
Working in batches, place all of your ingredients (except chicken – if using)) in the blender. I started with whatever fit in the blender & then dumped and went back to the blender for more. Place pot over medium heat and allow to come to a boil. Skim off the bubbly parts that rise to the top. I allowed this to simmer for about 30 minutes and thicken up quite a bit – allow it to just become as thick as you enjoy your soup!
Serve in bowls with some shredded cheese and sour cream. The ideal sour cream was mine that I mixed with some of my tasty Salsa Verde. Serve with a quick pan-sauteed quesadilla & enjoy the Mexican flavors of Tomato Soup
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… When do you know when something is too spicy – how do you walk that line?