Some Like It Hot and Salty

September 25th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG likes fiery food. So, a stocked larder of hot sauces is essential. HG’s essential blazers include Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (better than Tabasco and the ONLY hot sauce to be used in preparing Buffalo Chicken wings); Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chile Sauce (essential with dim sum); Sriracha (best when squirted into bowls of pho-like Asian soups); Harissa (middle eastern food necessity). Two super potent sauces HG adores: Chrug (phonetic spelling as HG can’t make out the Hebrew brand name), a Yemeni/Israeli hot sauce that Yossi M., HG’s admired brother-in-law, brings to HG from his annual visit to Israel and Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp Sauce. The bottle of Chrug has a stern looking bearded patriarch on its label and the Chinese killer sauce has a picture of a dour unsmiling woman. Food writer Pete Meehan notes that one shouldn’t feel sorry for the pictured woman (founder and owner of the sauce company) as her net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. HG is not fond of sweet (except in the aforementioned sweet chili sauce) but likes salty. A favored snack (or appetizer) is a dish of jarred Piquillo peppers adorned with anchovies and a splash of olive oil. HG always wondered why Canadian markets keep their tinned anchovies refrigerated while US markets keep anchovies on the shelves with tuna, sardines, etc. HG found the answer in a recent communication from Zingerman’s, the midwest’s answer to Zabar’s: If anchovies aren’t kept refrigerated, they get soft and lose flavor. Sardines and tuna increase in flavor when they are stored in the pantry. Go figure.

Hot, Hotter, Scorching

July 16th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Some like it hot. Count HG among that number. HG likes food prepared with spicy ingredients or accompanied and enhanced by condiments packing much heat. HG/BSK have a kitchen arsenal that attests to love of culinary fire. There are the peppers: White pepper (ground); black pepper (in the form of peppercorns); smoked black pepper (ground); Aleppo pepper (red and vibrant from Turkey); Berbere (very hot); Italian red pepper flakes; Szechuan peppercorns; whole dried red chiles used in Chinese and Mexican cooking. Powders: Red chile (medium and hot); Chipotle (dark and smoky); Coleman’s English Mustard Powder. Condiments (in bottles, cans and tubes): Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce; Frank’s Red Hot Ketchup; Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chile; Chinese Sweet Chile Sauce; Fire Oil (Roasted sesame oil mixed with very hot chile. This is used in flavoring Dan Dan noodles); Sriracha; Matouk’s West Indian Hot Sauce (An HG favorite, it’s from Trinidad); Tabasco (for Bloody Marys); Queen Majesty Scotch Bonnet & Ginger Hot Sauce (fiery stuff from Jamaica by way of Brooklyn); Wasabi (for Japanese food); Sambal Oelek (Indonesian); Chinese Chile Garlic Sauce; Harissa (for Middle Eastern food); Chipotle peppers in sauce (also various bottled “picante” salsas as well as pickled JalapeƱo peppers and Italian cherry peppers and horseradish). HG’s secret heat weapon (served only to masochists or heat veterans) is skhug. This is bottled hot sauce originated by Yemenite Jews. Just a tiny dab will give food a delicious blast of smoke and fire. (HG’s thoughtful brother-in-law, Yossi M., brings this back from Israel for HG). A wonderful hot sauce is chile de arbol. This is served (upon request) at New Mexico’s Sopaipilla Factory restaurant. HG adds some to a bowl of menudo to banish chill, gloom and hangover. It works. Viva la vida picante!!

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