Habañero HOT Sauce

We’ve been (well, Sean’s been) buying habañeros from Two R’s Farm at the Boulder Farmers’ Market every week since they opened for the season in April. They’re a buck a piece and, though I don’t reach for them while cooking, Sean can’t get enough of them and uses little slivers in almost everything.

After my hiccup reflex from über-spicy, I do agree that they’re great peppers. Sean describes them as an intensely hot pepper with a tropical mango/pineapple undertone that, when coaxed out, make for a very flavorful HOT sauce.

So, we picked up six.

Sean cooked five carrots, four cloves of garlic, and one large onion (all from the market) in olive until they were soft.

Next, he added the six habañeros, two medium sized tomatoes, 1/2 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed, of course), 1/4  cup white distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup water (or more as needed while blending), and honey to taste (he used approximately 1/4 cup of local Uncle Pete’s Honey).

And then… wait for it…

The Vitamix. The. Vitamix. The best decision I’ve ever made, besides dating Sean, was buying a Vitamix.

Sean pureed everything- peppers, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, honey, carrots, onion, and garlic until it was smooth and then poured it back into a pot to simmer for another five minutes.

He let it cool as we ate the dinner he had been preparing for us while making the hot sauce. Then, he filled some small jars and preserved them in a hot water bath.

There was a little left over, so we put it in the fridge, and I must say- by the next day I found this sauce to be really good. Don’t get me wrong- it’s hot as hell. But, as Sean says, it has an earthy sweetness from the carrots and a nicely balanced flavor you get from the sautéed veggies. It exudes a touch of tropical flavor in an incredibly hot sauce that’s toned down by the other ingredients, including a touch of local honey.

A little goes a long way, so, I think we’re all set on hot sauce here for a while.

Alton Brown-Inspired Roasted Tomato Sauce with Turkey Meatballs

I finally started to use my Alton Brown-inspired Roasted Tomato Sauce which I had made during peak tomato season and froze in small jars. Finally… fresh tomato sauce.
I thawed the puree and tried follow Alton Brown’s instructions, so I chopped an onion and some garlic and sauteed them a bit in a little olive oil, then added my previously frozen roasted tomato sauce and a cup or so of white wine and let this cook for approximately 30 minutes before adding my turkey meatballs.

In case you’re wondering whether I prefer my turkey meatballs in Grilled Roma Tomato Sauce or my Alton Brown-inspired Roasted Tomato Sauce… the winner is… Roated Tomaot Sauce! Hands down winner! Thank you, Alton Brown. Thank you.

Turkey Meatballs in Grilled Roma Tomato Sauce

I am so glad I made a huge batch of my Grilled Roma Tomato Sauce and froze a number of jars because it went really well with my turkey meatballs.
For the meatballs- start with 1 pound of ground turkey thigh in a large bowl. To that, add:
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Mix this all well with your hands and form golfball-sized meatballs on a separate plate.
Heat 4-5 TB olive oil on medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. When hot, add the meatballs and let them cook a few minutes before rotating them a bit. I like to brown mine on all sides and I’m not too picky about little pieces falling off of some meatballs as I flip them. After 10 minutes or so, add 1/2 cup red wine, let it start to sizzle like crazy, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Let this cook a few more minutes and then add it all, and I mean ALL… pan juices, burnt-to-the-bottom turkey bits, etc. – to a pot of hot Grilled Roma Tomato Sauce.
Finish cooking the meatballs all the way through in the sauce. Serve with warm crusty bread, parmesan cheese, and whatever else you like.

Enjoy.

Peanut Sauce

I love peanuts. Peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies. Roasted peanuts. Spicy peanuts. There is something about the flavor of peanuts that is very appealing to me and I am so very grateful I do not suffer from peanut allergies.
That said, I don’t eat many peanuts anymore because I mostly eat almonds. Almond butter, roasted almonds, etc. So, it is always a special treat when I decide to make peanut sauce for something like peanut noodles or Gado Gado, a traditional Indonesian vegetable salad covered in peanut sauce. Yum. That always brings me back to one of my favorite places on earth: Indonesia- the inspiration for this sauce.
So, here’s your warning: This isn’t really a quick sauce to prepare. You need to follow through with a few steps, but it is well worth the time and effort, I promise.
Step 1: Thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic and fry them with 3-5 dried Thai chilies (I always go with 5) in a couple tablespoons of peanut oil until the garlic is golden and toasted and the chilies are a little puffed.

Step 2: Remove these from the heat and oil to stop them from cooking. Let them cool on some paper towels while prepping the rest of the sauce.
In my kitchen, I have a step 3: Make peanut butter. I put 2 cups of peanuts in the Vita-Mix and make fresh peanut butter in about one minute’s time. If you don’t own a Vita-Mix yet, make sure you are using real peanut butter. Basically, that means please, please, please only use peanut butter if the the ingredients read: Peanuts. Or, Peanuts and Salt.
Step 4: In a bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup, add approximately 1 cup of peanut butter. Everything in this recipe is approximate, so you can play with the flavors and add more of something or less according to your tastes.
Next, add:
  • 5 TB soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup warm water (it is easier to mix with warm water rather than cold)
Mix this well.
Step 5: Grind your garlic and chilies in your mortar and pestle.

I have a special attachment to my mortar and pestle because I bought it in Indonesia.
Add the garlic and chilies to your sauce and mix well.
I made a big bowl of peanut noodles with this sauce. Too bad I didn’t double the recipe and store some in the fridge for a week or so. Next time.
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