Homemade Habanero Hotsauce

According to WordPress, this is the one thousandth entry in my blog. I’ve written a little over one blog a day, not missing a day, for almost three years now.

This is the third or fourth blog I’ve done over the years – the first one, The Daily Epiphany, was the thirteenth (as best as I can tell) blog in the world, started in July 25, 1996. Of course, there weren’t any blogs in those days – we called them online journals. It was a lot of work back then – the entries were written in Notepad and all the HTML tags were written out by hand. Think of how much work it was to add new entries with back and forward links and tables of contents – all done without electronic help and uploaded by FTP. Within a year I had developed a series of Microsoft Word Templates with macros to help do all that – but it was a long way from today’s fully automated content systems.

I wrote every day for seven years or so, until my kids grew old enough to read the thing and share it with their friends and I had to give it up. For a long time then, I switched to paper – looking to my left I see a stack of Moleskines I filled up in the years I would write every day in longhand.

Finally, a friend of mine started a WordPress Blog and I thought it would be fun, so I cast my line in. Old habits die hard and I found that putting an entry up every day was important to me, even though I hadn’t intended to do this starting out. I don’t put much effort into the thing – most of my writing blood, sweat, and tears, nowadays goes into my pitiful attempts at fiction. I know I often only put up a single photograph… maybe a bilious quotation – but I have learned that if you are going to put something up every day you have to give yourself permission to sometimes do something easy.

If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your money.

At any rate, a while back I came across a recipe for Habanero Hot Sauce on the Facebook page of a friend.

6 habaneros
1/2 can peaches in light syrup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 T salt
1 T paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

Whirl it all up in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth.
I poured mine into an old 12 oz Crystal hot sauce bottle I’d washed out. The ingredients sound a bit strange, but it works!

A similar recipe I found also added 1/4 cup of molasses, but I didn’t have any in the house.

I like hot sauce and this one looked good… so I bought a handful of red, round peppers and ground it all up.

It tuned out very good… and very hot. There is a lot of talk about bhut jolokia – Ghost Chilies and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and such – but let’s face it – habaneros are pretty damn hot and they are readily available. I still have wonderful memories of fresh grilled seafood served with an Habanero paste that I had on Passion Island off of Cozumel – the best meal of my life.

When I first tried the sauce my lips were swollen, my face burned, and the top of my head was drenched with sweat. When I tried the same dose a couple days later, it wasn’t nearly as toxic. At first, I thought it was losing its punch – but I realized that I was quickly developing a resistance. I began plotting meals that I could use to eat a little (only a little) of the sauce.

When my two sons came home for the holidays, the remaining sauce quickly disappeared and I knew I had to kick up the production and at least triple the batch sizes. I had to go to work for a while today and on the way home stopped off at the local Fiesta Mart for a bag of habaneros.

Recently, Candy bought a Ninja Master Prep food processor – Hey… just because it’s on TV doesn’t mean it doesn’t work – and it’s perfect for the dangerous task of chopping up the toxic peppers. My first batch had the seeds in it, which tended to stop up the dispensing apparatus, so I thought about cleaning the peppers first – but that’s a tricky proposition, so I simply screened the seeds out afterward.

This batch came out even hotter than the first – but pretty darn flavorful. I have a feeling I might be making more of this stuff in the future.

Funny, they don't look that hot.

Funny, they don’t look that hot.

Habaneros and other main ingredients

Habaneros and other main ingredients

Ninja Food Processor with hot sauce and spices

Ninja Food Processor with hot sauce and spices

Final product - filtered into re-purposed containers.

Final product – filtered into re-purposed containers.

Veggies in the Farmer’s Market

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.

—-Gertrude Stein

This last weekend, after grabbings a couple shots of the fashion shoot next door, I met up with my friend and we wandered the Dallas Farmer’s Market, Nikons in hand, taking photographs of what caught our eye. What I saw first was the vegetables (other subjects to follow in the dreary days ahead).

Some sheds at the market feature fresh local produce, others produce dealers – so I suppose what you get isn’t too much different than what you see in your local supermarket, but it looks so much more ripe and delicious lined up there in split-wood baskets in front of the trucks with hand-lettered cardboard signs. The vendors hawk their wares – holding out sample chunks of melon or wedges of grapefruit they cut in front of you with pocketknives. You can’t help but smile and salivate at this cornucopia of wonderfulness.

Filling bags with food to take home is one thing – buying fruit and eating while you walk around is another, a sweet treat – blueberries, tangerines, peaches and plums – all designed to nibble and stroll, packaged in their own skins, ready to give up their juice and pulp.

An onion can make people cry but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.

—- Will Rogers

One vendor features tomatoes. The back of his slot is filled with pallets of tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.

Ripe vegetables were magic to me. Unharvested, the garden bristled with possibility. I would quicken at the sight of a ripe tomato, sounding its redness from deep amidst the undifferentiated green. To lift a bean plant’s hood of heartshaped leaves and discover a clutch of long slender pods handing underneath could make me catch my breath.

– Michael Pollan

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.

—-Henry David Thoreau

In our gardens, Lord Ganesha sends His power through fruits and vegetables, the ones that grow above the ground, to permeate our nerve system with wisdom, clearing obstacles in our path when eaten. The growers of them treat it like they would care for Ganesha in His physical form.

—- Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 438, Nature Devas

I bought some of these - the broccoli and asparagus in the lower right.

I think of New York as a puree and the rest of the United States as vegetable soup.

—-Spalding Gray

Dried peppers and tomatillos

This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me. Such a tasty fact!

—-Mike Garofalo

Poblano and Habanero peppers with some tomatillos.

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.

—-Ambrose Bierce

Apples, peaches, and plums. I love these dark, Texas plums - I love to have a cold bag of them to eat while I drive long distances.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.

—-William Blake