Monday, September 6, 2010

Habanero Hot Sauce

Ahhhh, chicken wings! In my April 20, 2009 posting I gave you a recipe that is still my favorite. These wings are falling-off-the-bone tender, and you'll want to drink the sauce (after it's cooked).

What I just invented to go with them is a Habanero hot sauce that is wicked-hot, and perfectly compliments the wings. I suspect it would be pretty good with pulled pork as well. It bites us, it burns us, yessss!

Habanero Hot Sauce
(makes about 1 cup)
2 fresh habaneros, lightly oiled and grilled until roasty-brown on all sides, stems removed
Juice of one fresh lime
2 T apricot preserves
2 T soy sauce
1/3 c. fresh orange juice
2-3 T brown sugar
3 large garlic cloves, cut into chunks
1 T corn starch
Salt and more sugar to taste - after cooked

Place all ingredients in blender. Cover tightly - the habaneros are dangerously hot and splashing of this liquid will not be good for the eyes! Pour into a small sauce pan and heat gently until boiling, stirring regularly. Remove from heat. Check salt and sugar levels and adjust as needed. Cool. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or other container enabling easy control of dispensing.

This sauce is very, very hot. However, drizzling it on the wings, or on sloppy joes or pulled pork, dilutes it enough that the heat is tolerable, and the flavors are delicious!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rhubarb Chutney

I haven't updated this blog for a while, but my experiment with rhubarb chutney turned out so well, I was inspired to share it. Perfect for spring as the young rhubarb is ready. Serve it with grilled meat or poultry. We're having it with Jerk Chicken tomorrow. It think it would also be very, very happy with a pork chop salted, then marinated in olive oil and fresh rosemary, then grilled to medium.

Rhubarb Chutney
(makes about 1.5 cups)
1 T grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 c. or a little more rhubarb, cut into 1/2" chunks
1/4 c. currants or tiny raisins (so-called "zante currants")
1/4 c. white vinegar
Sugar to taste, about 1/4 c.
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Spice Mixture:
1/8 tsp. ground tumeric
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 small dried hot chile
1/2 tsp. while coriander seeds

Sweat the shallots and garlic in the oil over medium-low heat until soft and just starting to brown at the edges. Add rhubarb, currants, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low.

In the mean time, combine all components of the spice mixture in a spice shaker (I like Jamie Oliver's "Flavor Shaker") or in a mortar and pulverize. Add to the rhubarb mixture, along with the salt, pepper, and half of the sugar. Stir and taste. It should be a bit sweet, but not cloyingly so. I like this chutney to retain the tartness of the rhubarb. Add more sugar until the right balance is achieved.

Cover and cook until the rhubarb has fallen apart, just a few minutes more. Stir well, and transfer to small bowl for serving. Allow to cool to room temperature. If refrigerating, allow to warm up to room temperature to serve. The flavors will be best after one hour or so.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad

I create this salad when my wife suggested we use up our grapefruit on a salad. The pecans are from a boutique in Minneapolis called Extra Dough ( - they don't list them on the website, but call them or stop in to get them. You could substitute plain roasted pecans, but they won't be as good :-)

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad
(Serves 4)

Baby spinach - about 12 oz.
1/4 C. "sweet and smoky" pecans
1/4 small red onion, peeled, trimmed and cut into ribbons
1 large red grapefruit

2T grapefruit juice (from the grapefruit, after sectioning it)
2 T champaign vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/3 C. olive oil - use a lighter flavored oil for this recipe
small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch of white pepper
pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp finely-minced fresh rosemary (about 6 or 7 leaves)
Salt to taste (make sure it's salty enough)

Mix the vinegar and all other ingredients except the grapefruit juice and the olive oil in a medium bowl and let sit.

With a sharp knife, trim all of the rind off of the grapefruit. Hold the grapefruit in your left hand, and with the right, cut out the wedges by cutting right next to the membranes dividing the sections. Slide them onto a plate as you cut them free. Don't cut all the way to the core - leave the seeds and core connected. When you've cut all the segments free, squeeze what's left of the grapefruit over a bowl and reserve the juice. Add 2 T of the juice to the vinaigrette and drink the rest - it's yummy!

Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar-grapefruit juice mixture, starting with a very fine stream of oil and whisking vigorously to develop an emulsion. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Assemble the salads: arrange spinach on a plate, top with the grapefruit wedges, onion ribbons, and pecans. Spoon on the dressing. If desired, finish with a light sprinkling of sea salt crystals.