Hot Stuff

Okay, I’m embarrassed because everyone else is writing all sorts of good stuff and I’m stuck in the middle of defining Becca’s character (K.M. Weiland‘s Character Interview is really helpful here!) and trying to write a short story. I have nothing to share. Except —

I pride myself in being able to throw a decent (I have fairly low standards) meal together in less than 30 minutes. And I do tend to go heavy on the hot. So here’s an email I sent this morning to a friend, whose husband’s taste buds seem to be on strike this week. She asked for it — I know you guys didn’t, but it’s all I’ve got today. Sorry.

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HotPeppers-main_FullI don’t use recipes much, especially for non-baked goods. But I use pepper. Lots of it. I put it in/on everything. Fresh-ground black pepper is my secret cookie/baked goods ingredient. I use lots of it and I also have a whole shitload of pepper sauces. Cholula chipotle is currently one of my favorites. I bought a bottle of Al-T’s green sauce at Al-T’s restaurant when we were in Texas. I also really like that Vietnamese hot chili sauce that you can now finally buy in regular grocery stores. If I use salt when I’m cooking, I use big-grained coarse sea salt. I happen to have a big can of La Baleine, but I read in a ‘taste test’ somewhere that there were 5 or 6 others that testers thought were better. If I ever use up this can, I’ll try one of those.

I slap some balsamic vinegar in a lot of veggie things and that ends up making them more intense. Harris Teeter makes a balsamic glaze that’s pretty yummy, though a tad sweet, that’s good to slather on salmon in particular. I really like roasted veggies — onions, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms. Oh my. Toss them with some olive oil, rosemary, pepper and coarse salt and then bake them for about an hour.

And garlic, of course. I use my garlic press to squeeze a bunch of cloves for fresh or use chopped up roasted (the roasted bit is important) garlic from the little jar.

Lots of cumin and oregano. Oh, yeah, and that spicy mustard. Slapping some of that mixed with a little olive oil and lemon juice on chicken before cooking it (skinless chicken breasts, of course, which don’t have all that greasy skin-related stuff on them) jazzes it up for a low calorie count. I put Old Bay seasoning on tilapia and pan saute it for fish tacos.

You’re in Texas. Throw a vat of salsa in that veggie soup.

How about Indian food? I’ve noticed in the last year or two that even Food Lion has a bunch of Indian sauces and curries and stuff. When they say ‘hot’ they mean it so some of those are worth a try. If he can’t taste anything spicy in a vindaloo, it means he’s dead. I’m sorry.

10 comments to Hot Stuff

  • Funny, rich, and spicy. For someone who had nothing to write about you sure came up with a fun and informative post.

    • Nancy

      Thanks, DS. And I owe you a bunch of stuff on healthy eating, too….. And most of this is pretty healthy. Cayenne pepper — I think all the peppers that look like the picture in my post — have an ingredient capisan? capsicam? that it is being looked at seriously as a pain reliever. Maybe it’s that you think your tongue and throat are on fire and it takes your mind off the fact that you just banged your hand with a sledge hammer….

      • I have 1 month before my next doctor’s appointment, which means some serious healthy eating in my future.

        I love stir fry, but get tired of the same old veggies and spices, so I end up slipping back into that carb overload. You think I would learn by now that two ounces of carbs equals six on my ever growing gut! You gave me a lot of ideas for mixing up flavors – I think I’ll try to do some meal planning with a few of your suggestions. :c)

        You post had me craving some serious spice. Unfortunately I lost my habanero and serrano pepper plants in last months cold snap. :c( – So tomorrow I’m off to the store.

        • Nancy

          Oh, good! (not about losing your plants — about craving big time spice.) I’m glad…. Life’s too short to eat bland food, I think.

          I shoulda mentioned arugula in my post. Get some of that when you’re replacing your habaneros. Of course, in Massachusetts arugula grew as a weed in my yard — in NC I can’t get it to grow anywhere — but maybe ’cause I’m trying. I love that nice peppery green addition to salad.

  • You’ve nothing to be sorry about. I love your hot stuff seasoning suggestions.

  • I love this and you do write some great things! I love your humor and lightness in so many of your posts…a contrast to my downbeat ones. 🙂

    • Nancy

      Thanks, Kathan! Your posts always give me something deep to think about and definitely tug at the emotions.

      Try the Cholula on your next squirrel and let me know what you think…. heh heh

  • Oh I love balsamic! And I just found my next quote. “Life is too short to eat bland food.”
    I agree, it’s funny how our taste buds grow as we do. I never like hot food until I became an adult and had kids. My mom always took the onions out of my food for me–oh and I’d never touch any kind of pepper, not even a bell pepper. Now I put it in everything. And SALSA, the hotter the better!
    My daughter is the opposite of me when I was her age. She loves black pepper and spicy food.
    Thanks for the great post! You clearly had something interesting to write about, everyone loves food.

    • Nancy

      You’re welcome Dayner. My kid was always a pretty adventurous eater, which was a great blessing when he was growing up (still is) and we could go out for Ethiopian instead of McDonalds. I tone down my spices when having company and people are still reaching for extra water. Definitely agree that life is too short for bland food.

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