How do I love thee? Let me count the peppers...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

   I once read "there is no love, there are only acts of love." I can't remember where I read it or who should get credit for the original quote. But I remember thinking how stark and true that statement sometimes feels.

   Agree with it entirely? Certainly not. I do believe there is an intangible sense of 'love'- one that defies definition but cocoons you like a snug, reassuring hug at all times, regardless of what is going on with you and your partner. But on the other hand, I think there is a bit of truth in that we perform countless small acts of love for those that mean the most to us- mostly without really thinking about it, some more elaborate than others. And these things, no matter how small, build up to important gestures of care, love and thoughtfulness. How plain and boring life would be without them!

   I mentioned the film Fed Up in my last post. It is hard for me to emphasize the importance of documentaries like this, but suffice it to say that I really feel everyone and their families should seek out a viewing. One of the greatest scams of our (and our parents' and children's) generations is the machine that is the modern food industry. We've somehow been fooled into believing that our man made technologies are smarter, better and healthier than mother nature. We've been told that fats are bad, we need to trust factories to chemically reduce and remove them, providing 'healthier, better, low fat, low sodium' (low anything you chose) products. In reality, we are exchanging the whole package that is real food for a stripped down, factory version that for all intents and purposes are poisons in fancy packages.

  As a perfect example, did you know that every teaspoon of store bought Sriracha sauce has a gram of sugar in it? That means every four teaspoons has an entire teaspoon of sugar! Visually put, for every three pure teaspoons of sriracha, you're eating one full teaspoon of pure white sugar. Crazy!

   Steve loves the rooster sauce. He puts it liberally on everything- eggs, casseroles, tacos, burritos. When he started dabbling in the Paleo diet last year we began to look a little closer at the labels of the foods we buy and guess what? Sugar is the second ingredient labeled on the sriracha bottle. Ingredients must be listed by total weight/volume contributed to the final food product so you can easily imagine what this means. Oh, and the sixth, seventh and eighth ingredients were all chemical preservatives. Steve was devastated.

   Steve loves Sriacha and I love him, so I hunted down some red chilis and whipped up a home made, no ingredient guess work jar of the stuff for him. At the end of the day, food will always be my 'I love you' gesture of choice. I hope you dare to try this recipe- it is a gorgeous, impossibly red hue, totally chemical free, and spicy enough to knock your socks off!

Sriracha-esque Sauce
Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme
Makes ~2 cups

   As you can see in the photo, this rooster sauce is a little thicker than the original, store bought stuff. Steve really likes the additional texture, but feel free to press the final product through a fine meshed sieve for a closer approximation of what you can find in the store. Also, if you go to the original recipe, you'll notice the fermentation length is much longer than mine and the ingredients are added in a different order. I tried this but had trouble with mold. No bueno. My version allows for a mellowing and melding of the flavors without risk of losing the whole batch.

20 red chilis (I use red jalapenos but red serranos or thai chilis would also work)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar (just enough to aid in the fermentation step)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

   Remove and discard the green hats from the chilis. Chop the chilis into approximately 1 inch discs and place in either a high speed blender or a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients in with the peppers and process or blend on high until quite smooth (and pleas learn from my mistake by not having your face directly over your blender while taking the top off. You will tear gas yourself.) Place in a clean glass container, cover loosely, and allow to sit at room temperature, out of the sun, for 1 day. After it's sat out, stir the sauce and enjoy! Keep in the refrigerator.


  1. Do you add the seeds? Or do you strip those out?

    1. I definitely leave them in- the seeds have all the chili's fire power! If you want to tone down the spice level of your sauce you can certainly remove some or all of them before blending :)