I’ve always wanted to make my own red pepper sauce like Tabasco brand but I rarely find good and fresh cayenne peppers. I just happened to be shopping for jalapeno’s last week when something red caught my eye. Beside the jalapeno’s were a few habanero peppers, some ghost peppers and a tray of fresh cayenne peppers. The cayenne’s were long and curly and crisp and I felt compelled to bring some home. Not knowing how many it would take to make a batch of sauce, I took a wild guess and estimated about a pound of peppers would do. The ingredients listed on the back of a Tabasco brand bottle are distilled vinegar, red peppers and salt. I basically made it the same way with the addition of some water. I had to play around with the amounts and do a lot of taste testing to get it just right. When you’re taste testing something so hot and spicy it takes some time in between tastes to make an accurate assessment. The coloring of my homemade batch turned out much more vivid and bright than the original but the Tabasco brand sauce is fermented which would definitely affect the coloring. Also my sauce was a little bit thicker but the taste was very close. My taste testers (Joe and Josh) found one difference . . . they both tasted a variance in the vinegar. I used an apple cider vinegar (which was what I had on hand in the pantry) but probably should have used white vinegar. It didn’t even occur to me at the time, but next time I’ll be sure to make it with distilled white vinegar. If your family goes through bottles of Tabasco red pepper sauce the way mine does, you might try making it yourself, if you can find the cayenne peppers that is!
August 19, 2014
August 15, 2014
I’m still on an Aussie kick, this time I’m having summer shrimp tacos with a fresh jicama salsa and jalapeno cream. The medley of colors, textures and flavors are so appetizing starting with the salsa which is made from fresh ingredients with a bite of crunchy jicama. And topped with sour cream with roasted jalapenos to add a bit of spice. Everybody loves finger foods that you can pick up with your hands to eat. These were no exception literally being wolfed down in minutes. Portion control just went out the window!
August 8, 2014
My favorite grilled shrimp comes from a copycat recipe for Outback’s Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie. This is such a quick and simple meal to put together . . . you only need a blend of spices, melted butter and some lemon wedges. The spice blend is perfect and makes for the best grilled shrimp to serve as an appetizer, topper for a salad, shrimp tacos, or even as the main event. I served these beauties alongside a bowl of creamy risotto and a tomato salad. It was yummy to say the least! If you want to show off, dunk these in a Remoulade Sauce that will make everyone smile. It’s a big hit around here and expected at every shrimp gathering! Hope you enjoy!
August 5, 2014
Ever listen to the song “Millions of Peaches” . . . it’s the song that sticks in my head this time of year. You know the one . . . Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me, Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Free. . . I love peaches and when they are in season I could eat them every day. Each summer I make myself a peach pie, it’s like tradition. I usually make a deep dish pie but this year I used the same amount of peaches to make a smaller pie plus 6 individual pies in ramekin cups. The individual pies are great to share with neighbors and friends and are so much fun to make. Instead of the traditional pie crust topping I made a pecan crumble for Joe who prefers a streusel topping to pie crust. You can’t go wrong either way. And a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side makes for one delicious dessert!
August 1, 2014
This summer I’ve been really good about grilling foods and eating healthier but I just fell off the wagon. I’ve been craving comfort food and made some Chicken Fried Chicken with some of the best cream gravy I’ve ever had. It tastes just like fried chicken but the process is a little different. Chicken fried chicken is boneless and run through an egg buttermilk bath before heading to the flour and into the fry pan. It fries up crispy brown and topped with cream gravy which makes it taste so good. If you’ve never had this Southern comfort, well . . . you just don’t know what you’ve been missing!
July 24, 2014
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I made this chicken sandwich a couple weeks ago with a big red steakhouse tomato and it was fantastic. The flavors of grilled blackened chicken with smoked gouda cheese and chipotle mayo made it special. Joe and I loved it so much I promised to make it again soon. I went to the farmers market to pick up a tomato for the sandwich but changed my mind when I saw these big ole green tomatoes sitting out on display. Why not try something different . . . so I changed it up a bit by adding a fried green tomato slice for a tangy twist. For those who love fried green tomatoes, this sandwich will not disappoint, but if you are a traditionalist, by all means go with a big slice of summer red. You can’t go wrong either way. And if you can stand the heat of the oven, roast some potato wedges with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and your favorite herbs. It makes the best side kick to any sandwich!
July 11, 2014
Egg rolls are known for being a fun finger food, an appetizer that tides you over until the main entree is served. That might be the case at a restaurant but homemade egg rolls are a special treat. Southwest Egg Rolls are packed full of colorful veggies with grilled chicken and bound together with melting pepper jack cheese. And since they are packed with so much goodness, I serve them straight out of the fry pan hot and crispy onto plates where they are quickly devoured.