Tuesday, August 31, 2010

hot sauce

Okay, I get it. I will never cut a hot pepper without a glove on. I promise.
It's taken me a while to get to this point. I've deep fried chiles and I've turned them into salsa. I've caressed them, slipped them out of their skins, and carefully removed every seed. I like to get intimate with my hot peppers.

But today we took our relationship to a whole new level. Random, single and lonely hot peppers scattered throughout the refrigerator. Dainty cherry bells, withered jalepenos just past their peak, royal crimson lees, exotic Hungarian hot wax. They all roasted under that broiler together, and the smell of their popping skins was almost, you know, like that place I love this time of year. My eyes stung, my throat constricted around invisible spice, and I kept the girls out of the kitchen.

Then they sweat together in their covered bowl, and after a few minutes they were ready to shed their skins. I wanted to be close to them without the barrier of the glove, and I worked on pepper after pepper with naked hands.

I knew it was a mistake right away, but it was too late to remedy it. You know it's bad when the burn starts right away. I like a little danger in the kitchen, but I knew I was in over my head.

And then they were in the Cuisinart. The sting filled the air and I thought the smoke alarm might go off--if only it had a chili sensor. A little sweet, a little tang, and there it was.

Hot sauce. Really truly.

Midway through the day, I showed Joey my hands.
"Can you burn the skin off your hands with chili oil?" I asked him.
"Oh, man- you haven't been at the hot peppers again? When will you learn?"
No sympathy from him.

My hands are on fire. More than I can ever remember. I keep checking to see if they really are on fire. I'm not touching the girls. I'm not touching my face. I've tried all the tricks--this fire's burning until it goes out. I lived dangerously, and I'll pay for wanting to touch those chilis.

I ate that hot sauce on my dinner and... it was pretty worth it. But next time, I'm wearing gloves.

Hot Sauce

1 pound mixed hot peppers
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat your broiler, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment. Lay the peppers out on the sheet, and puncture each one with a fork. Place the tray under the broiler until the peppers are black and bubbling. This will take between five and ten minutes, depending on the heat of your broiler. Flip the peppers over, and broil until the other side is black and bubbly as well. Remove from the oven, and put all of the peppers into a heat proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for fifteen minutes, and then the peppers will be ready to come right out of their skins. Put on your gloves now. Slide each pepper out of its skin, remove the stem, and remove as much seed as you can. Put the skinned peppers into a food processor or blender along with the vinegar, salt, lime juice and honey. Blend until smooth, about one minute. Store in the fridge, for (I'm guessing here but stay tuned) up to a month.

And of course it's sweet and spicy week at summer fest! Here's the peppered line up so far...


  1. This looks wonderful! I need to make this for my husband . . . and yes, I second the gloves! We keep a big box of them around for hot peppers and barbecue rub, specifically! :)

    I'm so excited that summer turns into Fall Fest! We're big pepper lovers in our home and are enjoying them fresh as well as canning them for fall and winter hamburgers, chilis, chile rellenos, soups and stews.

    After living in New Mexico for four years for college, I fell in love with Hatch Green Chile and in this post show you how to oven roast them as well as can them for the pantry (and directions for freezing are included as well)

    And one of our favorite condiments when we eat Mexican food is jalapenos en escabeche. I make mine lacto-fermented and raw and, in the fridge, they last forever! We're finishing a jar that I made up last year! The carrots are my favorite while the jalapenos are my husband's:

    Thank you for hosting Fall Fest! I can't wait to read the other participants!


  2. I recently made two pepper-based sauces (one red, one green) over at Flexitarian Foodie--check it out...

  3. I feel your pain - I've done that a time or two and WOW it really hurts! Now I don't go near peppers without gloves!! But you are right, it's worth it for homemade hot sauce and yours looks beautiful.

    My contribution this week is much less fiery - Texas Caviar
    I am loving all these great ideas and recipes!

  4. OOF, that is brutal. I made jalapeno jelly yesterday and I was getting all itchy standing in the capsaicin-laced kitchen air, but I did remember to put sandwich baggies on my hands before removing all the seeds. My contribution to Fall/Summer Fest, though, is chili garlic hot sauce with garden sweet peppers and a dollar's worth of habaneros from the farmer's market.

  5. Oh, the hot pepper experience! I, too, learned this the hard way. Two Septembers ago, I made salsa without wearing gloves to cut up the peppers. BIG mistake! Besides boiling and canning the salsa, I spent the rest of the day dipping my hands in milk, rum, baking soda, ANYTHING to help. Eventually, my pharmacist husband came home from work and treated with me with antihistamines and burn cream. I still don't know if they worked or the hot peppers were finally wearing off my skin . . . My salsa did turn out well (but hot!), so I'm glad to hear your hot sauce did, too. (:

  6. Excellent verbal capture of the roasted pepper experience! Spices that refuse to stay in corporeal form are my very favorite. Fresh ground sumac does something similar if different in degree. When you open a bottle the sumac jumps out of the bottle to smother you in tangy kisses...which is why it is a cornerstone of my kitchen to this day.

    I can hardly wait to try your hot sauce...this is the yummiest garden party, don't you agree?

    For my three part pepper utilization plan:

  7. One more contribution for Summer Fest on Green Thumb Geeks by Emily: Jalapeno Poppers!


  8. the hot sauce sounds delicious...and the reminder about wearing gloves very timely! i posted a recipe for spicy three chile & carrot salsa...and launched a cookbook giveaway contest. http://napafarmhouse1885.blogspot.com/2010/08/want-free-cookbook-and-recipe-for-spicy.html

  9. I've heard to use rubbing alcohol to take the oil off one's hands and then a soak in some sort of dairy (milk, yoghurt). But I've never tried it. Have a friend down in Guatemala who had a run-in with a manzano, which rates between 30,000-50,000 Scoville units, and had to go to a pharmacy.

  10. Fall Fest:
    I made this pepper dish last week and dropped it on the floor and ruined it with shattered glass. And I was so looking forward to eating it. I tried again last night and really enjoyed my dinner.

    Pesto Sausage and Peppers with Cous Cous

  11. How exciting that Summer (Fall!) Fest lives on! Even though it's taken a dangerous turn for you this week. :-)

    I love the idea of homemade hot sauce. Had to give it a shout out on my site, along with my round up of One Hungry Mama pepper recipes including a Red Pepper Walnut Dip, Grilled Tuna & Cubanelle Peppers w/ Olive & Caper Vinaigrette, Roasted Poblano Cream Sauce, and more!

  12. Do I dare make this recipe? Sounds wonderful. Here are a couple ideas for peppers.

  13. Alana, I am chuckling right now because I have to commiserate! I never learn, either! And I think I can outdo the hot peppers. NOT! My skin burned for days after handling them. Nasty beasts they are. But oh so delicious. I applaud you for combining all the peppers and making a 'collective" hot sauce. What a great idea for using the misplaced uglies1
    My post is about Roasted, Stuffed, Battered and Pan-Fried Red Peppers.http://bibberche.com/2010/09/tintinnabulicious-these-bells-just-got-poened/

  14. What beautiful pictures and a great, simple recipe! I'm so sorry about your hands, though. I once got some in my nose (not so bright!) and spent an evening with my schnozz buried in a glass of milk.