Quick Recipes and Easy

Southern Cooking – Spice Up Your Dishes With This New Concept

Being born and raised in the deep South, I do not know where my recently developed taste for spicy food came from. I do not remember much spicy food being served at the dinner table when I was growing up. Although life has taken me far from the South, my like for the Southern cuisine has never diminished. And, this new like for adding “spicy” to my Southern dishes has me a small pleasantly surprised.

I was unaware that my taste for spicy food or additives had blended into my daily diet of Southern dishes. But, recently I recognized that I was on to something. Maybe, the rest of the world has been eating like this forever, but it was new to me. And, as I searched the internet to see if anyone was suggesting adding spicy flavor to Southern recipes, I could not find any.

You may argue that cajun food has always been spicy. Some may consider that Southern food, since it originated in Louisiana. And, yes, I agree cajun food is spicy. But, to me Cajun food is a breed of it’s own. It’s not what I would call traditional Southern food. I’m talking about green beans, fried okra, black eyed peas, cornbread and turnip greens. And, Southern fried chicken, hushpuppies and home made biscuits and gravy.

So, when I realized I was enjoying spicy additives with my favorite traditional Southern dishes , I had to step back and question myself, “where did this come from?”

I have found that adding a small slice of jalapeno pepper to turnip greens and a touch of crushed red pepper to fried okra really enhances the flavor. And, a splash of hot sauce on “everything Southern” is delightful. Try dipping your chicken in a mild hot sauce before coating with flour for a fantastic Southern fried chicken. Of course, some may call this simply “hot wings…but not the way I cook it. Hot wings are not cooked Southern style like I cook my fried chicken (free recipe on my website).

I have tried many of the store-brand hot sauces, and they are pretty excellent, but most are too hot or too mild and lacking in flavor. And, I was satisfied until I recently ran across a home made hot sauce recipe that blows all the others out of the water. It is fantastic!

It’s called “Butt-Kicking” Spicy Lime Sauce (my name for it). And, I want to share the recipe with you. Here’s how to make your own.

Ingredients:
6 large jalapeno peppers (fresh is better, but you can use bottled)
6 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon black pepper

Remove the seeds and ribs from the peppers and cut into medium chunks. Roughly chop the onion and garlic and place all the chopped ingredients into a small saucepan. Pour in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Roughly chop the cilantro and place into a blender with the salt, pepper and lime juice.
When the jalapeno mixture is cooked, allow to cool 10 minutes, then add to the blender.

Turn the blender on low for 10 seconds, then increase to highest setting and puree for 3 minutes.

If you want a pure liquid sauce, strain through a medium hole strainer, but, I prefer not to strain. I like the fine pulp in the sauce.

Pour into sterilized jars and refrigerate. The sauce will keep about a month under refrigeration. Makes about a pint.

Note: Sterilize jars by placing jars and lids in boiling water for 15 minutes.

This sauce is very unique tasting due to the cilantro and lime juice. I doubt you will find anything like it in your market. And, this is better… because it’s fresh. And, you made it yourself.

I place a bottle of this sauce on the table for every meal, including breakfast (it’s fantastic on an omelet). Really, it’s excellent on everything. I haven’t tried ice cream yet, but …hummmm.

Ken Miller is a free lance writer and webmaster for itzalgud.com,

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