Archive for the ‘recipe’ Tag

09-15-2015 Journal – Hot Damn !!!   Leave a comment

Do you have a favorite food?  I think everyone does but unless you ask you may never know what it is.  For most of my life bacon was my favorite but as with all things, changes can occur.  I still love bacon and will eat it until I die regardless of the possible consequences to my health.


‘My favorite pie.’

I now have a new love in my life that captured my attention about ten years ago.  For me it was like finding the Holy Grail.  I’ve been obsessed with it ever since and there’s no end in sight.  What is it you ask . . . Habanero Peppers.  They’ve changed my life as well as my taste buds, FOREVER!!

Many people love hot food laced with Cayenne, Serrano, or even Ghost peppers but heat isn’t everything.  I require as much heat  as possible but I also want flavor as well.  I’ve tried almost every hot pepper I could find over the years and even came up with a few exotic mixtures in my lame attempt to find excellent flavor with head-sweating heat.



After a few years I began hearing about a type of habanero pepper called red-savina.  I ordered some from a place in New Mexico and my life was changed forever.  Since my discovery I’ve made many batches of chili and salsa using red-savina’s as the heat.  The flavor is incredible and the heat is a killer. The perfect pepper for me.  It’s difficult to find them in regular markets but my solution was to periodically purchase a red-savina mash on–line.  It lasts a reasonable length of time in the frig and I can get a half pint for approximately $10.00.  That will last me a good six months.

Recently I found myself running out of red-savina’s and was forced to temporarily fallback to using the standard habanero peppers.  Some were grown in my garden and the remainder were purchased from a local food store.  Then it was time to get to work. I put on my extra thick latex gloves and began the process.


‘My babies.’


‘Sliced and Diced’


‘And Dehydrated’

If you’re going to try this make sure you wear the appropriate mask to keep the dust from your nose and sinuses as you’re grinding it.  You’ve been warned, it really is painful.  The end result is a  small jar of habanero dust good to use with almost any meal you’d like to prepare.

I’m working on a new recipe which uses habanero soaked bacon strips laid across a stack of tasty pancakes covered with maple syrup.  Sinfully delicious and hot enough to make you cry.

11-19-2014 Journal–Chili Day!   1 comment

This stretch of cold and rainy weather has pretty much kept me in the house for the last few days.  I was starting to climb the walls a bit when I received a call from my better-half from work to discuss arrangements for dinner. I assumed from the call that she wasn’t interested in cooking and needed me to help out a little.  She suggested that maybe just maybe I could make a batch of my chili. 

After agreeing I checked my latest recipe for the necessary ingredients and I was out the door and on my way to get them.  You need to understand something important, when I make a batch of chili I make a huge batch.  My normal recipes result in upwards of ten quarts and sometime even more.  It was a quick shopping trip and I returned home and got to work.


This was a new recipe I created after tasting the chili pictured below during one of our luncheon forays to Kennebunkport, Maine. That chili contained a lot of cheese and a healthy number of calories due to the ground beef and oils used in preparation. As you can see it looks incredible and tasted even better.


‘Thanks Federal Jack’

I substituted a mixture of ground chicken and turkey to replace the beef, then eliminated the oil by browning the meat in Smart Balance.  It was then a simple matter of adding the remaining ingredients and spices and cooking it for a few minutes.


Most of the state of Texas would string me up by my heels for ever calling my chili, Chili.  Fortunately I cook and flavor foods so they taste good to me.  I like my chili super hot and use a mixture of Cayenne and Habanero peppers that bring it to life in a big way.  I also use a selection of beans with different flavors and textures which apparently is a big NO NO in chili cooking circles. Just to add insult to injury I always, regardless of the ingredients, add diced potatoes.  Strikes two and three as far as Texas is concerned.



A short time later I had my finished product, a batch of Black Bean & Corn chili, and to hell with all of you chili purists. It tastes exactly the way I wanted, hot as blazes, with no red meat or oil used.  It looks a little like the restaurant version but certainly has more flavor and an increased level of heat.  As is usually the case most restaurants serve a medium heat chili unless it happens to be a Mexican restaurant.  Here it is.


We had a couple of bowls each for dinner that night and loved it.  We then packaged up the rest for freezing which should supply us with five or six hearty meals this winter.  Life is good.

08-25-2014 Journal Entry – Kimchi For Me!   1 comment


‘Korean Kimchi’

With the Harvest season in full swing I’ve been wanting to come up with a recipe for something new and out of the ordinary.  I’m tired of the same old things and need to step out of the proverbial box if I can.  I reached back into my past for inspiration and actually found some.

Having spent a few years in the Republic of South Korea I was introduced to hundreds of dishes I couldn’t have ever imagined.  Some were killer and some were more than a little disgusting.  After my first year there I was able to adapt my pallet to a much more exotic range of foods.


One thing in particular that at first glance turned my stomach was Korean kimchi, a foul smelling concoction that is eaten by every Korean at every meal. It smells to high heaven and is as hot as blazes. It’s a fermented Korean cabbage dish covered in a smoking hot red pepper mixture and fermented in clay pots buried in the ground for a month or two. Sounds pretty nasty I know but I eventually I came to like it a great deal. Thankfully, once you’ve eaten some of it you can’t smell it on the breath of others which was a blessing when you intended to spend time with native Koreans. It was a learned survival technique.

I decided I’d make an attempt to create a kimchi dish that had less stench, more flavor, and still have a decent level of heat. Much of the kimchi available here in the US is a milder Americanized version with a medium heat level for the faint of heart. I also have an real aversion to eating food that’s been left to ferment in the ground. I prefer something a bit more sanitary.


Step one was to purchase ten pounds of good old American cabbage and a quantity of good quality habanero peppers.  Instead of fermenting the cabbage I decided to pickle it to allow for longer term storage.


I shredded the cabbage into smaller than normal pieces to make it easier to handle when filling the jars.  I grated the onions and fresh ginger, mixed it together with the shredded cabbage and minced garlic.  I’ve developed a pickling mixture of jalapeño vinegar and a handful of other spices and seeds which I think should mimic the Korean flavor pallet.  I decided to make only six pounds of the mixture in case this first attempt failed.


As you can see the end result looks good but will it taste good?  It’s been a week since I completed the batch and I’m about to give it my taste test.  It has that familiar pungent aroma and the level of heat is exactly where I wanted it to be. I’m pleased to announce that the flavor is a little sweet with a serious bite of vinegar. The spice mixture works well with everything else and of course the habaneros are working their magic. I’m a very happy person. This will make an excellent side dish for any meal and could even be used as a relish of sorts for hot dogs, hamburgers, and the  occasional taco. 


‘Actual Korean Kimchi’


‘My Version’

I look forward to many meals with this dish as a main component. I do anticipate a few adjustments in future batch’s to increase the heat and to refine the flavor to be closer to the original.  Cooking is such fun.

01-23-2013   2 comments

Winter has returned with a vengeance here in Maine.  It’s not snow this time but frigid cold.  The wind chill has been below zero for a few days which means I don’t leave this house unless it’s on fire.  These are the days when my list of winter projects becomes important. 

After I finished reading the entire collection of Harry Potter books two weeks ago I then decided I wanted to see all of the movies now that I had a better understanding of the story line.    Yesterday was the start of my Harry Potter movie marathon made possible by a grant made to me by my better-half’s daughter.  I have in my hot little hand all of the HP movies in Blue Ray, I effing love it. This weather made it possible for me to watch the first three movies without much interruption yesterday. 

One big surprise though, my better-half sat in for a few minutes at the beginning of movie number 4 and became  mesmerized. She watched that entire movie and loved it.  I was informed last night that I wasn’t to watch any of the other films unless she was here to watch them with me.  I didn’t mind that too much since I actually like having her around most of the time.  Besides if I happen to remain quiet and really still she’s likely to be the first person to raid the kitchen and make us popcorn.

The marathon will continue later tonight but this morning I’m back in the kitchen making a batch of hot and spicy barbecue sauce.  If I manage it properly I can have it made, canned, and on the shelf before my better-half returns home from work.  I’ll return shortly. . . .

(Time Passing)

Well I’m back and the sauce has been made and canned.  The cleanup is actually easier since I made a smaller batch than normal.  I was able to can 16 half pints of sauce with each one holding enough for a meal of chicken wings  or a meat of choice.  It was a newly developed recipe which offers a lot of flavor and a medium amount of heat.  I decided to ease up on the heat since most of this batch will be given to friends and family.  I’ll make a smaller batch in a few weeks which will be much hotter and more to our taste.

I’m just sitting here now waiting for the better-half to arrive.  I went outside to check the mail earlier and OMG is it freaking cold.  The deck is making gun shot noises as the nails are popping from the temperature.   The first time made me jump a bit but the poor cat is going crazy.  He no sooner gets to sleep then BANG.  It’s harshing his buzz and making him extremely cranky.

Tomorrow is another day in paradise.

01-13-2013   Leave a comment

Another quiet day spent in the kitchen attempting to duplicate something I’ve been paying a high price for on the net.  I use a great deal of red-savina habanero paste when making many of my dishes but in recent months the price of the paste has sky rocketed.  After a little thought I decided to try and make my own version.   Normally this paste when purchased is superhot and it was crucial that I get as much heat as possible in my recipe as well as a decent flavor.

Off to Wholefoods, a place I normally won’t shop because of their inflated prices.  I’m forced into it today because none of the local markets carry quantities of fresh habaneros.  I purchased 1.5 pounds of habaneros and an additional pound of Serrano peppers.  So far so good.  I must warn you in advance if you’d like to try this, WEAR THICK LATEX GLOVES. The next step involved cleaning, seeding, and dicing all of the peppers.  Take your time and be sure to get them finely diced, then placed into a sealed container and refrigerated overnight. I like to give them a chance to mingle their flavors.

The next day I placed the diced peppers into a large blender, added 3 tbsp. of my home made Jalapeno vinegar (standard white vinegar works too), and three heaping tablespoons of ground red pepper.  Set it on liquefy for approximately ten minutes.  You’ll end up with about 16 oz. of extremely hot paste which can be used to add serious heat to any meal. I’ve experimented for years and have a good idea how much to use.  Experimentation is a must your first time if you don’t want to burn your lips off.

I bottled the paste into two 8 oz. bottles  which should last at least six months in the fridge.  I’ll be making a meatless pasta sauce tomorrow and I’ll be using my newly created pepper paste.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now for you Baby Boomers out there.  I didn’t forget about the Boomer Test answers I promised earlier so here they are.  If you’re proud of your score comment back and let me know how you did.

Below are the correct answers:

1.    B – Bounty

2.    D – Wonder Bread 

3.    D – Cassius Clay 

4.    B – Crest

5.    B – He Is us 

6.    A – Good night, Chet 

7.   D – When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent 

8.   C – Maynard G. Krebs

9.   C – Almond Joy & Mounds

10. C – Pants on fire

11. D – The American Way 

12. B – It’s Howdy Doody Time 

13. D – Oh my 

14. B – Chiffon Margarine

15. C – Over 30 

16. B – Joe Namath 

17. D – A little dab’ll do ya 

18. D- Wendy’s

19. D – On Blueberry Hill 

20. A – Mary Martin 

21. D – John, Paul, George, Ringo 

22. B – Who wrote the book of Love 

23. B – Cause I eats me spinach 

24. C – Smile, you’re on Candid Camera 

25. D – Melt in your mouth not in your hand

01-07-2013   4 comments

Well, my day in the kitchen is over and I’m sitting here labeling approximately 12 quarts of my new salsa recipe.  After all of the adjustments were made to the recipe it turned out much better than I anticipated.  After it cooled I was able to sample it with some nice and crispy yellow corn chips. I have a grading scale I use when making salsa and I rated this one a 4.  That’s means after eating four teaspoons of the salsa the back of my head begins to sweat.  This stuff is smoking hot and at the same time filled with great flavor.

I’m sending a pint of the finished product to work with my better-half tomorrow. I often use her fellow employees to test and taste my cooking efforts and their feedback is usually pretty accurate. It really helps me in refining my recipes. This batch is officially called Roasted Corn w/Black Bean & Currants. In another few months the flavor and heat should improve dramatically after sitting in the jar and make for a really great addition to any of my better-half’s Mexican food meals.  Mission accomplished.

Now that my cooking job is over I can return to my Harry Potter reading assignment. I finished book #6 late last night and it was the absolute best one so far.  I’m already one chapter into #7 and it looks like it will be even better than the last.  What a pleasant surprise.  I’m going to be very sad to see this story end because after seven books the characters are becoming like old friends. Another series for my eclectic book collection. I suppose I’ll be up late reading again tonight and hopefully get a decent nights sleep after that.

The weather here in Maine is very cold with approximately one and a half feet of snow still on the ground.  I’d love to get into the woods but I’m waiting for a warmer day (around 30 degrees) before venturing out.  I’m a fanatic about getting great Winter pictures but I’m not crazy.  Patience is supposed to be a virtue so I’ll remain virtuous for a few more days.

Posted January 8, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Cooking, Just Saying

Tagged with , , , , , ,

01-05-2013   2 comments

Today is going to be creative cooking day for me.  I have a few hours to kill so I decided it might be a great time to adjust my favorite salsa recipe, Corn & Black Bean. I want to make it a little more flavorful than usual with a few new ingredients I’ve not attempted before. This takes a while to do but adjusting the written recipe is always much easier than making it work in the pot.

In the past I normally add the black beans (my fav’s) to the pot towards the end of the cooking process. This allows them to cook slightly in the pot and more during the twenty minute canning process. If done properly they’ll cook just the right amount and won’t be mushy.  My problem was getting the corn to be more flavorful.  I wanted a natural smokiness to come through my salsa without using something manufactured, like Liquid Smoke, to do it. My solution was to switch from whole kernel yellow corn to white Shoe Peg corn.   I prefer the flavor of Shoe Peg and it seems to hold it’s shape better when cooked. If everything cooks to mush it makes for a salsa with little or no texture.

I propose to  take the corn from the cans and spread it on an cookie sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil. Then lightly spray the corn itself and sprinkle with Cumin.  Place in the oven at 425 degrees until golden brow then remove it, stir it up, and replace in the oven. When it’s roasted to my liking I’ll remove it and set it off to the side.  That’ll give the corn a huge boost of flavor with some crispiness as well.

I normally make my salsa’s extremely hot but without losing all of the flavor to the heat.  I love habanero and in my opinion it has by far the best combination of flavor and heat.  I also intend to  add a dozen diced jalapenos for addition flavor and 6-8 Serrano peppers for more heat.  That should allow me eliminate Cayenne pepper from my old recipe.  While Cayenne has great heat it lingers in the back of the throat which I really don’t like. 

I want a person eating my salsa to initially taste nothing but the flavors of the ingredients and then slowly feel the heat begin to rise.  The more you eat the hotter it will get and to me that’s perfect.  Well, I’m off to shop for ingredients at the local supermarket and I shall return.

Do-Wa, Do-Wa, Do Do Ditty (Just a time killing tune)

I’m back with two bags of all of my favorite things; assorted hot peppers, fresh herbs, white onions, and my absolute favorite, red onions.  I have at least an hour of dicing up these goodies in preparation for cooking.  I like to throw them all into one container so they can mix and mingle their flavors overnight in the fridge before I toss them in the pot tomorrow. Hopefully by Sunday afternoon I’ll have ten quarts of dynamite, smoking hot, and tasty salsa .

I can’t wait.

Posted January 6, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Cooking, Just Saying

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: