Tag Archives: spicy

Homemade Hot Sauce

Relax, dear friends, and take a deep breath–maybe not too deep, you might inhale something.  But rejoice, because no, there will not be a Sriracha shortage after all.  Yay.

Now, I don’t currently make anything that rivals the marvel that is sriracha sauce, but it did get me thinking about how much I love hot sauce in general.  It’s a lot.  But the importance of a good sauce is not just the heat, it’s also about flavor.  And many hot sauces really just one or the other.


Of all the things you know how to make in your home kitchen, hot sauce might not have been on the list.  It should be, though, because it’s one of the easiest things to do and then you can control both the heat and the flavor.

In my case, I like to use poblano peppers, because I love the way they taste, and serranos.  Sometimes I amp it up with habaneros or do a mix of serranos, jalapenos and other peppers.  The fun part is playing around.  Also, eating.  Definitely eating.

I’ve posted on this before, and you can find that post plus the original recipe here.

Paprika Habanero Chicken Skewers

Spicy Greek Yogurt and Lime Marinated Chicken or Paneer Skewers

That’s a long title.  Say that 5 times fast.   No, really, do it.  I’ll wait…

…Ha!  That was hilarious.  You’re a funny person.

Today has been a myriad of ups and downs.  I’m still on vacation, +1.  The fence won’t be finished for days yet so our yard is still a construction zone and our dogs can’t roam freely as they’d like, -1.  Paul came over for dinner and games, +1.  Paul smashed his iPad in our driveway, -1.  We had these chicken skewers for dinner, + 1.  I forgot to make rice to go with them, -1.  We had arugula salad though, +1!  It was 90 degrees outside…+/- 0.  The skewers were delicious, +1.  Tally….whew! I’m in the black today.

Paprika Habanero Chicken Skewers

Paprika Habanero Chicken Skewers

I may have gone a little skewer-crazy, today.  I also made skewers of cherry tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar, baby eggplants brushed with olive oil, zucchini and red onion and grilled them on salt blocks.  They turned out quite nicely as well.  It got a little hot in the 90F degree heat standing in front of the grill but it was worth the extra tan :).

Paprika Habanero Chicken Skewers


Spicy Greek Yogurt and Lime Marinated Chicken or Paneer Skewers


  • 4 medium to large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 1 pound paneer cheese
  • 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt plus extra for dipping
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tsp habanero powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 metal skewers


    Chicken version
  1. Cut chicken breasts into 12 strips, lengthwise (about three strips per breast). Put the chicken into a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
  2. In a medium-sized bow, mix together the yogurt, lime juice, paprika, habanero powder and salt. If habanero is too spicy for you, you can substitute a different chile powder or skip it altogether and increase the amount of paprika.
  3. Spoon the yogurt mixture into the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and squish it around until all of the chicken is coated with the yogurt mixture. Put the bag in the fridge and let it marinate for about 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Brush your grill with oil or spray and set it to a medium high heat. Thread the chicken strips onto the metal skewers, two strips per skewer, one right after the other. Place the skewers on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and a nice crust has developed--about 7-8 minutes per side.
  5. Serve alongside a bowl of greek yogurt for dipping.
  6. Paneer Version
  7. Cut the paneer into 1" cubes. Place cubes in a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
  8. Follow steps 2-5, only cut the cooking time down to 5 minutes per side.


I didn't have any cumin, but I think a couple teaspoons added in would be divine. Also an optional spritz of lime, if that's your thing. We served this over an arugula salad, but I think a saffron and tomato rice dish would also fare nicely.


Enchilada Poblano Burger

Spicy Enchilada Poblano Black Bean Burger

Spicy Enchilada Poblano Black Bean Burger.  That’s a long name.  It’s a solid name.  It’s weighty with deliciousness.  It sprang forth from the communion of two of my dear loves: black bean burgers and enchiladas.

Here’s the thing about black bean burgers: sometimes I love the idea of making my own delicious, spicy black bean burgers from scratch.  But other times…most times, really….almost all times, I don’t have the energy or the time or the desire to mold soft beans with my hands.  So then I turn to the next best thing: Morningstar’s frozen black bean burgers.

I’m not a fan of frozen beef burgers.  But veggie and black bean burger patties seem to do pretty well frozen.  I like that I can grill them like regular burgers and get a bit of that fire-kissed, smoky flavor going on, or I can fry them in a skillet at my house because I live in Michigan and we only have so much “grilling weather” to go around.  They’re ready in minutes and they are delicious.  They actually have flavor!  FLAVOR!

Enchilada Poblano Burger

But anyway, I have this disease, it’s called “Enchiladosis*.”  Essentially, every time I hear the phrase “black beans,” I immediately begin to salivate and crave black bean and poblano enchiladas.  Some days it’s not so bad; I can get to the market or to a nearby Mexican restaurant and satisfy my craving before it gets too terrible, but some days it can be pretty bad.  I mean, we had friends over for gaming last night.  You can’t game and eat enchiladas at the same time!  That’s madness!  It’s messy!  No, you need a hand-held meal for board game night and sadly, enchiladas are a fork-and-knifer.

But it’s ok, because I have found a treatment for Enchiladosis, so all of its long-suffering victims can rejoice.  Enchilada flavor in a delicious, meatless, hand-held format: the spicy enchilada poblano black bean burger.

Just say the words.  Just breathe it in.  Even the words have flavor.  Delightfully, it’s super easy to make a bunch of these at once, too, whether you can get to a grill or not.  And for you skeptical meat-eaters, trust me: this is a delicious burger in its own right and you will be thoroughly satisfied.

There recipe below makes 2 burgers, but is easily scaled up for more.  I also included some notes on possible additions or substitutions.  Enjoy!


*This isn’t really a thing.  But it should be.

Spicy Enchilada Poblano Black Bean Burger

Yield: 2 burgers, mucho deliciousness


  • 2 Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burgers
  • 1 large poblano pepper, fire-roasted, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons enchilada sauce, plus more to serve with
  • 2 slices pepper jack cheese or 2 oz grated chihuahua cheese or 2 slices of your favorite vegan cheese
  • 2 slices red onion
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced and divided
  • 2 tbsps fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 buns
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided


  1. Cook the Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burgers according to package direction, but I highly recommend grilling. Near the end of the cooking time, lay one slice of pepperjack cheese (or 1 oz grated chihuahua or 1 slice of vegan cheese) on top of each patty and let melt.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of ground cumin on the inside of each bun. Lay the buns on the grill until lightly toasted.
  3. Assemble the burger: on the bottom bun for each burger, lay half the fire roasted poblano, 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce (or more if desired), 1 slice of red onion, the Morningstar black bean burger, half of the avocado, and 1 tablespoon of cilantro. Place the top bun on top.
  4. Serve the burgers with extra enchilada sauce for dipping, plus salsa and tortilla chips on the side. Nom.


Possible extra toppings:

* Swap the poblano for roasted red pepper if you'd like it less spicy * Try adding a couple spoonfuls of fire roasted corn salad * Swap out the enchilada sauce for salsa verde * Add a spritz of lime to the avocado


Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get to the rooster sauce.  At least, that would be my goal.

Like most people who pray at the altar of spicy food, my favorite edible deity is srircha sauce, or rooster sauce as it’s sometimes called (check out the bottle).  It is amazing, not just because it’s hot—and it’s hot—but because it’s packed with flavor.  I love hot sauce (have you tried making it?) but the thick, complex taste of sriracha is a perfect accompaniment to a lot of things, like pasta sauce.  It is also, I’ve discovered, an excellent addition to a meat brine.

Josh is a big fan of brining for two main reasons: 1) it gives poultry a much better flavor and more moisture and 2) he likes to do science to things and brining is really easy science.  As I explained in the brining pork ribs post,

If you don’t know, brining is the process of soaking meat in a salt solution that’s generally spiked with herbs, spices and other flavorings, for a few hours or overnight.  It tenderizes, moistens and flavors meat, making it really great for drier cuts of pork and poultry, in particular.

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Hot and Saucy–Really: Homemade Hot Sauce

It’s official, folks.  Halloween has come and gone.  There’s frost on the ground overnight.  Today was a high of 51F.  Starbucks has switched to its Christmas cups.  Yep.  It’s begun.  The Wintering.  And with the Wintering comes the Colding, the Freezing and the inevitable Wanting to Hibernate.

But never fear, Random Internet Person.  All is not lost.  I mean sure, it’s mostly lost for about the next oh, seven months or so (I do live in Michigan), but there are a few hardy, rugged things that will help you get through the winter.

1. A bearskin rug.  Just looking at it will make you feel warmer.  Even better if the bear is still attached.  I mean, hey, nothing warms you up like cardio, right?  Run faster!

2. Comfort foods–lasagna, chili, stew, pulled pork, short ribs, cookies fresh from the oven—warm foods to heat your insides…and after all, after all that exercise running away from the bear, clearly what you need most is high-carb, high-fat, heavy foods to gently gel your insides into organ butter.

3. A heater.  Really people, pay your heating bills.

4. Hot sauce!  Hot sauce can go on anything.  Eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pastas, ice cream…and sure, there are fifty gazilliion different hot sauces out there you can buy but if you were going to do that, then why bother reading this recipe blog?  It surely can’t be just my witty repartee.  Clearly you have the desire to create.  So go ahead.  Satisfy your inner primal human nature and build fire…in your belly.  With hot sauce. Continue reading

Ancho-Chipotle-Cocoa-Super-Hyphenated-Awesome Spice Rub

A simple rub for a simple gal…I used this rub on some flank steak for fajitas tonight and it was really pretty good.  Interesting flavor, nice spice level that just hits you at the back of the throat, and simple to make.  Just throw it together, rub it on your favorite type of meat and let it sit and marinate for a couple of hours.

What’s the mix?

1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp ground ancho chiles
1 tbsp ground chipotle chiles
1 tbsp kosher salt

Mix ingredients together.  Spread on meat.  Cook meat.  Be happy.

You: Is that it?
Me: Is that what?
You: Is that all?
Me: That’s all she wrote, chief.
You: Who’s she?
Me: Me.  I wrote it.  You read it.
You: When?
Me: Just now.

You: Right on.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for you: eat tasty food. like apricot chicken

Oh, and I guess it can be healthy too.  Can be.

Anyway, I was inspired by this chicken wing recipe and decided to play around with a sweet-and-spicy chicken recipe myself.  The store I stopped at this morning didn’t seem to have sriracha sauce specifically, so I went with the chili paste, which I’m sure I’ll be using pretty often because it smells great.

And let’s face it–we can all use a light meal now and again.  Especially in these heady days between Christmas, Christmas, more Christmas and New Year’s.  So this dish, bundled up with some fresh guacamole and a delicate side of lemony green beans (blanch green beans in boiling salted water, then drop into ice water, then pan-fry in a sauce of a tablespoon of butter, a half tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest, salt, pepper and herbs) was a welcome breath of delicious, moist, tender air.  I know what you’re thinking: moist is a creepy word.  Yeah, it is.

But the chicken will make you forget all that.  The chicken is here to help. Continue reading

Piri piri, agua fresca and other fun words I ate today

Piri piri.  Just say it, “piri piri.”  It sounds adorable.  It tastes delicious.  It’s easy to make.  It’s a win for everybody.  Well everybody who likes to eat foods with fun names.

I was on my own for dinner again tonight and after a lot of deliberation (seriously, I dwell at length on the existential question of “What to eat for dinner?” just about everyday), I decided to try making my own piri piri sauce and using it with some grilled chicken.  I figured I could have a nice couple of sides by cooking some broccolini we just got from the farm share this week and by cooking up some quick whole wheat couscous AND I could make enough to have a hearty lunch for tomorrow.  Epic win.

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Coconut Beef

Like most things I cook, I didn’t have a recipe for this per se.  I just threw in flavors that I enjoyed in the estimated quantities below and I have to tell you, my apartment now smells fantastic.  The cinnamon, cumin and coconut are just wafting through the air and even though I was making this for tomorrow’s lunch, I was so tempted to just eat it all right then and there while standing at the stove.  To go with it, I cooked up some couscous (the best 5 minute food there is) with chicken stock and dried rosemary.  Josh is out of town, so I more or less engineered this recipe to feed just myself.  It’d be very easy to increase the recipe by however many people you’d like to feed.

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I don’t really eat breakfast foods, but this one is an exception

So, yeah, I don’t really eat breakfast foods, per se.  I know, I’m odd.  I’m told that on a regular basis.  I used to eat breakfast foods.  I used to eat pancakes, french toast and waffles until I realized that those delicious yet sugary carbs were exactly the reason I was crashing and feeling crappy by midmorning.  Again, I tend to have low blood sugar and reactive hypoglycemia and the worst thing I can do is start out the day with a metric ton of sugar pouring into my bloodstream.  So I stopped eating those.  Eggs tend to make me sick, and I only ever ate them scrambled anyway and not very often.  And breakfast meats like sausage and bacon are full of fat, which I tend to avoid not only due to my preference for eating somewhat healthy but also because meat tends to make me sick to my stomach for some unknown reason, and the fattier the meat, the worse it is (I know, I know, I’m so oddly delicate, right?).  So I avoid breakfast foods.  We go out to brunch on the weekend and my husband gets an omelet or french toast…I get a chicken caesar salad.  Or a gyro.  Go out with coworkers during the week; they get bagels and cream cheese, I get chicken salad.  That’s just sort of the way I am.  Besides, in my opinion, lunch foods are way superior–and more varied–than breakfast anyway. Continue reading