Chile

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 8, 2016

accidental-locavore-thai-sweet-chile-sauceThai sweet chili sauce may not be one of the condiments you reach for, but that could change quickly.

It’s really versatile and goes well with everything from fish to French fries.

Trust me.

The Accidental Locavore’s husband, Frank, first fell in love with it at the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton and promptly ordered a couple of bottles. One evening we were desperately scraping the last bits out of the bottle.

There had to be a recipe online.

There was, and now Thai sweet chili sauce is always in our fridge.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe:

Quick and easy, this makes about a cup.

  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 red Jalapeño or Serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

accidental-locavore-thai-sweet-chili-sauce-prepIn a blender, purée the garlic, chiles, vinegar, sugar, salt and water.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer until the sauce starts to thicken slightly (and causes a nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits). Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar. Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-bag-o-chilesMy verdict: Another thing we’ll never buy again!

It’s probably better made with a blender, but if all you have is a food processor, that will work too.

This version was a little hotter than the bottled one (we did save a bit for comparison), but it really mellows after a couple of days in the fridge.

If you’re worried about the heat, finely chop all the chiles, throw a little bit in the blender and add more until it gets to your desired heat level. A lot will depend on the chiles you have (and if all you have are green ones, that’s fine, it might just look a little weird).

Store the chili sauce in the refrigerator and let us know in the comments what your favorite use for it is.

 

 

 

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Roasted Cauliflower With Cumin

by Anne Maxfield on March 31, 2016

Accidental Locavore Roasted Cauliflowe With RibsMy friend Rob, had this recipe on his Facebook feed and the Accidental Locavore thought it looked great. It came from a new cookbook, Made in India, which I promptly added to my bookshelf (floor actually) and am glad I did (even though I always swear, no more cookbooks, it was justified by donating a bunch to the local library).  This serves 4, but you can scale it up or down depending on the size of your cauliflower.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and set aside.

Wash the cauliflower and pull off the leaves. Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside. Steam the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and blanch for a minute or microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Drain it really well and let it dry for about 5 minutes.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds with the salt then add the chile powder and turmeric, followed by the oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can run the cumin and salt through a spice (coffee) grinder and put it in a small bowl with the chile powder, turmeric and oil. Mix well.

Accidental Locavore Cauliflower Before RoastingPut the cauliflower on the sheet pans in one layer and drizzle the oil over it. Toss to make sure the cauliflower is well coated. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, shaking the pans every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly. Put cooked cauliflower in a bowl or platter and squeeze the lemon over it. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict:  This is going to be has become one of my go-to dishes! Delicious, simple and easily tweaked. Since I was making Mexican spare ribs, I used lime instead of lemon to give it more of a Mexican flavor and they were perfect together. I steamed the cauliflower in the microwave—it’s faster and rather than getting oil in my mortar and pestle, ground and mixed the spices, then put them in a measuring cup and added the oil. That made it easier to drizzle over the cauliflower before roasting. Since I wrote this I’ve done broccoli the same way, this time with lemon (and I let the steamed broccoli marinate for a few hours in the oil) and it was great!Accidental Locavore Roasted Broccoli With Cumin

 

 

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Accidental Locavore Calcu

Towards the end of last year, the Accidental Locavore was sent a bottle of Chilean wine to taste and review from the Thomas Collective. I met one of their people on the Brooklyn Pizza Tour. When they sent it, they had no way of knowing my affinity for things Chilean. A good friend of mine is a diplomat from “that string bean of a country” as he would call it and it’s through him that I first learned to appreciate their world-class wines.

This bottle was a Calcu 2008 Carménère Reserva which the tasting notes describe as: “On the nose, this wine displays dark fruit, spices and bitter chocolate. The finish is intense and juicy.” I would tend to agree with most of that. It was a pretty big wine, but not overpowering. The Locavore served it with some homemade charcuterie: duck rillettes, chorizo and a hunk of Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar, all of which it complimented nicely.

The carménère grape was originally a French grape and possibly a clone to Cabernet Sauvignon, which is now almost exclusive to Chile. In other words, what you’re getting for a suggested retail of $15, is Bordeaux’s Chilean cousin…a bargain! Since I only had one bottle and three friends, we didn’t have a chance to pair it with dinner. It would probably work well with anything you would pair a Merlot or Cab with. The usual suspects being steaks, roasts and lamb, although I might like it better with beef than lamb. And don’t forget it was great with the duck rillettes so duck confit (maybe over lentils de Puy) or slow roast duck would be a great combo.

Give it a try.  In New York you can find it at 67 Wine & Spirits, 179 Columbus Avenue (local, a mere three blocks from my apartment), or on the Internet.

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