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.






Chile Cherry Tomato Salad

by Anne Maxfield on May 28, 2015

Accidental Locavore Chili TomatoesThe Accidental Locavore first saw this salad being made years ago on Martha Stewart. The film producer Ismail Merchant was showing Martha how to put it together. What made it particularly memorable was watching Martha struggling to control herself as Ismail was literally pouring on the cayenne. In her recipe, his quarter cup got cut down to a quarter teaspoon. Either way, it’s a great use for a box of cherry tomatoes – good now and better in August! Serves 4:

  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 12 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix the parsley and chile pepper with the tomatoes. Let sit for twenty minutes. Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, mustard, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl. Dress the tomatoes, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I’ve made this salad a few times – it’s great when you have a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Frank thought this batch had a little too much mustard (and although it pains me to say so, he was probably right). Even if your tomatoes aren’t wonderful, the spice and lemon make up for less than stellar fruit. I recently served it with my favorite Indian chicken, as we were a little shy on vegetables that evening and I had a couple of boxes of cherry tomatoes. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, go easy on the Serrano and cayenne and add as much or as little as you’d like. Cilantro is a nice addition or replacement for the parsley and if you don’t have a freezer full of chilies (like I do), just add more cayenne.



Pork Vindaloo

by Anne Maxfield on March 26, 2015

Accidental Locavore Pork VindalooOften what’s for dinner depends on what looks amusing at the market. This week, pork was on sale so the Accidental Locavore brought some home and figured it would turn into a meal. This was a recipe I found on Saveur. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but it’s mostly spices you probably already have. Serves 4.

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 peeled, 4 roughly chopped
  • 2 small red Thai chiles or 2 red jalapeños, stemmed
  • A 2”piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, halved and seeded
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


Accidental Locavore Vindaloo MarinatingIn a medium bowl, toss pork, vinegar, and salt. Cook cumin and poppy seeds, peppercorns, chiles de árbol, and cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a powder and add to pork. Put tamarind paste, turmeric, peeled garlic, red chiles, and ginger in a food processor or blender and purée into a paste and add to pork. Toss to coat; cover and chill 4 hours.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, green chiles, and onion; cook until slightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Stir in pork and its marinade; cook until paste begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Add salt and 1¼ cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar and cook until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and enjoy!

My verdict: Spicy (but manageable) and delicious! I used a Boston butt and the meat was really tender. Still burning from the way-too-hot chile, I seeded the chiles de árbol and used really small ones and seeded the serrano and this was spicy but under control. Having some mango chutney on the side also helped. Not having any poppy seeds, I tossed in black sesame seeds, mostly because they were small, round and black and I didn’t think a teaspoon full was going to make a huge difference. Frank liked it too and told me I could make it again (hehehe).





Raclette: Or What Fondue Wants to Be

by Anne Maxfield on January 16, 2014

Accidental Locavore RacletteFor years, since the Accidental Locavore lived in Paris, I’ve been crazy for raclette. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing a fabulous winter dish! It’s what fondue wants to be, but isn’t. Traditionally, half a wheel of raclette cheese is melted over a fire and the melted bits are scraped onto your plate. Then, you scoop up the cheese with chunks of steamed potatoes. Cornichons, pickled onions and slices of ham (like Serrano) combined with a good red wine, make this a perfect meal.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to find anyone in this country serving raclette, never mind in the traditional way, but it’s pretty simple to make at home. While people like Willams- Sonoma sell raclette machines, unless you become a raclette addict, they’re not mission-critical. A trip to Murray’s cheese will get you most of the ingredients (cheese, cornichons, ham and pickled onions) and you probably have potatoes at home. This is how I did it for myself recently – scale it up depending on how many people you’re feeding. A simple salad would go well with this.

• ½ pound French or Swiss raclette cheese, cut into ¼” slices
• 3-4 small Yukon Gold, fingerling or red new potatoes, cut in half
• ¼ pound Serrano ham or prosciutto
• Cornichons
• Pickled onions

Accidental Locavore Raclette IngredientsPreheat the broiler. In a medium pot over high heat, cook the potatoes until fork-tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the potatoes and put on a plate with the ham, cornichons and onions. When the potatoes are cooked, put a slice or two of the cheese in an oven-proof ramekin and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and brown. Dip the potatoes in the cheese and eat with the ham, cornichons and onions. Enjoy!


My verdict: Writing this is making me rethink dinner…
You want to only do a little bit of cheese at a time, as it’s much better hot from the broiler. If you’re serving a few people, you can just put a crock of potatoes on the table and dishes with the ham and pickles so everyone can help themselves. People can have individual ramekins of cheese, or you can do like the French, melt a big piece and scrape a bit of cheese on everyone’s plate. No matter how you do it, it’s just delicious!