Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chili at your own risk

I must seem so redundant though it is the end of the summer season I cannot help but to be puttn’ up. My stores are filling up fast and it is with great pleasure I assess the booty I have managed to stash. I usually have to resist dipping into my stashed too soon – I like to wait to the memory of the season has just faded to some poetic recall, and then I am ready to play.

One of the items I must make annually, and start to use immediately is chili sauce. Over the years I have tried many versions from mild jalapeno and poblano chili blends to blistered Thai chilies with lemon grass but always come back to an incendiary puree using habaneros chilies. Never shy this chili is explosive with citrusy notes and I must warn against the airborne chili as you puree. Admittedly, it is difficult to analyze the subtleties when your lips are melting. I store these bottles in the refrigerator, and over the months there is a mellowing of the concoction – though never to the insipidness of ketchup.

Green Chili Sauce - yields approx. 2 quarts
1/2-cup fresh lemon juice (approx 2 lemons)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 ounces fresh turmeric – peeled
3 to 4 inch piece of ginger – peeled
1 cup packed lemon verbena leaves
1/2 cup packed Vietnamese mint leaves
3 tablespoons salt
1 head garlic – peeled
2 pounds orange or yellow habaneros

In the blender add the lemon juice, vinegar, turmeric, verbena, mint, ginger, salt, garlic and process until smooth. Then with the blender running feed the chilies through the opening to create a smooth puree. Store in a clear glass jar in the refrigerator.

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