Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Thursday Adventure

Remember how yesterday I threatened to whup up a batch of hot dipping sauce for my pasties? What I had in mind was something along the lines of Asian sweet chili sauce, which I adore, but starring ingredients I had on hand. Like dried cranberries, cranberry juice and a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Something that would, by the way, fit comfortably in that cute little apple juice jug I had saved for just such an eventuality. After a great deal of online research, I succeeded in concocting my own twist on assorted recipes and came up with what I considered a winner -- but not without a certain amount of adventure.

The first part of the adventure dealt with the thermal qualities of the chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce -- both of which are considered by the uninitiated to be somewhere between molten lava and the hinges of hell insofar as heat is concerned. The recipes I looked at suggested using just part of a pepper and taking the seeds out. I have never understood the logic of seeding a chili pepper. That's where the heat is, for heaven's sake. What's the point of a chili pepper without heat? I never, never, never seed my chili peppers. I simply use less, then add more in small increments until I reach the heat level I can handle without breaking out the fire extinguisher.

That is, I usually do it that way. Sometimes I throw caution to the winds, laugh in the face of danger and toss the whole durned pepper in, guts, feathers and all. Today was one of those reckless times ... and the pepper was not one of the smaller ones. Nor was the tablespoon of adobo sauce anything like "scant." A preliminary taste test alerted me to that error in judgement. Once I put out the flames and wiped my eyes, I immediately added another cup of cranberry juice to dilute the Scoville factor to acceptable levels.

The next adventure came when it was time to run the sauce through the blender to puree everything down to relative liquidity. I usually shove the lid securely into the top of the blender but today I just set it on top, one hand lightly holding it in place. Don't ask me why. I have no clue. Then I punched the button for the Chainsaw Massacre setting (puree for those of you without such a macho blender).

Hooboy! The powerful torque blew the liquid straight up, lifting the lid completly away from the blender. Before I could slam it back down, I had very hot sauce splashed on my wrist, my watch, my sweatshirt and liberally sprinkled across the neighboring microwave, chopper and roasting oven. Nice move, Dee. (Note to self: always batten down hatches when using blender.)

Okay, I didn't lose all that much sauce in the blender debacle. It just seemed that way while I was mopping it up. I poured some of the sauce into a shallow bowl and put the rest in the apple juice bottle (see above). Then I nuked the other half of yesterday's pasty and sat down to put the sauce to the critical test.

Dip. Bite. Munch. Dip. Bite. Munch. Let eyes widen in appreciation. Moan with pleasure. Not with pain. The heat level is not painful. Although it is hot enough to make my nose run. Blow nose. Continue to dip, bite, munch until pasty is history. Lick fingers. Smile.

The recipe follows. You may, of course, adjust the amounts of the chipotle and adobo to suit your own preferences. By the way, this is not a thick sauce and would lend itself very well to basting roasted or grilled meats. But if you prefer thick, simply put it back in the saucepan after running it through the blender. Bring to a boil and add about a tablespoon of corn starch that's been dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of cold water. Stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.


1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 chipotle pepper, minced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup whisky (or bourbon or rum)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups cranberry juice

Put all ingredients in sauce pan. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, cover with lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 15 minutes. Run through blender on the puree setting. Can be served hot or cold. Will keep a looooong time in refrigerator.

A note on the booze: Triple Sec would be good here, as the orange flavor always goes great with cranberry. But you don't have to use alcohol. Pretty much any fruit juice will work fine. Or just skip that quarter cup of liquid. Won't hurt a thing.

Just for the record, I was only kidding about the worm killer thing. Honest. On the other hand, I certainly don't have worms.


Wendy said...

I bet it would, indeed, work on worms. Or snails. Or just about any other varmint of that persuasion.

I'm thinking evil thoughts now and the snails at the old house are really, really glad we moved before you came up with this recipe.

Dee said...

Bwaaahaaahah! I love it, Wendy, but let me warn you -- critters can surprise us. I once mixed up an extremely hot pepper spray for my outside plants to discourage the wild bunnies. Then I watched the next time the bunny came for lunch. He nibbled. He paused. And, I swear, he said, "Oh boy! Thai!" and ate twice as fast as before.

Maggie said...

You forgot to mention the shower you took after washing down your kitchen.

I'll try it.........and those good looking pasties too.

Nice to see you more often.

Doug said...

Dee, I love your writing and sense of humor...
I'm not a cooker, except from necessity, but you make it sound like fun!
Thanx for being here!


bonnie said...

What some people won't do to warm up their innards when they don't have a fireplace. :-)

Dee said...

Woohoo! Let me know how it turns out for you, Maggie. And don't forget, pasty fillings can be anything you want. I'm thinking my next batch will be more Mexican style. Pasty purists will cringe but I'll love it.

Doug, bless you. And thank YOU for joining us. Have some more coffee and stick around.

What can I say, Bonnie? I loves me my chili peppers. Really, I do.

Maggie said...

Hey, happy Valentines day to you. :)