Sunday, September 12, 2021

'Nero Fiddles Hot Sauce

 We are about halfway through September and the garden is still throwing habanero peppers like it's mad at us. The Wife is making noises about giving some of them away, and that just won't do. So I decided to make a hot sauce recipe that uses two dozen peppers a batch. I did. This one is a real roller coaster ride. It's like a Saturday morning with a six-year old in the house. It starts off nice and pleasant and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. That's the best way I can describe it. More specifically, it's got a bright, slightly fruity taste. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I could probably make some absolutely deadly hot-wings. Possibly add a few drops to a Bloody Mary. Maybe just drink it straight if I wanted to scream for a while. Basically a lovely flavor plays around in your mouth as you burn.

This recipe will yield 1-1/2 pints of sauce. If you own a Insta-Pot Ace blender, you can actually do everything but the canning step in the blender by running the puree program. 

Give it a spin and tell me what you think, as long as it's positive. As always, notes are in blue.

'Nero Fiddles Hot Sauce


  • 2 dozen habanero peppers, stems removed (don't you even think about removing the seeds, you big baby)
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white tequila (if you don't do alcohol, just omit and split the difference between more vinegar and lime juice)
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour contents of blender into a non-reactive pot. Heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Return to the blender (or use an immersion blender) to ensure everything is totally liquefied. 
  4. If you're not going to can this sauce, you're done. 
    Fire in the hole!
  5. If you are canning, fill three half pint jars to 1/4 inch headspace and secure lid and ring. Process in a boiling water bath for about 12-15 minutes. As always, review canning procedures at The National Center for Home Food Preservation to make sure you don't accidentally poison anyone. 
Good times!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Cucumber-Jalapeno Hot Sauce

 Holy shit did the garden throw a lot of cucumbers at us. There's only so many cucumber sandwiches, or tomato/cucumber/onion salad you can eat. I decided to use the vast surplus along with the bumper crop of jalapenos were also blessed with. The end result was a rock-solid hot sauce. It starts with an unmistakable cucumber flavor. Then the heat builds quickly but then levels off with a nice sweet finish. This would be great with fish or chicken. Or, as The Wife prefers, unceremoniously shoveled into her gob with Aldi Lime Nacho Chips. To each their own. This recipe will yield about 2-1/2 pints of sauce. 

Cucumber-Jalapeno Hot Sauce
aka Green Meanie


  • 2 decent sized cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 12 jalapenos, chopped (I suppose if you're a HUGE BABY you could seed them to cut down on the heat, but then why are you even looking at a hot sauce recipe?)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  1. In a medium pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a blender or use an immersion blender to blend until as smooth as possible.
  3. Feel free to strain the sauce if you want something closer to a liquid-only hot sauce, or leave it as-is for something closer to a thin salsa.
  4. If you plan on canning this sauce, we went with 5 half pint jars, 1/4" headspace, and 12 minutes in the boiling water bath. As always please go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation and brush up on canning so you don't accidentally kill anyone.
Good times!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Pickle Dip

 Some time ago I happened on a wondrous product at our Sam's Club. It was a Taste of the South Fried Pickle and Ranch Dip. It was delicious and reasonably priced. However, our Sam's is almost 30 minutes away. It wasn't always practical to pick it up. I decided to replicate the recipe. I'll be damned if I didn't come really close. This is an excellent dip for veggies or chips, or as a filler for those cute little spiral roll ups. You could just be a savage and spoon it straight into your gob. Nobody will know. Fair warning, much like the original, the pickles cause the dip to break down and get watery after a day or two. Just stir it a few times and you're back in business. Try it. It's killing you not to. 

I'd like it pointed out I did not make any "pickle dip" jokes in this post. I'm growing as a person. I guess if you want a pickle dip joke you'll have to insert it yourself. DAMMIT I WAS SO CLOSE.

Pickle Dip


  • 1 pint jar of pickles. 
  • 1 lb container sour cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (we used neufchatel), softened
  • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  1. Take the pickles from the jar and chop them as finely as you can. Reserve the pickle juice from the jar, you may need it later.
  2. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients (except the reserved pickle juice) and whisk the living shit out of it until everything is incorporated.
    If I didn't have a whisk, I'd be in a real "pickle."
  3. Give it a taste, if it's not pickly enough for you, (picklishious? pickletastic?) add a couple splashes of pickle juice. Don't get crazy or the dip will get thin.
Good times!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Summer Vegetable Quiche with Potato Crust

 So the garden is totally out of control. We are being buried alive in vegetables and are desperately doing everything we can to stay ahead of it. I have to be honest. I'm getting really fucking tired of squash and zucchini. This was a moment of inspiration. I'd seen similar recipes, and decided to do something similar. There's really not much to say. It uses up a bunch of veggies, is easy to put together, and tastes pretty good. I like mine with a liberal splash of Tabasco sauce. If you're desperate to use up some veggies, this is a pretty solid way to go. It works for pretty much any meal of the day. Give it a try and let me know what you think, unless it's critical, then don't tell me. As always, notes are in blue.

Summer Vegetable Quiche with Potato Crust


I may have used jarred garlic when I made this. Don't judge me.

  • 1 bag (24 ounce) frozen O'Brien style hash brown potatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cups of chopped kale, stems/spines removed
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (honestly pretty much any cheese would work here)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425F (220C, GasMark 7)
  2. Defrost the potatoes and squeeze out as much moisture as humanly possible. Seriously, squeeze the shit out of it like it owes you money. Get physical. Consider it therapy. Give a primal scream as you do it. 
  3. Grease a 9" cast iron skillet (or a pie pan if you don't have the cast iron) Take the potatoes and form a even layer to serve as the crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.
  4. While the crust is cooking, in a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion starts to get translucent. 
  5. Add the zucchini and squash and sauté about 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  6. Add the kale and sauté until the kale is wilted
    Wilting in progress.
  7. In a bowl, add eggs, evaporated milk, cheese, and seasonings. Beat until all is mixed evenly.
  8. When crust is done, remove from oven and lower temperature to 350F (177C, GasMark 4).
  9. Spread vegetable mixture evenly in crust. Slowly pour in milk/egg mixture. Lightly move the mixture around with a spatula to make sure the liquid and cheese is fully incorporated.
  10. Cook for 30 minutes or until top is starting to brown.
    It occasionally looks like I know what I'm doing!
    You can poke it with a knife and if it comes away clean, you're done. 
Good times!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Three Cheese Summer Squash Pasta Bake

 Normally we plant way too many yellow squash and zucchini plants each year. This year we cut way back. Two zucchini and three yellow squash plants. Then they went batshit insane. We're getting about 900 pounds of produce daily. There's only so many pints of pickled zucchini and squash you can make. There's only so much zucchini bread. I wound up finding a really good recipe for a squash/zucchini pasta in a cream sauce. A real banger of a recipe. Then the book I found it in got put away. When I went to look for it, it was gone. Completely gone. Nobody could find it. Much swearing was done. That didn't help. I wound up just saying screw it and making it up myself. I ended up making a pretty tasty alfredo-style sauce that worked really well in a bake. The Wife was much impressed. It was declared a great success and we all had pickled limes. Then Beth got Scarlet Fever and died...Sorry, I drifted into Little Women there. 
Give it a spin and tell me what you think, as long as it's flattering. As always, notes are in blue. 

Three Cheese Summer Squash Pasta Bake


  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4" cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into 1/4" cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup seeded and chopped red banana (or bell) peppers
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cups fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of pasta of your choice
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta to a little harder than al dente (basically short the time by a couple extra minutes. The pasta is going to cook in the oven with the sauce for a while and you don't want it to get super soft.)
  2. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gasmark 5) 
  3. In a large, oven proof pot, heat the oil over medium heat (we used our trusty 6 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven. If you don't have an oven safe pot, you'll just have to transfer everything to a greased Pyrex baking dish before putting it in the oven)
  4. Add the zucchini, squash, peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato and sauté another 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. In a saucepan, add the cream, cheeses, garlic powder, and pepper flakes. Heat on medium heat, stirring regularly so as not to scorch anything.
  7. When the cheeses are completely melted into the sauce, add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Pour the sauce into the pot with the vegetables. Add the pasta and toss to coat everything. Put the pot in the oven for 12 minutes (this is where you'd transfer everything to a baking dish first, if your pot isn't oven safe)
  9. Remove from oven and toss to make sure everything is evenly coated. 
Good Times were had by all. 
Except Beth. She died from Scarlet Fever. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Radish and Turnips with Spicy Greens

 Summer is in full swing and we have a garden bigger than is reasonable. We filled in a 20'x40' in-ground pool and converted it into a vegetable garden. We'll post up some pictures soon. It's pretty inspiring. This year we are growing things we have not tried before. For instance, turnips and radishes. We took our first tentative harvest of them and set about figuring out what to do with them.

Not particularly inspiring, but there you have it.

We figured turnip and radish greens were edible, so we just figured we'd just sauté up the lot of them. Garlic seemed like it would work with the flavors of these veggies. The horseradish was a last minute inspiration. The recipe came together quickly and cooks easily. It makes enough for two. Is it good? I guess that largely depends on your palate. It is definitely spicy. The Wife said she enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought it was OK, but that's pretty how our recipe assessments usually go. In the end, I'd say it's worth a try. It would certainly pair with barbecue or Cajun food. Give it a try and tell me what you think. I'll ignore anything critical. As always, notes are in blue.

Radishes and Turnips with Spicy Greens


  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 small turnips, thinly sliced
  • Greens from the radishes and turnips, stems removed and greens cut into 1" ribbons
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (we actually used bacon grease, but olive oil keeps this vegetarian)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large pan or wok, heat the oil/grease over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, not letting the garlic get brown
  3. Add the radishes and turnip and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until they become just a little tender
  4. Add the horseradish and greens, and sauté until the horseradish is incorporated and the greens have wilted.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste 
Good Times!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Thank Heavens, Another Slow-Cooker Beef Stew Recipe aka Okayest Ever Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Last week, the school year drew to a close and the Wife and I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. We have the whole summer ahead of us and things are returning to some vague semblance of normalcy. We thought, "what could we possibly do to help drive things back to that wonderfully boring normal?" SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW was the resounding answer. And I'm not going to blow beef scented smoke up your asses and claim it's "Best Ever" because it's not. It's good. It's serviceable. It is mind numbingly easy to make and will fill you up. That's it. That's all I can say. I've got months of content I owe you, so expect a treasure like this every now and then. Much like this recipe, this post is vaguely satisfying filler until I can make something more substantial. As always, any notes are in blue.

Okayest Ever Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 bag (about 1 pound) mixed frozen stew vegetables (i.e. carrots, celery, onions, potatoes)
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup water (in retrospect, I suppose I could have just not drained the tomatoes and omitted this step, but I justify it in the reduction of sodium)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  1. Unceremoniously dump everything but the last two ingredients into a slow cooker. Don't even bother browning the meat. That's where we are right now. We're just getting shit done.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 4-1/2 hours because I don't have the patience to wait for 8-10 hours on LOW. 
  3. Take the corn starch and water in a small bowl and whisk it together until the corn starch is completely dissolved. At the end of the strew cooking time, stir in the corn starch slurry until things thicken up. 
  4. That's it. Slop it in a bowl and grimly shovel it down in silence.
Good times!