Yesterday was Milo’s fourth birthday, so we let him choose dinner. “Pizza” was the verdict. So I made pizza dough and tomato sauce, and pulled other ingredients from the fridge. The pizzas were well received. True story.
Today, in between trying to keep an eye on him while he tear-assed around the driveway on his new bike ($10 from the used bike guy in town, and the best ratio of glee to expense I have ever seen) I tried to get on top of the garden by weeding, thinning, and picking the things that needed to be weeded, thinned, and picked. From the picked things, I made a variety of first-rate condiments. First, some sambal. As you can see, there are many kinds (including the ancestor sauce to Ketchup) but here I was trying to duplicate some that friends brought us from Holland last winter- it was hot, but with ginger, kaffir lime, and sugar to balance it out. We went through two pint jars of it in no time- honestly, my wife would have injected it straight into her veins if she could have. Since our hot peppers are going off like fireworks right now, I tried to use a bunch of them up in a few different ways.
For the sambal, I chopped the cayenne peppers with Thai and lime basil, red onion, garlic, dried shrimp, and ginger, then mashed it all into a paste in the suribachi with some lime juice and a little sugar and agave syrup. It turned out pretty great, and is within sight of the intended goal; lime basil is nowhere near as potent as kaffir lime leaf, but has the advantage of growing in my garden. This version was also raw, and in future I will try cooking it to help it thicken and develop flavors. In any case, our first half-pint is already in rotation and I made a dent in the cayenne crop.
Next up, more kimchi; the last batch was just cabbage and carrot, and this time I wanted spicy. So I went back to the classic mixture of cabbage, carrot, green onion, ginger, and garlic plus Thai basil, chervil and six chopped red serranos with their seeds and membranes. In two weeks it should be perfect.
Last, the hottest of all our peppers- the habañeros. We are lousy with them, and so I tried an idea I had earlier to try to use up a lot of them. The garden has a lot of pink things in it right now, so I used that color as my guide and pulled out the juicer. Red and white carrots, chioggia beets, watermelon, red onion, and radishes all went into the juicer, along with about half our ripe habañero crop (seeded, but with some membrane left in) and four limes. I dissolved some salt in a little cider vinegar on the stove and mixed it in. The foam from the top of the bowl that the juicer drained into was nuclear and delicious. The juice blend was a little less nuclear- there was a lot of membrane in the foam- and bursting with all the pink flavors harmonizing together. The photo gives an idea, but it’s really pink- not at all orange or red like regular hot sauce.