Category Archives: dining

A hot little holiday number – Datil Devil Sauce!

A beatufil batch of Datil peppers from last year's garden. Photo Credit: Words Etc.

A beatufil batch of Datil peppers from last year’s garden.
Photo Credit: Words Etc.

A few days ago, I shared my recipe for black bean burgers that I’ve been making for several years.  A touch that I added is my Datil “Devil” Sauce in place of the traditional hot sauce found on most grocery shelves. Hot sauce is so pretty and makes a delightful holiday gift from the kitchen.

Now there are a ton of hot sauces out there with all sorts of flashy names.  Mine is a simple sauce with a simple name.  If you’re not familiar with the Datil Pepper, you will find a link to some info in a former post of mine here.

This recipe couldn’t be easier, using a base of plain old ketchup. If Datils are not available, use any pepper from your garden’s yield or that you may find at your local produce or farmer’s market.   And remember you can freeze peppers and use them later in your recipes.

I’ve probably cautioned before about working with hot peppers, please protect your hands with gloves to avoid some very uncomfortable burning sensations that will last for several hours. Take care not to touch your face or eyes with those gloves too!   If you’ve worked with hot peppers and have made that mistake, you know exactly what I’m talking about…..

A batch of brightly colored Datil Devil Sauce. Photo credit: Words Etc.

A batch of brightly colored Datil Devil Sauce.
Photo credit: Words Etc.

Christine’s Datil Pepper “Devil” Sauce

Puree together in a food processor:
2 cups Datil peppers stemmed. Seed if you desired a less hot sauce.
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, mix together 64 oz ketchup (Heinz is best)
2 ½ cups cider vinegar. Add pureed pepper mixture and stir well. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.
Cool slightly, then pour into sterilized bottles with non-metallic lids.

I save smaller glass bottles throughout the year. Bottles from soy sauce, chili sauce or empty single-serving glass wine bottles work well for this sauce. I find smaller bottles are better so you have a few to give as gifts.

These peppers are cute, but don’t be fooled. They are hot! So protect your hands as with any hot pepper. The sauce is good by itself if you like hot stuff, but is also good to spike up salsa. A dab atop a cracker spread with cream cheese is beyond comparison.

Besides being a great addition to Black Bean Burgers, try blending a few tablespoons of the sauce with an 8 oz brick of cream cheese, thinned with a little milk for another spicy use of this sauce. Here are some more ideas for using this sauce or your favorite hot sauce:

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Datil sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh horseradish, grated, fine
  • 2 tbsp dill pickle, chopped fine

Mix together and it’s ready.

For our carnivore friends:

Marinade for Steak

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – pressed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsps Datil pepper sauce

Marinate steak for several hours Delicious!!

Enjoy and please share your favorite way to use hot sauce!


Peaches and Fresh Mozzarella – a perfect match!

I recently ran across a great summer salad recipe in the Publix Family Style magazine. Those of you that follow me know that I always tweak things. Now the original recipe calls for peaches, quartered and grilled, but I used the nectarines the first time I made this. I also substituted the crunchy part – once I tried walnuts, another time, as shown in the picture, some brightly colored tortilla strips.

I’ve tried this salad with peaches too and must admit I prefer the nectarines as I think they keep their firmness on the grill better than peaches. But either add great flavor especially combined with the creaminess of fresh mozzarella. It literally melts in your mouth.  The grilled shrimp or chicken are my addition too.

So here’s my version – enjoy!

Grilled Peaches and Mozzarella Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

DSCN5564Prepare dressing first:

Chop in mini blender, 1 or two green onion bulbs (add a little of the tops for extra color)
Whisk together with:

1 tbsp lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp Dijon-style mustard
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Set aside.

For Salad:

  • 2 medium ripe peaches or nectarines, pitted and cut into wedges (suggest you peel the peaches, but skin on nectarines are perfect)
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced or chunked
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts or pepitas or other topping to add crunch & flavor

Arrange lettuce on salad plates, arranging the cheese and cucumbers around the plate. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

When ready to prepare, skewer quartered fruit onto metal or wooden skewers. DSCN5563[1]Brush with some of the dressing and grill for about 5 – 6 minutes. I use a grill tray brushed lightly with olive oil to keep the fruit from sliding off the skewers. (see photos) If serving with grilled chicken or shrimp, use some of the dressing mixed with extra olive oil to baste, and cook alongside the fruit skewers.
When fruit and shrimp/chicken (if using) are ready. Arrange on top of the salad and top with walnuts or Pepitas. Serve with remaining dressing.

I promise you’ll make this often if you try it once!


A Pudbudder Holiday

Last year I did the Twelve Days of Pudbudder.  Since today is already the 15th of the month, I’m a little late to start the Twelve Days for 2013, so I’ll cut it short and just call it A Pudbudder Holiday.

We all embrace this time of the year with good cheer, smiles (mostly) and just a better attitude toward everyone around us.  Too bad we can’t preserve this throughout the year. But I am trying!  I hope all of my readers are too 🙂

So why am I behind? Well as usual, I am trying to manage too many projects at the same time.  That’s pretty easy to do at this time of the year.  After a feverish attempt at putting final touches on my long-term Cookbook/Family Memoir project, I’ve once again decided it just won’t make it for Christmas gifts, but on the bright side, I’ve made great progress on it and have learned some new InDesign techniques along the way. The key to my success actually revolves around joining the gym.  Yep, you read that correctly.

So here’s my strategy:

  • Go to You Tube and research Indesign Tip and Tutorials.
  • Throw them into my YouTube Favorites folder
  • Head to the gym. Get on the treadmill and plug my iPhone into my headset and tune in to those tutorials while I do my treadmill time.

This has worked great: I’ m staying in shape and learning — all at the same time.  Love it!

Although my Cookbook is still not ready for the printer or an ePub file, I’ve made great strides on the design. My next step is to break down my book into several documents and develop a book file so that I can better control the final product. This is a backwards way to approach this, but I know better for the next book layout that I take on. I have great hopes for this project and many more in the future….  Wish me luck!

This may be more information than you want or need to know, but I feel it is important  to share so you know why my time has been stressed.  And stressed time means simpler meals. So here’s a quick, easy and health recipe to help get you through.

You’ve heard me brag about Quinoa here before.  It’s a great source of protein, filling and versatile.  You can turn it into a side dish or make it a main meal depending on the ingredients you add to it. Check out my original quinoa post here.

Much like creating style sheets in Word or InDesign where you base a new sheet on an existing one, I’ve carried that method into cooking.  I took my original quinoa recipe and blended it with a new one.  It fits right into vegetarian/vegan diets too.  For a non-vegetarian choice, add shrimp or chicken. Here it is:

Black Bean Quinoa

Black Bean Quinoa

Black Bean Quinoa

Cook one cup of Quinoa in rice cooker with ½ tsp sea salt and 1 1/2 cups water.  When done, allow quinoa to  cool and dry out on a cookie sheet.  Meanwhile prepare dressing by whisking together:

1 large clove of garlic, minced

2 tbsp. white wine or plain rice vinegar or combination

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Pour dressing over cooled quinoa and add grape tomatoes, sliced in half and 1 can drained black beans.  Add ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley, reserving some for top as a garnish.

Refrigerate to let flavors blend.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Perfect with a little extra vinegar or fresh-squeezed lime juice at serving time.

Hope you enjoy it and see you for the next post in the Pudbudder Holiday series!

Communicating at the table.

  With Thanksgiving table still in recent memory, I have found myself reflecting on how important it is that we teach our children to respect the family dining experience – especially when seated at a holiday table with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as parents and siblings.
In this day of eating on the run, fast food and “quick fix” meals, it is important that we preserve the holiday dinners that many of us remember as children.  It should be a time to talk to each other and share conversation in a relaxed fashion.  This means adults and kids, put those phones away, and more importantly, parents, leave the kids’ phones at home.   There is plenty of time to talk, text and Facebook with friends during the rest of the year, but holidays are for family and close friends to interact, share a meal and be thankful for each other.
One way to get everyone involved with each other is to give everyone a task in preparing the meal.  Let the kids fix a relish tray or get the rolls ready for the oven. Let the younger kids make placecards for everyone’s seat or help with setting the table.
And this way of reacting to each other shouldn’t be reserved for holidays alone, but it seems in our fast-paced lives, this is often the only time we have to be together without the pressures of work and other responsibilities.  So enjoy the rest of this holiday season and make sure you set the example and enforce manners with the younger members of the family.