Hella Hot Hot Sauce: Apricot Ghost

I didn’t get into hot sauce until just a few years ago. While growing up and watching my father put hot sauce on, well, quite possibly everything, I just didn’t understand it. Why would you want to set your mouth on fire? Why ruin those gorgeous fluffy yellow scrambled eggs? WHYYYY??

Because it’s friggin’ delicious, that’s why.

Allow me to introduce you to Hella Hot Hot Sauce. Founded in 2012, they’ve been perfecting the art of hot sauce ever since.

They sent me their Apricot Ghost recipe, and I’ve had it on everything from eggs to Santa Fe Chicken. It has a geat amount of heat, hence their (soon-to-be) trademark, and apricots go especially well with chicken. Also eggs come from chickens, so there’s that. I really enjoyed this flavor, and look forward to trying more of them.

Kyle Colson, Hella Hot Hot Sauce’s owner and mad scientist, gave me the inside scoop on the product. He and his wife, Natalie, forage 80% of all of the fruit used in their recipes, and the rest from local stores and markets.  They have been growing their own chilies and are currently in the process of gaining more land for harvest.

All natural. All real. Nope, nothing artificial here!

If you live in the San Jose area, I highly suggest that you attend their next tasting party, on April 6 at 1395 Martin Ave from 2-6 pm. They will be presenting new recipes and their artist created label!

Connect with them at www.facebook.com/HellaHotSauce

This complimentary product was provided by Hella Hot Hot Sauce. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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easy zucchini garlic soup

simply put, this is my go-to soup. easy. minimal ingredients. GARLIC.

vampires beware.

my girl Jennifer over at alrightfine.com made this zucchini garlic soup for me a year or so ago. I’ve made it 1-20 times since, leaning far, FAR towards the latter end.

vegetarian. vegan even. creamy without dairy. warm. filling. also crusty bread. dunk it.

EASY ZUCCHINI GARLIC SOUP
from theKitchn

1.5 pounds zucchini, peeled and sliced
1 white onion, sliced
8 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 cups broth, vegetable or chicken
2 tbsp olive oil or unsalted butter
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
salt and pepper to taste

  1. HEAT butter or oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. reduce to medium-low, add garlic and onions and cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. ADD zucchini and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. ADD broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. SIMMER for 45 minutes, partially uncovered.
  5. REMOVE from heat. add spices and blend until smooth.
Posted in gluten free, recipe, soups, stews, chiliez, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

mexican tamale pies

you guys. I found a great individually portioned (and freezer friendly) meal recipe.

these mexican tamale pies, they’re really good. and super easy.

all you do, is simmer some stuff and spoon it into individual thingies:

then you mix some other stuff and top off the thingies:

then you… bake them:

now I wasn’t crazy about this polenta topping recipe, so next time I’ll replace it with cornbread, or add cheese or some other mix-in.  just a little bland for my taste.

keep in mind that the polenta doesn’t rise, but if you use a cornbread topping you’ll need to leave a little room for that. you could also throw all of this in one big pie dish.

MEXICAN TAMALE PIES
adapted from chocolate-covered Katie
(makes 4-5 pies)

filling:
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted for extra flavor)
1 3/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 small zucchini, diced
1 1/2 tbsp cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp each onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
a few shakes of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

topping:
1 cup cornmeal
2 2/3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp olive oil

4-5 mini pie tins (I used 2 ramekins and 2 mini loaf tins)
baking sheet

  1. COMBINE all filling ingredients except the cornmeal in a large saucepan and simmer partially covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 tbsp cornmeal.
  2. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. lightly grease individual pie dishes/pans with olive oil.
  3. COMBINE all topping ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a simmer and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, 3-5 minutes.
  4. SPOON filling into dishes/pans and top with polenta. this will not rise when baked, so you can fill it to the top.
  5. BAKE pies on a cookie sheet (for stability and easy transport) until golden, 35-45 minutes.

anyone have a favorite polenta recipe we could use here?

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“hobnobs” oat cookie biscuits

do the phrases “nobbly oaty biscuits” or “one nibble and you’re nobbed” do anything for you? well they should.

I knew someone that lived in Scotland for some time who very quickly fell in love with McVitie’s Hobnobs. I visited her, and then naturally, fell in love with them too.

oaty. crunchy. lightly sweet.

be sure to dip them in tea like the Scottish people do.

or shove stacks at a time into your face if you’re having a good run of foot in mouth disease, as I’ve been having as of late.

I found a copycat recipe and they’re my latest most favorite thing in the whole wide world. they’re gluten and egg free (can even be dairy free) and I love the recipe as-is, however you can swap out the GF flour and xanthan gum for regular flour if you prefer. no biggie. I’m totally making them again for my gluten-sensitive mama, but for now, they’re ALL MINE.

“HOBNOBS” OAT COOKIE BISCUITS
adapted from Celiac Central

1 cup gluten-free oats, whole or roughly chopped or steel cut (I used steel cut)
2/3 cup gluten-free oats, ground in food processor to flour consistency
2/3 cup light brown sugar, spooned (not packed)
1/2 cup gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1+1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter (or butter substitute), melted
pinch of salt

  1. PREHEAT oven to 325° F. line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. WHISK oat flour, gluten free flour, chopped oats, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. HEAT butter and syrup in the microwave in 15 second intervals, until the butter melts and the honey/syrup becomes liquid. stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda.
  4. ADD butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. DROP 1 tbsp scoops onto lined cookie sheets. the dough will harden as it sits, so try to scoop them out out at once.  flatten slightly with fingers.
  6. BAKE for 10-18 minutes until golden. (my batches only took 10 minutes.)
Posted in bake, gluten free, recipe, vegan | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

DIY LUSH solid lotion bars

LUSH. love their products. so natural. so lovely. so… expensive.

I wanted to make a solid lotion bar similar to those over at LUSH.  the recipe I found has far less ingredients, however a pretty good start and easy to make.

melt and pour. that’s all you do. I highly recommend you purchasing a candle melting pitcher like THIS one to melt all the ingredients. plus you can use it to make your own candles like I do! yes you can be just like me!

I made 12 bars (about 6 cups) for gifts. simple math. 1:1:1 ratio of beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. that means 2 cups each. because 2×3=6. GET IT?

DIY LUSH SOLID LOTION BARS
from little eco footprints
makes 12 (1/2 cup sized) bars

1 part beeswax (2 cups)
1 part coconut oil (2 cups)
1 part shea butter (2 cups)
silicone baking or soap mold (must be heat resistant!)
any essential oil (I used 40-50 drops total of a variety of scents)

  1. MELT all ingredients. you can use a double boiler, your microwave, and/or a handy melting pitcher I mention above (put this in a big pot of boiling water). you can throw everything into one pot to melt, or using separate methods to speed up the process.
  2. WHISK (carefully, it’s hot!) to combine. add more essential oil depending on preference.
  3. POUR (carefully, it’s still hot!) into silicone molds and allow to cool completely before popping them out. you can throw them in the refrigerator to speed this up as well. store them in an airtight container.

these things just melt onto your skin. like butter. want to make a really awesome moisturizing body scrub? try this recipe.

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sangria cupcakes with fruit compote topping

prepare yourselves for what mayhaps be the best thing you’ve put into your mouth. in a while, at least. they’re so darn fudge-y and OMG everything has red wine in it.

these cupcakes were my favorite out of the bunch made in a baking class at the BCAE. you can read about my experience HERE.

first I’d like to share some brilliant tips that I learned, thanks to Dustin Rennells, to help you make the best cupcakes ever/gain popularity/be famous/etc SO PAY ATTENTION:

  • butter seriously takes 6 hours at room temperature to soften. you can use the microwave in 15 second intervals in lieu of.
  • beat butter until it’s fluffy and white. this is aeration.
  • crack your eggs individually in a glass to view them. if you break them directly into a mix, you risk spoiling all of your ingredients with a rotten egg and/or shells.
  • sifting is sooo 50 years ago. aerate it by shaking flour over your measuring cup. DO NOT tap the sides to settle while filling:

  • if adding mix-ins (chocolate chips, fruit pieces, nuts), coat them first with flour (within the measurements of the recipe) to help them suspend in the mix rather than settle to the bottom while baking:

  • bake cupcakes on the same level, else they will bake unevenly if you stack them on racks in the oven:

  • remove cupcakes from the pan promptly; they will continue to bake about 3 more minutes if you leave them in.
  • immediately cover in plastic wrap until you are ready to frost, it will keep them moist:

  • allow to cool completely before frosting them.
  • store at room temperature.

now here’s the fun part. DECORATING.

piping frosting into nest shapes:

spooning fruit compote into the centers, like a true professional engineer:

aaand drizzling these bad boys with melted chocolate:

are you ready to make them now? your answer is yes.

SANGRIA CUPCAKES w/ FRUIT COMPOTE TOPPING
makes 24

for cupcakes:
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup red wine (Shiraz)
5 oz chocolate chips

1 dark chocolate bar, melted via microwave or double boiler (for drizzle)

for compote:
1 cup pineapple, chopped
3/4 cup strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup raspberries or blueberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet red wine

for red wine frosting:
7 cups powdered sugar
3 sticks butter, room temperature
9 tbsp red wine

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350F. line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  2. BOIL fruit compote ingredients until slightly reduced and thickened. allow to cool completely.
  3. WHISK together cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and boiling water in a heat proof bowl until all is melted.
  4. CREAM butter and sugar together in a larger bowl until fluffy and white. beat in each egg, one at a time. add baking powder and salt. slowly add flour until mixed. add some of the chocolate mixture from the previous step, then wine, alternating until all is blended. this is where I tell you the batter is weird and ugly. fret not!
  5. POUR batter into papered muffin tins almost all the way to the top, as these will not rise much.
  6. BAKE for about 18 minutes. you’ll know they’re done when lightly pressed in the center and immediately bounce back; the toothpick method doesn’t work here. remove from tins, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool.
  7. MIX frosting beginning with wet ingredients, then add powdered sugar.
  8. DECORATE! pipe frosting onto cupcakes in a nest shape, leaving a hole in the center. spoon cooled fruit compote into nests, then drizzle with melted chocolate.

keep dreaming buddybuddy. you have diabetes.

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OAK Long Bar + Kitchen with Blog and Tweet Boston

I recently joined Blog and Tweet Boston for brunch at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

“Join us at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, a stunning new Boston restaurant in the heart of Back Bay. Sip a hand crafted cocktail. Sample a farm to table American menu featuring local ingredients and purveyors.  Savor the dramatic results of an extensive restoration and each thoughtfully curated detail. With simple elegance complemented by contemporary spirit and style, our downtown Boston restaurant was designed to inspire.” -from their website

Extensive restoration indeed, this place is very old and very handsome.

The windows flood the restaurant with copious amounts of sunlight. No worries if you haven’t had your daily dose of vitamin D yet, they’ve got you covered.

Did you catch that pun?

We started with a delightful Hearth Baked Bread served in a cast iron skillet (that I had a hard time sharing with the table and nearly scolded the waitstaff for offering to take the remainder away), and their flatbread special: smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers.

Now I’m what you might call a Bloody Mary snob, so bare with me. My jaw dropped when it was placed on the table, clearly being the size of Jessica as you can see represented above. It was good, but not as spicy as I had hoped, and missing the olives. There are two things that I require in my Bloody Mary: lots of fresh horseradish and a handful of very salty olives.

No biggie though, down my gullet it went.

Onto the Chocolate Hazelnut French Toast. So very decadent and so very rich, thus I recommend it being an item to share. But get it. Definitely get it.

The OAK Burger was juicy and just check out that gorgeous toasted bun! JUST LOOK AT IT.

At $21, the Short Rib Quesadilla was lacking something. It was flavorful, but I think I was expecting it to not be so… flat. Or that it should have a side of jambalaya. Or beans and rice. Or a heaping mound of fresh guacamole. Or you know, something.

I feel the same way about the Eggs Benedict. I love love LOVED the grilled Wolferman’s english muffin, but a scoop of hash or diced potato would be a nice accompaniment.

I’ll definitely go back to grab a classy post-work cocktail with a friend. Aaand more of that Hearth Baked Bread… all to myself and only 5 dollars!

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is located at 138 St. James Ave. Boston, MA and is a short walk from the T.

This complimentary meal was provided by OAK Long Bar + Kitchen and Blog and Tweet Boston. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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