Flavor to the max

Flavor to the max

I have been at my parents house for a few days and on occasion I help my Mother cook. Not that she needs help, she is a very good cook, but sometimes it is nice to give her a break. Something interesting that occurred to me while there was the difference in our pantries. There are some things in my pantry that I consider essential that for her would be downright weird. A reflection of my obsession with ethnic markets perhaps, but things I use in everyday cooking.

I guess it is a form of “fusion” cooking but when I find an ingredient that is useful it does not get relegated to a portion of the pantry that is reserved for when I cook that specific cuisine. This Chili Garlic sauce is one such ingredient.

Heat is something that I have problems with. I do not care for really spicy food – yet I married a man from Louisiana who has an extensive collection of hot sauces. This particular one has been in my ‘fridge since we got together, and I had left it to him. He used it on Chinese delivery to spice things up – and apparently it is useful for that.

But I recently discovered that it is a fantastic workhorse. I have been trying to find a happy medium with spice, notching things up until they are at the top of my tolerance level. When I do this they have what my husband considers “a pleasant kick” – yay!

The thing that is great about this sauce is it’s neutrality. It has both Chili and Garlic in it and it does not have a distinctly “Asian” flavor. Through experimentation I have found I can use it to heat up Tex-Mex, Italian and Indian foods. Anything that already has garlic in it is fair game

And really, even if there isn’t garlic, what savory dish doesn’t benefit from a little garlic? If you want to experiment with this sauce (and I highly encourage that) know that it is pretty darn spicy. When I say I add it to something, say spaghetti sauce, I add what might be classified as a “smidgen”, literally an amount about half the size of my pinkie finger nail. Take it easy and add it in small increments until you reach a happy place.

This is what I decided to share today! What do you have in your pantry that you consider essential but would look like a pink elephant in your Mother’s pantry?