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Hot Sauce: or, My Favorite Magical Elf

The Last Pepper Harvest of the Summer

The Last Pepper Harvest of the Summer for Hot Sauce and Chili Oil

Hot Sauce: How to Identify a Truly Awesome Human

I have a serious thing for hot sauces.  It’s sort of a hot, burning, passionate, stomach-turning, skin-flushing, I-can’t-live-without-you, I-need-to-put-you-in-my-face sort of affair.  Generally, I buy the stuff three or four bottles at a time. I can’t get enough of it and I could never picture trying to live my life without it. It’s one of those things I’ve always meant to get around to making myself, but never have.  Fortunately, I have a dude in my life who does make it.  A dude who makes the living crap out of it.

There are a number of people I’ve worked with over the years who I truly miss seeing nearly every day. Quinton is one of those people. He and I used to have the best manager meetings on sweaty summer days in my “office” (the walk-in), sitting on kegs, steam rolling off our backs, discussing the difficulties of running a restaurant.  Warm, generous, hilarious (with the no-question, hands-down best llama impersonation I’ll probably ever have the privilege of seeing), and who also happens to be one of those elf-like friends who just sort of randomly show up in your life and bestows magical gifts upon you that just happen to be some of your favorite things in the whole world and exactly what you were in the mood for. Homemade salsa? Pliny? The best damn walnuts you’ve ever eaten in your life? No problem! He just happens to have them and have been thinking of you and brought them to share with you. No big deal!

Like skittles from a unicorn.

Quinton's Hot SauceThe last magical elf present might be my favorite, though. Hot sauce! This guy makes one hell of a hot sauce. Actually, I can tell you for a fact that he makes at least three hell(s?) of hot sauces and I’m lucky enough to have all three! There’s a habanero, milder hickory-smoked habanero, and a “hell sauce,” all of which are absolutely to-die-for.  I don’t have a favorite. I love them all! I don’t know his secret ingredients and I probably won’t ever be able to love mine as much as I love his, but given the fact that I have a load of chilies and peppers that need to get used up from my this-one-really-has-to-be-the-final-backyard-garden-summer-produce harvest (minus the five or six eggplants I still have out there)(I’ll never get over how different it is to garden in Napa after decades in Minnesota.  It’s like living in paradise!), I’m going to give a new hot sauce recipe a try. I’ll also do a chili oil, more pickled peppers, and I’ll dry a lot of the thai and rooster peppers. Those are my projects for the next few days! I’ll let you know how they go!

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