I feel as though this week absolutely flew by. I can’t believe it’s Friday. I have a million things to do! Poor Kramer has even more to do, for both work and school, so he’s got to go into his office over the weekend and get that taken care of. At least that means I will be home alone with nobody to catch up on TV/procrastinate with. I need to do some serious cleaning, first and foremost. I don’t think that my apartment has been deep cleaned since Kramer brilliantly hired a cleaning service to come in and scrub everything down before I got back from a bachelorette party in…August. I mean, I clean things, but I haven’t gotten into any deep, dark crevices in a while. I want to save hiring someone again until after Thanksgiving, as I’m sure stuffing and cranberry sauce will be dropped and beer will be spilled (but that’s part of the fun), so I’ll try to muster up the strength to do that sometime over the next two days. I also got invited to a little friendsgiving-type celebration tonight, so I’m rushing home after work to finish up a pumpkin pie and maybe pull together some cookies if I have the time. Additionally, I will be using the rest of my free time this weekend to recipe test for actual Thanksgiving next week. I want to try out a new biscuit recipe, in particular, and on top of that, I need to start some prep, as well. I figure that I can make the waffles on Sunday, freeze them, then turn them into cubes on Wednesday night, and maybe make some more cookies on Sunday to freeze, too. I’m excited to get to work, though. I’ll put on my trusty Crocs (don’t judge me – they make standing in the kitchen for hours on end much more tolerable), throw on some reruns of The Office and start cooking.
My new favorite sign, nightly negronis, healing soup dumplings, and Kramer’s grocery list.
My brothers are also coming for Thanksgiving again this year, which I am obviously super excited about. I haven’t seen them since last Thanksgiving, so every time I see them again they look so much older. It’s like middle age and hair loss is just around the corner for them, right guys? I have no fewer than one million plans and I have no doubt that we will get to all of them. There is a new ice skating rink in McCarren Park that Kramer really wants to check out, I want to get some Szechuan food somewhere with them, Old Boy comes out while they are here, and of course there has to be at least one rousing round of karaoke in the city. And I almost forgot: Simpsons trivia night at Nitehawk. I’m bringing in my brothers as ringers. If we don’t win, I am going to be incredibly disappointed in them.
One of the cool things about my job is that I get to do some food related stuff every so often. A week or two ago, one of the reporters asked me if I had ever made sriracha at home. I hadn’t, I said, but I’m going to try now! I am a huge sriracha fan, as most people are, so I was really excited to give it a go on my own. I’ll be honest – it wasn’t super easy. You have to plan ahead and make it a few days before you plan to eat it, as it needs to ferment for at least two days to get the flavor that you’re looking for. You also need to press the pepper mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth to get the texture that sriracha has. All in, it was a fun project and the result was really good and much fresher (obviously) than the bottled stuff, but I still think you can’t replicate the real deal. Having said that, if you have any sriracha nuts in your life, this is a great DIY holiday present, or even something fun for your holiday table – it looks way classier to have out than a bottle of Tabasco. I put sriracha on everything, and this homemade version got drizzled over eggs, added to soups, spread on sandwiches, and spooned over roasted chicken. The fresh factor is a big reason to make this your own, and you can add more garlic than the original stuff has, which is my favorite part of making it at home. Did I mention that it is much, much spicier than the kind you buy in the store? So watch out and don’t go too crazy with it!
The awesome birthday card that my brothers sent me.
So, it’s sriracha time. Just prep, puree and ferment.
This is the tough part – push all of those peppers through a sieve. Someone else recommended using cheese cloth, which seems like a good idea, too.
Cook the pureed and smoothed sriracha until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Store in a jar for up to a week and enjoy on just about everything.
- 2 pounds jalapeño or serrano peppers (98% of them should be red - this is all about color)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅔ cup distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
- Cut the tops off of your peppers, slice them in half, and place them in your food processor. Process until completely smooth, at least 5 minutes. Add in your brown sugar, garlic, salt and paprika. Process until smooth, at least another 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a large jar or container, loosely cover, and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 days. After 2 days, you will see bubbling happening in the bottom of the jar. This means that the fermentation process as begun. You can start to puree it now, or you can let it get really bubbly and allow it to sit for five days. The longer it sits, the tastier and spicier it will be.
- When you're ready to puree, place your pepper mixture back into a food processor, add in the vinegar, and puree again for 5 minutes. Press the mixture through a mesh sieve, until you've gotten every last drop of liquid out, and discard the solids. Place the liquid in a medium sized sauce pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add in the honey, bring to a simmer, and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed, and pour into a clean jar or container. This will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week.