Create hot stuff for Dad

The Kit­chen Diva - this week, make your own hot sauce!

If your go-to gift for Fath­er’s Day is a tie, socks, shirt or some oth­er art­icle of ap­par­el, on be­half of dads every­where — please try something new! If your dad loves spicy foods, a sig­na­ture homemade hot sauce is the per­fect gift. You also can start a tra­di­tion of present­ing him with a new bottle of cus­tom-made hot sauce each year.

The trick to the per­fect hot sauce is us­ing a com­bin­a­tion of pep­pers with a bal­ance of sweet­ness, fruit and heat. Fruity pep­pers like the Aji Am­arillo Chili, the Mex­ic­an Mi­ra­sol Pep­per or the Yel­low Per­uvi­an Chile (which is a deep yel­low, some­times or­ange, 4 to 5 inches long) have an in­tense spice with a fruity fla­vor. A Mus­tard Habanero pep­per re­tains the heat found in many Habanero vari­et­ies but has fruity over­tones. This pep­per is dark-yel­low with hints of or­ange and a poin­ted tip.

Chile pep­pers like po­b­lano, New Mex­ico or Ana­heim are a mix of fruity, mild and spicy. Cer­tain types of pep­pers like the Carib­bean Red Pep­per and Scotch Bon­nets add to the hot sauce the heat that will make your Dad’s mouth wa­ter, his ears pop and his body tem­per­at­ure rise. Com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent types of pep­pers with ve­get­ables will add sweet, fruity and fla­vor­ful notes to your homemade hot sauce.

Us­ing your com­puter or sup­plies from the arts-and-crafts store, cre­ate a spe­cial la­bel for Dad’s cus­tom “Hot Stuff Hot Sauce” us­ing the re­cipe be­low.

You also can find beau­ti­ful, but in­ex­pens­ive dec­or­at­ive glass bottles at dis­count stores. Tie a rib­bon to your gift bottle and a new Fath­er’s Day tra­di­tion is born!


3 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

1 large yel­low onion, sliced

2 tea­spoons salt

2 large jalapeno pep­pers, diced

2 me­di­um chile pep­pers, such as po­b­lano, New Mex­ico or Ana­heim, diced (see Tip be­low)

2-4 habanero or oth­er small, hot chile pep­pers, stemmed, halved and seeded (see Tip)

4 cloves gar­lic, diced

1 large car­rot, tip and root end re­moved, chopped

1 pound to­ma­toes, diced (about 3 cups) or 1 (28 ounce) can fire-roas­ted diced to­ma­toes

1-3 tea­spoons sug­ar or stevia

1 cup dis­tilled white vin­eg­ar or apple-cider vin­eg­ar

1. Heat oil in a large sauce­pan over me­di­um-high heat. Add onions and salt, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, un­til onions be­gin to soften. Add in pep­pers, gar­lic and car­rots. Cook, stir­ring, un­til onion be­gins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Note: This should be done in a very well-vent­il­ated area! The fumes from the cook­ing pep­pers are strong, so do not lean over the pot, or you may in­hale the ac­rid steam.)

2. Re­duce heat to me­di­um. Add to­ma­toes and sug­ar or stevia. Bring mix­ture to a boil, then re­turn heat to me­di­um. Con­tin­ue to cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the to­ma­toes be­gin to break down, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Re­move from heat and al­low mix­ture to steep un­til it comes to room tem­per­at­ure. Care­fully trans­fer pep­per mix­ture to a food pro­cessor or blender. (Use cau­tion when pur­ee­ing hot in­gredi­ents.) If you’re us­ing a blender, place the lid on loosely and cov­er it with a dish­cloth to al­low any steam to es­cape. Pur­ee mix­ture for 15 seconds. With food pro­cessor or blender run­ning, add vin­eg­ar through the feed tube or open­ing in the lid in a steady stream.

4. Pur­ee un­til smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a me­di­um bowl; pour the pur­eed mix­ture through the sieve, gently push­ing on the solids with a wooden spoon to ex­tract all the li­quid. (Dis­card solids.) Let the sauce cool to room tem­per­at­ure, about 1 1/2 hours. Taste and sea­son with more salt, if ne­ces­sary.

5. Trans­fer hot sauce to a ster­il­ized, pint glass jar or bottle and se­cure with air­tight lid. Re­fri­ger­ate. The hot sauce tastes best when aged at least two weeks. Shake bottle to re­com­bine the li­quid be­fore us­ing. Can be stored in re­fri­ger­at­or up to six months. Makes one pint.

Tip: The mem­branes that hold the seeds are the spi­ci­est part of chile pep­pers (that’s where the cap­saicin is). The seeds pick up some spi­ci­ness by as­so­ci­ation. You can ad­just the heat of the pep­pers and the spi­ci­ness of the hot sauce by us­ing some or all of the seeds along with the flesh of the pep­pers. Be sure to wash your hands thor­oughly after chop­ping hot pep­pers, or wear rub­ber gloves. 

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