My best friend in high school was obsessed with spicy foods, specifically, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. She would always try to get me to snack on them with her and I just couldn’t get over the unpleasant burning taste. How could people like spicy food? Who wants pain while they eat?
Fast forward 4 years and I’ve collected a small arsenal of hot sauces because I absolutely love the flavor. They say your tastebuds change as you age, but I never fully believed it. I’m not a picky eater and there’s not a single food that I absolutely refuse to eat, but this adventure in spice has made me a believer. I never knew how much a simple sauce could change a dish!
My current favorite is Cholula Chili Lime. I actually received an entire bottle as a free sample from Smiley360, and I suppose it has achieved its goal of being promoted by recipients! This sauce has a subtle spice with a delicious lime zest. It reminds me a lot of the kind Mexican restaurants use in their dishes. Lately I’ve been putting it on my fake chicken to kick it up a notch! It has a slight sweetness which is great to ease the spice-apprehensive into this culinary obsession.
Another popular hot sauce that I keep well-stocked is Tapatio. It definitely has a unique kick and slight bitterness to it. I exclusively use it on my eggs each morning as the flavor tends to be slightly overpowering. A little goes a long way!
Since this IS Portland, there are several small-batch hot sauceries in town. My favorite is Marshall’s Haute Sauce. These baby jars will cost you a pretty penny, but the flavors are so unique and versatile (except for the carrot curry. It is still sitting in my fridge unused because I have no clue what carrot curry goes with…). Maybe I will try to use it tonight and report back. I’ve also tried the Smoked Habanero Barbecue and its so great with plain hummus. The Serrano Ginger Lemongrass is another oddball. I found that dipping string cheese into it is a great use of its mild, earthy flavor.
Sriracha is another sauce I never understood until recently. I tried it just last year and hated it! I was somehow given an entire jumbo-sized bottle, so I figured I might as well try it out, and now I can’t live without it. I slather it over vegetables and put it in soups and chili. My absolute favorite is eating it with peas! The flavor profile is complex – it starts out with a savory roasted pepper taste that quickly morphs into full on fire-in-your-mouth. I could do without the burning, but the initial flavor is so worth it. Just look at how much I put on my veggies!
One of my non-hot-sauce related food obsessions has recently been banana milk. I got the idea when I was reading a recipe for homemade strawberry milk. The recipe promoted itself as being a healthy alternative to store bought, but it included almost a half cup of sugar in the recipe! No thanks. I was reading the comments to see if anyone had healthy substitutions when I came across one comment that read, “I like strawberry milk but I love banana milk even more! Just blend one banana and 8oz of milk together and you’re done!”
I decided to try it with a ripe banana and 3oz whole milk and 5oz almond milk and the result was a delicious and frothy drink! It is a great breakfast alternative for when I get tired of just eggs.
I know my kitchen adventures haven’t been so exciting recently. I’ve been focusing on job hunting! I had a second round interview a few days ago and was told it was between me and one other woman who had more experience. They loved my personality, technological knowledge, and demeanor, so I played up the fact that I can easily learn the programs they use and how to verify insurance, but you can’t easily teach someone how to relate to patients in a compassionate manner. They seemed to really agree – and yet, I didn’t get the job! How many times am I going to be passed over due to lack of experience when no one will give me a chance to gain any? I’ve started to apply to marketing jobs since that is a field in which I DO have experience, although it is not my ideal. I suppose we will see! The hipster hotel job is supposed to be spending this week looking for “experienced” hotel front desk employees, but if they don’t find any, I will be their “first call.” I’m still on the fence, though, because I would have to work the worst hours (i.e. nights, weekends, early mornings) and travelers always seem to be the most irritated of people. This hunting is getting tiring, though!