We all need them, I love them. I use them whenever they’re available. On my way to work, I take the last possible exit and make that death-defying left into the street right across from the building’s garage. Once there and working, I’m a master of the keyboard shortcuts. Life is complicated and difficult enough on its own, if there’s a chance something will make it simpler or the completion of a task can be faster, I’m all over it.
I take cooking or preping shortcuts when available too. I have 2 that I’m especially crazy about. The first one I use because it is a time-saver, the second because of convenience. Intrigued much? I’ll share with you.
Shortcut #1 is Crushed Garlic. I love the scent and taste of fresh garlic in my foods, there really isn’t anything quite like it. I don’t, however, love the smell of garlic on my hands and don’t always want to spend extra minutes mincing. I’m also not crazy about the prepackaged bottles of minced garlic. There are 2 reasons for my dislike of those little bottles: a) in order to preserve the garlic, they add vinegar to it–this changes the taste of a dish; b) it tends to be minced thicker than I care for.
Here’s what I do:
Shortcut #2 – Habanero Paste – Habaneros, Scotch Bonnets, Aji Chombo, whatever you call it this little pepper packs a whoping punch. My first personal experience with this devil was when I was about 18 and getting some nibbles ready for my first party. I needed to chop some for a pickled dish and I didn’t realize that mere contact with the inside of it could make for very uncomfortable times. So I chopped about 5 of them, through them into my dish then went on with the business of getting ready. I rubbed my eyes, so I removed and rinsed my contacts only to make the stinging worse. I showered, so EVERY inch of my body felt as though it was aflame. I still enjoyed my party, youth is a wondrous thing.
Now that you have that picture in your head, my first piece of advice is DON’T TOUCH ‘EM; there’s a reason they rank as one of the hottest pepper known to man. Even as I remove the stem, I handle them with a fork and knife. I’m not saying you need to fear it, just have respect for it. It really is a delicious little pepper. I love its smoky, almost sweet taste.
Usually I get about 20 of the orange to red ones, remove the stems and quarter. Put them in the blender with 1/3 cp of extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp sugar, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, 1-1/2 tsp English mustard, 2 tsp white vinegar. Just blitz until you end up with a smooth paste. Put it all into an air-tight container and keep refrigerated. I tend to add it to recipes about 1/2 tsp at a time for a nice little kick.