Special Sauce


Casting about for today’s canning project, I remembered the peach lug full of ripening tomatoes that I’d left sitting for a few days after my last harvest (not yesterday’s, but the one before that).

There were a number that needed discarding–having developed the tell-tale sunken black splotches of late blight, but there were quite a few decent ones as well–mostly Old Pink Plums and Principe Borgheses.

Trimmed up and cooked down with a chopped onion, hot and sweet peppers, garlic, white vinegar, plus a bit of salt and pepper and maybe a pinch of sugar, they make a great spicy sauce for the pantry.

I’ve been making a version of this sauce for a few years now–the base is always the red ripe paste tomatoes with garlic and onions and sweet red peppers–and then the hot peppers vary depending on the year and what’s ready.

I cook all the veggies together until soft, then cool and put them through the strainer and cook down the resulting pulp some more before adding the vinegar and seasoning and canning in half-pints.

The first year it was called “Naughty Taco”–a spicy but not-too-hot taco sauce.  Last year’s was “Hungarian Hot Sauce” because the heat was all from ripe Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, and that one had a bit of parsley minced into the finished product as well.

This year, all my hot peppers are still green, so I am cheating a little and adding heat by simmering the rest of the veggies with Thai Dragon flakes dried from last season’s harvest.  I’m going for a reprise on the parsley because that added such a yummy element.

I don’t try to make the sauce super-hot.  The point is spicy rich flavor because that’s what I like, and unlike many other things I can, this recipe–this concoction–is really for me.

You see, it’s great on eggs and tacos and the like, but as you may know, it takes an awful lot of macs n’ cheese to raise up a little boy.  The only way my protein-preferring system can handle that many carbs and dairy is through a liberal dose of spicy-tomato-y home-canned special sauce on top!

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