03 September 2012

Sriracha Day

Another gift from Lauren, far less traumatic than the napalm caramels, was the Sriracha Cookbook. Yes there is such a thing brought to us by the same genius behind the Sriracha Blog, Randy Clemens. Naturally after I got the cookbook I had to have a Sriracha-themed dinner party!

Perhaps I didn't choose the best weekend for a dinner party with DC being in the upper 80s/low 90s with like a 1,000% humidity. This was yet another realization that while cooking with gas is so much better than electric, cooking with gas in an air conditionless apartment in DC weather is less of a good thing. On the other hand, maybe I sweat off all the calories I was about to put on!

I don't use my food processor often but I love it when I do!
I chose five recipes from the cookbook to try to make: carne asada,  fire-roasted corn chowder, bacon sriracha cornbread, peach sriracha sorbet, and sriracha truffles. The carne asada has quite the marinade which includes tequila and a lot of citrus juice. It always amazes me how lemon and lime juice can find cuts that you didn't even know you had!
I bought the tequila just for this; but we put it to good use later!
I let the meat marinade over night and much the next day, taking it out only when everyone arrived and it was  time to start broiling it. The recipe calls for four pounds of meat, but as a friend of mine rightly pointed out, four pounds is a lot, especially when you have other things. I only ended up broiling about half the meat and I think we ate about half of that.
Mmmm, meat.
Unfortunately my food pictures aren't as good as the ones in the book; but I promise that the carne asada was quite tasty; especially cooled down with a little sour cream and avacado.

Both a little frightening and yet ingenius
The corn chowder was my favorite dish, no contest. Roasting half the corn did, as promised by Clemens, add a smokey depth to chowder that brought it to the next level. Lacking a grill a did as he suggested and roasted the ears over the flame on my gas stove. It was a little scary listening to it sizzle and pop and watching the little mini fires as the silk still clinging to the ears caught fire...but utterly worth it.

I might just start doing this regularly
Yes summer seems an odd time to make a chowder; but it's also when corn is in season so I went for it. It's also a really simple soup to make especially since I inherited an immersion blender from a good friend before she moved across the country. Not having to put the soup through the blender in multiple batches was so nice.
Corn, garlic, red onions, peppers (hiding under the onions)-so simple
I accidentally stabbed myself in the palm of my left hand while I was chopping. No idea how I managed to do that and thankfully it wasn't a mortal wound, but still it made the rest of the chopping and cooking a little awkward.
My kitchen in the midst of the cooking frenzy
The corn bread was equally tasty and easy to put together; especially since I eschewed all the sifting. I get why sifting is a good thing...but partially I'm lazy and largely, in lieu of AC, I had a fan pointed directly at me which would have made sifting flour into some sort of winter wonderland (sans the cold).

Corn bread with BACON!! WIN!
Also corn bread that has bacon? Yes please. Funnily enough, in the carne asada, the sorbet, and the cornbread I forgot the Sriracha! Luckily I remembered just in time each time but I couldn't believe I was forgetting the theme ingredient.

There's bacon grease in each tin. Yes.
Because not all my guests were huge fans of spicy food I slightly lessened the amount of Sriracha in each recipe figuring people could add more as they liked. The one recipe where I didn't do that was the chowder. And wow I think maybe I should have. It is Spicy with a capital S!

Not quite napalm but close!
Do I think I did the awesome job that these recipes deserve? No. I'd certainly change a couple things about how I did the carne asada for round two and put a little less sriracha in the chowder, but overall was I pleased? Sure.

Perfect way to end summer
Would I have thought about making peaches spicy? No. Honestly that never occurred to me. It should have though because it was pretty great. Especially when we'd decided we hadn't drunk nearly enough and mixed the sorbet with tequila and vodka. Not together of course though. Ew. The sorbet had that nice cool, sweet peachyness upfront with a bit of a burn in the back. Not too much of a burn to be intimidating though.

I love my ulu. Any excuse to use it...
Also having just enough burn to be enjoyable were the truffles. Now of course I've put spice with chocolate before; everything from black pepper to cayanne, but I certainly never thought to use sriracha!

Sriracha + chocolate = good
Unfortunately, as I often do, I forgot to take pictures of the finished desserts; we were too busy eating them! The winner for me though was definitely the chocolate. Paired with a nice red wine that held up to the chocolate and all the spices made the truffles a fantastic starter and finish!

Cinnamon & orange zest really added depth to the truffles
Now I'm not going to copy any of the recipes here because that just wouldn't be fair. But I would definitely recommend getting your own copy of the Sriracha Cookbook! Available on Amazon as all good things are!

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