Each of us, as we journey through life, has the opportunity to find and to give his or her unique gift. Whether this gift is quiet or small in the eyes of the world does not matter at all-not at all; it is through the finding and the giving that we may come to know the joy that lies at the center of both the dark times and the light. — Helen Luke
This week, I learned that making hot sauce is easy and amazing. Beyond vinegar, salt, sweeteners and dozens of peppers [from sweet Bells to Carolina Reapers and Ghosts], fruits, vegetables and herbs can be added to create a vast variety of flavors and heats.
Tuesday evening, Trina Goggins, a member of Phipps Conservatory’s Urban Gardening group, shared her fascination with growing peppers and making hot sauce. And I learned a lot more as my medium-hot group rough-chopped one quarter of a red onion, a few garlic cloves [not whole bulbs!], sweet green and red and a jalapeno pepper, a peach and some parsley. Then we pureed those chunks in a food processor with brown sugar, salt and a cup of apple cider vinegar. After simmering a few minutes, we funneled our hot sauce into glass jars. Our second concoction contained ginger and lots of fresh, sweet pineapple. Wow!
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Another, Wow! A second Helen Luke [what a lady] quote that keeps me thanking Trina for how her ordinary chopping and cooking created flavors to savor and an extra-ordinary experience:
To do the ordinary thing in an ordinary way is easy. To do the extraordinary thing in an extraordinary way is easy – both these kinds of activity are very common indeed. But to do the ordinary thing in an extraordinary way and the extraordinary thing in an ordinary way is quite staggeringly difficult and very rare indeed. It is the way of saints.
The day after this cooking class, I watched Kardea Brown, a southern cook of Gullah/Geechee descent, teach Farmhouse Rules’ Nancy Fuller how to make Okra Soup with Shrimp. Most important to me was learning how to keep cooked okra crunchy instead of dissolving down to most disgusting slime imaginable [add fresh lemon]. Here’s the 3-minute video that demos how to cook ordinary okra and shrimp in an extra-ordinary way.