What The Hell Are You Eating?

Condiment Spotlight: Harissa June 27, 2008

Filed under: Condiments — whatthehellareyoueating @ 2:50 pm

I looked for harissa for a long time before I found some at Williams-Sonoma.  I was seriously about to order it from Amazon.  Harissa is a chili paste made out of fresh or dry chilies, garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes.  It is an essential condiment in North Africa cuisine.  The first thing I did with it was a chicken stir fry, then Eric and I rubbed a couple of steaks and grilled them.  Both winners.  Harissa is possibly going to replace sambal as my condiment of choice.  But I don’t want to get carried away.  In Tunisia it is used to distinguish their couscous from all other couscouses world wide.  They also put it on sandwiches.  There is only a couple of things that I know about Tunisia, one is where it is and the other is that I used to get my ass kicked whenever I played them in Volleyball for the NES.  But now that I know they put harissa on sandwiches, Tunisia is skyrocketing up my list of countries I want to visit.  It is now somewhere between Poland and New Zealand.

Dry them pepper fruits!


Condiment Spotlight: Sriracha May 19, 2008

Filed under: Condiments — whatthehellareyoueating @ 4:19 am

I’ve tried putting sriracha on almost everything. It is one of the more versatile condiments regularly available. It’s pretty much just Thai hot sauce made out of chilies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt which lends to its application to just about every food group. You can put it on anything from eggs to pizza to burgers to spinach and it still gives your palate a sweet jolt of heat without overpowering your taste buds. For years, I’ve called it Rooster Sauce based on the rooster on the logo and it’s hard to say sriracha. Just like horseradish, my brother doesn’t really care for sriracha. “It could be good on some things,” he says. Which is about as good a recommendation you can get from him.

Shine on you crazy hot sauce diamond.


Condiment Spotlight: Horseradish May 8, 2008

Filed under: Condiments — whatthehellareyoueating @ 2:15 am

Horseradish is my favorite condiment. I love the way it envelops your head, shoots though your sinuses and sticks a little knife in your brain. It’s more versatile than people give it credit for, I use it on everything from french fries to sandwiches. I’ve been known to dip red peppers into horseradish. There are basically two kinds of horseradish that you’ll run into on a regular basis. The raw stuff is the good stuff. If it is off any quality it will burn through your head like meningitis. This stuff can really put a hurting on you. My brother tried some of the raw stuff for the first time at Chad’s and he almost puked. Eric probably has the highest heat threshold of anyone I know but about horseradish he says, “It’s hot the way formaldehyde is hot.” There is also prepared horseradish which is creamy and less hot or pungent.

I have to give it up to Arby’s for introducing me to horseradish. Probably the only time I’ll ever give anything up to Arby’s. They have some vile version of horseradish they call “horsey sauce.” When our mom would take us there as kids, I’d lacquer up my potato cakes with it. Thanks Arby’s for contributing to my fat youth.

In actuality horseradish, Egyptians knew about horseradish in 1500 BC. The Greeks used it as a rub to cure lower back pain and as an aphrodisiac, much the same way as salonpas pain patches are today. The name horseradish comes from the English bastardization of the German word for horseradish which was meerrettich, or sea radish since it grew by the sea. The English pronounced the word mareradish, and then switched it up with horseradish.

The British didn’t start regularly eating horseradish until the 1600’s where it became popular in rural areas. The British brought it over to America in such quantities that it was growing wild near Boston by the Civil War. Toward the end of the 19th Century America had a thriving horseradish industry situated for the most part in the upper Midwest. Approximately six million gallons of prepared horseradish are produced in the United States each year. Which according to http://www.horseradish.org, is “enough to generously season sandwiches to reach 12 times around the world.” I also read that Germans brew something called horseradish schnapps which even I think sounds disgusting.

Just because it’s shaped like a horn doesn’t mean you have to pretend it is one.