CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Since winter insists on sticking around, I suggest we revert to more primal forms of warmth: I'm talking about inner heat.
When you're cooking for your family but you're the only one who wants to feel the burn, you learn to settle for spice on the side.
Crushed red pepper sits dutifully near my plate at many meals, while my cabinet holds a hodgepodge of bottles containing fiery liquids in shades of green or red.
I wanted no part of the burn for most of my life. I was pregnant when my taste buds demanded more. Now I can't get enough. I prefer to cry myself through meals, tissues at my side to dab my dripping nose. I don't discriminate against burns; I love the nasal pain of wasabi and horseradish and the mouth burn of hot peppers. Inflamed lips are part of the deal, and you must learn to accept it. So, grab your lip balm, and stay with me.
Sriracha hot sauce is one of my go-to condiments when I want some spice. With its iconic rooster label and bright-red zip, it's a staple in many homes and restaurants.
Sriracha has become so essential that when the company was facing issues in November, many fans of the sauce dubbed the time "Srirachapocalypse." Apparently, the Sriracha factory was emitting fumes that caused people who live near the factory to have burning eyes and scratchy throats. It's hot stuff. I admit feeling a little sweaty and anxious, too, when I learned that I may never be able to purchase Sriracha again. There's nothing like it. Luckily, the dilemma was solved, and the iconic hot sauce is set to resume distribution. Thank goodness.
I hear the Super Bowl is coming up soon. I only see this event as an opportunity to eat yummy food. This year, experiment with some spicy snacks. Add a little zip to standard chili and chicken wings, and try some recipes with a kick.
The beautiful thing about spicy food is that most people eat less of it and drink more water. Use Super Bowl party guests as guinea pigs: If there is food left over, then you'll know it was too spicy for most folks.
Spice up your Super Bowl snacks with these recipes.
Sriracha sesame ginger popcorn
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups popped popcorn
In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil and Sriracha sauce. Stir in the sesame seeds, garlic powder and ground ginger. Mix well. Pour over the popcorn, and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste, and garnish with additional sesame seeds.
Adapted from bakeyourday.net
Pineapple-serrano pico de gallo
Large pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Juice of 3 limes (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Tortilla chips, for serving
Grill pineapple on medium-hot grill until lightly charred, 2 minutes per side. Refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. Core grilled pineapple rounds and dice. In a medium bowl, combine pineapple with remaining ingredients (except tortilla chips), and refrigerate to let flavors marry, about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.
Creamy wasabi spread
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup prepared wasabi
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Rice crackers and vegetables for serving
Place cream cheese on cutting board; split into 2 layers. Spread wasabi over bottom half; replace top layer. Press both sides into sesame seeds. Place on a shallow serving plate; pour soy sauce around cheese. Serve with crackers and veggies.
Adapted from tasteofhome.com
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