The crop that has grown the most prolifically in my garden this year have been my peppers*, and while I love eating them roasted, served with some homemade sourdough (lean or enriched dough, it’s all good) and a fried egg on top… it’s a lot of hot peppers. Some of which are those tiny little chilis not normally eaten peppered on toast with an egg over top (pun intended).
So I decided to make some hot sauce when a bunch of the Padrón, Poblano, and Tibetan lhasa peppers (along with a few Thai chilis) started to ripen around the same time, and stumbled upon Lady and Pups’ Mean Santa chili sauce recipe. Part of it is that her food photography is off the charts stunning and she (or her photographer) could probably convince me to eat just about anything through the photo alone, but what sealed it was the short ingredient list, plus copious amounts of photos detailing the process and what it looks like at every stage. I remember this author from her incredible cookbook The Art of Escapism Cooking, having only recently made the connection between Lady and Pups (whom I follow) and her cookbook (which I adored). The recipe is deceptively simple – I had everything except fish sauce, which I then acquired, and shiso leaves, which I left out – for the amount of flavour that comes out of it. Don’t get me wrong, your kitchen (and the living room, and maybe the entire floor) will smell for the entire day. But is it ever worth it! And definitely try it with eggplants as she suggests after the chili sauce recipe: perfect combination, and this coming from someone who doesn’t even enjoy eating eggplants.
I should make a note that this is a chunky chili sauce, a different beast from the vinegar-based hot sauce you might be used to. Think sliced rounds of chilies cooked in oil till they’re oozing with flavour, their natural smoky fruitiness paired with fish sauce (or soy sauce if you want to make this vegan/vegetarian) to increase the complexity and add just enough saltiness to it… the umami scale is next-level, and you’ll be salivating right by the pot as it’s cooking from the moment the peppers start to cook down and release all their delicious flavours, even as your hands start to tingle from cutting the peppers and continue to burn as you wait for the chili sauce to cool and develop even more flavour**. It’s worth it.
If you’re a spicy food lover and could probably imagine yourself spooning (mild or moderate) chili sauce into your mouth as a snack***, this is for you. For even more resources for hot sauce creation & use, see below the cut!
You might have heard the news this past week of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
You’ve probably heard of Ginsburg throughout the years (maybe when On the Basis of Sex came out, or the documentary RBG), but whether you have the Notorious RBG tattooed somewhere or you’ve really only heard of her name in passing, here are some books and movies for you to learn more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her life, and her perseverance in her fight for women’s rights and equality in the United States.
Let’s start with No Truth Without Ruth by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Nancy Zhang, a beautifully illustrated children’s biography of Ruth’s life, from her early years to becoming Supreme Court Justice. This is a wonderful introduction to the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for all ages, quite well paced, and I must say, the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! After the biography, there is a handy timeline of her life, as well as an outline of the American court system, and a Top 10 RBG Career Highlights page. I know this is filed under our junior section, but I’d recommend it as an nice introduction to RBG to whet your appetite regardless of your age. Another junior title about RBG is I Dissent, by Debbie Levy, where Ginsburg “proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!” (from Bibliocommons).
Building off of Alex’s post about children’s literacy and developing early literacy skills, I’d like to talk about a couple of my more recent forays into picture books and children’s literature and highlight some titles for children & adults alike!
I recently encountered this delightfully written galloping ride of a fever dream, scaled for the reader as a picture book! It’s Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Shawn Harris, and I didn’t know this at the time, but the author, Colin Meloy, is the lead singer & songwriter of The Decemberists, and the musical romp of the prose makes a lot more sense knowing this! This is one of those books you almost can’t help but read aloud, and would make for a great storytime read.* The storyline, if it can be referred to as such, is as straightforward as it gets: everyone’s awake in the night when they should be sleeping, but obviously you’re not picking up a book called Everyone’s Awake just to find that out: it’s everything in between the quite simple story that makes this such an incredibly energetic book, whipped into even more of a frenzy with the incredible illustrations by Shawn Harris and – just look at that colour palette! The pages practically vibrate with energy and movement between the illustrations and the colours, words jumping off your lips faster than you can read them. And by the end (one would hope) you have tired yourself out with all that energy expended, ready to fall asleep.