Sometimes I just feel like snacking but don’t feel like doing a lot of work to make it happen. In moments like these, I’ll find myself staring into the vortex that is my refrigerator, just standing there, in between the two wide-open doors, dawdling long enough to prompt the appliance to let me know that my loitering is not appreciated with a steady chime that I translate to mean: Get something or shut the fucking doors already! Then, defeated, I’ll saunter over to the pantry and stare blankly into it before moving stuff half-heartedly around: that bag of tortilla chip crumbs I’ll put in a salad one day; crackers that went stale long ago while waiting to be snacked on; so many mason jars of different kinds of sugar and flour and grains that my head starts to spin and I wonder what I was even looking for in the first place. Enough! I just want to grab a quick snack of something that hits the spot so I can keep moving through my day without having to do a ton of prep and clean-up.
This is where a bit of planning ahead goes a long way. Like, for instance, when I get home from grocery shopping and, because I didn’t eat beforehand, bought all the things but happen to be too hungry to make sense of any of it just then. Or, for example, when it’s that time in between lunch and dinner and I’m looking for a little nibble but don’t want to overdo it and not have an appetite for what I did eventually make out of that grocery store shopping spree extravaganza. These moments require anticipation, and for keeping something special squirrelled away so that I can prevent a turn to the dark side, the hangry side, which is a place I’ve been too many times and to which I will now say: Not today, Satan! Instead, this is my moment to stand in the light! I will set down the grocery bags that I actually remembered to bring into the store from the car for once, wash my hands, open the fridge with intent, and grab a jar of this sweet and hot pepper relish along with a nub of cheese and close the doors before getting beeped at. Huzzah!
This vermillion relish plays like a greatest hits compilation of summertime’s favorite condiment sidekicks: It’s sweet (like ketchup), tangy (like mustard), puckery and mouth-watering (like pickle relishes), and marries well with just about anything you can think to add it to. Bonus points for making it yourself and knowing there are no questionable ingredients in it. It is, as I like to call it: The one condiment to rule them all! Them! ALL! Heh. Okay. All theatrics aside, it’s seriously good on anything you might be grilling, accompanies cheese and charcuterie like a dream, and spreads onto sandwiches like a smooth operator. But wait, (there’s more!) it is also the secret ingredient I add to potato and macaroni salads that makes them sing with the bright, sweet-spicy-acidic punch it packs.
It’s worth noting that although the seeds are removed from the hot peppers, the level of spiciness will vary depending on which kind of peppers you’re using. If you prefer a solely sweet relish, skip the hots and use two bell peppers. If you’re a spicy individual, you could use only hot peppers in this (do consider wearing gloves while doing so). All told, aim to have 2 ¼-2 ½ cups of diced peppers to work with and continue with everything else as written from there.
Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish
Yield: About 1 ½ cups
Well hello! I'm Kat, and
I'm always either cooking or thinking about what I want to cook next. For me, food is always about so much more than just my next meal. This is a place for sharing stories and recipes from a life lived through the lens of food...