These are the sauces I know I know

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I have been on a hot sauce kick for a little while and thought I would write about some of my trials. As of yet I am far from a ghost pepper ingesting, iron stomached, brass balled chilli head, and there are many milder scale sauces that would have me running for the milk.

That having been said, I do enjoy a well rounded burn and the endorphin rush that comes with it. Most important for me though, is what the sauce does or doesn’t do for food. The heat of a sauce is secondary. I want things to taste good and have a depth to them. Following are a sampling of the sauces I like or have endured to date, for the sake of my obsessive complusive nature.

 

Blair’s Original Death Hot Sauce

Habeneros, Vinegar, Cayenne, Garlic, Chipotle, Lime Juice, Cilantro, Spices.

Fairly mild heat. There are lots of reviewers that love this as an condiment for everything but I won’t be buying it again. Garlic is about the only flavor that stands out for me. Decent thick consistency though.

 

Marie Sharp’s Mild Habanero Hot Sauce
Marie Sharp’s Fiery Hot – Hot Sauce
Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat Hot Sauce (These are in order of heat.)

Red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, key lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Belizean adds capsicum oil and some different spices to get the heat level up.

The mild is the thickest and towards Belizean end the sauce gets pretty runny. All three of these are fantastic, I have had them on chicken nuggets, pork chops, stir fries, pizza, potatoes, mexican, and eggs. The sauces complimented and added great flavor and heat to ALL OF THEM. All the ingredients are fresh grown on Marie’s farm in Belize, and you can taste it.

One of the coolest things is the carrots – they compliment and present the real habenero taste – which has a surprising initial fruity sweetness to it. They most of all lack that vinegar punch I think hides or obliterates the great pepper flavor in other sauces.

I have a small gripe with the Fiery Hot though. While it is my favorite sauce of all time it also has 210mg of sodium per Tablespoon, compared to 11mg in Belizean and 45mg in the Mild variety. Given a healthy daily sodium intake is max 1500mg this sauce is clearly overly salty. Given the flavor of it’s brethern it doesn’t need to be, though, which is a bit disppointing!

 

Sensations Pineapple Cayenne Hot Sauce

Pineapple, Cayenne Peppers, Lemon & Lime Juice, Honey, Salt and Cane Juice, Carrot Juice, Shallots, Garlic, Onion.

No real heat to speak of but wow is it thick and tasty! If you ever had a dish that needed a little tart pineapple sweetness, or forgot to put the pineapples on your pizza you can douse it with this stuff. It’s even quite nice on ice cream!

 

Iguana Mean Green Jalapeno Pepper Hot Sauce

Jalapeno peppers, carrots, onions & garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and corn starch, with ascorbic acid & .1% sodium benzoate as preservative.

Very mild sauce with just a touch of flavor. It is a bit runny in consistency and has lots of spices and other stuff floating in it. I have had it on eggs, pizza, chicken fingers, and mexi fries and it just doesn’t wow me. It has an internet reputation for being very flavorful but to me it’s pretty hum drum.

 

Blair’s Jalapeno Death Hot Sauce

Fresh Jalapeno Chilies, Vinegar, Tomatillos, Fresh Garlic, Key Lime Juice, Shallots, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Cilantro, Cane Sugar, Onions, Tequila, Spices, Xanthan Gum

This one is difficult. Nicely chunky in consistency, it has a small touch of heat. Unfortunately the vinegar and cilantro throw me for a loop. The Cilantro can either be nicely muted from shake to shake or really punch you in the throat, and believe me I shake my sauces well before pouring. Combined with Marie Sharp’s Exotic sauce on burritos it was almost mouth porn, but by itself on potatoes and chicken nuggets it’s kind of lackluster. Might buy again for a change from all the habenero sauces.

 

Dave’s Crazy Caribbean Hot Sauce

carrots, rican red habaneros, lime juice, cane vinegar, red chiles, onion, garlic, water, salt, ascorbic acid.

I bought this one having read positive reviews and thinking it would be quite simular in taste to Marie Sharp’s stuff given the ingredient list. It’s not. It’s runny and doesn’t add much in flavor or heat to anything. I believe it will be relegated to the fridge at work as a ‘just in case’

 

Droolin’ Devil Garlic Chili Sauce

Fresh Red Peppers, Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Garlic and Sea Salt

Not really a hot sauce, given the pepper variety that’s not suprising. It will definately handle your garlic cravings with ease, but it’s probably too much garlic for daily use. Haven’t tried it as a grilling or BBQ replacement yet, but am planning to this summer.

 

Marie Sharp’s Exotic Sauce

green mangoes, tamarind, raisins, ginger, sugar, vinegar, onions, garlic, habanero peppers, spices.

Big time raisin and then mango flavor. Again, a great sauce for pork chops, chicken, or stir fries that need that extra sweetness. It doesn’t have HOT in the name, so don’t expect any heat from this one, although you do taste the habenero’s sweet side a bit.

 

Lottie’s Traditional Barbados Yellow Hot Sauce

Scotch bonnet peppers, mustard, vinegar, onions, sugar, salt and garlic

A bit different than the rest. It’s almost more of a hot mustard than a hot sauce. The scotch bonnets, while in the same family as a habenero, are just completely different in flavor. The fruitiness and punch of the pepper is just somehow different. There’s no mistaking the healthy heat kick in this sauce.

I am absolutely disgusted by mustard so that part of the flavor profile turns me off but I have to say it brings a pork chop with sauerkraut to an entirely different level. In a good way.

 

Marie Sharp’s Orange Pulp Habanero Pepper Sauce

yellow habanero peppers, orange pulp, onions, key lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.

Another odd duck, the citrus flavor is unmistakable in this sauce, and it also has a touch of heat to go with it. Tasted on it’s own my initial reaction was to want to throw it out, but I am glad I held on to it. On breaded tilapia, and a couple other pieces of fish I have tried it was a great flavor punch. In a mongolian beef stir fry the citrus was a nice touch.

 

Droolin’ Devil Chipotle Hot Sauce

tomatoes, smoked Jalapeno peppers, roasted yellow peppers, green Jalapenos, cilantro, vinegar, cane sugar, sea salt and ‘Heavenly Herbs and Sinful Spices’

Droolin’ Devil hails from Saskatchewan and this sauce won a scovie award in 2008 in the mild sauces category. I think the only sauce I’ve had with tomatoes in it. It is a nice smoky thick additive to pizza with a respectable bit of heat.

 

Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce

Water, vinegar (white and apple), sugar, peppers (Chipotle, Guajillo, Arbol & Pequin), salt, natural flavor, and spices.

All of Cholula’s sauces add a nice flavor to anything you can add them to. They seem really nicely suited to mexican and pizza slices. My wife adds this or Cholula Garlic to every pizza slice she eats!

Not a big punch of vinegar, and really no heat to speak of either. Has an even nicer smokier sweeter flavor than the Droolin’ Devil Chipotle in my opinion. Unfortunately with all the water and vinegar it’s nearly the consistency of water. I like a bit of substance and heat in my sauces so I’ve graduated from Cholula.

 

Dan T’s Smoked Chipotle Grilling Sauce

Cayenne pepper sauce(aged cayenne, white vinegar, salt, xantham and guar gums), water, soy sauce(water, wheat, soybeans, salt, sodium benzoate), brown sugar, tomato paste, spices, modified corn starch, chipotle pepper, concentrated lemon juice, natural smoke flavour.

A bit heavy on the ingredient side, but it is what it claims to be – a nice chipotle grilling sauce. We used it on a big bacon wrapped beef tenderloin and it came out really nice. It’s hard to beat sweet smokey heat on a huge chunk of meat. I’d say only use it in grilling applications as it’s quite strong on it’s own.

 

Droolin’ Devil Gourmet Hot Sauce

Habanero, Piquin, Cayenne, Ring of Fire, Peri Peri, Tepin, Jalapeno Peppers, Garlic, Vinegar, Ginger, Evil Spices, Sea Salt, Lemon, Lime and Orange Juice.

I bought this without checking the ingredient list. Note the first 7 ingredients are peppers. What I thought would be a cadillac of hot sauces was just a load of different peppers tossed into the same sauce. That makes for a nice burn, I’d say it’s the hottest sauce I own.

The nice thing about the variety of peppers is the totality of burn you get off it. Within a few drops you’re sweating, your tongue and lips are tingling, the back of your throat is tight, and your nose and eyes are watering! Some of the heat is instant and some of is slow and builds, some lingers and some heat is in and out before you know it.

The bad side is the Cayenne and Peri Peri take over. I would describe the flavor of this sauce akin to chewing on a whole peppercorn. There’s no depth and it’s not enjoyable. Suggested use would be to add to a big pot of chilli or something to add a little heat.

 

Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce

Water, Salt, Dried Peppers (Arbol & Piquin), Vinegar, Garlic, Spices, Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum, dried Garlic.

Like the other Cholula sauce, great flavor, barely detectable heat, and runny as water. Good garlic punch, but not overdone.

 

 

El Yucateco Chili Habanero Hot Sauce

Green habanero pepper, water, salt, garlic, spices, acetic acid, FD&C yellow #5, FD&C blue #1, 0.1% sodium benzoate

Love the bright jade green color of this sauce. You can’t hide this shit on your food, that’s for sure! It also provides a decent punch of habenero heat with a little bit of hab flavor. It’s basically a simply made mexican made sauce that’s best paired with mexican food.

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mit der maus

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this week in german class our teacher started us out with a novel exercise. we were paired up and a cartoon was shown on a projector screen. one of the pair had to close their eyes while the other was to describe in german what was going on in the video as it played.

here is the cartoon, there’s actually no speaking in it so anybody can understand it: http://www.wdrmaus.de/lachgeschichten/geschichten/video.php5?id=2593

I was paired with likely the slowest of the class – he got out a couple nouns at best and I had NO clue what was going on in the video. I fared better but this video is the kind of silliness it’s hard even to describe in English in real time.

heute

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today in german class we watched the movie “Das Leben der Anderen” – or “The Life of Others”. It’s on Netflix and though it’s in German it is subtitled and I highly recommend it.

last week in german class an older classmate exploded after a particularly difficult exercise in listening comprehension. It was a recording of a reporter in Berlin on the night the wall fell, interviewing those who were coming from the East through the border crossings to the West, and asking those people how they felt. the classmate said he liked our text and workbooks just fine, but the audio CD had to go – it was too fast, too hard to understand, etc

my teacher kind of ranted at him and pointed out he’s been in german classes nearly 10 years now.. that he doesn’t ask when he doesn’t understand things..

if I was still in ‘beginner’ after 10 years, I’d feel frustrated, too.  not that I’m trying to feel superior or claim I’m better – but I feel as though we could be challenged a bit more. I know it’s difficult to teach a class with widely varying levels of student, so I can’t blame my teacher. It wouldn’t hurt us to feel dumb a little bit of the time, make some mistakes, be forced to ask questions, and do a little work on our own. I get the feeling some of the older people in the class are just doing this as their evening out of the week.

when I’m independently wealthy…

Some more

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I would really like to do some traveling, but it’s not in the cards right now. With jbeans new job we’ll just have to wait. So Xmas in Europe 2012 (hoping)..

I am thinking it would be cool to do a bit of touring in germany first, from early to mid-December. I have always wanted to visit a Weihnachtsmarkt (christmas market) in Germany….

I remember encountering a lot of pedestrian only areas in the cities and towns I visited in the UK and Europe and thinking how cool they were with their little shops and stands filled with regional fare. They were such relaxed, cozy, and welcoming areas…. Take that area, decorate it, and stuff it with traditional christmas presents and foods, and you have a Weihnachtsmarkt.

It sure beats the cement unfeeling jungle we have here during xmas season, with all our big box stores… So much traffic… and everyone shopping is just pissed off and trying to get things done at the expense of anyone else who may be in their way.

Anyways, after bumming around (German also has a verb bummeln! – same meaning haha) we’d
meet up with our friends in Mainz, and continue on to Sweden with them to spend the rest of the holidays with M & R near Stockholm. Mats says Sweden is lacking in culture but I’m still curious as to how the Swedes spend Christmas – no less a mixed group of Germans, a swede, and a Dutch girl.. Lots of traditions mixed in, no doubt.

I hope it all works out. It’s a long ways away but I’m sure another year will have come and gone before we know it

what did she say when they tried to send her to rehab?

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I don’t think Amy Winehouse deserves to be considered part of the legendary 27 club with musicians like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. But anyways.

summer is too short for all the stuff everyone tries to stick into it.

fail.

I did a lot of checking into moving to Germany. I figured out the procedure and what paperwork would need to be done. My wife wouldn’t need to jump through any real hurdles to live with me. We could bring our dog. I could arrange to have had my job waiting for me when I come back, I can learn German to the point I can integrate, and I could certainly find a job (I had a lot of interest in my stepstone.de profile).  In the end my mortgage is the show stopper. Even with a renter in our house, I wouldn’t be able to afford a mortgage in Canada and rent an apartment in Germany. I absolutely want to keep the house but my mortgage is pretty tight and doesn’t allow me to take a ‘rainy year’ away from payments or anything like that, so I’m stuck.

so that ends that, but I did my best to figure out what it would take to make it work.

not that I’m done travelling.. I was looking up a 3 week immersion course in Hamburg .. or the possibility that my next vehicle will be a volvo and I can do this whole European Delivery deal where I pick up the car in Goteborg, Sweden, drop it off somewhere it Germany, and have it shipped to Canada from there. I am still keen on seeing Hamburg and experiencing Christmas in Europe.  and do the Swedes still sauna in mid-winter? that would be pretty cool too.

ok, all done for today. more later. you’re the boss applesauce.

dealing with difficult clients

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my boss has our entire department signed up for a course in ‘how to interact with difficult clients’.

not meaning to brag, but it’s rare in my tier-2 position I deal with our ‘clients’ directly and thus, the chance to have poor client interactions are rare.

the flipside of that, is that in my position the items I work on tend to be higher responsibility and priority, and therefore issues that crop up during my work tend to affect many more people at a time, and much more acutely.

it’s my experience people tend to appreciate honesty, taking ownership of the blame, plus a willingness to correct the problem ASAP and communicate what your planned steps and timeline are to resolve their issues.  Some can look past the odd mistake. If you are able to provide notice in advance of what may be happening and clear communication throughout an issue cycle, that can help position you better to have smoother interactions between yourself and client.

on the other hand I know clients are less able to stomach finger pointing and repeated issues of the same kind causing interruptions to services they use.

Negative perceptions are often brought to the table:

  • A difference in view between the The IT dept on the severity and important of the interaction/issue as less severe
  • and for example: “These computer people always do this to ME”

Lastly, outside influences may also negatively or positively affect any interaction. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally a bad day for one individual can make it a bad day for everyone in their path.

In any case, I have been in helpdesk shoes before, so it will be interesting to see what tools and advice I can take away from the presentation, maybe even to lessen the impact on other staff normally and when issues from my end arise.

deep thoughts

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I think we’ve all heard Elmer Fudd reads Porno. It got me to thinking : What would Yosemite Sam sound like during an orgasm?

Just thinking out loud.

I’m still working on Germany stuff. My initial lead was to work for a friend’s company..but he may not be working for them much longer. So I have to attack this from another angle. I suppose I have the option to look at other locales in Germany in which to work..

Thinking about the options, we absolutely loved Cologne, so that option may stay open. Berlin seemed hyper interesting and is cheaper to live in, but doesn’t somehow appeal to me to work in. Munich and Frankfurt are quite expensive and likewise don’t appeal much to me from a working and living perspective.

Hamburg is somewhere I’ve never been but heard a lot of good feedback about. Bonn, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Dresden, Hannover, and Essen are other places that I haven’t been yet that interest me..but know very little about. Basically I’m looking to earn well, have a decent standard of living, have lots of options for sightseeing and things to do, a bit of local culture, good “IT” prospects..

In the process I have dusted off my 6 year old resume.. and after looking over the projects I’ve been involved with and the work I’ve done I feel more confident in getting a position somewhere.  The only issues are that Europe prefers to use the Curriculum Vitae format over the North American resume format, so I had to adapt to that.

The other issue is translating to German. Let me tell you, the job search field is ample opportunity to learn crazy new vocabulary! (gems like Lebenslauf,  Einstellungstest, Vorstellungsgespräch, Gehaltsvorstellungen). I think I will drop my CV first in English on German job search sites, and see what response I get..thankfully I have some super-smart and generous German Kontakte with whom to help me with the translation.

I also confirmed my mortgage DOES NOT have an option to delay payments a year, which is a setback, but I can work around that. I also need to see if there is an option to do a ‘trading places’ situation with another Hamburg resident.

My german class is likewise going well. At first I was worried going into a intermediate class that I would be in over my head.. but now I wish I had some more advanced classmates participating. There is some absolutely atrocious pronunciation going on, and the general level of confidence and vocabulary of my classmates to speak in German is lacking a lot. I will readily admit I’m far from ready to be dropped into German life at my current level, but mein Gott! A little competition between my classmates and I would motivate me a little more.

Wrote too much already! Will be back soon to write more!

Also, tschüß! (byebye!)

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