Pickles and munchies and Day 3 Christmas treats

December 14, 2016


It only LOOKS like someone bled in it. That’s hot sauce. LOTS of hot sauce.

It’s going to be a … warm … Christmas.

As in a bottle and a quarter of Louisiana hot sauce warm.

I would not kid you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em about this. Between a gallon of fiery pickle slices and a couple of gallons of Chex mix, a bottle and a quarter isn’t too much hot sauce. Is it? OK, so the pickles will singe a hole in your tongue. The Chex mix is merely mildly piquant. The horseradish pub cheese is, well, quite horseradish-y. Enough so, in fact, I think I may add some more cheddar to it to tone it down.

These pickles, though. Holy hell!

I mean, yeah. You put a Whole Bottle of hot sauce in ’em. Of course, you put about three pounds of sugar in ’em, too. Now, granted, I have sampled only one from the top, which may have absorbed overmuch of the hot and not so much of the sweet, but I thought that was a powerful amount of sugar. Of course, it was a powerful amount of hot sauce, too. It was a touch short of nuclear.

After 30 minutes. Sugar's dissolved, hot sauce is dispersing.

After 30 minutes. Sugar’s dissolved, hot sauce is dispersing.

One takes a gallon jug of one’s basic hamburger dill chips, and one dumps them in a colander and drains all the juice off them. Then one packs them back in the jug, alternating layers with heaping portions of sugar and hot sauce, like so:

And one lets it sit, shaking and turning upside down periodically. Note: When you turn it upside down, do so in a dish. It will leak a bit, depending upon the kind of lid it has on it.

Tomorrow, I’ll repack the slices in small gift jars, put the replacement “brine” over them, and process them in a canner for about 5 minutes, just long enough to make them seal and be shelf-stable.

My remaining piece of a bottle of Louisiana — and I thought I had a spare, but I can’t find it — I used in the spice mix for the Chex mix. Loosely based on the recipe from the Pioneer Woman website, it features melted butter, Worcestershire, garlic, onion powder, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and hot sauce. I made my 10-quart mixing bowl almost level full, so two and a half gallons of mix, which consisted of six cups each Rice and Corn Chex; three cups of Cheerios, 3 cups of oyster crackers, 3 cups of small pretzels, two cups of peanuts, and two cups of pecan halves.

The sauce is three sticks of melted butter; about 1/3 to 1/2 cup Worcestershire, about 1/3 cup garlic confit, 1 tbsp onion powder, and a few shakes of Lawry’s, along with about a quarter-bottle hot sauce. Nuke all that together, blend it with the stick blender, pour it over the mix, and gently toss it (as I had overfilled my largest mixing bowl, I did it in the top of my cake-taker), spread it in several sheet pans (keep layers less than an inch thick in the pans) and roast it about 30-40 minutes at about 250 degrees, stirring it once.

When it smells so good you can’t stand it and has darkened to a really good, end-of-August tan on a brown-eyed lifeguard (cue Chuck Berry, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”), it’s ready. Let it cool completely, bag it up, and put it somewhere where you can’t see it. Else you will eat it all and no one will get any in their treat baskets, and if they are previous recipients they will ask you, “Where’s my damn Chex mix?”

Cute little jars of pub cheese. More to come tomorrow.

Cute little jars of pub cheese. More to come tomorrow.

This pub cheese, and in a Freudian slip, or Lucian slip, as it were, I just typed “pug cheese” is a horseradish pub cheese recipe based loosely on this one. Of course, I had to scale it way, way up, as, four servings? Pfffth. Again, we need a Big Damn Batch, here, as I’m planning on divvying it up into eight half-pint jars.

So I used a pound of extra sharp cheddar, and an eight-ounce block of cream cheese; about a quarter-cup of garlic confit, about a quarter cup of prepared horseradish, about a teaspoon of cayenne. Then I went looking for dry mustard, which I did not find, so I used a couple tablespoons of Grey Poupon. I would have been better served, probably, to have used some of my homemade spicy brown beer mustard, as I’d forgotten Grey Poupon has horseradish in it. So it was quite horseradish-y. I poured in a bottle of Belhaven Cream Stout, in place of the lamentably missing Green Flash, and commenced to puree it in pulses in the FoPro.

I had cubed the cheese into about half-inch cubes, and softened the cream cheese to room temp soft. That, with an entire 12-ounce bottle of beer, was a tad bit thinner than I would have preferred; not TOO runny, but definitely on the dip-spread side as opposed to a firmer doughy texture. Given that and the horseradish overload, I grated up another two cups of sharp cheddar from a chunk I had in the fridge and just stirred that in. It thickened things up nicely, and I think will bring the cheese taste back forward as well.

This would be really good with one of those Kerrygold Irish cheddars that Sam’s has in pound blocks; it wants a really assertive cheddar, so don’t even fool with trying a milder one. After it sat on the counter in a mixing bowl for a bit, and had the additional cheese stirred in, it mellowed out and was pretty doggoned tasty. It made five cute little half-pint jars full, plus a smidgen that’s presently in the fridge. Will make another batch of that later this week.

Next up: canning the pickle chips, making the bacon jam (I discovered what I thought was a package of ends and trimmings was in fact a package of uncured side meat I bought for some reason) after I make a grocery trip to get bacon, bottling the eggnog (after I make a shopping trip for the bottles), heading to Memphis for the quail eggs and either knockwurst or bologna/mortadella, and making the loaves for the crackers-to-be. In fact, I may just make tomorrow a shopping day, and get back in the kitchen later to finish up. We still may make some toffee and/or some pralines, too!

If you n’ y’mama ‘n ’em stop by to check on the treat-making  and I’m not there, I’m off shopping. Check in with me later.



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