3 AM Sriracha | Vintage Enoteca

3 AM Sriracha

Living in Los Angeles, or frankly just living in this day in age, very few of us are strangers in the pursuit of eating better.  Now, I'm not talking about cutting out carbs, or sugar, or lessening our intake of red meat... but rather the desire to eat more food that is real and free of all those unpronounceable ingredients and scary hormones that seem to be lurking around every corner and on every food label.  
For many of us who have embarked on this food journey, we have fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole and we spend half our time terrified of corn, or soy, or chicken, and the other half of our time walking out of Whole Foods $178 poorer.  Some of us have perhaps even become that annoying person at brunch who asks no less than 17 questions regarding the milk and the cow's FICO score from which it came, only to get a hot water with lemon.  
Now, I am most certainly not going to ever fully embrace that person, or the life where the only safe place to consume food from is my own garden and from places that serve kale soup as an entree, alongside their myriad of daily seaweed options to choose from.  I am, however, the type of person who loves food... who loves cooking food... and who stays up until 3am after getting off work listening to The Smiths and making homemade Sriracha... which is what I did this past Monday night. I, like probably 3 gazillion other people, love Sriracha... and have an affinity for all things spicy.  
Sriracha wins over many of it's competitors... Tapatio and Chalula seem pedestrain in comparison.... whereas Tabasco just reminisces the condiment that was used to cover up bad, greasy, drunken breakfast at a Waffle House somewhere during the collegiate years.  
Despite Sriracha's superior taste, it follows it's competitors and is a hot sauce full of a bunch of absurd preservatives and chemical additives that I would really rather not put on my tasty food... or in my body for that matter.  I was delighted when a friend shared her recipe for homemade Sriracha, sans weird ingredients I could not pronounce.  Albeit, this recipe came with some baggage because it did come out of Gwyneth Paltrow's most recent cookbook... and I was not ready to yet sign on for full Goop-ification.  
However, I feel it is fair to the inner chef in all of us to approach each new recipe without bias... and in my case, reap the rewards of kick ass homemade Sriracha!  What resulted, (roughly around 3ish am) was an amazing hot sauce that was, in ways, superior to the store bought variety.  Not only could you taste the fact that it was made from real ingredients... but also tasted better because you're blood, sweat (and tears) went into it...and lets be honest, food made with love and with your own hands ALWAYS taste better.  Enjoy =)
** A couple of wise words before diving into this recipe:
*Use pre peeled garlic cloves, available for purchase at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or many a neighborhood grocer... 1 1/4 c. chopped cloves is WAY too many to deal with if you have to peel the garlic yourself.
*WEAR RUBBER GLOVES while chopping the 1lb. of red jalapeno peppers... otherwise your hands and wrists may feel as though they have been set afire for the duration of the following day.
*Lastly, candles and the local Asian markets are your friend... candles help stave off the pungent odor of vinegar and a pound of boiled red chiles, and the local markets help save you some $$$.

Homemade Sriracha

adapted from My Father’s Daughter

1 1/4 cups peeled garlic cloves

1 pound red jalapeno peppers, stemmed and sliced

2 1/4 cups rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light agave nectar

2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce

1. Put the garlic in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover it. Bring the water back to a boil and boil for 30 seconds. Drain the water, refill it with enough cold water to cover the garlic and repeat this blanching process one more time.

2. Once the garlic is blanched, slice it thinly and combine it with the peppers and vinegar in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil for about 3 minutes and then remove it from the heat. Add the agave and salt and stir well. Let the mixture sit for one hours to cool.

3. Pour the cooled mixture into a blender and puree until  smooth. Return it to the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and summer for 10 to 15 minutes, skimming foam as necessary. The sauce should begin to thicken up. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water to dissolve. Whisk it into the simmering sauce for 2 more minutes until it has thicken to the consistency of ketchup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir in the fish sauce.





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Eight Years in a Row:


Due to rising rent and landlord’s redevelopment plans, we have decided to shut our doors here... and re-open them in a new location, which we are in the process of choosing. We will let you know where we will be as soon as we can. In the meantime, please stop by to say hello and goodbye, for now, and let us see your beautiful faces. And keep your eyes out for our newly bottled V Sangria, coming to retailer hopefully near you (vsangria.com). We have so appreciated getting to know you these last eight years, and serving you the best boutique wine and food pairings we could conjure. Our last night of service will be December 1st, 2017.