Kitchen Notes

Master Class: Chinese Chili Oil

In our kitchen, the simplest things end up getting the most mileage. And our current so-simple-it-feels-like-cheating obsession is chili oil, that condiment thrown in with the packets of soy sauce in your favorite Chinese delivery order.

In the States, much of the chili oil we encounter comes straight from the jar. This is a downright shame, since making your own is a) ridiculously simple and long lasting, and b) far more flavorful. The only slightly tricky part might be the sourcing: most Asian markets will have whole Szechuan chilies (not to be confused with Szechuan peppercorns), but ground Korean chili flakes will do just fine.

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Rehydrating Dried Chilies

When it comes to fresh chilies, options are limited unless you’re willing to grow them yourself. Supermarkets limit their inventory to the most ubiquitous varieties: bell peppers, jalapeño, habanero, plus maybe a Cubanelle or poblano if you’re lucky.

So when recipes call for specific chilies that fall outside of this small box, chances are you’ll purchase them in dried form and will need to rehydrate them before using. This requires no special equipment; just a bowl and some boiling water.

 To rehydrate your chilies, place them in a heatproof bowl. Bring some water to boil, enough to completely submerge the chilies, then pour it into the bowl. We use a plate to weigh the chilies down and completely cover them in water. Let the chilies sit in the hot water for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.

Rehydration giving your kitchen skills life? Go the extra mile and make your own hot sauce! How? Simply by using our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit. Our DIY Hot Sauce Kit makes sure you have everything you need to make a flavorful sauce, in the comfort of your own home. Check out our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit!

Green Chili & Pork Stew Recipe

For our version of the classic New Mexican dish, we used a mixture of fresh, readily available green chilies and canned Hatch chilies, but if you have access to fresh Hatch chilies, by all means use them.

Top this dish with a refreshing relish of diced fresh tomatoes, minced shallot, oil and vinegar, or serve with a dollop of sour cream.

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Master Class: Green Chili & Pork Stew

In the hearts of New Mexicans, green chili stew is a totem of home. And like any symbolic dish, there are endless conflicting opinions about the “proper” preparations.  

The stew’s foundation is, of course, green chilies, preferably Hatch variety. Indigenous to New Mexico and named for the valley in which they are grown, Hatch chiles range in heat level from mild to medium, with a clean, vegetal flavor. They’re available fresh from mid to late summer, and many specialty stores carry canned Hatch chilies year-round.

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Pepper Jelly Daiquiri


Pepper jelly is an ideal cocktail ingredient. Thinned out to a syrup consistency, it can replace simple syrup in many of your favorite recipes. We’re particularly fond of pairing it with rum, like in this take on a classic daiquiri.

Pepper Jelly Daiquiri

Makes 1 cocktail

  • ½ ounce pepper jelly
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • ¾ ounce lime juice

In a small container, heat the pepper jelly with ½ ounce of water in a microwave for 30 seconds, then stir to combine. Let cool.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the pepper jelly, rum and lime juice and shake well until frost forms on the outside of the glass. Strain into a chilled coupe, and serve.

How to Make Pepper Jelly and Use it For Desserts

There are plenty of jarred pepper jellies available for purchase (we like Inna Jam’s Hungarian Pepper Jelly), but it’s worth having your own recipe on hand too. Pepper jelly is an amazing way to use up a glut of summer peppers, and it keeps for weeks in the fridge. Plus, there’s no better ingredient to have on hand when you need to whip up a quick appetizer.

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Master Class: Pepper Jelly

For some, there’s something a little bit shameful about a jar of pepper jelly. The condiment saw its apex around the time that Don Draper had his first extramarital affair; and since that time, pepper jelly has been trotted out less and less frequently, a neon relic adorning a block of cream cheese next to some Ritz crackers.

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How To Use Spicy Tomato Sauce

 On Wednesday we shared our recipe for classic spaghetti arrabbiata, but pasta is just one of many ways to use up a jar of spicy tomato sauce. We gathered a few additional preparations to help you stretch your sauce game.

Arrabbiata Recipes

This recipe is as simple as it gets, and quick to boot. There are a few keys to making it stand out: use the best ingredients you can find, from the canned tomatoes to the olive oil. And secondly, don’t be afraid to really stir those noodles as you alternate between adding tomato sauce and cooking water. It’ll make the sauce cling to the noodles and develop a velvety texture.

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Tomato sauce is the little black dress for chili peppers.

From pasta to shakshuka, a basic tomato sauce has endless applications, and provides a perfect canvas for showing the range and depth of different chilies.

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