Part of my Vegan MoFo 2013 is doing blog entries dedicated to each year I've been vegan.
A 10 lb. schnoxie is the only black pepper I can handle in my life. I'm not a huge fan (not any type of fan, honestly) of the spice that comes from peppercorns. Any other color of pepper, however, load me up! In addition to my FAVORITE type of Pepper, here are some of the trusty hot sauces I always rely on in my kitchen!
Melinda's XXXtra Hot
Melinda and I go way back, all the way to Philly. I remember when I first went vegan, making spicy tofu triangles with nothing but fried tofu and a buttload of Melinda's. Melinda's is still my trusty stand-by (I've got an extra bottle in my desk drawer at work) and it's rare I eat mac and cheese or hashbrowns without a few dashes. Its heat is offset by a tart fruitiness. The texture is slightly chunky with lots of habañero seeds.
Pain is Good
This bottle is what I refer to as 'the big guns.' This one rarely leaves my kitchen shelf because it is so. hot. Which only endears itself to me all the more. I simply can't and won't throw it out. All I can bear to use is a few drops (seriously) in a big vat of beans. There are two other varieties of this and all the labels feature various dudes making these faces. That is the face you will make too if you eat too much of this.
This is my first bottle of Secret Aardvark! It seems to be the Official Hot Sauce of Portland Vegans, and I enjoyed it during my last trip, so I grabbed a bottle from Food Fight! before my flight home. It's a nice alternative to when I'm not in the mood for Melinda's- it's also a habanero-based hot sauce, but it's more of a smoky heat than a fruity one. I also like the texture on this one better- much closer to ketchup than Melinda's.
Sol Food House-Made Hot Sauce
This remarkable hot sauce comes from Sol Food, a nearby Puerto Rican restaurant with a delightfully passive-aggressive letter concerning their garishly tropical color scheme in the display box where most restaurants put a menu. This hot sauce, homemade and stored in recycled soda bottles, somehow manages to strike the perfect resonant balance between garlic, vinegar, and chili pepper. I think it might be made using black magic, you guys. I first discovered it while snacking on Sol Food's delicious tostones con mojo (that's double-fried green plantain with garlic sauce, no big deal but it's AMAZING AND LIFE-AFFIRMING). Now I eat this hot sauce on pretty much anything. It's like the culinary equivalent of a black cardigan: it just goes with EVERYTHING.