The Daily Beet

24 Jun Adventures with Ami: Some Like it Hot

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When having a choice of mild, medium or hot, I always pick hot.  From Thai food to salsa, I like heat.  I grow hot peppers in my garden too.  The gardeners out there understand when I say, I am always looking for new and interesting ways to use my harvest.  Kind of like zucchini, how many ways can I use this up before it goes bad? I know…zucchini pancakes!   Peppers are no different.  Though I like to do some canning, there is only so much salsa one can eat.  This summer I’d like to encourage you to try some new things.  Pick a new-to-you vegetable or fruit at the farmers market.  Try some new recipes, like the recipes in My Beef With Meat.  My favorite remains the Nottingham Spread. It’s great for a summer picnic!  Another thing you should try is putting a bit of heat in a recipe that you might not think of as having the potential to be hot.

A few years ago, on a motorcycle ride to Wisconsin, I found a jar of jam in a little country store.  It was blueberry habanero jam.  This sweet hot combo really was amazing! On toast, it really gave depth to the flavors.  It was just sweet enough, a little tart from the berries and had an ‘after heat’ of habanero that was just incredible.  I savored that jam, down to the last little bit I could scrape out of the jar.  I haven’t been back to Wisconsin, though I am sure you can find it elsewhere.  I make jam myself from time to time.  I prefer the no sugar pectin variety.  I usually make a peach vanilla jam that is pretty spectacular.  So you could always whip up a batch of blueberry habanero if it sounds as good to you as it did to me.  You can also add some zing to the recipes you enjoy already.  Here is one of my favorite twists on an old standby: Oatmeal with Blueberries.

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Cayenne Berry Breakfast

1 cup frozen blueberries (blackberries also work great with this)
1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)

Toss together and microwave for 1 minute.

Serve over oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, farro or polenta.

Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nuts and enjoy!

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Summer is a great time for making banana ice cream.  Maybe you just got a Yonana Maker?  Trying some of the following combinations might be great!  I use a food processor to make my banana ice cream.  One of my favorite flavors is the same combination as in the recipe above.  I use frozen bananas that are not quite ripe yet, a little green still, frozen blueberries, a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and cayenne to taste.  I didn’t come up with this brilliant idea.  I borrowed the concept from a dish I had several years ago before I was plant-strong.  The dish was apple empanadas with jalapeno ice cream.  An empanda is a pastry filled with a sweet or savory filling and baked or deep fried.  This particular version with filled with apples and served with this ice cream that was cool and sweet like vanilla and then at the very end…the heat of the jalapeno was evident.  It was a strange and delightful experience!  So next time you make some banana ice cream, consider the ways you might put a little heat to it!  Why not try the same idea using bananas, mangoes and a bit of habanero? If you like it hot, give it a try this summer and let me know what you think! Pineapple, banana,  jalapeno works fantastically as well.  So many possibilities to explore. Enjoy the adventure!

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Ami Mackey
Ami Mackey

Ami Mackey is a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. She is also the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing a nonprofit youth program. She earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

  • Laurie

    We grow hot peppers in our yard as well and there is no way we can eat them fast enough in their fresh state . . . so we just chop them all up and put them into the freezer and break off the desired amount to use all year in soups, casseroles, hummus, etc. We love spicy food and our garden bounty lasts us all year!

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