Chasing A Chile - Carmen's Bird Pepper Hot Sauce - Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom Blog at - 282406

Counter Intelligence: Confessions of A Working Mom

Chasing a Chile - Carmen's Bird Pepper Hot Sauce 
Aug. 22, 2012 12:17 pm 
Updated: Aug. 26, 2012 1:02 pm
Ok, well this hot sauce does not have an official name, so I gave it one.  This oh so creative name came from my extensive research (aka chasing) of the little peppers Carmen uses.  I had to try to figure this out because Carmen is the comadre (godmother to my ex-husband’s daughter) of my husband, and I haven’t spoken to him in 3 months (so crazy that someone you could be with day in and day out for almost 10 years can end up almost like a total stranger – more on musings of divorce later).
My mind is so filled with tasks and responsibilities of my new life, that my old one is slowly escaping me.  So many moments I really wished I had documented more carefully, or not had put so much trust of the photos and videos of my last 9 years in his hands.  Now they are held hostage and I’m left to my aging memory. 
Well, I must have thought a little better of my situation at that time because the following day that Carmen showed me how to make this hot sauce I jotted down notes; I just came across the notes I jotted down in my little green notebook.  So here I am now, trying to recall the events of that day.
My visit to Carmen and her family was part of my quest to make the perfect posole.  Carmen used to be my ex husband’s children’s nanny.  As Carmen settled into her life here in the States, she met a man, whom she later married, and left my ex’s family to start her own.  Carmen and her husband are both from Mexico, he is a gardener, she, a stay at home mom.  They started with nothing, worked hard, started a lawn maintenance business, bought a home, and raising two smart and successful boys….the American Dream.  Totally down to Earth people, who hardly speak English, so here I go again with the language barrier. Lucky for me, Carmen is very patient and sweet.  When my ex called to tell her I wanted to have her come over to show me how to make posole, she countered with an offer for us to visit their home.
A small modest home with a modest kitchen that embraced us with the comfort and love her family had to offer, and I felt very at home.  So as we were letting the pot do its thing with the posole, I had remembered a hot sauce she sent home with my daughter once, that I just fell in love with.
So she kindly showed me with the first version I’m going to leave you with, but it was missing something from the one had tried before, so she added that missing ingredient and you will now have 2 versions of the hot sauce, both delicious. 
There was one setback for me…where to find those little peppers (since I probably won’t see Carmen again).  From what she had told me, her husband would go to a new client’s houses in the San Gabriel Valley and they would say, ‘can you get rid of those bushes in back?’, so he obliged them and brought them home.  On those bushes were small chiles about the size of a pea.  You won’t find this pepper in stores (and if you do, let me know where) and with some research, I’ve found the name of this chile …chiltepin  It’s also known as the “bird pepper” because it’s believed they grow so spread out due to wild birds eating and carrying seeds and dropping them in soil as they travel.  They are hot little suckers (50,000 and 100,000 Scoville Units)!!  Effective little suckers!! 
Roasting these tiny bombs blew everyone out of the house that day!  Coughing a lung up (even though we wore surgical masks), I felt so at peace, watching the mis en plas blister in the grapeseed oil as my then husband and Carmen’s husband and kids played outside in their beautifully tailored garden oasis.  I thought, this is the life….simple, happy, peaceful, family, friends, and gratitude abound.  Not knowing then, how important this theme would be to the life that I’m creating now.
Carmen’s Bird Pepper Hot Sauce
2 Roma Tomatos
2 cloves whole garlic
2 chiltepin peppers
½ onion, peel layers
Salt to taste
1 tsp Grapeseed Oil
Heat pan and grapeseed oil.  Add tomato, onion, and garlic and roast till blistered.  Evacuate the house and put on your surgical and/or gas mask.  Add peppers and roast til blistered but not burned.  Turn off heat.  Put all ingredients in blender with ½ c hot water and blend till smooth.  Taste, if you dare, and add salt if needed.  (The heat of this hot sauce is intense at first, but subsides quickly…leaving you to want for more)
Carmen’s Bird Pepper Hot Sauce II
Same as above but with this addition
1 dry pepper (guajillo or california)…stems, seeds, and veins removed
Soak in hot water for 20 mins.  Add to hot sauce in blender and blend till smooth. The addition of this dried pepper deepens the smokiness of the sauce.
!Buen Provecho!
Chiltepin Pepper aka Bird Pepper aka Chile Tepin
Photo Detail
Aug. 22, 2012 1:25 pm
that's a small pepper
Aug. 23, 2012 1:13 pm
a SMALL pepper with a lo of bite!!
Aug. 24, 2012 1:43 pm
Just curious, in your quest to make the perfect posole. Have you found it yet? For some reason I believe you have a killer posole recipe somewhere. Hint, Hint.
Aug. 25, 2012 7:16 am
Now I want a garden to grow the tiny hot peppers. Thanks for the recipe!
Aug. 26, 2012 1:02 pm
I wonder what the little birds think when they grab one of these! They surely are pretty peppers!
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About Me
Born in Mexico...raised a California girl, I'm always trying to find my roots with my cooking. I have a big family with my mom as matriarch and master cook. So I have some big shoes to fill.
My favorite things to cook
I love cooking food that my mom always made when we were younger. She doesn't really have any recipes, so it's a challenge. Every time she cooks, it's a unique experience since variations on ingredients are never the same. I also love Mexican food El Paso style. I would like to dabble more in Italian and Filipino dishes. My all time fav is BBQ and down home Southern comfort food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a Mexican Family. Family gatherings center around the kitchen and dinning areas. I love having family around the kitchen cooking, sitting around the dinner table talking, laughing,joking, drinking and eating.
My cooking triumphs
Mastered flour tortillas in 2013!!!
My cooking tragedies
That I mastered flour tortillas in 2013...I think I gained 5 lbs in one week.
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