A few weeks back, H and I attended the second annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo, where we had the time of our lives sampling incredible, small batch crafted hot sauces in every flavor imaginable and meeting tons of great people. We also purchased and brought home dozens of bottles of those sauces, and I immediately got to work coming up with fun uses and recipes for some of our acquisitions.
Last week, I began a new blog series called Spicy Spotlight, where I share some of these products and my uses for them. No one is paying me for this; I am only sharing because I have truly fallen in love with each and every one of these sauces and the incredible depth of flavor that they have added to my food.
One of the most memorable tables I visited at the Expo was Dragon’s Blood Elixir. They piqued my curiosity with their name, but won my heart with their product.
Dragon’s Blood Elixir is a Connecticut-based company (local to me!) that emphasizes the use of locally-sourced peppers and other ingredients. I am kind of in love with this quote, taken directly from their website:
“I believe in producing my sauces in small numbered batches. This allows me to assure you that I have tasted every batch before it is bottled. It also allows for some slight variation due to the seasonal nature of some of the ingredients. These sauces are made to go with food; if you are looking for pain, eat a fresh habanero- that’ll do it.”
I didn’t try a single bad thing during the entire Expo, but the majority of vendors had one, maybe two, excellent products while the rest were good. At Dragon’s Blood, on the other hand, I tasted over a dozen samples and was completely wowed by every last one. The focus on producing sauces with real, identifiable flavor is immediately obvious as soon as it hits your tongue. Their signature ingredient in every sauce recipe is apple puree, which gives each one a lovely, subtle sweetness plus a wonderful, smooth texture.
It took my friend and me at least a half hour to try all the samples they had available at the Expo, and the people staffing the booth were so friendly the whole time and seemed genuinely pumped to have us try their products. At the end I was having so much trouble narrowing down what I wanted to buy, and they were more than happy to let me taste and re-taste certain contenders to make my final decision.
I ended up with 6 flavors: Sesame Tamari, Balsamic Garlic Herb, Bluebarb, Roasted Garlic, Garlic Paprikash, and of course the original Dragon’s Blood Elixir Hot Sauce.
Aside from the original hot sauce flavor (which really is just a phenomenal all-purpose hot sauce), I made my choices based on ideas I had for what I wanted to cook with them. And you guys…these are SO GOOD to cook with. Okay, mostly to roast with, because we all know that roasted veggies are the BEST. Here are three of my favorite recipes so far (all of which involve roasting–if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it):
SPICY BALSAMIC GARLIC ROASTED ASPARAGUS
If you are the kind of person that can just sit and eat a pound of roasted vegetables and call it dinner, well, then get ready for the best dinner of your life. If you’re normal then go ahead and have it as a side dish.
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dragon’s Blood Elixir Unique Destiny Balsamic Garlic Herb sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place trimmed asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and hot sauce over them and toss to coat well. Add minced garlic over the top.
Place in oven and roast for 12 minutes. Flip and roast an additional 8 minutes until browned and tender. Remove from oven and squeeze a slice of lemon over them before serving.
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dragon’s Blood Elixir Garlic Paprikash sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash potatoes and pat them dry as best you can. If any of them are noticeably larger than the others, cut those into smaller pieces. Use a fork to poke a few holes in some of the bigger, whole potatoes.
Spread potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add oil, hot sauce, and oregano, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat well. If you like crispy (read: blackened) garlic, add it now. Otherwise wait (see below).
Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and stir. If you haven’t added the garlic yet, now is the time to do so. Return to oven and roast an additional 15 minutes or until browned and easily pierced with a fork.
Add additional salt to taste. Enjoy hot with a little extra garlic paprikash sauce drizzled on top.
SESAME TAMARI ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2/3 pounds Brussels sprouts, quartered
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons Dragon’s Blood Elixir Unique Destiny Sesame Tamari sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Salt (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread quartered Brussels sprouts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add sesame oil, hot sauce, and garlic, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat well.
Roast for 10 minutes, then flip or stir and roast an additional 10 minutes or until tender and browned. Remove from oven and add additional salt to taste before serving.
I have to say, the Sesame Tamari sauce might be my ultra-fave. It tastes incredible on any and all manner of roasted vegetable. I also have grand plans for an Asian-style noodle bowl with like a gingery-peanutty-Sesame Tamari dressing, once horrible Passover ends and I can eat real food again. OMG it would be so good on falafel too! Okay done.
More spicy fun to come next week! In the meantime have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate.