Living in Rincón is so fun because so many people are living self-directed (and often very unique) lives and when something sounds fun, oftentimes people will just go ahead and do it! That was the case when our friend Frances (and Greg) decided to put on a Hot Sauce contest at the balneario (public beach).
I have made fresh salsas before, but never a hot sauce. But hey, it was for fun and I love hot sauce and salsas and anything creative. The main difference (as far as I can tell) between a hot sauce and a salsa is that the hot sauce has vinegar in it and usually salsa doesn’t. Also it tends to be used much less liberally than a salsa dip. But in the end it really didn’t matter because at this event there was every type of sauce, salsa, dip, hummus, what-have-you.
As for my hot sauce, I chose to do two jalapeño based ones. In Puerto Rico, pique as people call it, is often not very picante at all. I often miss the spicy foods and salsas we had at all the Mexican restaurants in Colorado because while some Puerto Rican food is very delicious, it is just not very hot and spicy. I have seen Puerto Ricans get red in the face over mild Pace salsa Ha! Wusses! Hot spice is just not a thing here. So it was fun to go to an event that set our faces ablaze! Wowza!
I used jalapeño peppers as well as a few poblanos for the base and spicy component of my two hot sauces. I can’t wait till we can do another annual garden for veggies, but for now I just had to get them at the store.
I also thought up a few different hot sauce names and drew out some designs. Here are the two that made the cut:
Once the sauces were completed, we headed over to the balneario.
The event was super fun and crowded! I was surprised how many people showed up with great sauces and food.
There were a few categories to enter and I entered Caribbean and Jalapeño. Others included Habanero, Freestyle, and Fruit-based. And there were different ways to win in each category. There must have been about 20 entrants in each category! Really great participation. I really didn’t expect much for mine since it was my first time ever making a hot sauce (and we arrived late, no surprise there), so the next day when the results were announced I was super shocked to find out that I had won in the Jalapeño category for best name (Holy Jalapeño). But more amazing was that Hot Kiss won for best overall flavor in the Caribbean category! Now I can say that I make award-winning hot sauces! Another lifetime first thanks to living in Puerto Rico.
Some people love recipes, so here’s the basic recipe for Award-Winning Hot Kiss. As my family called my cooking growing up, it’s definitely a Cassie Concoction!
10-12 Jalapeño peppers (leave one or two to add raw for more heat)
1-2 Poblano peppers
1 cup fresh cut pinapple (sautee some and add some fresh)
tiniest amount of red onion (I am not a fan of onion)
5 cloves garlic (3 to sautee and 2 raw)
Sautee oil (coconut oil)
(to add in fresh)
1 fresh mango
1 fresh passionfruit
1 teaspoon or so salt
pinch or two cumin
dash of ground pepper
dash of ground cayenne
handful of fresh cilantro
juice squeezed from half a fresh grapefruit
juice squeezed from half a fresh lime
dash of chia seeds (thickener but not totally necessary for taste)
2-3 shots of distilled vinegar (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
Sautee in a high heat oil (I used coconut oil) about ten jalapeño peppers after seeding and and slicing length-wise, 3 cloves of garlic, half or 3/4 of the poblano, a little red onion, some pineapple and some salt. Sautee for about 5 minutes. Then add a bunch of water (maybe 1 1/2 cups?) and let it cook some more for about 20 minutes stirring regularly. Wait till it is about room temperature and then start the blending process.
Next take the raw ingredients including the leftover raw garlic, jalapeno/poblano and pineapple and add them with all the rest of the list in the blender with the sautéed/cooked items. Slowly add the vinegar until you like the taste. If you want it spicier, add more fresh jalapeño or poblano. Transfer to a jar of your choice. Refrigerate and then eat when cool! Will last quite a while in the fridge. ¡Buen Provecho!