More Spicy Food, Please

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about ingredients. As in, that one ingredient that you just can’t cook without. For me, there are three: jalepeños, onions, and garlic. Scotch bonnet has become a kitchen staple in the last year, too. Maybe lemons if I’m working on seafood. I was raised on a wide variety of spices, and it shows in the best way. I still don’t get why people dislike the smell of fresh garlic. When I was younger, I even used to eat onions like apples…Yeah, I don’t do that anymore. My passion for spicy food burns as hot as the tip of my tongue! It doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, spaghetti, burritos, sandwiches, etc. I mean, of course I’ll eat blander stuff. Jalepeños and Cookies & Cream do not go well together. But if I can make a dish spicy, I’ll enjoy it exponentially more. No watered-down sauces, either. Try making stir fry with either chopped garlic and onions, or just some kind of cheap marinade. You’ll taste the difference immediately. Even my salads have a mix of regular vegetables, bell peppers, onions, and jalepeños. I actually just had some freshly-baked garlic bread for dinner tonight. Not the pre-made stuff, either; every slice of that sourdough loaf was lovingly slathered with chopped garlic and a bit of butter before being put in the oven.

So good.

And now I’m resisting the urge to have spicy chili for dessert. Great.

Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible, Or: Spicy Around The World

Hey, folks. Today’s Daily Prompt is all about temptation. No, not the trashy novel kind. This is about the food that you just can’t turn down, regardless of better judgment and/or guilt tripping. I’m not a big eater by any means – people marvel at the carefully portioned, home-made lunches I bring every day – but I’m a sucker for a few things. My sweet-tooth yearns for Cookies and Cream in any style; I even got some cupcake ones for my last birthday! The best part of the holidays is my family’s awesome homemade spumoni. In terms of regular meals, however, I’ve got to go with chicken and fish. Salmon with freshly-squeezed lemon? Yes, please. Chicken marsala? I will hunger.

Here’s the thing about chicken and fish. They’re fine on their own, but they’re even better when they’re spicy. I’ve always loved spicy food, even as a child. Lemon and herb, cayenne pepper, rosemary, jalepeños, garlic, onions, basil…There’s so much potential. Sure, my breath may cause an environmental disaster afterwards, but I don’t care. You think that stuff stinks? Try eating a durian. There’s a very good reason why some countries ban it from public places. Oh, and if you want a place that has a huge variety of spices and really good food in general, I highly recommend the casbah in Tangier, Morocco. You will never find another place with such a ridiculously huge amount of fresh products. Moroccan saffron (no, not the Pokemon city) is almost criminally delicious.

After traveling and tasting all of that, I didn’t think I could be surprised anymore. Especially not in Aruba, where I was visiting just this past April. That island is an incredibly popular tourist spot for a reason: it’s quite possibly the most hassle-free place you can find. Aruba is all about tourism, for the better and worse. The staffs are really accommodating and speak English well. Multilingualism is a huge part of their education system. But it doesn’t feel like a foreign country; it has all of those tried and true fast food places and services you’d see back home. There’s no thrill, just the ever-present trade winds and utterly stunning beaches. I never thought I’d find great Caribbean food in this hive of sand and tourism…until I went to downtown Oranjestad and came across this:

Iguana Joe’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sandwich

Take a good look. Jamaican Jerk-seasoned chicken breast with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a chunk of fried pineapple. This ensemble was further enriched with Iguana Joe’s legendary Caribbean spice hot sauces. I’m not kidding. That stuff is so good that the restaurant sells and ships it worldwide. I don’t remember all the ingredients, but scotch bonnet was definitely part of it. The resulting wonderful, tongue-blisteringly spicy dish was the best thing I ate the entire time. After I returned home, I stocked up on Caribbean spices and had chicken sandwiches every day for a week.

…Yeah, I’m going to make some more of that tomorrow.