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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

What'da ya mean he don't eat no spice? 

Something that all vegetarians and vegans have in common, other than food preference is the common question we all receive from someone who is just plain baffled by the thought of never eating meat; well, they ask, what do you eat? Anything I want is the fast answer, the key word being want. I have always liked spicy food and I understand the draw. For centuries mankind has used the natural chemistry of spices to preserve food, especially meat which has a nasty habit of losing its appeal after a few hours in the sun. At least since the last ice age; you can't always count on a handy local glacier to provide convenient cold storage.

No, humans have always had to do something extraordinary to keep dinner fresh and spices are great for that. Sugar and salt are the two substances that top the preservation hit list but other spices; spices with natural heat do a very nice job of forestalling the premature demise of well, dead stuff. The chemicals in spice that make it hot or sweet or salty also create an environment that is extremely hostile even deadly to the tiny microbes which exist everywhere and make a living by beginning the process of rot.

Through the years, necessity, culinary inspiration and some daring have contrived to produce a number of spice blends that are labeled regional or "ethnic": Chile, Cajun, Curry, Chinese Five Spice and Jerk (I used to marinate steaks in a combination of Coke, Tabasco and Worcestershire Sauce, don't ask) to name a few.

The variety of tastes that spice and herbs can render to food is the basis for all great cuisine; otherwise we'd all just eat mac-and-cheese and forget about it. I like to cook, I like spicy food and I do not plan to give up spice just because I don't have pork, beef or wings on the menu.

At the magazine we've been testing this recipe for some time, trying to get the right heat to our barbeque sauce and just when you least expect it, another country heard from. Nick emailed us an announcement of their groups new site Sweat n Spice- SPICY!

Nick generously provided us with this explanation of the heat from pepper along with a quick history of the Scoville Index plus a couple of recipes: one for "Papaya-Habanero Salsa" and another, "Garlic Lover's Hot Sauce" which we decided to use for The Green Cutting Board's

Hot Garlic Barbequed Rib Sandwich


8 ounces seitan
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
4 slices 5 grain sour dough bread
1 cup Garlic Lover's Hot Sauce*
2 Tbls soy spread


Slice the seitan into 2 4 ounce portions and marinate refrigerated for30 minutes in 1/2 the hot sauce. Sauté the sliced mushrooms until tender and heat the seitan through over medium heat in the same pan. Heat the remaining sauce, butter 1 side of each slice of bread with the soy spread and broil until lightly browned.

When you're ready to serve top each rib sandwich with mushrooms and 1/2 of the remaining garlic hot sauce.

Suggested sides: barbequed vegetarian baked beans, grilled corn on the cob, cold kosher dill pickles and slaw.

serves 2



6 ea. Cayenne Peppers
4 ea. Garlic Clove
1/4 cup Distilled White Vinegar
1 ea. Plum Tomato
1 tsp. Black Cumin
1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
1 tsp. Allspice
1 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt

Seed and blanch peppers.
Stem and seed tomato.
Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth.
Place puree into a microwaveable glass measuring cup and add vinegar to make 5 ounces.
Microwave until mixture starts to steam.
Remove from oven and mix well.
Return to oven and heat again.
Stir mixture and bottle – Enjoy!


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