Like my father, I’m a strong believer in not wasting food. But while he will eat 3-week-old lox, I’ll refuse to even eat a tomato that’s been refrigerated.
Along those lines, DAD GANSIE and I also never throw shit out. I feel so guilty about throwing out food that even if I know I won’t eat the leftovers, I let them sit in my fridge for 2 weeks instead of tossing them on the spot. It’s a habit I’ve been meaning to break (and one that 80 is really hoping dies soon.)
I do think, though, he’d be proud of my latest food-rescuing invention, which also uses up plenty of my cabinet inhabitants.
Okay, so at my local 6-aisle grocery store serrano chilies come in packages of 18 or so for under $2. I try to stick them in everything I eat, but after so many meals with my mouth on fire I let the chilies hide in the back of my fridge until gray hair starts growing over their skin. And then they find a home in the trash.
It was different this time. I remembered a trick my friend Tim told me about how he prolongs the lives of chilies: he’ll buy jarred chilies and when the chilies run out, he’ll buy the non-jarred package and stick them in that same salty solution.
Of course, I wanted to do one better and make my own preserving liquid.
Saving Serrano Sauce
In an old, glass salad dressing bottle I stuffed all of the serranos that would fit, and then 2 more. (Yes, of course, I would save an old salad dressing bottle for some mysterious future usage. Luckily—I found one!) In no particular order or proportion I added: soy sauce, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, chili oil, fish sauce, sriracha , sesame oil and multi-colored peppercorns.
I shook it around and just let it sit my in fridge.
And now last-minute peanut-soy noodles take seconds (also toss in garlic and ginger). And I can marinate anything by only opening one container. And I’ve saved plenty of serranos from dying in my ice box.
Whenever I use some of the sauce, I just add more of the concoction back in. When I finally use all of the serranos, I can buy 18 more and not feel guilty.