Tag Archives: Crystal hot sauce

Friday, I love you.

Have I mentioned that it’s been one of the longest weeks ever?  I feel like I haven’t slowed down and stopped moving in days.  Oh wait…

I haven’t cooked myself (or Wheat) a meal in a week.  And that’s only if you count the savory baked egg muffins I made last Sunday morning.  Not that I mind being busy – obviously, I bring these things on myself.  But I’ve never looked forward more to a quiet night at home alone, cooking a meal from start to finish, having a glass of wine, and listening to the St. Paul and the Broken Bones Pandora station in the kitchen than I did yesterday afternoon.  If you haven’t yet gotten hooked on St. Paul, let me introduce you.  I first heard about the band (where else) on NPR.  Instead of reinventing the wheel (I’m so tired, y’all), I’ll just let NPR tell you about them.

One of the hottest new bands out of Birmingham, Ala., doesn't sound new at all. On the new album, Half the City, St. Paul and The Broken Bones hits all the marks of a classic Southern soul band, complete with a fiery lead singer. Speaking with NPR's David Greene, bassist Jesse Phillips recalls the first time he experienced the voice of frontman Paul Janeway.
"I'd been warned of what comes out of Paul's mouth when he opens it," Phillips says, "basically because it's a big surprise for most people."
A surprise, he says, because the singer doesn't exactly look the part.
"Paul, according to all the reviews and stuff that are written of the band, he looks like your high school history teacher, or he looks like Drew Carey," Phillips explains. "Bottom line is that we're a bunch of kind of nerdy-looking white guys, and when this sort of earth-shaking soul roar comes out of his mouth for the first time, you can always hear the air being sucked out of the room."
Janeway wasn't raised to be a soul singer. He grew up in rural Alabama in a strict religious household.
"I could only listen to, like, gospel Christian music," Janeway says. "And a little dash of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye."
And he got most of his musical chops from church. He even trained to be a preacher.
"I learned more from preaching than I did singing in church," Janeway explains, "because you learn a little bit more about how to interact with the crowd — feeling momentum, just feeling that intensity — and it's not a whole lot different than what we do now."
But eventually, Janeway would fall out of love with preaching and begin to look for another path.
"Dad works for a pavement and construction company," Janeway says. "He said, 'Well, boy, if you're not going to college, you're going to work.' He found me a job, basically, as a mechanic's assistant. I'd cut the grass, I would do all sorts of stuff — but when the economy crashed, I lost my job, and I was unemployed about a year and a half.
"And I met a lady," he adds, "and decided that I wanted to kind of figure out what I was going to do with my life. I went to community college, and after a little while I kind of started to be attracted to accounting. ... What's crazy is that I'm about two semesters away from getting my accounting degree, and then this music thing showed up and ruined my life."
"It's really difficult for me not to sing every time like it's the last time I'm going to be on the planet," Janeway explains. "I don't care if we're playing to five people or 5,000, I have a mental thing in my brain that clicks that it's like I've got to give every possible fiber of my being into my voice right now when I'm singing."
The music has its roots in church, and religion is still part of Janeway's life — but the relationship remains complicated.
"Not agreeing with what is predominantly taught growing up the way I did, I had a lot of animosity toward the church," he says. "One time there was a woman with cancer, and they were telling her, 'All you need to do is say you're healed.' And she tried to so hard, and tried and tried and tried, but she eventually died of cancer, and she died thinking that she didn't have enough faith to be healed. And that really resonated with me. I still think about that to this day."
As for his parents, Janeway says that in retrospect he's glad they were so strict. He remembers a particularly formative moment when his mother found his copy of Nirvana's Nevermind.
"She found it and threw it away," he says. "I told her that story, and she goes, 'Listen, Paul, if you'd have listened to Nirvana, you wouldn't have been a soul singer.' So, I look at it now and go, 'Well, maybe it's turned out to be a really good thing.' "

This guy gives me chill bumps.  Close your eyes and you’d never know this wasn’t a Motown record of yore.  I grew up listening to Motown music on a Wurlitzer juke box (yes, really, we had one at home), so it’s only natural that I fell head over heels with St. Paul and the Broken Bones at first listen.  And I love that he looks more like a book worm than Otis Redding.

So now that you’re listening to some sweet, sweet tunes, here are some other things I’m loving this week (now that it’s almostttttt over).

On Tuesday, I stopped by TCA Artist in Residence Julie Guyot‘s studio over at 209 Remington yet again.  I plan to go back one more time before I share all the details with y’all, but just look at the vase she gave me!  I watched as she formed these last time I was there, and this was the last one she had left.  It made for an exciting anniversary afternoon!  The decals on her ceramics are hand drawn, and Adult Education Director at Thomasville Center for the Arts, Ashley Ivey, turned her drawing into a printed flour sack towel, too.  I struck it rich on Tuesday, and Ashley gave me one of those, too. Thank you Ashley and Julie, for making it a great day!

Ceramic Vase by TCA Artist in Residence, Julie Guyot | Oysters & Pearls

I die over the bees.  As y’all can imagine.

Side note:  Julie is busy as a bee listing some items on her Etsy shop Six Milch Cows right now, so get ’em while they’re hot!

Tuesday I worked late, and later that evening Wheat took me to Chophouse on the Bricks in Thomasville for our anniversary on Tuesday, and it was great.  The food was amazing, but I cannot tell a lie – the service was a little weird.  I should clarify: the drink service was slow, but the food service was too fast.  I just don’t like to feel rushed through a meal, and I also don’t like to be without a glass of vino (y’all know me).  I almost hate to even say that on here, since it was totally minor and didn’t make us enjoy our meal any less or anything, but I am nothing if not honest, so… laying it all out there.  Anywho, the food was some of the best we’ve had in a long, long while. It’s an indulgence for your average Tuesday for sure (especially when you also order two appetizers), but it was a wonderful second anniversary dinner.  Plus, the building is just gorgeous!

Ceiling Tiles at Chophouse on the Bricks in Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Chophouse on the Bricks | Oysters & Pearls

Martini Tuesday at Chophouse on the Bricks in Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

We had the tuna tartar with pickled slaw and an order of fried oysters over collard greens with a mignonette sauce… possibly the highlight of the meal.  I cannot recommend either enough!

Oysters over Collards and Tuna Tartar at Chophouse on the Bricks | Oysters & Pearls

For my entree I ordered the Grassroots coffee rubbed filet mignon with a Cabernet goat cheese butter pat (divine) over haricots verts and Sweet Grass Dairy Lil’ Moo polenta.  SO GOOD.  Wheat got a cane syrup crusted NY Strip over a veggie hash that was delicious, too.  Clearly we were all aboard the protein train.  #surfnturf

Grassroots Coffee Rubbed Filet Mignon at Chophouse on the Bricks | Oysters & Pearls

Staircase in Downtown Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Downtown Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat gave me a present for our anniversary, too… a custom oyster knife from Heartwood Forge!!
Heartwood Forge Oyster Knife and Southern Restoration Cutting Board | Oysters & Pearls

Isn’t it gorgeous!  Quite possibly the most thoughtful, planned-in-advance gift Wheat has ever gotten me!  And super special, since Will is a friend.  And he even put my initials on it!

Heartwood Forge Personalized Oyster Knife | Oysters & Pearls

It’s pretty baller, and I can’t wait to try it out on some oysters…  I may have to start carrying it around in my purse next to my purse-Crystal and bust it out at restaurants.  (Yes, I really do carry a small bottle of Crystal hot sauce at all times.  You just never know.)  By the way, the cutting board background is my Southern Restoration tobacco slat cutting board from Marc Ventry.

And what holiday is complete without a gift to yourself?  My bracelet from Black Swamp Co. came in, and it is amazing, too!

Black Swamp Co. Cypress Bracelet  | Oysters & Pearls

This particular bracelet is made out of ~1000 year old sunken cypress from the swamp behind maker Katie’s house.  It’s gorgeous!  Look for more on Katie and Black Swamp Co. on the blog next week… ;)

And finally, I ended the week – because let’s be real, by the time you make it to Thursday night, the week may as well be over – with this precious:

Strong and Bold Red Wine from the Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop | Oysters & Pearls

Lenore is a solid, full-bodied Syrah that really hit the spot last night.  And with that, I bid you good weekend.  Cheers!

Until Next Time

Chicken Tacos & Jalapeno Hot Sauce

There is a new Mexican restaurant in town (no, I’m not cheesily referring to our own home) that serves the BEST, most legit Mexican food in all the land. It’s called Taqueria Los Sanches, in case you’re ever in Bainbridge. I have never been very excited about “Mexican” food, but this place is so good. They hand make all of their salsa, hot sauces, even their tortillas, I’m pretty sure. Their chicken tacos haunt me in my sleep, they’re so good. Flour (soft) tortilla, chicken, fresh onion and cilantro, and sliced avocado, with a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of their delicious homemade jalapeño hot sauce. I’ve definitely, unashamedly, instagrammed their tacos, as seen below.


As you probably have deduced, I LOVE HOT SAUCE. I love Crystal, I love the Rooster sauce, I love it all. Heck, I’ve even come to love Tabasco, and I’m dying to visit Avery Island. Thus, I have become obsessed with the “green hot sauce” at Taqueria Los Sanches. The sweet girl who works there was kind enough to tell me how they make it, and this is the story of how I attempted to recreate it.

Jalapeno Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Jalapeño Hot Sauce (adapted from Taqueria Los Sanches in Bainbridge, Georgia)


– as many jalapeños as you can get your hands on
– half a vidalia onion
– 2 tablespoons onion powder
– 2 tablespoons garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Boiling Jalapenos for Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Boil peppers whole (“tails removed”) for 15 minutes or so with the rest of the ingredients. Remove from heat and puree. I only had a food processor, which didn’t puree the seeds as well as theirs was, so I pressed the hot sauce through a fine mesh strainer with a ladle and a canning funnel. It made it much runnier than theirs, which will be perfect to transfer into old hot sauce bottles. It’s almost the exact same consistency as Crystal or Tabasco hot sauce. Also, since I strained the seeds out, it’s not nearly as hot as Taqueria Los Sanches’ version. Leave ’em in if you want! Side note: I really need an immersion blender. Or just any blender. Or both.

Jalapeno Hot Sauce  | Oysters & Pearls

I ended up with 3 and a quarter jars of hot sauce. Because I don’t have a ton of room in the fridge, like ever, I decided to go ahead and process these in a hot water bath simply to see if they would be shelf stable. The best practice , however, would be to keep them in the fridge, since this recipe does not contain vinegar.  Botulism is serious business!

Jalapeno Hot Sauce Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Since we had all this hot sauce around, naturally it was taco night at the Kirbo house. I tried to recreate my favorite tacos from Taqueria Los Sanches as best as I could, but we really just made it a taco bar of sorts.

Chicken Taco Toppings | Oysters & Pearls

Tomatoes, onions minced with cilantro, and fresh avocado slices. The limes didn’t make it into the picture above, but they are an essential part of these tacos.

Chicken Tacos | Oysters & Pearls

So much Mexican goodness!!

Chicken Tacos with Avocado | Oysters & Pearls

Might I recommend some legit Los Sanches tacos for your 4th of July celebrations? They are so colorful and festive and fresh! They’d also be tasty with shrimp or fish.

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate this great nation of ours, be safe and remember, freedom isn’t free. Thank a soldier or a veteran this weekend!



Cowboy Caviar

Monday already?  Blerg.  Here’s a short and sweet appetizer recipe to start your Monday off nicely.

Cowboy Caviar | Oysters & Pearls

Lots of people call this general type of dip “Cowbow Caviar.”  Some people just call it black eyed pea salsa.  No matter what you call it, it’s absolutely delicious.

I have adapted this recipe from The New Southern Garden Cookbook, which my sweet friend Brittney gave me (thanks Britt, I love it!), but here’s the original recipe, in case you’re interested.

Original Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

Here’s my version:

Cowboy Caviar (adapted from The New Southern Garden Cookbook)

– 1 can whole kernel yellow corn, drained
– 1 can black eyed peas, drained
– 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
– 1/2 of a medium Vidalia onion, diced finely
– 1 medium cored and diced red bell pepper
– 2 heaping tablespoons canned mild green chiles
– 2 tablespoons pickled and diced jalapeños
– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
– 1/4 vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
– 2 teaspoons Crystal hot sauce
– kosher salt to taste
– freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– cumin, to taste

Mix up everything except the salt, pepper, and cumin.  Taste it.  Then add a little of each spice, tasting as you go until it tastes just right.  You may want to include the hot sauce in the “to taste” category, if you’re like me.  I ended up with a few extra splashes. ;)

Real tasty with some Tostitos scoops!  You’ll want something that gives you the most dip for your dip.  It’s good.

Black Eyed Pea Salsa (Cowboy Caviar) | Oysters & Pearls