As the chief cook, I am always thinking of new ways to use our rescued fruit. We have 6 basic local fruits that we can count on rescuing each year - rhubarb, raspberries, sour cherries, pears, apples and crab apples (in abundance). There are always other treasures that come along such as saskatoons, wild blueberries, herbs and even pumpkins in the fall plus the BC fruits we rescue from the Farmer's Market. However, our staples are rhubarb and apples. We found out pretty quickly that if we want to sell jams and condiments with these abundant fruits I have to find innovative ways to put them together. Rhubarb is a wonderful fruit/vegetable as it is versatile, partners well with other fruits and provides a good carrier for strong flavours. At present we probably have about 30 different recipes with rhubarb in them one way or the other. It is also the first ingredient I consider when I want to create something new - especially as it is still so abundant.
I had been thinking of making a variation of the Thai Sweet Chili sauce but I needed a couple of things to come together. On one of our many rainy days in late June, I visited a local Mexican store and as there was nobody else there, I was able to ask lots of questions and was introduced to some new (to me) chili peppers. I finally had the flavours I wanted. So back in the kitchen we juiced some rhubarb (what else?), soaked some of the new chili peppers and pulled together some other potential ingredients and started to create. These days of creation are the best!!! The process is to put together a few possible recipes, taste them, add something to tweak it one way or another, taste again and then tweak and taste. As I now have some wonderful assistants from Ethiopia, they come with different food experience and knowledge, so we can sometimes be rather far apart at the start. But with friendly competition and lots of laughter, we finally move towards perfection. The amount of heat is still open to discussion but we did agree to a medium heat that will give a wonderful tingle at the end, but is still acceptable to a typical Canadian palette.
We call it Sweet Chili Tri Sauce as there are 3 chilis in it. The sauce itself has a lovely full flavour before you get the heat. There is the fruity body that is provided by rhubarb juice and a light smokiness given by one of the peppers. Then we added a light touch of some other notes of flavour to fill the mouth before the chili peppers start their demand for attention. I think as a team of cooks, we did a really great job with this one!! When we took it to the market a couple of weeks ago to see what our customers thought - it was an instant success!
Ann Kusiak told me last week that it is a favourite in her family already, (alongside the Chipotle Rhubarb Ketchup) and when she told me how she used it I asked for her recipe. Very kindly she shared it and I am forwarding it with this post. Enjoy the recipe but before you get too deeply into the dipping, take a taste of the sauce by itself and see what you think. Share your comments and recipes as well.
Green Onion Pancakes with Fruits of Sherbrooke Sweet Chili Tri Sauce.
Anne said this recipe is from the 1992 Moosewood Cookbook.
Flour 1 cup
Salt ½ tsp. (optional)
Green onions 3, finely sliced
Water ½ cup
Oil for frying (grapeseed is good) or preheated oven at 350 F.
Fruits of Sherbrooke Sweet Chili Tri Sauce
Combine flour and salt (if using) then mix in the onions.
Add water and mix until it forms a dough ball.
Divide dough into 6 pieces and on a floured surface, roll out or press with fingers into a 1/8” thick circle.
In a heavy fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and pan fry each pancake for 3 – 5 minutes until golden.
Alternately you can brush pancakes lightly with oil and bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until cooked through.
Serve warm with Sweet Chili Tri Sauce.