Tag Archives: spicy

Whole Grain Mustard

WholeGrainMustardFeralKitchenWhole Grain Mustard

Do you know that making your own mustard is ridiculously easy? Up until just a few months ago, I had absolutely no idea. I recently learned after reading a newspaper article in the Medford Mail Tribune by Jan Roberts-Dominguez titled an Advanced Lesson in Homemade Mustards. Growing up, the only mustard that could be found in our home kitchen was the bright yellow mustard sold in a jar made by French’s.  No offense to all you yellow mustard lovers but the mustard that I knew as a kid pales in comparison to the taste bud tingling spicy goodness that I am about to share with you.  And what makes my Whole Grain Mustard shine is the addition of a really tasty beer such as Southern Oregon Brewing Company‘s Nice Rack IPA.

A good homemade Whole Grain Mustard takes about 15 minutes of your time to prepare and then needs to sit around untouched for at least 48 hours to develop its wonderfully warm spicy flavors. When your mustard is ready, be sure to serve your homemade Whole Grain Mustard on sandwiches, sausages, pretzels or even use it as a base for sauces or salad dressings.  My favorite way to serve my homemade Whole Grain Mustard is to accompany it alongside some grilled brats and pints of some of Southern Oregon’s finest micro brewed beer. Now that’s pure bliss!

What’s great about making your own mustard is that the flavor combinations are endless and you can make it as hot, creamy, spicy or as sweet as you want.  All you need to start is some good quality mustard seeds, liquid for soaking such as wine, beer or vinegar, toss in some spices, add something sweet such as sugar or honey and a sprinkling of salt.

mustardseeds1024Mustard Seeds

Yellow mustard (also called white) seeds are on the left and brown mustard seeds are on the right. Notice that the yellow mustard seeds are nearly twice the size than the brown mustard seeds. They are also a lot less pungent in flavor than the brown mustard seeds. I personally like the brown mustard seeds better because of the heat factor. Look for mustard seeds in the bulk foods section of your favorite specialty or natural food store. If you can’t find it locally, you can always resort to shopping online. Once you learn how to make your own Whole Grain Mustard, it’s doubtful that you will want to use store the bought varieties ever again. Thank you Jan Roberts-Dominguez for the mustard lesson and the inspiration!  Enjoy! Tessa


  • 2/3 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup beer (I used Nice Rack IPA)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

In a non reactive bowl or jar (glass, plastic or stainless steel) add the mustard seeds, beer, and vinegar.  Make sure that the seeds are covered in liquid.  If you need to add more liquid, use equal parts beer and vinegar.  Just be careful, you don’t want your mustard to be too watery. Place the mustard covered in a cool place for 48 hours.  Add the remaining ingredients and place in food processor. Blend mustard for about two minutes or until you reach your desired texture. Taste and correct your seasonings.  Place mustard in clean jars with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.  Makes about 2 3/4 cups.

***Recipe adapted from Jan Roberts-Dominguez

Frank’s RedHot Sunflower Seeds


If you ever peeked into my refrigerator, chances are that I have a big bottle of Frank’s RedHot Sauce stowed away on the refrigerator door.  Actually, I have a whole door shelf dedicated to spicy hot sauce mixtures and blends.  I love hot sauce.  I love spicy food.  Bruce thinks that I am crazy because I love that lingering burn from hot peppers.  Little does he know, I’m perfectly fine…

My fondness for fiery food began when I was about 10 years old.  I did not want to eat the bland and boring dishes that the other kids in my family were eating, I wanted what the adults were putting on their plates.  Things have not changed.  Now when someone asks me how hot I want my food, my typical response is “make me cry”.

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The other day while shopping at a wholesale food/restaurant supply store, I stumbled across a container of Frank’s RedHot Seasoning blend in the spice aisle.  I’ve never seen it in a regular grocery store before so I think it’s something that is meant to be sold to restaurants and commercial food establishments.  Frank’s RedHot Sauce is a delicious blend of an aged variety of red cayenne peppers, vinegar and garlic.  I use Frank’s RedHot Sauce in and on so many dishes that I prepare.  And, when I first discovered that spice blend, I knew I had something amazingly delicious in my hands.  I could not wait to get home and try it out!


As soon as I got home, I opened the lid of the container, poked my finger into the spice mixture and tasted it.  It had that same Frank’s flavor that I knew and loved but it was in a dehydrated form perfect for sprinkling on french fries, homemade potato chips, popcorn, chicken or whatever my little heart desires.  I then put the spice blend in a shaker for an even better distribution of flavor on my dishes.


My Frank’s RedHot Sunflower Seeds are a simple combination of three ingredients.  Raw shelled sunflower seeds, an egg white and Frank’s RedHot Seasoning blend.  That’s it.  Plus, it’s so easy to make, you can have a pound of these delicious little snacks knocked out in about 15 minutes.


These little sunflower seeds are packed with serious cayenne flavor.  You can adjust the flavor level to suit your taste buds by adding or minimizing the amount of Frank’s RedHot Seasoning that you choose to use…  Enjoy!  Tessa


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg white until frothy.  Add the raw sunflower seeds and Frank’s Seasoning blend.  Go easy on the seasoning the first time out…  You can always add more at the very end.  Toss and coat well.  Grab a large cookie sheet and spray with non stick spray.  Add the sunflower seed mixture to the cookie sheet spreading out the sunflower seeds evenly.

Place the cookie sheet on the highest rack in the oven.  Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes.  Stirring the sunflower seeds often.  Carefully taste a seed or two before removing from the oven to make sure you get the desired crunchiness and toasty color (they’re hot!).  Remove from the oven, shake more Frank’s Seasoning on the sunflower seeds if desired, let cool and place in an airtight container.  Lasts about 5 – 7 days.

Easy Lentil Chili


One evening after work last week, Bruce and I had quite the discussion on how we wanted to eat healthier meals in the New Year.  We talked about eating more vegetarian dishes and avoiding white bread, white sugar and most the most damaging thing of all, fast food.  Our conversation was not about making any resolutions, it was all about making some positive lifestyle changes.  I particularly liked that idea for I don’t believe in resolutions.  I know that when I make New Year’s resolutions, you can bet that I will break them within a few short months.

One of the challenges with cooking healthy meals in our home is finding dishes that both Bruce and I will enjoy.  For instance, I love ingredients such as kidney beans, green peas, fresh picked asparagus and mushrooms.  Bruce on the other hand, will not (knowingly) eat those foods.  He considers them taboo.  And trust me…  He has quite the list of “taboo” ingredients.  So, in order to accomplish preparing a meal that I know that Bruce will like, I sometimes have to get really creative and super stealthy.  That sometimes means chopping the forbidden ingredients into smaller pieces, not telling Bruce what he is “really” eating unless he asks and putting the focus on creating fabulous flavor profiles that distracts his attention.  In other words, out of site, out of mind is the key when preparing a dish for Bruce.

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week I found a package of precooked lentils in the produce section of the store.  Fortunately, after about ten years of marriage, Bruce has finally warmed to the idea of eating lentils.  Unlike Bruce, I have always loved lentils and with our busy lives this precooked ingredient was something that I just had to try.  I figured that the precooked lentils would be delicious in salads or soups for lunch during the work week.  This evening, I opted to put the lentils in a quick chili for dinner.  As a result, I am glad that I did.  Bruce absolutely loved it!  And the cool part about all this was that he did not notice that he just ate a meal that was hearty, and high in fiber and iron.  And, as a final double bonus, it was vegetarian and cholesterol free!


My Easy Lentil Chili is super simple to make, incredibly flavorful and tastes great with fresh baked cornbread and a leafy green salad on the side.  Garnish my Easy Lentil Chili with some shredded cheddar cheese, a little dollop of light sour cream, a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 – 17 oz. package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (about 2 1/2 cups, cooked)
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or more if desired)
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbs flour (whisked with 1/2 cup stock to make a slurry)
  • 2 Tbs extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream or fresh cilantro (optional)

In a medium sized pot on medium flame, cook onions in canola oil until onions are translucent. Add 1/2 package of lentils, vegetable stock, coffee, flour slurry, extra dark cocoa powder, dark chili powder, brown sugar, garlic paste, cumin, sriracha, thyme, salt and pepper.  Turn down the heat, cook uncovered on low for about 30 – 40 minutes stirring occasionally, taking care not to burn the chili.  Add remaining lentils and cook covered for an additional 15 minutes.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa and/or chopped cilantro.  Makes about 4 servings.


Spicy Teriyaki Sauce


The year 2013 is quickly coming to a close and I wanted stop and say hello and squeeze in one last recipe for the year.  For so many dumb reasons, 2013 has not been the best year for me and frankly, I really look forward to a clean slate in 2014.  You know, you just have to realize that some years are just like that.  We’ve all had those years. Unfortunately, it is what it is. By late spring of this past year, I knew that I had to just had to put my head down, grit my teeth and push through it. And I did. It was hard. I endured a few bumps and bruises, spilled a few tears but I made it through 2013 in one piece and with my chin held high. This next year I plan on devoting more time to my blog, taking a much needed fly away tropical vacation with Bruce and most importantly, focus on simplifying my life. Oh, and I really would like to take a photography class…  Sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it?

Last week, I was thinking about making a batch of teriyaki sauce for some grilled salmon that I wanted to prepare later on in the work week.  This time, I wanted to prepare something different than the usual (but, delicious) teriyaki sauce that I make for my family.  I wanted a sauce that was sweet, spicy and packed a bit of heat.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce turned out to be just the ticket.  It’s great drizzled over grilled chicken, fish, tofu or beef.  For even more flavor, marinate your protein ingredients in the Spicy Teriyaki Sauce prior to tossing on the grill.  Maybe even use it in stir fried vegetables or noodles.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce is super simple to make and tastes delicious!  With that said, I hope that you will have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add more garlic chili sauce if desired.  Place over medium low heat, cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour in a clean airtight container.  Store refrigerated for up two weeks.  Makes about 2 cups.

Sriracha Egg Salad



Sriracha Egg Salad

During the work week, I am notorious for eating lunch at my desk.  Some people may frown upon it but I don’t.  I consider it being efficient and a form of multi-tasking…

For those who do not know what Sriracha is. It’s an Asian chili sauce that you may be able to find in the Asian section of your favorite grocery store.  It’s a little bit spicy and in my opinion, tastes wonderful in so many dishes that you may want to add a little heat to.  It’s a staple in my kitchen and I use it all the time in soups, stews, sauces, eggs, stir fries and even on pizza.  

My Sriracha Egg Salad is one of those dishes that I can easily prepare the night before and have it ready in my lunch bag before I leave for work the next morning.  I just grab a handful of crackers, maybe a piece of fruit, some sparkling water and lunch is done. My Sriracha Egg Salad is a riff on a traditional egg salad but with light mayonnaise and spicy Sriracha sauce. Next time you are in the mood for egg salad, add a bit of Sriracha to liven it up.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs relish
  • 1 green onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or to taste (I like to use more)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped chives and pinch of smoked paprika

Peel and chop your hard boiled eggs.  Add to a medium sized bowl.  Add light mayonnaise, celery, relish, green onion, dijon mustard, sriracha, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Spread on your favorite bread or crackers.  Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Makes 4 servings.

Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup


Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup

It’s been a while since I have posted a recipe.  It’s not because I am lazy or that I have been burned out.  It’s just that when I have a ton of things that need to be done, unfortunately, my website takes a back seat.  My day job and chores around our home come first.  Feral Kitchen unfortunately finishes second.  And quite frankly, I don’t like it one bit…

Well, I’m happy to be back and the recipe that I want to share today is a simple Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup that I prepared for a few of my lunches during the work week.  I packed a bowl and a half sandwich today in my lunch box, and put the other 3 servings in the freezer for lunch at a later date.  My Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup is made with lentils, bacon, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and a healthy hit of cayenne pepper.  It’s simple, flavorful and delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 – 15 ounce cans lentils
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh green onion

Begin by rinsing and draining the lentils.  Set aside.  Chop the bacon and add to a large sauce pan.  Over medium heat crisp the bacon and drain.  Add onion and cook until opaque.  Add lentils, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, cumin and coriander.  Cook until the carrots and celery until they are tender.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Makes 4 servings.

Spicy Watermelon Salad

Spicy Watermelon Salad

I just love hot and spicy food.  I can’t even think of even one hot and spicy dish that I don’t like.  Whenever I go to a restaurant and I have the option of choosing the heat level of my food I almost always choose 9 out of a scale of 1 to 10.  1 on the scale means very mild.  10 on the other hand, means it will burn a hole in the sidewalk.  I generally choose a 9 because I still want to be able to taste my food :).

Every time I order hot and spicy food, my sweet husband Bruce looks at me as if I am completely out of my mind.  I look back, smile at him and think to myself that mild food is not an option.  He should know me by now.  I warned him about this little detail many years ago.

Sambal Oelek

If you don’t know or never have heard of sambal oelek before, sambal oelek is an extremely hot (and delicious) Asian chili pepper paste.  Sambal oelek is always a staple our refrigerator and I could not even imagine doing without.  Sambal oelek is not for the faint of heart or is something that you can pack in your child’s lunch.  Simply put, sambal oelek is a delicious condiment that is to be respected.

My Spicy Watermelon Salad is made with bright red watermelon, spicy sambal oelek, sweet chili sauce, sour tamarind paste and lime juice.  It’s easy to make and only contains 5 ingredients.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 4 cups watermelon balls (seedless)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs  sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)

Begin by grabbing a medium sized bowl.  Whisk together the lime juice, sweet chili sauce, tamarind paste and sambal oelek.  Taste and correct your heat level.  Using a melon ball tool, make 4 cups of melon balls.  Add watermelon balls to your sauce.  Toss to coat.  Chill the salad if necessary.  Makes 4 – 1 cup servings.


Spicy Strawberry Salad

Spicy Strawberry Salad

Many people when they think of strawberries they conjure up images of sugar and spice and everything nice…  I don’t.  When I think of strawberries, I think of them as the sassy little bad girls of the fruit world.  Of course strawberries are pretty and sweet however, they are feisty enough to stand up to hot and spicy flavors like nobody’s business.  Strawberries are cool…

My Spicy Strawberry Salad is reminiscent of an Indonesian hot fruit salad also known as Rudjak Manis.  My Spicy Strawberry Salad is made with fresh picked sweet juicy strawberries tossed with fiery sambal oelek, sweet Indonesian soy sauce, ginger, tamarind, and brown sugar.  If you have wimpy friends, you can control the heat by adding less sambal oelek.  Next time you pick or purchase a pound of fresh strawberries, try this easy to make exotic salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, cored and sliced
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (chili pepper paste)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 Tbs water

In a bowl whisk together the sambal oelek, brown sugar, ginger, tamarind and water.  Add the strawberries.  Toss to coat and refrigerate for about an hour to let the flavors marry.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  If you don’t like it too hot, then use less sambal oelek.  Makes 4 servings.

Honey Ginger Salmon with a Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa

There are so many wonderful things about living here in the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the things that we enjoy are the abundance of wild caught salmon and fresh picked red raspberries .  When in season we can easily find salmon at our local stores for a reasonable price or if you are the adventurous type, you could go down to the river and catch your own.

Our family likes to eat healthy meals so I am constantly looking for tasty “good for you” dishes that I can cook easily after a long day at the office.  Salmon is easy to make and is perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have much time to prepare meals for yourself or your family.  My Asian inspired Honey Ginger Salmon with a Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa is perfect for those situations.  Just imagine a sweet and spicy glazed salmon fillet nestled on the top of some gorgeous black rice topped with a zesty fresh raspberry mango salsa.  This exotic dish tastes great and looks so beautiful that you just might forget that it was healthy for you too.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Honey Ginger Salmon Ingredients:

  • 3 – 6 oz. salmon fillets (use wild not farmed)
  • 2 Tbls. honey
  • 1 Tbls. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbls. Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a big pinch of salt

Before preparing the salmon, cook 3 servings black rice according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Black rice takes a bit more time to cook than white rice so be sure to start early and figure how much time you need before preparing the Honey Ginger Salmon.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Grab a medium sized baking dish and line with foil.  Spray with non stick spray.  Place salmon fillets in the baking dish.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and brush the glaze on the salmon.  Bake for about 15 minutes uncovered or until salmon flakes with a fork.  While baking the salmon prepare the Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa.  See below.

Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes (cut into cubes)
  • 1/3 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 – 2/3  c. fresh red raspberries
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 red jalapeno pepper minced
  • 1 tsp. sambal oelek
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Grab a small bowl and lightly mix together the above ingredients.  Taste it.  Correct the salt or heat if necessary.

To serve the Honey Ginger Salmon with Spicy Raspberry Mango Salsa, place a scoop of cooked black rice on plate.  Stack your salmon fillet on the rice, and top with a about a 1/2 cup of raspberry mango salsa.  Serve with lime wedges and a cucumber salad.  Makes 3 servings.

Indonesian Spicy Eggs (Sambal Goreng Telor)

Indonesian Spicy Eggs

I love hot and spicy food and I love eggs.  My Indonesian Spicy Eggs (Sambal Goreng Telor) is the perfect marriage of the two.  This recipe is similar to my Grandmother’s but with a few little tweaks such as a bit more coconut milk and the addition of paprika.  The fire of the chili paste, the savory spices, creamy sweet coconut milk, garlic and onion makes this dish vibrant with flavor.  Serve with warm white rice and garnish with sliced green onion.  Drizzle with sambal oeleck if desired.  Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

4 eggs boiled and peeled.
1/3 cup onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. sambal oeleck (I like more)
1/2 tsp galangal powder
1/2 tsp. lemon grass powder
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp butter
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 c. water

Boil and peel eggs.  In a wok or a fry pan add butter and fry eggs until golden.  Remove eggs, slice in half and put into a serving dish.  Add a bit more butter to the wok and then add the onion, garlic, sambal oeleck, galangal, lemon grass, sugar and paprika.  Cook until fragrant about 3 minutes.  Turn down heat and add coconut milk, chicken bouillon and water.  Cook and stir for about 15 minutes more or until slightly thickened.  Pour sauce over eggs and serve.  Enjoy!