Summer Heat: Not Just Hot Sauce

Sitting in air conditioning and drinking beer is one way to combat the heat in August. Another is to eat spicy peppers.

I recently tried a few new hot sauces to combat condiment ennui.

Hot N Saucy

This vegan brand has vegetables as its main ingredient. But what I love about the sauces is that the simple list of ingredients yields big flavor – and not necessarily the veg flavor. The Sweet Potato ‘N’ Habanero, 4 out 5 on the hot scale, is orange but what you get is a big kick from the habaneros, plus notes of lime, ginger and cinnamon. The gorgeous ruby red Beet ‘N; Fresno, rates just 2 out 5 Hot N Saucy‘s hot pepper rating, but it still packs plenty of heat. It was so thick I thinned it with a little water and drizzled it on a Buddha bowl. Delicious.

$10 a bottle.

Tierra Brava

Tierra Brava packages its hot sauce trio in a box with a colorful napkin. But you will want to keep these Mexican hot sauces for yourself. The box includes the sweet and spicy Guava Habanero, which gave subtle heat to my grilled tofu. I am working my way up to the moderate Green Habanero and the “smokin’ hot” Black Habanero with orange and coconut.

These hot sauces are nice because they don’t require refrigeration after opening, so they won’t clutter your refrigerator door.

$28 for the set of 3.

Me’s Way Chili Sauce

This handmade Vietnamese chili sauce, made in the US, tilts your heat in an entirely new direction. Based on anchovies, dried red chili pepper and garlic, Me’s Way is in more for cooking with than shaking on to your eggs. There is also a vegan version with the same umami.

I used this as a dressing for an Asian slaw, with sesame oil, honey and lime. It would probably also be great as a dipping sauce for dumplings, maybe mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil to counteract its punch.

$26 for an 8 ounce jar.

And when you’re tired of the New York heat, (who could tire of hot sauce?) go for the sweet: apple picking in fall.

Note: I received samples of these hot suaces, but opinions and hot pepper sweats were all my own.

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