Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Take one flavor, add another, and the equation turns everything from popcorn to vodka into a world apart. Kind of like the Island.

A Culinary Journey

Meander the pages of Hot Sour Salty Sweet through the villages and markets of the Mekong River Valley with cook/photographers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. This is an extraordinary feast for the armchair anthropologist and an even better one if you’re wondering what to do with the bok choi you just picked up from the Whippoorwill CSA. Workman Press, 2000, about $45.

A Culinary Journey

Junior League Locavore

Kitchen Tip of the Day: Smear a little-to-a-lot of New Lane Sundries Jalapeño Hot Pepper Jelly on cream cheese or goat cheese atop crackers or in a grilled cheese sandwich for some zoom. Jelly-mama Linda Alley says, ‘But wait, don’t stop there!’ Seek out her other brazen conserves, including Red Pepper Ginger Marmalade. Available at Cronig’s, West Tisbury Farmers’ Market, Alley’s, Fiddlehead Farm, Garcia’s Deli, and Katama General Store; about $6.

Junior League Locavore

Under Wraps

EV’s office looked like Willy Wonka’s suitcase exploded after a world tour. Crumpled candy wrappers lay strewn about, fading like flowers thrown on stage. We sampled chocolate bars with add-ins like Mexican ancho and chipotle chiles, Japanese matcha green tea, wasabi, and applewood smoked bacon bits, all thanks to Vosges Haut- Chocolat. After encores with Brazilian pink peppercorns, sea salt, Guatemalan cardamom, and orange peel, our taste buds are satisfied that cocoa holds and expands flavors in uninhibited ways while romancing its way around the globe. Exotic chocolate bars available at LeRoux at Home and Nochi, both in Vineyard Haven, $2.50 to $7.

Under Wraps

Chocolate Chipped

Chocolate tortilla chips–are they snack or dessert? We vote either, or, and both. These unusual, unsuspecting chips made with semi-sweet chocolate and Dutch cocoa powders and dusted with sea salt are surprisingly good dipped in guacamole or in a spicy-fruit salsa like Marvin’s Pineapple. Or use ’em to scoop peanut butter. Reese’s, be afraid. Chocolate Tortilla Chips by FoodShouldTasteGood (a Needham, Mass., company), available at Cronig’s, about $3. Marvin’s Pineapple Salsa, available at Tisbury Farm Market, about $3.

Chocolate Chipped

Shake It

José Can You Sea Salt—so the label warns—“could be addictive.” Yo, José, you ARE addictive – own it! We carry you around in our bag and shake you out to season our egg sandwiches, hummus, soups, popcorn…you name it, we José it. Made in Chilmark, available at Alley’s General Store as well as many fine stores and pantries across the Island. 4-ounce jar, about $4.50.

Shake It

Pepper, Poets & Pirates

Pirate Passion, EV’s hot-sour-coldsweet drink of the summer: Take one straight-up packet of sour Passion Fruit pulp and mix into two cups of cold water. Then shake as-much-as-you-dare Pirata brand Pimenta-Malagueta (a vinegar-based hot sauce) and a slight slosh of real maple syrup. Stir well, drink it down. Heave-ho + raise high the Scoville heat factor in a DIY drink that makes one Aquinnah landscaper we know break out in smooth, sweet song. Now there’s an endorsement! Polpa de Maracujá by Icefruit ($4.50) and Pirata® Pimenta-Malagueta ($3.50), available at Vineyard Grocer, Vineyard Haven.

Pepper, Poets & Pirates

Mother’s Little Helper

Here’s the perfect coverage for a mid-week meal: Chesca’s Kitchen Sweet & Snappy Thai Chili Glaze. Use as a glaze for baked chicken, add it to meatloaf, or put a spoonful in the pot of a slow-braising pork butt. Available at Island stores for $9.50.

Mother’s Little Helper

Hold the Heat

Hot pink buckets make barn & boat chores brighter, hotter, lighter. As long as you’ve got the pink, how bad can it be? Available at SBS in Vineyard Haven; small ($6) holds 8 quarts; large ($11) holds 20 quarts.

Hold the Heat