Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Make the Most of an Unpleasant Task: Blistered Shishito Peppers With Spicy Garlic Soy Dipping Sauce

You might not know this by looking at me but I have a "permanent record" at a couple of retailers. Many years ago I got one with a store whose name I'd rather not divulge, so I'll just say it rhymes with Chuckle. I got this record by asking them to exchange a pair of $80.00 jeans that my daughter had worn just once or twice before one of the pre-distressed places in the knee gave way and ripped all the way through. Since this was not quite the look she was going for, we packed them up and took them back without our receipt.

After much discussion with their teenage management team, I was told that out of the kindness of their hearts they were going to reluctantly give us a new pair but they would mark this on my customer history and would never, ever, EVER return anything without a receipt again. This was no problem because I have never even so much as walked into their store since. Great customer service policies like that should be rewarded accordingly.

A few years later I had a misunderstanding with our mobile phone carrier that I will refer to here as "Herizon". This misunderstanding was over $160 dollars that they "mistakenly" charged to our account. Since we had paid it several months earlier, they thought they could keep it, and I thought they couldn't. The Attorney General of the great state of New Jersey broke the tie and agreed with me (tee hee hee) and they were forced to give it back. Since I won, and they provide the best reception in our mountainous region, we have very reluctantly stayed with them, but check over their confusing bills with a fine tooth comb every month.

About a year ago, I got my first IPhone from them. Along with my new phone I purchased a glass screen protector that they put on for me. Everything went well until a couple of months later when this screen protector began to loosen around the edges. I took it back to the Herizon store where I asked if I could get a new one since it wasn't performing as promised.

After being accused of "fooling with it" and "picking at it" (which, by the way I did not do) by their less than charismatic store manager, I was told that they would do it this time, but a note would be placed on my permanent record and it would never be done again. It is obvious to me that Herizon and Chuckle must have the same philosophy when it comes to customer service. Six months later, the new screen protector is barely hanging on to my phone, but I won't dare ask them for a replacement. We've only been customers of theirs for 12 years and this is obviously too much to ask.

So, this past Sunday afternoon, my daughter asked if I'd go to the Herizon store with her, I reluctantly agreed even though I would have rather taken a stick in the eye than spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon in their den of misery, but I agreed because I just love being with her.

On the way we drove by a new sushi restaurant that my daughter was familiar with, so we decided to stop and have a cocktail and a little food anticipating a long list of grumpy phone customers that were surely waiting ahead of us. Luckily, the restaurant has happy hour all day on Sundays so we ordered a couple of the best $3.00 margaritas I've ever had and a small assortment of appetizers.

Our first plate was the always safe crab rangoon which was pretty good along side its barely there spicy mango sauce, but it was our second plate of shishito peppers that was the stunner. For those who haven't had these wonderful little peppers, they kind of look like pepperoncinis. They are mostly mild, with about one in 10 packing a spicy punch. They were served blistered with a spicy garlic soy dipping sauce on the side that was light and packed with flavor.  I don't know if it was the peppers or the two margaritas that I had, but one of the two put me in such a good mood that I didn't even mind going to visit the enemy camp. I tell you, these peppers just might very well have magical powers.

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Spicy Garlic Soy Sauce

Even though my directions call for you to cook these on top of the stove, I have an extra bag that I'll be skewering and cooking on my barbecue grill tonight. What a easy and healthy little appetizer.

1/3 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
Non-stick cooking spray
6 ounces shishito peppers (I found mine at Trader Joe's, but have been told that Whole Foods carries them on occasion as well)
Kosher or finishing salt (if desired)
1 teaspoon thinly sliced green onion tops or chopped cilantro

Stir together the soy, vinegar, sriracha, garlic and ginger root together in a medium size bowl; set aside until ready to serve.

Preheat a non-stick or cast iron skillet to medium.

While the pan is heating, lightly spray the peppers with the cooking spray; toss to coat. Place into the preheated pan. Cook, stirring frequently until peppers have dark brown blisters on all sides, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer peppers to serving plate. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt if desired.

Sprinkle the sauce with the green onion slices and serve with warm peppers.

Serves 2 - 3

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