Chili powder is one of those spices we reach for but do not understand. It's not a Latin spice, the English powdered hot peppers to preserve them. The spice was a luxury in the 1700s, served only by the wealthy.

Chili powder is one of those spices we reach for but do not understand. It's not a Latin spice, the English powdered hot peppers to preserve them. The spice was a luxury in the 1700s, served only by the wealthy.

American chili powder is very mild for a spice known elsewhere for its piquancy (heat). The first commercial American blends were rolled out in the 1890s by D.C. Pendery and Bill Gebhardt. They added cumin, oregano, garlic powder and salt, creating a popular flavor for chili con carne.

Chili sauce excels on grilled meats and seafood and is similar to, but more flavorful than, ketchup. It is a classic dipper for shrimp cocktail, combined with horseradish.


CHILI SAUCE

5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, then chopped
1 sweet red pepper, seeded
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet chili powder (or more to taste)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Dash of salt and pepper

Mix ingredients thoroughly in a sauce pan and simmer until thickened. Serve hot or cold.

Makes about 2 cups.

Contact Jim Hillibish at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.