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Sweet Heat: It's raspberry picking time!

Posted by: Gwyneth Doland

Tagged in: gardening

Heidi's Raspberry Farm is open for visiting pickers here in Albuquerque, and the raspberry brambles are dripping with fruit. (Heidi's is a frequent Scovie Award entrant and winner; in 2007 the company won five awards!)

Heidi's all-organic jams are outstanding, especially the Raspberry Red Chile Jam anRaspberry bushesd the Raspberry Red Chile Ginger Jam. But because it's a family tradition, I like to make jam at home, too.

So after an hour or so of stooping over the rows and digging around for the best berries, I had about five pints picked. A few hours later I had a couple of burns, a filthy kitchen and eight jars of raspberry...soup. Dammit! It didn't gel. I must not have cooked it long enough. Some kind of cooking expert I am!

Maybe I'll try to cook it down again, or maybe I'll just go out and buy some of Heidi's jam. It's way better than mine anyway...

For those of you with raspberry bushes nearby, here are a few suggestions for your bounty.  How about rasberry barbecue sauce? Or hey, since it's also peach season, what about grilled peach halves with chipotle raspberry puree?

Got more ideas? Put them in the comments!

Hurricane survivors turn to grilling

Posted by: Gwyneth Doland

Tagged in: grilling

 In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, thousands of Gulf Coast residents are left without gas or electricity. So how, exactly are they supposed to cook? The other day I saw a slideshow of photographs taken after the hurricane and one showed a couple of guys grilling a ring of kielbasa (or something) over a small grill set up on an apartment building balcony. Makes sense, right? 


 But as Pamela Alford of EMG Productions points out in an e-mail: 

One of the most basic requirements for hurricane or other natural disaster preparedness is to have a good supply of non-perishable food. Something that is rarely discussed or planned is how one will cook this non-perishable food given there will be no power.  The very nature of this type of food supply means rice, beans, canned meats, and other food items that require cooking. 

Almost everyone knows how to cook on a gas or charcoal grill – but what if there is no propane or charcoal?  Chances are good that firewood will be readily available in any situation, but knowing how to cook over an open fire takes knowledge and the right equipment. During a natural disaster, it is more important than ever to eat hearty meals that “stick to the ribs”, and a hot meal during times of this nature can be most encouraging to survivors.

 Alford has posted a series of videos and articles about cooking over an open fire. You can see them here. They won't help hurricane victims who don't have electricity (and therefore no access to the Internet), but it might get some of you all thinking about how to be prepared should disaster strike in your area. 

Along those lines I have two words for you: Dutch ovens. You know, the kind with the lip around the lid so you can keep hot coals on top. Buy yours here.

Maple Bacon Lollipops?!

Posted by: Gwyneth Doland

Tagged in: food trends , bacon

Thanks to FFBBQ's favorite bacon fan, Trisha Sauthoff, for sending in a tip about the maple-bacon lollipops sold by a San Francisco candymaker called Lollyphile. They're made with real maple syrup and itty-bitty chunks of delicious smoked bacon. Mmm...bacon! The pops cost $10 for four, $24 for 12 or $52 for 36. Oh, and Lollyphile also makes absinthe flavored pops. What a combo!

Porchetta: Italy Does Whole Hog

Posted by: Gwyneth Doland

Tagged in: food trends

I just returned from two weeks of eating my way through Italy, and one of the highlights of the trip was was porchetta, a fantastic way of making a whole hog. The pig is gutted and deboned (deboned!), then the meat is spread with herbs and vegetables, and the whole thing rolled up and secured with twine.

It's roasted, not smoked, so the skin is crispy and delicious without any added flavor. The meat itself is salty and porky, highlighted by the fresh herbs. It's sold cold, sliced thin and stuffed into a crispy roll for a to-go sandwich.

Porchetta is mostly sold from food carts at markets, fairs and festivals. I paid about $7.50 for my sandwich but it was worth every penny. I wanted to take a whole pig home with me!

It might be too much effort to try to do this at home (I can't imagine deboning a whole hog!) but Mario Batali published a recipe for something similar last year in Esquire. His recipe (see it here) calls for a boneless pork shoulder, butterflied and layered with the same herbs and veggies. The only thing missing is that yummy skin! It would be worth hunting down a skin-on piece of meat...  --Gwyneth Doland

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