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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> fiery foods

The Last Pepper in the Patch

Posted by: Neil Travis Honaker

Tagged in: grilling , fiery foods

Some time this week I'll have to spend an afternoon cleaning up the garden. Or what's left of it. Growing chile peppers in Kentucky is always a battle against time. It seems like I'm either waiting impatiently for the spring threat of frost to pass (normally not until the week after the Kentucky Derby) or hoping desperately for a last bunch of peppers to ripen before the first frost of the fall sets in (usually shortly after Halloween--this year it came early). Usually it's the habaneros that give me fits. As a late blooming plant they are just starting to really flourish when the temperature begins to drop. Traditionally, our last meal from the pepper patch each year features the last peppers to ripen, and it's always the habaneros. So while the temperature outside may be dropping, the heat around the dinner table is definitely on the rise as a final batch of jerk chicken wings hits the grill. The addition of a little Haitian Rum turns regular jerk into Voodoo Jerk Chicken, appropriate for the post-Halloween, Day of the Dead or All Soul's Day feast and always a crowd pleaser around here.

Voodoo Jerk Chicken Wings

* 2-1/2 to 3 pounds chicken wings
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 to 3 habanero peppers, chopped
* 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 3 tablespoons Haitian Rum Barbancourt
* 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 teaspoon thyme
* cilantro, chopped for garnish

Clean the chicken and place in a re-sealable container or plastic bag. Using a food processor, pulse the remaining ingredients together until they are well combined. Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal and refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 24 hours (the longer the chicken marinates the hotter the final product). Grill over medium high heat until done (20-25 minutes). Arrange chicken wings on a platter, garnish with the lime wedges and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Hot

--Neil Travis Honaker

Congratulations to Bon Bon Bakery and Chocolate of San Diego, Grand Prize (Tasting Division) Winner of the 2009 Scovie Awards Competition with their incredibly tasty Chile Verde Ganache with Sweet Corn!  The Sweet Heat category has won the Grand Prize more than half the time in the 12 year history of the Scovie Awards.  I was a table monitor and the judges at my table, after the sampling, commented on the beautiful appearance of the Chile Verde Ganache, and I think that really helped the product to win.  Of course, flavor had something to do with it as well.  Visit Bon Bon Bakery here.

We are now contacting all winners by phone, and once that is done, we will post all the winners on the SuperSite.

Great Bowls of Fire!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: fiery foods , books

Soups are the elegant side of a chef's kitchen. In professional cooking, tradition holds that the head chef always makes the soup. In fact, if you catch the chef eating something in his kitchen, chances are it will be a soup. Why do chefs love soups? Because it gives them a chance to recycle some of the byproducts of the main dishes, as well as take advantage of seasonal ingredients.  In 1997, Ten Speed Press published this book by me and W.C. Longacre and what a labor of love it was!

Read the article here.

Buy the book here.

Here's a pic of one of the soups, Green Chile Bay Shrimp Chowder:

New Product Tasting Promotion

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: hot sauce , food trends , fiery foods

Attention Manufacturers. We are now giving you the opportunity to have your new products (less than one year old) tasted by our assistant editors using the Scovie Judging forms.  You will get a score for tasting and one for product packaging.  And the results will be published on this blog. There is no charge for this promotion, but you must sign a release giving us permission to publish the results of the taste test.  For more information, email me here.

Why Chiles Conquered America

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: history , fiery foods , chile peppers

I am constantly asked to explain the exponential growth of interest in chile peppers and the boom in fiery foods products in the U.S. over the past two decades. How did a meat and potatoes America become enamored of hot sauces, salsas, spicy snack food, chili con carne, and hundreds and hundreds of other fiery foods? First, we must look at the historical trends for why cooks add spices to their foods in the first place.  The article is here.

Map of North America, 1641

The Best Mustard Ever?

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: mustard , fiery foods

As far as I know, Lusty Monk mustards are the only fresh, refrigerated mustards produced in the United States.  Like fresh salsas, they must be sold from cold cases in shops and supermarkets.  There are two flavors, "Original Sin" and "Burn in Hell," a chipotle mustard.  These are simply the best mustards I have ever tasted--no offense to other mustard manufacturers.  You can order it from their website, here, and the site has some very good recipes for using the mustards, like Lobster Deviled Eggs, Chicken Breast in Parchment Paper, and How to Rescue Grocery Store Potato Salad.

Hot Sauce for Breakfast!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: hot sauce , fiery foods


It may not surprise readers to discover that I have a rather unconventional breakfast each morning.  I love vegetable juice with hot sauce in it!  And being the fickle hot sauce consumer that I am, my favorite hot sauce varies from day to day.  Because we produce the Scovie Awards, I'm constantly tasting new sauces.  So here's what I love right now: upper left is Eswatini Swazi Fire Chilli Sauce, which is made in Swaziland, Africa.  It consists of hot chillis with onion and garlic in sunflower oil and vinegar.  Wonderful and you can order it here.  Next, upper right, is Susie's Hot Sauce that is produced by Rosemary McMaster in Antigua, West Indies (pronounced "ann-TEEG-uh").  It features habaneros, mustard, vinegar and spices and you can order it here.  And last but not least is Gila Venom, manufactured by Lizard's on the Bayou in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  This sauce won First Place in the Habanero Hot Sauce Category in the 2008 Scovie Awards.  Because it also contains jalapeños, serranos, and cayennes, it is very hot but also extremely flavorful.  You can order this sauce here.

Here's a unique way to preserve pods from the garden.  Harald Zoschke, our European editor, notes:  "Candying is one of the most ancient forms of preserving the harvest--the ancient Egyptians preserved nuts and fruits with honey. Like spices, candied fruit like wild oranges, melons and apricots, were brought to Europe by traders from the Middle East and China in the Early Middle Ages. Until sugar was introduced during the Crusades, honey and palm syrup were used, later replaced mostly by sugar-based syrup. The technique is the same, though--by placing fruit in syrup with gradually increased sugar content, their cell liquid is getting replaced by sugar."  Read the entire story and learn how to candy chile pods, here.

Nancy and Jeff Move to Mexico

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: personalities , fiery foods

Nancy in 1995

My longtime coauthor and food editor Nancy Gerlach has retired and moved to Mexico with her longtime husband, Jeff.  Mary Jane and I will visit them in Yucatan, of course, so they're not completely gone from our lives.  Nancy recently recounted their trip by truck and trailer from Albuquerque to Yucatan, some 2600 miles, and it's a great story, here.



Fresh Pimientos de Padron

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Use the Promo Code pad25 to receive a 20 percent discount!Pimientos de Padron are amazingly tasty, tiny peppers from a medieval town in Galicia, northwest Spain. People flock to tapas bars of the neighboring pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela to savor a plateful of these unique peppers that are lightly seared in olive oil, and then sprinkled with sea salt. Their fame has spread throughout the rest of Spain - and now to America! What makes these little Padron peppers unique is that randomly you will pop a spicy one in your mouth! Since there is no way to distinguish the one from the rest which are sweet, you never know when you will get a surprise! A New York Times writer calls the experience "Spanish Roulette!"  We in Virginia are on the same latitude as the village of Padron, so we asked a local farmer if he could recreate this treat by planting imported seeds. His effort has been a total success. The pepper plants grown in the rich Virginia soil are identical to those grown on the parallel Atlantic shore - in the Rias of Galicia! Every couple of days during the growing season here in Virginia, our farmer hand-picks these small, crisp peppers. Following the tradition of the farmers of the village of Padron, he selects only the small young peppers, because the larger, more mature peppers are always hot. The following morning we receive these fresh peppers and send them on to you! Because these peppers are a farm crop, supplies are dependent upon the weather. If there is an unusually small harvest on a certain day we may ship your order a day or two later when the next peppers are picked. Of course, we will inform you should there be any delay. --from La Tienda, the mail-order Spanish food store.

- 1 pound, 100 peppers in a plastic carton
- Delicious lightly sauteed in olive oil
- Grown from true Padron pepper seeds from Spain

Order HERE.



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