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Dave's Fiery Front Page

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

LabelFor the fifth year in a row, the 23rd annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show is sold out of exhibitor space!  Thanks to all of our loyal customers and the new exhibitors as well.  Join us March 4-6 for the show at Sandia Resort and Casino.  The bravest of spice fanatics will also have the opportunity to sample El Pinto Scorpion Salsa, a product made with the new hottest chile pepper in the world, the New Mexico Scorpion. The New Mexico Scorpion measures 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) according to tests conducted by a third-party laboratory and is currently under consideration by Guinness World Records™ for the “World’s Hottest Chili” record. Myself,  Marlin Bensinger, Chemical Engineer; and Jim Duffy, grower, are pursuing the record.

 

Other exciting happenings at the show include a daily Disc-It grill raffle giveaway. The Disc-It, customized for the Fiery Foods Show with a chile pattern and inscription, has a unique wok shape that makes it ideal for outdoor cooking and grilling. Disc-It’s are manufactured locally in northwest Albuquerque. The show will also be streamed live for the first time ever on Saturday and Sunday. The live stream can be viewed at www.stickam.com during public show hours on March 5 and 6.  More show details are here.

Scorpion bedding plants are available from ChilePlants.com, here.  Seeds are available in the Store at Refining Fire Chiles, here.


Ceviche from the Hotel California

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Las Aguilas

Las Aguilas, or the Mexican Eagles, on the roof of the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, proving once again that Mexicans have a great sense of humor.  The rumor that Don Henley stayed at the hotel and wrote his famous song there is just not true.  "I can tell you unequivocally that neither myself nor any of the other band members have had any sort of association--business or pleasure--with that establishment," Henley wrote to travel writer Joe Cummings.  No matter, the restaurant there is excellent and Chef Dany Lamote shared his recipe for ceviche with me.

Classic Ceviche

Classic Ceviche

 This is a classic dish all over Mexico. The fish of choice on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula is the sierra, or Spanish mackerel, but you can substitute snapper or grouper. For a smoother-tasting ceviche, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil just before serving. I often serve this as an appetizer in a martini glass.

 

1 pound Spanish mackerel, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 Roma tomatoes, cut in 1/4-inch cubes
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 serrano chiles, minced
6 Mexican limes, juiced, seeds removed, or more to taste
1 ounce Hotel California Tequila
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients is a bowl and marinate at room temperatures for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Serve with unsalted corn tortillas.

Yield: 4 servings as an appetizer
Heat Scale: Medium


Fire BreatherLast week, a judge at the Fiery Foods Challenge, a spicy food contest held in conjunction with Texas-based festival, ZestFest 2011, was hospitalized after sampling an entry. The blind entry in the hot sauce category was described as a “nightmare in a bottle” by another of the contest judges. Speculators have suggested the sauce may have contained the extract capsaicin, the chemical that gives chile peppers their heat.

“Our best wishes for a swift recovery go out to the judge injured in the Fiery Foods Challenge this week,” said Dave DeWitt, owner and producer of the Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Safety is the most important thing when testing fiery foods. Chemical additives such as capsaicin only increase the necessity for proper precautions.”

“At the Fiery Foods Show, exhibitors are required to have warning signage at their booths and to taste only on the end of toothpicks,” said DeWitt.

In addition to producing the Fiery Foods Show—the largest hot foods trade show in the country, DeWitt also hosts the annual Scovie Awards, a contest that judges the best food products in the hot foods industry. Judges who participate in the superhot category of the Scovies (including products containing the capsaicin extract) are required to sign a waiver before the contest and to test products separately, overseen at all times by a designated monitor.

Judges at the Scovies are provided with several different, thick coolants, such as yogurt and ice cream—the same cooling agents that members of the public should use when tasting fiery foods. Dairy and alcohol products are particularly effective in counteracting the heat associated with chile peppers; capsaicin dissolves in the fats contained in dairy. Water is a relatively useless cooling agent. Other methods used to combat the heat from peppers include tasting small samples in order to gauge heat levels, and building a tolerance to heat over time before tackling superhots.

With the proper precautions, the general public can avoid overexposure to the “fire” in fiery foods and enjoy the spice of life.

Extras:

Check out this video from Dave DeWitt on how to avoid chile pepper burnout!


Front of the HotelSandia Resort and Casino is the ideal location for an event like the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show.  It simply has everything you could want away from home.  A spectacular location at the foot of the 10,600 foot-high Sandia Mountains, plus a great view of the city makes for relaxing surroundings. The large rooms offer:

  • King size or Queen size bedTypical Room
  • 32" flat screen TV
  • Private safe
  • Refrigerator
  • Luxurious bathroom
  • Separate soaking tub
  • Oversized walk-in shower
  • Nicely sized vanity
  • Complimentary Wireless and Wired Internet access
  • Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities
  • Coffee makers

To make your reservation at Sandia Resort, call the resort directly at 505-798-3930 or toll-free at 877-272-9199. Make sure you specify that you are with the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show to get the special rate. Deluxe Guest Rooms – $165.00/night for one king, $175.00/night for two queens.1 Bdrm Suite – $349.00/night. Rooms are filling up fast, so make your reservation today. For detailed information on Sandia Resort and Casino, go here.


 

 

After running Germany's first Hot Shop for ten years, Suncoast Peppers GmbH will shift their focus back to publishing, and will  discontinue their online shop by mid 2011. In addition to selling chile food and nonfood products, Suncoast Peppers owner Harald Zoschke authored and published the most popular German book on chile peppers and spicy food, Das Chili Pepper Buch, sold through book stores and Amazon. "The book continues to be a bestseller. We have many more projects like that mapped out, which always had to stand back, as the highly successful shop tied us up completely," Zoschke said. "Those ten years were great, but we feel this is also a good moment to shift focus to other exciting ventures."

Suncoast Peppers will continue to run and expand Pepperworld.com. Harald and Renate Zoschke plan to open the most comprehensive German-language chile and barbecue related content Website for advertising targeted at its audience.

Harald will also continue working with Dave and Sunbelt Shows on various projects. Stay tuned!


Pepper Thieves

Posted by: Kelli Bergthold

Man Eating Pepper

From the pepper bandits who made off with more than 26,000 pounds of red peppers in Adra, Spain, to the pepper thief who stole 128 pounds of sweet peppers – valued at $20,000 – from a farm in California, chile peppers are definitely a hot commodity on the black market. But it’s not just humans who can’t help themselves to a bit of pepper pilfering.

Santa Fe, New Mexico residents Jamie Hascall and Dr. Betsy Brown were amazed not only to find a pack rat’s nest under the hood of their Subaru Forrester, but also by the Rat's Nestartful display of chile pods the rodent had collected from a nearby chile ristra that had fallen to the ground. It turns out that many different animals love peppers just as much as humans do. Birds, rodents, even dogs will grab the chance to sneak a bite of sweet peppers (even jalapeños) if the opportunity should arise. Because birds lack the kind of receptors on their tongues that cause humans to nibble habaneros carefully, they have a much higher tolerance for the capsaicin that makes peppers hot. In fact, many bird seed producers include dried chile pods and seeds in their seed mixes.

Next time  you’re prepping a spicy dish, or adding some fresh hatch chiles to the grill, make sure there are no would-be pepper felons hanging around, waiting for a taste!


Be the Perfect Jerk

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

North Coast Jerk PorkTrying to recreate favorite dishes from distant lands can be daunting, but I discovered this past weekend that there is one word to keep in mind while trying it: scratch.  That's right, forget about prepared (commercial) spice mixes, marinades, and sauces, and make the seasonings from scratch.  Take jerk pork, for example.  I totally fell in love with jerk pork as the Jamaicans make it, highly spiced and smoke-grilled.  But I have been unable to re-create it with prepared jerk seasonings.  So I went back to my recipe files and found a recipe that I collected in Ocho Rios, and gave it a try.  At first, while marinating, the mixture looked way too herbal and green to do the job, but once the pork started browning on the grill, it looked right. Damn near perfect, and I'm breaking my own arm patting myself on the back.  Take a look at the shot above, right off the grill.  Not exactly a perfectly-styled photo shoot, but hey, it's a snapshot straight from the grill.  And amazingly delicious.  Here is the recipe I used, and I marinated "country-style" pork ribs in it for six hours, and then slowly smoke-grilled them over low heat.  See you in Jamaica, mon!

North Coast Jerk Marinade

Variations on Jamaican jerk sauces and marinades range from the early, simple pastes of three or four ingredients to the more modern and rather complicated concotions with as many twenty-one spices, herbs, and vegetables. By varying the amount of vegetable oil and lime juice added, the cook can change the consistency from a paste to a sauce. Traditionally, it is used with pork, chicken, or fish.

1/4 cup whole Jamaican pimento berries (or 1/8 cup ground allspice)
3 Scotch bonnet chiles (or habaneros), seeds and stems removed, chopped
10 scallions (green onions), chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves, crushed
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup fresh thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
Water

Roast the pimento berries in a dry skillet until they are aromatic, about 2 minutes. Remove and crush them to a powder in a mortar or spice mill.

Add the pimento powder and the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend with enough water to make a paste or sauce. Remove and store in a jar in the refrigerator; it will keep for a month or more.

Yield: 2 to 3 cups
Heat Scale: Hot


2011 Brings Media Expansion for Us

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

 

Burn! LogoHere at Sunbelt Shows, the SuperSite's parent company, we are really looking forward to the coming year because of the new media projects we're launching—a digital magazine and a book publishing division. We owe it all to technological advancements that now make it easier than ever to publish digital products, so we're proud to announce Burn! digital magazine, and digital books through Sunbelt Media, our book division. But Sunbelt Media will also have printed books, because we are not abandoning a very popular medium that's been around for 600 years or so.

In the next year, look for chilehead and BBQ books from me and from other writers on our team, Sunbelt Media Logoincluding a facsimile release of the original Callaloo, Calypso & Carnival: The Cuisines of Trinidad & Tobago, first published in 1993; The Hot Sauce Bible: New Testament; and The Vegetarian Chilehead, a large collection of spicy meatless recipes. Hopefully, we will be able to complete Barbecue Apocalypse: Spiced-Up Q with an Attitude, but that might have to wait until 2012.  Burn! digital magazine, a subscription-based monthly, will absolutely blow your mind! Read all about it here.  And cheers to a wonderful 2011!



Cactus Christmas TreeHere at the SuperSite, we have assembled a tasty array of holiday articles and recipes from many of our writers.  Chile peppers are a common theme and appear in Christmas recipes around the world, from snacks to desserts. Here is a brief overview.

 

Chile WreathRed and Green For the Holidays. Mistletoe and holly are endangered species around here—everywhere we look in the Southwest, the traditional red and green decorations of the holiday season are dominated by the very same colors of New Mexico’s powerful state vegetable, the chile pepper. The abundance of chile gift items boosts the pungent pod to primary status as a New Mexico Christmas symbol.

A Chile PiñataA Chile-Blessed Christmas Around the World. New Mexico is not the only place where the pungent pod plays a roll in holiday fare.  In many countries where Christmas is celebrated, chiles are an integral ingredient in traditional holiday foods.

Deep-Fried Cajun TurkeyDeep-Fried Cajun Turkey for Christmas. Despite the three-day process, it’s well worth the effort to cook turkey this way. Created in the South, this method of cooking a turkey is gaining popularity all across the country. This process produces a succulent turkey and if the oil is at the correct temperature, a crisp, not greasy skin.

It's a Party!Sizzling Snacks for Holiday Entertaining. Ah, the holidays…when friends can drop in unexpectedly and expect to be fed. Don’t be caught unprepared! Here in New Mexico, a really great party always contains some spicy munchies. Chile peppers can be found in every course, from drinks and appetizers to entrees and even dessert.

Old Town FarolitosChristmas Eve Dishes from New Mexico. Christmas Eve in New Mexico is a very special night steeped in tradition and probably no other image symbolizes the season more than the flickering lights from the brown paper bags, called luminarias or farolitos, that line the walkways and outline buildings and houses throughout the state.

Holiday FeastA Multi-Cultural Holiday Feast.  It's the time of year that friends and family gather to enjoy each other's company, to reflect on the year that is passing, make resolutions for the upcoming one, and hopefully, eat way too much hot and spicy food and barbecue. The celebrations seem to be non-stop for the entire month. Ever wonder why there are so many in December?

Spicy TiramisuHeavenly Holiday Treats: Desserts with a Tangy Twist.  As a devout chilehead, I constantly look for a little bit of heat in my food.  I've found my favorite recipes for fiery appetizers, sizzling soups, and exciting entrees.  The only category that I was disappointed with was desserts.  As rich, creamy, and decadent as desserts can be, there was something missing: a little spice, a little zing, a little heat. That's what I was searching for.

Sauza SignSpicy Drinks for New Year's.  Many people compose their New Year's Resolutions at this time of the year, but I prefer New Year's Revolutions: hot and spicy drinks to celebrate in a toast to the coming year, which I vow to make the best year of my life.  Yes, yes, I've been known to be infected with PMA: Positive Mental Attitude.  Salud!


Pecan Grove, Las CrucesChiles had their moments of fame back in the 1980s and early '90s when they were easily New Mexico's number one food crop. But as the pecan groves expanded and the trees matured, pecans have steadily stolen the chiles' thunder. These days, the pecan crop value is nearly double that of chile peppers.

In 2007, New Mexico pecan growers were dancing in their groves this spring after becoming the leading U.S. pecan-producing state in 2006, displacing Georgia, typically the national champ. The 46 million-pound crop was valued at about $85 million, with grower prices at about $1.85 per pound. Last year, New Mexico produced 68 million pounds of pecans in the shell in 2009 to rank No. 2; Georgia produced about 79 million pounds to comePecans in Husks in first. Texas came in third. But New Mexico recorded the highest price per pound in the shell — $1.76. Arizona ranked second at $1.72 per pound, and California was third with $1.51 per pound.

But I'm not sad for the chiles—after all, it's quality, not quantity. So, as the pecan harvest begins, let's combine the two favorite crops of New Mexico.

Pecan and Chile Cheese Roll
Pecan and Chile Cheese Roll

Although it’s easy to prepare and extremely tasty, believe me, this ain’t your grandmother’s cheese ball. Although this type of appetizer has graced party tables for years, this one will soon become a new favorite. I use pecans because they are so plentiful here, but substitute walnuts or almonds if you prefer.  Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1/2 cup chopped green New Mexico chile, which has been roasted and peeled
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons ground red New Mexico chile
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Combine the chile and the cheeses in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until firm.

Toss the pecans in the ground chile until well coated.

Roll the cheese between 2 pieces of wax paper to form a log. Then roll the log in the crushed nuts and chile for 8 hours before serving.

To serve, place the cheese log on a platter and arrange crackers around the cheese and place a knife on the platter for spreading.

Yield: 1 log
Heat Scale: Medium


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