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Dave's Fiery Front Page

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

New Tabasco® Tequila

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: recipe , fiery foods , beverages

Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the nation’s largest independent family-owned spirits supplier, has announced a licensing agreement with McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana, creator of Tabasco® brand Pepper Sauce, to produce Tabasco™ brand Spicy Tequila and has launched it in select markets.  It is now available in Dallas, Houston, Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina. They sent me a sample and I tried it straight up, licking salt off my hand, taking a sip, and licking a sliced lime.  I thought it was excellent, and the heat level is only about a one on a one-to-ten scale."We are tremendously excited about the prospects of Tabasco brand Spicy Tequila and this licensing agreement with McIlhenny Company," stated Heaven Hill Distilleries president Max L. Shapira. "Like our company, McIlhenny is family-owned and independent, so this is a partnership built on commonalities and mutual benefits." Paul McIlhenny,  who I interviewed for my video documentary, "Heat Up Your Life," added: "Tabasco brand Pepper Sauce and Tequila have been served together for a long time…it's a complementary taste combination that has been enjoyed all over the world."  Paul took really good care of the film crew when we stayed in one of his plantation mansions on Avery Island.  He personally made a crawfish boil for us, spiced up with guess what.


2 oz. TABASCO™ Spicy Tequila
1 oz. Orange Liqueur
2 oz. Lime Juice
Shake over ice and strain into salt-rimmed Margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Bloody Maria

1 oz. TABASCO™ Spicy Tequila
2 oz. Tomato Juice
1 Dash Lemon Juice
1 Dash Celery Salt

Shake all ingredients with cracked ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon slice. For extra-hot Bloody Maria, substitute TABASCO® Bloody Mary Mix for tomato juice.

The media in New Mexico was all abuzz recently with the announcement that Peppers Cafe on the Plaza in historic Mesilla had petitioned Guinness World Records to certify its green chile cheeseburger as "the largest commercially available burger of its kind in the world."  The meat in the burger weighs one pound and the burger itself has a ten-inch diameter.  The general manager of Peppers Cafe, Jerry Harrell, noted for the record that some large cheeseburgers and hamburgers hold records in other parts of the U.S., but no such honor has ever gone to the green chile cheeseburger, which is served at hundreds of restaurants in New Mexico.  The burger consists of hand-ground beef from the Double Eagle's (its sister restaurant) aging room, topped with three roasted and peeled green chiles, pico de gallo salsa, a half-pound of Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheeses, and is served on a yeast roll bun baked at the Lujan Bakery in Las Cruces.  The burger sells for $18.25 and has stirred up a great amount of controversy.  Read some of the comments here.  For our recipe for this "gourmet treat," go here.  To watch Gwyn Doland and I cook two of them, go here.

VESTA: The Fire-Flavored Mead

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: fiery foods , beverages

Gwynne Spencer reports: "Mead was the first wine" is the motto of Bacchus Meadery.  Their new Vesta Mead takes on a unique red chile flavor that fires up your brain and taste buds. Named after Vesta, the goddess of the fire, this delightfully light and spicy mix of honey and whole red chiles is not sweet, as are many meads. Made only with pure Colorado honey from Mad Hava hives in Lyons, Colorado, and using an ancient formula of water, honey, and yeast, mead-making brothers Jason and Adam Kittel will soon begin taking orders for bottles and cases of Vesta as soon as they get this new flavor federally approved for their small meadery in Loveland, Colorado.

"Mead has always been linked with love, and so we located in Loveland," Jason admits. Mead was traditionally the drink for a month after marriage, to assure fertility and sons (thus the word  "honeymoon"). While Bacchus Meads take a little longer for birthing (4 months), they still have a delicate, non-sweet, non-cloying light clean taste, not chunky like some meads. The red chile flavor is unique to Bacchus.

"Now drink it just the way I tell you," advises Jason in his chile-red toga. "A little taste on your tongue, another little taste on the back of your tongue.....now shoot the rest of it all in one gulp and feel it on the back of your throat." An early morning taste-tester at the Mancos Renaissance Faire on June 28th smiles broadly, "Ahhhh.....mead for breakfast. It's what America needs." The heat in the mead comes from fresh whole red peppers resting in the mead, "like little tongues of fire." It lives up to its name, Vesta, whose sacred flames were kept alive for thousands of years.

At about $15 a bottle plus shipping (about $7), Vesta will be a great fall gift for balloonists and Bacchanalias. On their website, here, you'll also find: Stator, made from a very traditional mix of clover and wildflower honey; Priapus, a smoky sweet vanilla-and-maple mead made using a Celestial Seasonings tea; Cupid, with a bright "make you happy in the morning" cherry flavor with a dry start and a tart finish; Bellona, made with agave nectar begs for a sliced lime as an alternative to margaritas; Venus, an almond-tinged mead; Slascha, chocolate-spiced to warm your winter bones, and of course, Vesta, the chile-powered mead.

The Bacchus Boys will be offering taste testings at Castle Rock Wine Festival (July 25th), Palisade Pirate Festival (August 21), Breckenridge Wine Festival (September 5) and Colorado Mountain Wine Festival (September 19th). They are hoping to make it to this year's Fiery Foods show, too. For more information, call (303) 552-1987 or e-mail here.

Gwynne Spencer writes from her secret rebel base by the Mancos River under the watchful brow of Mesa Verde. Reach her here

My Instant Curry Fiasco

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: recipe , fiery foods

After I posted my new 12-part series, "A World of Curries" to the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite, here, I had an obsessive craving to taste some of them.  But making curries from scratch is almost as challenging as preparing mole sauces, so I had second thoughts about spending that much time.  Our friend Geetha had given us a jar of Eswatini Curry Sauce Hot, made in Swaziland, a tiny country literally surrounded by South Africa.  So I thought, why not experiment with that and two other prepared curries?

So I went to Ta Lin Market and wandered the aisles until I found Shan Chicken Curry Mix (made in Pakistan), a dried mix to be added to cooked chicken and yogurt and Madam Pum Instant Green Curry with Coconut Milk (made in Thailand).  I bought an eggplant, carrots, and some inexpensive lamb and came home ready for some fun cooking.

I browned the lamb in olive oil and added it to the Green Curry sauce with a little more coconut milk, covered it and started simmering it, knowing that this curry would take the most amount of time because even very small lamb chunks take time to get tender.  The Chicken Curry was easy because Mary Jane had cooked chicken left over from making chicken stock.  I sliced the carrots thinly and the eggplant in little cubes and sauteed them with garlic paste in olive oil, then added the Eswatini Curry sauce (made with tomatoes, peaches, apples, oil, vinegar, and spices).  While the curries cooked I made a Coconut Rice Pilaf to serve them over.

All of this took about an hour, plus 45 minutes for baking the rice, so it wasn't actually instant.  But hey, I argued to myself, I'm making three curries and enough rice for at least six servings and the leftovers will be great.

Not so fast, Emeril-face.  The kitchen was filled with the wonderful aromas of the curries and it was time to serve them.  I made an attractive presentation of the rice garnished with a leaf of Italian parsley, surrounded by the curries. 

First, the chicken curry (center):  inedible because of an incredible salt level.  Next, the lamb with green curry (right): even more salty and impossible to eat--my mouth felt like it had sodium burns.  Finally, the Eswatini vegetable curry (left): delicious, so at least we had one curry for a full meal.

"Did you read the labels before you bought those curry mixes?" asked Mary Jane.

Of course I hadn't.  I couldn't have imagined in my wildest culinary nightmares that the Shan Chicken Curry Mix would have 27 percent of my daily sodium needs and the Madame Pum Green Curry would have 42 percent!  What were Mr. Shan and Madame Pum thinking?  The net weight of the Chicken Curry Mix was 50 grams.  The salt in it weighed .65 grams, so the salt constituted a mere 1.3 percent of the mix.  That doesn't seem like all that much, but our tongues don't lie.  The Green Curry sauce had a net weight of 200 grams with .528 grams of salt, or way less than one percent.  The Eswatini Curry Sauce's net weight was 300 grams with half a gram of salt, or about half what the Green Curry contained.  And it didn't taste salty at all despite providing about 20 percent of my daily sodium requirement.  Or maybe after all the salt in the first two curries, we couldn't detect the salt in it.

Anyway, I've learned my lesson: read the labels before buying unfamiliar products.  Here's a suggestion: make your favorite curry from scratch from"A World of Curries,"  then serve it over this wonderful rice, which can also be baked as a pilaf if you brown the rice first in butter or ghee.

Coconut Milk Rice
(Nasi Lemak)

Here is the most popular rice dish on the east coast of Malaysia.  It is served in coffee shops and roadside stands, wrapped in a banana leaf and garnished with a sambal, peanuts, egg, and cucumber slices.  It is a perfect side dish with any of the curries in this series.  Thin the coconut milk with an equal amount of water for a less pronounced coconut flavor in the rice.

2 cups long grain rice, washed and drained
3 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
2 whole cloves
2 pandan leaves (screwpine), tied in a knot (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the rice is done and fluffy, about 35 to40 minutes. 

Remove the cloves and screwpine leaves before serving.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For quite a while I've wanted to offer manufacturers of spicy and BBQ products a way to test to see if their new products can compete successfully in the Scovie Awards and in the marketplace, but I didn't really have the time to devote to the project.  To the rescue comes James Beck of Houston, who has launched a site devoted to that very subject.  James, a hard-working young entrepreneur who was formerly a business and financial consultant, has decided to focus his life on the fiery foods and barbecue industries--sounds like me 25 years ago!  So we have teamed up for New Product Reviews, a for-now free service that judges the latest products according to the same criteria as the Scovie Awards, and James will publish the results on his EatMoreEat.com site. Welcome aboard, James!

I just received the July, 2009 issue of Saveur, my favorite food magazine, and it's a special Texas issue which is really a fun read with great recipes.  I was delighted to spot friends of mine as contributors, including Sharon Hudgins and Robb Walsh.  Sharon and Robb were two of the three great writers ("The Triumvirate," I used to call them) who I depended on for quality content when I was editor of the original Chile Pepper magazine from 1987 to 1996. (The third member of that group was Richard Sterling, who lives in Berkeley and Vietnam and isn't a Texan.)  In this Texas issue, Sharon writes about chuck wagon cooking and Robb covers chicken-fried steak, oysters, mesquite, and vaquero (Mexican cowboy) cooking.  To see them in this issue brought back fond memories of all the fun we had in the "old days" (remember the first Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, Robb?)  Also making appearances are three New Mexicans I know and like, Deborah Madison, probably the most accomplished writer on vegetarian subjects, and Cheryl and Bill Jamison, who were kind enough to write a cover blurb for my upcoming (September) book with Paul Bosland, The Complete Chile Pepper Book.  Congrats to all of you for a wonderful special issue of Saveur.


Chipotle Flavors

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

I'm pleased to announce the publication of a five-part series devoted to chipotles--those many varieties of smoked chiles.   You can go here to start reading about--and cooking with--chipotles of all kinds.

Holy Jolokia!  That's the name of the hot sauce the Chile Pepper Institute is releasing as a fund-raiser.  The Institute has partnered with CaJohn's Fiery Foods in Columbus, Ohio to produce the sauce, which is made with the world's hottest pepper, the 'Bhut Jolokia', or "ghost pepper."   This partnership marks the first time CPI has partnered with a private company, and Dr. Paul Bosland, director, said the new product will help cement New Mexico as the chile capital of the world.  The 5-ounce bottle of Holy Jolokia will retail for $10 and a portion of sales will help fund research and education at CPI.  After years of growing out strains of 'Bhut Jolokia', tests with High Performance Liquid Chromatography revealed the heat level to be in excess of one million Scoville Heat Units. The Institute's findings for 'Bhut Jolokia' were awarded the world record as the "hottest of all spices" by Guinness World Records in September, 2006.  For more information on Holy Jolokia, email the Institute here.  For detailed information on 'Bhut Jolokia', go here.

Welcome, CaJohn's and Chedvilles!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

I'd like to thank John and Sue Hard of CaJohn's Fiery Foods of Ohio and Bob and Cindy Chedville of Chedville's Cajun Foods of Louisiana for joining our team here at the SuperSite.  John and Sue have been a loyal exhibitors in the Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show for years, and Bob and Cindy are new to our network.

CaJohn's Fiery Foods has at least a hundred different products, and lately they've been specializing in products made with the 'Bhut Jolokia', the hottest pepper in the world.  To the left is their Jolokia Mustard, and they have 12 more Jolokia products in their shop, here.



Chedville's Cajun Foods not only carries the Jamabaya Mix at left, but Gumbo, Dirty Rice, Etouffee, and Cajun-Style hot sauces, too.  As they say, it's a "Mardi Gras for your mouth!"  Visit their product page, here.  And, welcome aboard!

My Perfect Breakfast

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: recipe , fiery foods , bacon

When I lived in Richmond (VA), April was the time of the shad run up the James River, and my friends and I would be on the banks casting weighted jigs into the rapids to catch them.  It was amazing how long it took to land a large shad--three pounds or more--in the swirling current.  Sometimes, 20 minutes!  I had to be very careful because the shad have very delicate mouths and trying to muscle them to shore would rip out the lures.  We kept only the gravid females (see the bulging one in the pic) who had the roes we were looking for.  Then we took the roes home and made breakfast.  Now that I live in New Mexico, if I had the roes, I would fix them like this:

Hot Sauced Shad Roes with Green Chile & Cheese Eggs

Be the first to Tweet this blog post, here.


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