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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> holidays

Cool Down on the Fourth with A Firecracker

Posted by: Lois Manno

Tagged in: recipe , new content , holidays , beverages , alcohol


Riazul FirecrackerThis drink looks too good to be legal...but it is, proving that epic July 4th fireworks can be served up in a glass as well as in the sky. Wow your Fourth of July barbecue guests with the Riazul Firecracker. This spicy cocktail, infused with Riazul Premium Silver, was concocted by Jorge Guzman, master mixologist and owner of Ofrenda, the new cantina-themed hot spot in Manhattan's West Village. Check out the recipe on the Burn! Blog here.



A Mayan "Christmas Feast": Peccary Tamales

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: recipe , holidays , history


Peccary Tamale BowlThree hundred and fifty years after the birth of Jesus Christ, the Mayas in Mexico and Guatemala had never heard of this revered person, but they still celebrated their holidays with tamales—lots of them. Recent discoveries in 2010 at the medium-sized Mayan city of El Zotz in Guatemala included a tamale bowl with the representation of the head of a peccary, also called a javelina. This is pretty clear evidence that the pig-like peccary's meat was probably contained within the maize dough of the tamales. According to other archaeological finds, the tamales were served topped with either a squash seed sauce (pipián) or a chile sauce much like we eat today.

Although peccary meat is available in markets all over South America, I could not find a Peccary or Javelinacommercial source for it in the U.S., so you will have to find a hunting guide and shoot one. During slaughtering the first thing to do is remove the musk gland at the end of the backbone or it will taint the meat. My friend Dave Jackson has been peccary hunting in the “bootheel” of southwestern New Mexico and says it's exciting and dangerous because herds of peccaries have attacked and killed humans before.

Tamales Awaiting the Sauce, by Chel BeesonThis recipe would be a close approximation of the Mayan tamales, with pork substituted for the peccary meat. People who have consumed peccary meat (I haven't, yet), say that it has a naturally smoky flavor, and it's been compared to pork, lamb, and veal. So, enjoy a uniquely American Mayan Christmas dinner and remember that early American cuisines like that of the Maya and Aztecs was more sophisticated than that of Europe at the same time.

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!

South Africans Unite with BBQ

Posted by: Kelli Bergthold

Tagged in: tasty travel , holidays , history , grilling

Braai4heritage Poster 2010This September, South Africans will be looking forward to a big event. No, the World Cup isn’t making a repeat appearance; instead they’ll be turning their attention to another one of South Africa’s pastimes – barbeque. The word braai is Afrikaans for “barbeque” and is an immensely popular pastime in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. September 24 marks South Africa’s National Braai Day, a celebration of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Similar to a potluck, braaing is a laid back social event. Families and friends get together at a picnic spot or at someone’s home to cook meat and vegetables over an open flame. For most, it doesn’t matter what goes on the braai, so long as it’s good. Popular meat choices include kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, and seafood in coastal areas. Along with meat and vegetables, South Africans include a dish called “pap,” a thick porridge made from corn.

Nobel Peace laureate and Emeritus Archbishop, Desmond Tutu is the patron of National Braai Day, and has called on South Africans across the globe to throw some meat on the braai to honor the nation’s multi-cultural heritage and the fall of apartheid. While the 78-year-old will be retiring from public life this year, he says will remain the patron of the braai campaign, which aims to unite South Africans in an activity enjoyed by all demographic groups and religious denominations.

“The important thing is all of us on that one day again getting together and just enjoying the fact of being South Africans,” said the Archbishop.

Of course, you don’t have to be a South African to enjoy National Braai Day. Fire up your grill on September 24, throw some meat on the coals, and celebrate along with them!

Learn more about National Braai Day here.

By Emily DeWitt-Cisneros, SuperSite Food Editor


Sarah Gleason 1st/ 2nd grade combination class teacher discussing ingredients with the kids

Who doesn't like salsa? The children at North Valley Academy in Albuquerque sure like making it. Each year in Ms. Gleason's 1st and 2nd grade combination class, the kids make salsa for a Father's Day project. "I decided to start making 'Salsa for Dads' for Father's Day with my students because I wanted to give dads something they would enjoy,” says Sarah Gleason a teacher in her seventh year at North Valley Academy. “It had been kind of hard coming up with an idea for something and then I attended the Fiery Foods Show and saw how many people had come up with their own salsa recipes and thought, Wow, I make pretty good salsa, and why not do it at school with the kids and send it home for Father's Day?"Parent volunteer Sherry  Sanchez helping her daughter Simonita Granko-Sanchez with chopping  onions

Since the class is made up of 6, 7, and 8 year olds, Sarah says, "I wasn't about to let them work with jalapeños and pick their noses or rub their eyes." So she came up with the idea of using an already spicy canned chopped tomatoes, then adding fresh ingredients to the canned tomatoes to make it a chunky pico de gallo-type salsa. "Making salsa for dads goes pretty smoothly as long as I have enough parent help. We use plastic knives and have at least six small cutting boards for six kids to be working at one time. They each cut up their own tomato, onion, and bell pepper and pick apart their own cilantro," says Gleason. Second grader Ian Erwin says smiling, "The only thing wrong is the onion makes me cry". After the salsa is made Sarah spoons it into jars decorated for dads.

I asked 2nd grader Lennon Washburn if her dad liked the salsa she replied, "My dad said it was hot and it was better than some restaurants." This a agreat way to get a class or family involved in cooking. The children in Ms. Gleason's 1st and 2nd grade combination class make this a big event and you can too with your family.



Ms. Gleason's Spiced Up Father's Day Salsa

5 cans chopped tomatoes with habaneros (we used Rotel Brand)

24 roma tomatoes, diced

5 green bell peppers, diced

3 yellow bell peppers, diced

2 bunches cilantro, chopped

15 green onions, chopped

7 cloves garlic, minced

juice of 5 limes

24 pint size canning jars


In a big bowl combine all ingredients. Ladle the salsa into pint size jars. Chill for 2 hours.

Yield: 24 pint size jars

Heat scale: Hot

Audubon's American TurkeyThanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday of the year.  Reasons?  There's no baggage associated with it, like religion, gift-giving, or dressing-up.  And it has all the things I love most about a holiday: family, good friends, food, drink, and football.  So, the feasting team here at the SuperSite is serving up the following Thanksgiving articles with recipes:

A Barbecued Thanksgiving, here.
Spiced-Up Thanksgiving Trimmings, here.
Holiday Sizzling Stuffings and Leftovers, here.
A Chile Lover's Mexican Thanksgiving, here.

Christmas in Yucatán

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: tasty travel , new content , holidays

Nancy Gerlach, who retired and moved to Mexico last year, continues her story about adapting to life in Mexico (has she un-retired? We can always hope):  "It hardly seems possible that another holiday season is upon us, but it is. I've got to admit it's hard to get into the spirit without cold temperatures and some snow, but here in Mexico the weather is like Christmas in Southern California...."  Story continues here.  Image is the malecón and the very long pier for cruise ships at Progreso, close to Chelem where Nancy and Jeff live.

The Feast of St. Anthony

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: tasty travel , holidays , history

On January 17, Italian Catholics celebrated the Feast of St. Anthony by, well, feasting.  My friend Marco Budinis traveled to Chiavari for its feast.  He writes: "In Italy Saint Anthony the Abbot is remembered for being the protector of domesticated animals.  In several towns in Italy (as it is in Chiavari in January) several celebrations are held run and there are also country fairs, mostly with booths with food stuff, but also plants such as lemon trees, orange trees and so on.  We feasted on porchetta (above) and spicy olives, cheese, and salami."  Porchetta, of course, is boned whole small pigs stuffed with garlic, rosemary, and fennel.  Mary Jane, Harald & Renate, and I tasted this at the big CIBUS food show in Parma last May, and I think porchetta is one of the best foods I've ever tasted.  St. Anthony is also the patron saint of ergotism, a poisoning caused by the ingestion of alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus that infects rye and other cereals that are used to make bread.  The condition is called "St. Anthony's Fire" and the symptoms are hallucinations, painful seizures, and spasms.  Ergot is a precursor to LSD and some experts believe it caused the Salem witch trials because people afflicted with ergotism from infected bread acted so strangely they were thought to be witches.


Green Chile Tortilla Pinwheels
Chile de Arbol Salad
Posole (Pork and Posole Corn)
Red Chile Sauce
Biscochitos (Anise-Flavored Cookies)

Go here.


More Italian Hot Stuff

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

I mentioned in an earlier post that Marco Budinis had visited the Natalidea show in Genoa and had found a bunch of spicy foods.  Now he shares more pix with us, from standard fare like crushed chiles and chile powder...

To spiced-up olives from Puglia...

And chile-laden hard Pecorino cheese from Calabria...

The Calabrians love spicy cheese, so why not put some chile in a soft cheese like Ricotta?

And for those rare Italians who can't eat spicy food, how about the ultimate chile house decoration?

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