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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke

End of the World BeerAt the BrewDog Micro Brewery, in Fraserburgh, Scotland, the whacked-out brewers have created the strongest and most expensive beer in the world.  In fact, it's called End of the World, and it's packaged in a taxidermied squirrel or stoat (weasel).  It's done through "Extreme ABV Brewing," and they have "frozen, hopped and oak-aged stronger beers than have ever before been made in the history of beer."  "ABV" is "alcohol by volume," and 55% means that the beer is 110 proof.  They only brewed 12 bottles of End of the World, a Belgian blone ale, the price was set at $765 each, and they sold out.

How do you drink it?  In their words: "This 55% beer should be drank in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence for Mr Stoat. This is to be enjoyed with a weather eye on the horizon for inflatable alcohol industry Nazis, judgemental washed up neo-prohibitionists or any grandiloquent, ostentatious foxes."

And the significance of this beer? "The impact of The End of History is a perfect conceptual marriage between art, taxidermy, and craft brewing. The bottles are at once beautiful and disturbing – they disrupt conventions and break taboos, just like the beer they hold within them.  This beer is an audacious blend of eccentricity, artistry and rebellion; changing the general perception of beer one stuffed animal at a time."  For more information on BrewDog, go here.


Chile Odds and Ends

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Daily ExpressThe British tabloid Daily Express reported last week that chilli pepper sales are up 600%!  Of course, there is no citation for this statistic and no quoted source other than chilli farmer Salvatore Genovese who claims he ships out half a million pods a week of 'Dorset Naga', a superhot variety very similar to 'Naga Jolokia'.  I suspect both these numbers are highly exaggerated and suggest that the Express stick to its usual expertise: pin-ups and gossip.Morton Hot Salt

Morton released its Hot Salt in 2004 and because I don't use much salt, I had never tasted it until yesterday when Barbe Awalt gave me a plastic jar of it.  I have decided that it is perfect with butter for baked potatoes.  It's salt plus chipotle and cayenne powder, and it would make a good rub for grilled chicken in a pinch.

Green and Red SerranosI don't particularly care for green jalapeños, so for fresh salsas I grow serranos, and my two plants are simply covered with pods.  To the left is my favorite photo of serranos, which I took in the summer of 1989.  Mary Jane uses them in her Mexican-style (rather than New Mexican-style) tomatillo enchiladas.

Chile SeedsSeveral varieties of chile pepper seeds, including 'Wenk's Yellow Hots', 'Pico de Gallo', and the "unpredictably hot" 'San Juan Tsiles' have arrived at the so-called "doomsday vault" at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic.  Svalbard has what scientists describe as the most diverse repository of crop seeds and is a safeguard against war, natural disasters, or diseases that could wipe out food crops.  More likely, it will be frequently accessed when genebanks lose samples due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, or funding cuts.  The seeds are stored in four-ply sealed envelopes, then placed into plastic tote containers on metal shelving racks. The storage rooms are kept at −18 degrees C. (-0.4 F).  The low temperature and limited access to oxygen will ensure low metabolic activity and delay seed aging.  The permafrost surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds if the electricity supply should fail.

Diagram of Svalbard Global Seed Vault


Harvesting Chiles, Mesilla ValleyWeather factors have conspired to delay the green chile harvest in New Mexico, according to grower Shayne Franzoy, who farms 200 acres near Hatch.  "I think we're three weeks later this year," he said.  Stephanie Walker, cooperative extension vegetable specialist noted that unusually cool weather this spring caused "a very slow start" for chile fields.  "We won't hit full stride [in the harvest] until August 16," she said, noting that chile diseases have not been serious this year, including the dreaded curly top virus.  Harvested chile acreage averages between 11,000 and 15,000 acres in New Mexico.


Grilled Peach HalfI love this time of the year when the peaches are ripe on the trees, the mangos from Mexico are arriving at the fruit and vegetable markets, the avocados are coming from California, and in just a few weeks we'll have apricots, pears, pomegranates, and apples from local orchards.  Note the grilled peach to the left.  The recipe for it, Grilled Peach Halves with Cheese Chipotle Raspberry Puree, is here.  And we also have Fired-Up Fruits articles entited "Mango Madness," "Pomegranate Passion," "Mulberry Madness," "Blazing Blueberries," and "Avocado Madness" all accessible here.  Enjoy your summer!


Editor's Note: German chile expert Harald Zoschke comments on the Designation of Origin for the Habanero in Mexico.


Harald ZoschkeFirst, I'm not a legal expert nor a lawyer, so this is just personal opinion without any legal relevance.  It is strange that a generic variety name like "Habanero" was granted protection without a regional qualifier. Different story with the protected names over here. For example, there's a protected Piquillo pepper, but that one is named "Piquillo de Lodosa", after the town in the Navarra community where it is grown and protected for origin. But plain "Piquillo" can be grown anywhere and sold under this name. Another one is "Peperone di Senise," a protected pepper from the area around Senise in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. Even "Piment d'Espelette" has its origin in the name, and I heard of Calabrian efforts to protect "Peperoncini di Calabria." These three cases mean nothing but "Peppers from [region name here]." And "Champagne" or "Roquefort" also indicate their origin in the name, which as far as I understand is a vital qualifier to receive protection. You can name any bratwurst just that, but
"Nürnberger Bratwurst" has is protected and has to be made in the City of Nuremberg, Bavaria.
How much a plain "Habanero" would have to be respected here, I don't know. As pointed out, over here, only something like "Yucatán Habanero" would have received legal origin protection. Among other EU countries, Habaneros are grown in Holland for trade within the EU. I'd expect the Dutch growers to oppose. And what about Tropical Red Habanero from the Caribbean and the like? Also, speaking of the origin name, I think I read in one of your books that "Habanero" means "From Havana," so grant the name rights to Cuba, if at all.

Getting the Crud Off the Grill

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , grilling


My Cruddy GrillIn both the grilling and smoking processes, organic material will accumulate on the grills–fat, pieces of meat, basting sauces, dead moths--all sorts of stuff. Known in the barbecue industry technically as crud, this stuff will quickly burn and fuse to the metal. Since you always want to start cooking with a clean grill, this crud on the grill poses a problem, especially for the lazy cleaner, as most men are prone to be. Some people simply place the grill as close as possible to the hottest flame and allow the accumulated material to turn to ash, then they wipe it off with paper towels. Well, not only are they risking a fire if the crud has a lot of fat in it, rarely does all the crud completely carbonize. In this case, many cooks use a wire brush to get right down to the metal, and this works fine but it is labor intensive and sweaty going. The easiest way to clean grills is to remove them from the unit, spray them thoroughly front and back with oven cleaner, and place them in a plastic trash bag, which you tie shut. Allow them to marinate overnight and rinse them off with a hose the next day.


Habanero Chile

On June 4, 2010, the states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo were awarded a Denominación de Origen for the habanero variety of chile pepper by The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) of the Ministry of Economy. Thus the habanero joins the ranks of the Espelette chile of France and the smoked paprika of Spain, Pimentón de la Vera, as the only pepper products to win the same protection as Champagne, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon mustard. In Mexico, this means that if a manufacturer wants to use the word “habanero” for his product, it must contain habaneros made in these three states and nowhere else. If the pods were grown in Chiapas, the manufacturer cannout use the word “habanero” in the product's name or description. But what does this mean for U.S. manufacturers? Not much, especially considering all the “Parmesan” cheese sold in this country that is not made in the region of Parma, Italy. Yes, Champagne is protected in the U.S., where similar products must be called sparkling wine. But the spirits industry in the U.S. is highly regulated by the federal government while the cheese industry is not. So look for little change in fiery foods products in the U.S. The E.U. is another story, and I have sent this information to Harald Zoschke in Germany for his opinion.

Strong Vinegar as a Natural Herbicide

Posted by:

Tagged in: science , gardening


Natural Enhanced VinegarI attempt to use organic techniques in the garden whenever possible, although I'm not a True Believer in the classic sense of the term.  One thing I do dislike are chemical herbicides like RoundUp, but I occasionally have used it when the weed situation has gotten out of control and I'm really busy with other things.  No more.  I read that enhanced vinegar--really just 10 percent acetic acid, made from grain alcohol, not glacial acetic acid, desiccates the weeds, drying them out until they die.  And guess what?  It works really, really well on every weed I sprayed it on.  It's made by Soil Mender Products in Tulia, Texas, and you can buy it 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

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