A Spicy Gift Guide for the Holidays

gift-guide

Here’s a spicy gift guide for the holidays your heat seeker friends and family will love. They’re unique, fun and spicy so you’ll proably want to buy two…one to give, another to keep! Isn’t that how it usually works? What better way to spend the holidays with awesome treats to heat things up that can also be shared? So ditch those socks you were planning on giving and add these spicy goods. Hope you enjoy my gift guide and let’s keep things spicy folks!

gift-guide

1. Just WOW! Someone please send me this! My two favorite things, bacon and chile peppers! You can’t go wrong with this habanero bacon from Tender Belly.

2. I haven’t tried this spicy beer yet but Rogue has gone on and made a sriracha stout. The most talked about hot sauce this year has now made it into beer! I’m not sure how I feel about it but its definitely worth a try. I’ve had a chipotle porter for a more chocolatey, spiced, smoky flavor which I enjoyed and this one would be a great choice, especially for sriracha lovers. Let me know if you get your hands on it.

3. This is a fun kit from Grow and Make. The set includes everything you need to whip up your own hot sauce. A pretty cool gift for spicy food lovers! Just make sure you give them goggles and a face mask too…kidding, these may not be too hot but definitely a fun project for a weekend night.

4. And if you don’t want to make your own, get this set from Salamander Hot sauce makers. Their Whiskey hot sauce is pretty amazing and friggin hot! I made these awesome hot wings with this sauce for a finger licking appetizer.

 

Smoked Chipotle Pepper Porter

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I normally drink lagers or the less hoppy IPAs so when I saw this smoked chipotle pepper porter all I thought about really was that it had chipotle peppers. I’m always drawn to spicy foods and products so this smokey dark beer with roasted peppers sounded too good to pass up. I had a plan for this bottle. At 22 ounces I knew I could enjoy it several ways and that, I did.

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I grew up on malty drinks or the sweet maltas you can find at any Latin gorcery store so the flavors were very familiar. Mom used to mix non-alcoholic stouts or malts with condensed milk for a sweet, milky and malt heavy afternoon treat for us kids. Sounds weird? Well, it’s a Dominican thing and probably a Caribbean thing in general. You have to make sure the beer is ice cold and stir in enough condensed milk to sweeten. You can also blend it with ice for a thicker smoothie. Not sure of this concoctions’ orgins but its a close cousin to the fizzy ice cream floats enjoyed here in the US or the milk and Pepsi Laverne made famous on Laverne & Shirley (I loved that show!). Try it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert this Summer. It removes all the heat and tastes a little like coffee ice cream but stronger in flavor.

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This smoked chipotle pepper porter is great on its own too. The Stone Brewing company out of California has been around since the mid nineties but this smokey jalapeno beer is a special release from several years ago and available in limited quantities. Check their website for locations on where this porter can be found. I found mine here in Jersey City.

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It is dark, chocolate brown in color and has a malty, rich flavor with a slight bitterness upfront which my guess is the smokey peppers. I wouldn’t think of this as a spicy beer at all but it does have a warming feeling on the backend. I like this brew. I like that I can enjoy a pint on its own, drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream into it or stir it up ice cold with some condensed milk and I am happy woman. Salud and Cheers!

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Here’s a quick summary:

Color: dark chocolate

Heat: very mild

Alcohol by Volume: 5.9%

Taste: Deep malt and roasted coffee flavors with slight bitterness

Brewing Co: Stoner Brewers

 

Weekend Brunch: Huevos Rancheros and Michelada, Que Bueno!

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This here is one of those dishes that’s perfect after a night of partying…just in case there’s any imbibing planned for this weekend! Huevos rancheros with a ice cold Michelada!

Huevos rancheros are just fried eggs with a spicy tomato based sauce. I’m sure there are a hundred varieties out there but here’s my version, a nice fried egg over-medium and a sauce made with jalapenos and fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes.

Pair the huevos rancheros with a Michelada for a great brunch. A Michelada is a spicy beer frequently made in Mexico and some Latin American countries. Everyone makes it slightly different depending on the city or region of country. I’ve seen it made with tomato juice but prefer it without but most importantly, it has to have chiles or a great hot sauce!

Spicy Beer

Huevos Rancheros with Corn Tortillas

The guajillo red salsa brightens up the eggs in this dish and gives it a light smoky flavor. The fresh tomatoes make a huge difference and definitely better than using a canned sauce. You can also add chorizo sausage to make this a heartier dish.

2 eggs
1 vine ripe tomato, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced and chopped coarsely
1 jalapeno, diced
guajillo salsa roja (red salsa) – see below for recipe
1 tsp of cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 corn tortillas

Michelada

1 amber lager
1 tsp of agave syrup
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
juice from lime wedge
habanero salt

Rim a tall glass or beer mug with habanero salt, add agave syrup, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and swirl around. Slowly add an ice cold beer and stir (not too much), add squeeze of lime wedge and pinch of salt!

My Evening at the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival

I attended the the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival this past weekend in NYC and what a booze fest it was! I see why they list each in that order because there was much beer and bourbon to be had and just a few BBQ stations. Had loads of fun sampling and even though it wasn’t a spicy food event there were some spicy finds in the mix. Here are a few photos from the event…

This fest is touring the US so check their 2012 calendar and plan to get there early since sessions fill quickly. By the time I got there the food lines were snaking through the venue and the wait was  anywhere from half hour to over an hour. There will be plenty of beer and spirits pouring throughout the night with very short lines so get your food first and try not to get too distracted by that or any of the other yummy goodies like beef jerky and hot sauces! I tried Torchbearers Sauces The Rapture 2.0 sauce made with the Butch Scorpion pepper, now the hottest in the world, and let me tell you, this is one angry, explosive pepper! But I must say, the flavor was actually pretty good, once the coughing stopped. Another gem was Oregon Trail Red Hot Chili beef jerky shown below. Not sure if they’ll be there for the other scheduled festivals but others to try are the sweet habanero and teriyaki beef jerky.

I accidentally snapped that photo below left and couldn’t stop laughing when I saw what was peeking behind the random dude. Hilarious! Oh, and that’s me below trying to eat around the slab of fat I was served, sorry but  I don’t do chunks of fat! Ever since belly fat became this delicacy a few years ago everyone thinks they can serve a plate of it…just meat please, thank you.

So all in all it was good times. How can you not enjoy tasty foods, good friends and unlimited pours of beer? There were other master distillers on hand for tasting seminars as well as butchering demos but was stuck in lines most of the time…good thing there were beer booths set up along the way! Next time I’ll follow my early arrival, food first strategy.

Oh, and special Thanks to the folks over at Time Out NY for offering this awesome tickets package giveaway that I was lucky enough to win!! I never win anything! I think my luck is turning, 2012 is going to be a great year!