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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Red Chile Sauce, photo by Wes NamanI never imagined that a single red chile enchilada could burn me out. After all, I've been eating New Mexican red chile enchiladas for 35 years, and although some red chile sauces are hotter than others, they usually run medium-hot at the hottest. But yesterday, Lois (the SuperSite editor and art director) and I had a business lunch at Abuelita's Restaurant at 6083 Isleta Boulevard in Albuquerque's South Valley, about three miles from my house. Fall was in the air, so I had a bowl of green chile stew plus a red chile enchilada a la carte. The stew was tasty and medium in heat. But it took me ten minutes to finish that single enchilada. It was just killer hot and I had to wait between bites for capsaicin dispersal. I called the server over and asked her if the chef had put habaneros in the red chile. Nope, she replied, it was just that last year's dried red chile crop they purchased was unusually hot. It was a perfect storm of the right combination of capsaicin genes colliding with some stress on those particular plants that produced an abnormally high amount of capsaicin. And I tried to wolf down that enchilada only to find that I had to treat it with extreme respect.


Chile TreeChile peppers are hot, and we love them for it! From mild bell peppers to the insanely hot Bhut Jolokia, peppers can have an incredible heat range. But have you ever wondered why our favorite chile peppers are so hot? Join an American ecologist, his weary team of graduate assistants and scientists, and a curious journalist as they trek through the jungles and deserts of Bolivia in search of the answer.

Read the article from the Smithsonian Magazine by clicking here!


 

Fiery Foods Mag

Or...

Combust Digital Mag

We have the preliminary results of our Digital Magazine survey. After 70 responses, we know this: our readers are 61% male and 39% female; 40% of them are 36-45, 37% are 46 or older, and a mere 23% are 35 or younger; 85.7 % said “Yes” or “Maybe” about subscribing; 58% wanted editorial content very similar to the SuperSite, but 19% wanted us to add more babes, booze, etc. Everyone wants recipes and more recipes, and got 'em. When asked about their favorite cuisines, the response was American Southwest and American Barbecue taking first, Mexican second, Asian third, and Italian fourth.

We continue planning the design, content, and engineering of a digital magazine called Burn: Peppers, Spice, and Smoke, or something like that. We have secured the domain iburn.com and will be producing a smart phone/pad app in conjunction with the magazine, plus a lot more features.

Meanwhile, I'd like more responses to the survey, so I'm keeping it posted here for a few more weeks.


 

Chile Pepper HeartGood news for chile lovers: A recent study has found that long-term consumption of chile peppers may help lower blood pressure. Capsaicin is the compound in chile peppers that gives them their spicy kick; along with its heat properties, the compound works to relax muscles, including blood vessels.  The new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, is the first to examine long-term effects of capsaicin consumption in mice. Researchers found that long-term consumption increased the production of nitric oxide, which is known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction. Many other health benefits are already attributed to chile peppers, such as reducing inflammation, headaches, and arthritis pain. Researchers of this most recent study concluded that further analysis should be done on humans to determine the full benefits of capsaicin. In the meantime, be sure to eat plenty of salsa!

Source:

Cell Metabolism: Activation of TRPV1 by Dietary Capsaicin Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxation and Prevents Hypertension


 

Check out the Events Calendar at the bottom of the Fiery Foods & BBQ homepage for fiery events taking place across the country. Use our handy events list to satisfy your craving for all things spicy! Here's a tasty sampling for the weekend of August 21-22:

• Mammoth Festival - Wine, Music, Food & Art, August 20 - August 22 in Mammoth Lakes, CA

• Diamond State BBQ Championship, Saturday, August 21 in Dover, DE
• Salsa Showdown, Saturday, August 21 in Holland, MI
• Taste of Los Alamos Fundraiser, Saturday, August 21 in Los Alamos, NM

Click here to see all upcoming events. Have an event to add to the menu? Contact us at fiery-foods@comcast.net.


 

Fiery Foods Mag

Or...

Combust Digital Mag

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

The SuperSite is a great resource, but it's not a magazine--it's an archive.  We think SuperSite readers deserve a new monthly magazine complete with fresh content from the best writers around the world, including articles, how-tos, recipes, and so on, but we want to make sure we create the kind of digital magazine our readers will enjoy.

A digital magazine looks exactly like a print magazine but with enhanced features including embedded video, recipes for easy printing, and links to related subjects all over the web.  It is delivered to subscribers via the Internet rather than USPS, and can be downloaded--it is compatible with mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, and Blackberries as well as your home computer.

A link to the new issue will be posted on the SuperSite home page the first of every month.  Magazine content will be unique and not repeated on the SuperSite but rather retained in a back-issue archive.  Subscribers can read or download any issue to their own devices, or print it out.  We will notify subscribers by email when a new issue is posted. The estimated subscription price will be $36 for a 3-year subscription, $15 for a one-year subscription. That means you get the best new content about the hot and spicy/smoky universe delivered to your mobile device...it's easy, convenient, and costs as little as $1.00 per issue!

Please take our quick, two-minute survey to help us plan the magazine here.

Dave DeWitt, SuperSite Publisher
Former Publisher, Fiery Foods & BBQ magazine (1997-2008) and Founding Editor of Chile Pepper magazine (1987-1996)


 

Hatch ChilesIt’s that time of year here in New Mexico—the air will soon be ripe with the fragrant scent of roasting Hatch green chiles; mouths will water, and tongues will burn. The 2010 Hatch chile season was off to a rough start this year as the New Mexico harvest was delayed due to weather, but this week, chileheads across the country can start salivating as stores put up “Coming Soon” signs for the popular crop.

A message blares on the homepage of Hatch-Chile Express, “Praise God, the 2010 chile season has begun!” The company, along with other producers in the Hatch valley area, is gearing up to begin shipping Hatch chiles this week. The harvest is a quick affair, lasting several weeks from late July to early September. Known for their distinctive taste and quality, the chiles are grown in the Hatch valley in southern New Mexico. Widely held to be the crème-de-la-crème of the chile harvest, Hatch chiles are perfect for roasting and freezing for later. New Mexicans are known for buying 25-100 lb. bags to satisfy their taste buds throughout the year.

Roasting Hatch ChilesIf you’re located outside of New Mexico, you might have to wait a week or two for shipments to start appearing in local markets, but as many foodies know, the wait is worth it. Keep your eyes—and noses—peeled for this spicy favorite; they’re guaranteed to go fast!

Can’t get enough Hatch? Check out the Hatch Chile Festival this September!


By Jim McMahon

 

Paul PrudhommeAs one of America’s best-known chefs, Paul Prudhomme has been featured in dozens of prime-time television and cable programs, and has been the subject of many magazine articles. A best-selling author, he has written nine cookbooks and produced six cooking videos.  But Chef Paul is just as well known for his extensive line of Magic Seasoning Blends® – packaged dry spices, rubs, bottled sauces and marinades that can be found on major supermarket shelves throughout all 50 states of the U.S. and in 29 countries around the world.

Food-service and Food Processors

Located in the outskirts of New Orleans, Magic Seasoning Blends is also well known for its extensive line of distinctive seasoning products packaged for restaurants, institutional foodservice, food processors and co-packing operations, which combined represent 65 percent of the company’s total sales volume. Packaging ranges from one-quarter of an ounce to 50-pound bulk containers, with an emphasis on consistent quality.

Recipe R&D for Food Processors

Chef Paul and His SpicesOriginally set-up more than 25 years ago within the celebrity chef’s popular New Orleans restaurant – K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, it has expanded over the years into a every productive research and development kitchen, staffed by several chefs under the personal direction of Chef Paul, and has rolled out more than 10,000 recipes for herb and spice blends, creating custom flavor profiles.

“What is really great about herbs and spices, is that when they are balanced there are so many directions that you can go,” explains the Chef. “When one of our clients says they want a certain kind of chicken flavor, we will come up with four or five original samples for them to try. Then they pick out the one they want and we adjust it to their particular taste.”

To meet the increasing demand for its products, Magic Seasoning BlendsNew manufacturing facility recently consolidated its two separate manufacturing and warehouse operations into a new 125,000 square-foot facility.

“There is absolutely no end to developing herbs and spices,” says Chef Paul.  “And my real passion is to make something that is healthy and exciting for our customers.”

For more information on Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends, Inc., visit their website at www.chefpaul.com.

Jim McMahon writes on technology in food processing. He can be reached at jim.mcmahon@zebracom.net.



Diana Does It Again

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: history , fiery foods , books

Diana Kennedy

One of my favorite food authors is Diana Kennedy, the doenne of Mexican cooking despite the fact she's British. She's been eclipsed in the Mexican food field by multi-dimensional Rick Bayless, star of books, restaurants, products, and TV. But she's still down south of the border, researching, testing, and writing.

I first met Diana at a food event in Phoenix in the early '80s where we had booths next to each other. I was promoting Chile Pepper magazine and she was pushing her books like The Cuisines of Mexico. We engaged in spirited discussions, mostly about chile peppers and I really liked her. Then we were honored celebrity guests at the Fiery Foods Festival in Sydney in 2000 and I helped her with the set up of her cooking demo. Again, we hit it off.

I just received notice from the University of Texas Press that her new book will be out in September.  And it features my favorite part of Mexico: Oaxaca. I haven't seen it yet, but it looks terrific from the advance press materials.

Oaxaca al GustoOaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy

9.75 x 11.5 in.459 pp., 302 color photos, 12 color maps, 22 color drawings

ISBN: 978-0-292-72266-8.  $50.00, hardcover with dust jacket

Order it here.  Read more about it here.

 



 

 


Exploding HabaneroThe consumption of spices in the United States has exploded almost three times as fast as the population over the past several decades, data from the USDA reveals. Some of that spicy increase is due to the changing demographics of America—immigrant populations fom Mexico, the Far East, Southeast Asia and India. Immigration has resulted in more ethnic restaurants while food blogs and television cooking shows have inspired more home cooking using all kinds of chile peppers. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show big gains in Americans’ spice consumption since the 1970s, including 600 percent more chile pepper, 300 percent more cumin, and a whopping 1,600 percent more ginger.

McCormick, the world’s largest spice and seasoning company, produces more than one billionChipotle Chiles bottles of spices and seasonings annually in its Hunt Valley, MD, plant, nicknamed “Spiceville.” The company’s net sales in 2009 topped $3 billion. With the help of some 40,000 consumer testers, the company has decided that there’s a market for such spices. The company’s chipotle chile pepper has seen a 70 percent increase in sales since its launch five years ago. And sales of smoked paprika have jumped 300 percent since its launch three years ago.

McCormick is not the only spice company seeing growth. Penzeys Spices began as a mail-order business in 1986. It opened its first walk-in store in 1994 and now has 45 stores in 24 states, with plans to open five more this year.


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