I once saw a friend top their movie popcorn with the pickled jalapeños meant for the nachos—confiding that they enjoyed not just the spice of the chiles in their popcorn, but also the pickling juice oozing all over it. Then I came across Todd English's recipe for Sizzling Shrimp Popcorn with Jalapeños and was further intrigued. I wasn't sure about the recipe—okay, I'm down to try fresh jalapeños topped over my popcorn, but adding shrimp to the mix? However, I'm an equal-opportunity popcorn eater, so I gave it a whirl.
'Serious Heat' on Serious Eats
If you don't already have a ready-made container of chipotle purée in your fridge, here's reason number 148 on why you should. Just 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle purée adds a smoky heat to this easy stovetop mac and cheese recipe.
What if you poured Sloppy Joe meat mixture all over nachos? Super Bowl food at its best.
Tired of the usual homemade dips in your rotation? Add Muhammara to the mix. I was recently introduced to this Middle Eastern puree of roasted red peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. If you're extra ambitious, roast the red peppers instead of using the jarred kind.
Whether it's coated in a blend of chile powders or bathed in a combination of buttermilk and hot sauce, fiery fried chicken has become a force to be reckoned with. Slowly but surely, spicy fried chicken is coming into its own all across the country. (Bojangles', Chick-fil-A's Spicy Chicken, etc.) And this Southern gal--who is serious about both fried chicken and spice--is always looking to cook up fried chicken to quench both these needs.
I have a love affair with icebox cakes. A tower of cookies layered with whipped cream or custard sits overnight in the fridge. After the stint, the cookies have absorbed the moisture, turning into a cakey consistency. Hands down, it's one of the simplest ways to create a cake, which comes in handy after a holiday season full of frenzied baking. And since I add a blast of heat to everything, the whipped cream for this chocolate icebox cake is flavored with cocoa powder, New Mexican chile powder and cayenne. The result is a chocolate-chile slice of heaven that has never been easier to create.
When it gets cold out and my nose gets sniffly, I happily turn to the curing power of a hot toddy. My standby recipe is from an older version of a Gourmet cookbook for hot buttered rum that combines lemon juice, maple sugar, rum, boiling water and is dotted with a pat of butter. But I wanted to add a spicy element to the mix, using ginger tea as a base for the cocktail, which provides a tiny ginger burn at the back of the throat.
What is better during the holidays than a piping mug of hot chocolate? Well, one that's been enhanced with cinnamon and cayenne powder of course. This Mexican take on the wintry beverage is creamy and rich with a spike of spiciness. Top it with whipped cream, marshmallows or whatnot.
For the family who worships fiery food, this is a way to relish spiciness for Thanksgiving. Soaked in a habanero-filled brine, this turkey packs a punch you won't soon forget. If the family isn't totally on board for a spicy turkey, then pare down the brine recipe and use it for a chicken instead.
[Photograph: Bill Milne for Chile Pepper magazine] Recipe by Andrea Lynn. Before you start to make the stuffing, taste the Cajun spice blend you're going to use and if it's very salty, tone down the salt in the rest of...
I was a skeptic. Apple salsa? Sure, I enjoy a good fruit salsa but I had never thought of it in terms of apples. But, hey, it's apple season and a good opportunity to use up the fruit. Who knew it could be so good. There was a certain point where I ditched the chips and just used a spoon to eat the salsa on its own. It's that addictively tasty.
[Photographs: Eventful Moments] Recipe adapted from Chef Zac Campbell of Eventful Moments. Campbell makes this Asian/Mexican fusion of guacamole for Day of the Dead celebrations....
Morcilla sausage. [Flickr: scaredykat] This recipe is adapted from chef Lucio Palazzo of Xochitl Restaurant in Philadelphia and is on the menu for the restaurant's Day of the Dead celebration. According to Palazzo, morcilla is a spicy pork blood sausage...
[Photographs: kretyen] Recipe adapted from Mercadito Restaurant's Day of the Dead menu....
I was recently introduced to the wonder that is marinated feta cheese in olive oil, which mellows out the sharpness of this cheese. Following the fabulous David Lebovitz's instructions for making this own my own, a commenter on his blog wondered about adding jalapeño. That's all the nudging I needed. Adding two jalapeños gives a sultry heat to the finish of the feta.
There's no sign at the popsicle haven Las Paletas in Nashville, Tennessee, which makes finding it tricky, but it's worth the sugary reward. The popsicles here are known for their powerful burst of unusual flavors like eggnog and hibiscus but what captured my heart was the sweet and spicy ice pops like pineapple-chile and cucumber-chile. It's cooling refreshment meeting the sizzle of chiles.
If you haven't ever heightened your chocolate with a tiny blast of chile powder, then let me convince you why you should. You don't want to overdo the chile flavor—just use a touch of spiciness to bring out the rich chocolaty flavor. The sweetness of the chocolate floods the mouth at the start with just a splash of heat coming right at the end, like in this Spicy S'mores recipe, where a blast of cayenne transforms the chocolaty camp treat into a gooey, spicy bit of heaven.
It was at the Nashville breakfast joint Pancake Pantry where I was introduced to pancake perfection—the Village Smithy COLO Sante Fe Cornmeal Pancakes. They take stone-ground cornmeal pancakes and fill them with cheddar cheese chunks, crisp bacon, and roasted green chiles. Just a drizzle of maple syrup over the top adds a sticky sweetness, but the main garnish for me was a swirl of salsa and sour cream. So I set out to recreate the recipe at home with results that would spice up any brunch gathering.