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If you're tired of those bland Bloody Marys from major manufacturers or from timid bartenders, stand up for your rights. Demand some heat; demand some horseradish; demand some black pepper-and demand it now. A good Bloody Mary is not just a drink; it is a sauce for shrimp, it is a soup, and it is a bath (if you get sprayed by a skunk). The award-winning mix that I make, Insane Mary Mix, is all of that and more (a shameless plug). You can also add a dash of Worcestershire and a pinch of black pepper to this recipe if you like.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Heat rating: ***** (with Insanity Sauce)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon finely minced lime zest 1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped 1 fresh red Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped 1 teaspoon sugar 3 cups tomato juice 1 teaspoon ground cumin Pinch of celery salt 2 drops Insanity Sauce (optional) 2/3 cup ice-cold vodka (store your vodka
in the freezer, and you'll always be
ready!) 6 celery stalks with leaves, for garnish 6 fresh red chiles of your choice, for garnish
Muddle together the lemon and lime juices and zests, chiles, and sugar in a mortar and pestle. Pout into a pitcher, and the tomato juice, and stir in the cumin, celery salt, and Insanity Sauce. Stir in the vodka and pour into tall glasses filled with ice.
Prepare each garnish by spearing a chile and a celery stalk together using a toothpick. Insert one into each glass and serve. The chile will be fair warning to anyone involved with your festivities.
Capsaicin has been shown to help with postsurgical and chronic pain, and with mouth pain in chemotherapy patients. It is also used in creams for shingles and arthritis.
Smokin' Bean Circles
Spicy Black Bean Tostadas
Long ago these mysterious circles were found in the culinary field. Their delicious flavor, however, has never been explained. This is the type of dish that I loved back in my days of Mexican cooking. Although, you can get away with Cheddar or Jack, use the Mexican queso cotija or the feta, and you will taste the difference.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Heat rating: ***
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 yellow onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 tablespoon ground cumin 3 tablespoons Cool Cayenne Pepper Sauce of other Louisiana-style hot sauce 4 cups canned black beans 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sour cream 1/2 tablespoons Jump Up and Kiss Me Smoky Chipotle Sauce of puréed canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 16 (4-inch) corn tortillas, wrapped in foil and warmed in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes Torn lettuce, for garnish Chopped tomatoes, for garnish Queso cotija or any Mexican cheese or mild feta that can be crumbled, for garnish Sliced avocados, for garnish
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and pepper until soft. Add the cumin, pepper sauce, beans, and salt and cook until the beans are heated through. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and chipotle sauce. To assemble each tostada, spoon a line of chipotle sour cream down the center of the tortilla, and add 1/4 cup of the bean mixture. Top with garnishes and serve. You can also fry the tortillas in oil and eat them crispy.
Apparently it is hip to be smoky and the chipotle's popularity is smokin'. When buying chipotles (dried smoked jalapeños), understand that there are many kinds. Mainly there is the darker chipotle that is made from a green jalapeño and the morita, or mora, made from a jalapeño that has been allowed to ripen to red You will usually find chipotles either dried or canned in adobo (tomato sauce).
Shoo My Guests out of the House
Spicy Shu Mai Dim Sum
If you've ever had dim sum, and especially shu mai, you won't want to share. Get those mooching neighbors out of your house and bon appétit. I love these guys dipped in spicy mustard ora piquant Asian sauce. Look for won ton skins in the refrigerated section of Asian markets or in the Asian section of most supermarkets.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Heat rating: *****
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil 1 tablespoon peeled finely minced
fresh gingerroot 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic 3 fresh Thai or jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced 1 shallot, finely minced 1/2 cup mirin 6 sprigs cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped 1 pound precooked boneless chicken, pork, beef, or seafood, finely minced
1 egg 1 tablespoon water 16 won ton skins Green onions, green part only, thinly chopped, for garnish
To make the filling, heat the oil in sauté over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles, and shallot. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes without coloring. Carefully deglaze the pan with the mirin and continue cooking over medium heat until almost dry, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add the cilantro and meat or seafood, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water. Using a small pastry brush, lightly brush 1 of the won ton skins around the edge with the egg mixture. Place 2 tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center of the skin and draw up all four corners to the top to form a pyramid shape, making sure that all edges are sealed by firmly grasping each of the four edges and pulling toward the top. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Using a bamboo of rice steamer, steam the assembled dim sum gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, using a pot with a steam rack, place 1 to 2 inches of water in the pot and bring to a slow boil. Place the dim sum on the rack over the boiling water, cover, and steam accordingly. Garnish with the green onions.
Dim sum is a deliciously varied type of Chinese finger food, usually served in tea houses. In Cantonese dim sum means "touching your heart." Dim sum also happens to be just the right size for throwing and would be my first choice in a food fight.
Asian Tuna Bombs
Ahi Tartare with Spicy Sesame Sauce
Who says war is hell? You'll want to face a full-scale bombing of these delicious appetizers. This dish is tangy and light, with an explosion of flavor.
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus refrigerator time
Heat rating: *** 1 pound fresh ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-inch dice 2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion 4 sprigs parsley, leaves only, finely minced 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Juice of 2 lemons 1/4 cup olive oil 1 fresh Thai or red jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced Water crackers, for serving 1 1/2 cups Spicy Sesame Sauce (recipe follows) Sesame seeds, for garnish Thinly sliced green onion, for garnish
Place the tuna in a medium mixing bowl, season with the salt and pepper, and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine the onion, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, oil, and chile, whisking until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the tuna and refrigerate, covered, for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
To serve, place crackers on a serving platter and top with spoonfuls of tuna, allowing the marinade to dribble on the crackers. Drizzle the tuna and chips with the sesame sauce and garnish with the sesame seeds and green onions. Bombs away.
"Ahi" is the Hawaiin name for yellowfin tuna. These guys can reach three hundred pounds and pack a ton of flavor. Don't confuse them with the huge bluefin tuna that are used to make sushi; the flesh of the yellowfin is generally much paler than the bluefin's deep red flesh.
SPICY SESAME SAUCE
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Heat rating: ****
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil 1 cup soy sauce 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted 1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes 1 teaspoon Garlic-Chile Sauce or Asian garlic-chile paste 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 1 green onion, white part only, very thinly sliced
To prepare the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to very low and continue to cook until reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce while still warm and cool to room temperature before using.
Sesame oils really vary. You might want to be careful with underroasted American and Chinese brands that are bland. The Japanese oils tend to have a stronger flavor. You can usually tell by how aromatic it is. In general, Asian oils are darker and more intense in flavor.
My Aching Muscles
You smell the steam. Your mouth waters. Your muscles burn. Still, you push yourself. Why? Because they taste so good. Before long you have finished all twenty-four. Or if you don't finish them, call me, I'll eat them. This is a great appetizer or light meal-perfect for a brunch. Serve these with really good French bread and a nice white wine. Dashi is a light Japanese fish stock that can be found in Asian markets or in the Asian section of some supermarkets.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Heat rating: ***
24 mussels, scrubbed well 2 tablespoons chopped green onions 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 teaspoons Garlic-Chile Sauce or Asian garlic-chile paste 1 pinch shichimi (see sidebar; optional) 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup sake 1/2 cup dashi or lightly salted water 4 tablespoons butter Sliced French bread, for serving
Combine the mussels, green onions, garlic, Garlic-Chile Sauce, shichimi, parsley, sake, dashi, and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Cover and place over high heat until all of the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
To serve as an appetizer, place the mussels and broth in a serving bowl and serve with slices of French bread for dipping in the broth. To serve as an entrée, place a thick slice of bread or a mound of rice in the bottom of individual bowls and divide the mussels and broth equally over the top.
Shichimi, sometimes called "seven spice," is a Japanese condiment made up of chile flakes (togarahi), sansho (a type of pepper, not chile, unique to Japan and China), white poppy seeds, white sesame seeds, black hemp seeds, dried mandarin orange peel, and nori (seaweed) flakes. It's available in Asian markets. If you find different strengths, go for the hot.
You're up to Your Dumpling in Hot Water
Pot Stickers in a Hot Pot
Shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot) is incredible; I eat it all the time. A pot of hot broth is put on the table and you cook the fresh ingredients right in front of you. It makes a great dinner party; if the guests don't like the food, they'll have no one to blame but themselves! In addition to pot stickers, you can put thinly sliced pieces offish, chicken, meat, veggies, of almost anything in the hot pot. Garnishes and sauces can be hot mustard dip, ponzu sauce, plum sauce, more Garlic-Chile Sauce, and Asian garlic-chile paste.
Prep time: 45 minutes, plus refrigerator time
Heat rating: ***
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 pound boneless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 small fresh red chiles (such as Thai or serrano), stemmed, seeded, and very finely minced 16 pot sticker wrappers of won ton skins 1 egg, lightly beaten 4 cups chicken stock or broth 1 small head Chinese or napa cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces 1 bunch spinach, thoroughly rinsed and stemmed 4 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 cup) 1/4 pound button or brown mushrooms,
In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool, then mince. Combine the chicken with the chiles in a bowl.
Prepare the pot sticker wrappers by unwrapping them and laying them in a single layer on a flat work surface. Brush one edge of each wrapper lightly with the egg and place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and secure the ends together using additional egg if necessary, setting each aside until all of the wrappers are filled.
Arrange the cabbage, spinach, tofu, and mushrooms on a serving platter.
Heat the stock in a saucepan until gently boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the hot pot in the center of the table over a small, portable heat source. Surround it with small individual plates of the pot stickers and serve along with the vegetables. Guests will take pot stickers and/or vegetables and float them in the hot pot until just heated through, removing hopefully only their own selections to their serving bowl.
Smokin' in the Beans Room
Chipotle Bean Dip
This is why they invented tortilla chips. Actually, forget the tortilla chips. Lock yourself in your bedroom and eat the whole bowl of dip with your hands. Don't forget to lick your fingers. Epazote is a fresh herb said to reduce the gassiness of beans; here, it doesn't contribute much flavor.
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus cooking and soaking
Heat rating: **** (with Insanity Sauce)
1 pound dried beans (pinto or black), rinsed 1 sprig epazote (optional) 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard 1 (4-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 1/4 cup tomato sauce 1 clove garlic, peeled 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon achiote (annatto) paste (optional) 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 6 fresh red serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced 1 drop Insanity Sauce (optional) 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil 2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sort through the beans and check for pebbles and things that could break a tooth-we want to protect those teeth and taste buds so we can properly burn them later in the book.
Place the beans in a deep soup pot and cover with water. Allow the beans to soak overnight. Drain and refill the pot with fresh water, enough to cover the beans, and add the epazote. Bring the beans to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the beans to simmer, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until they are soft. (Add additional hot water to the pot during the cooking time if needed to prevent burning, until the beans are fully cooked). Drain any water left in the pot. In a large sauté pan (ah iron skillet is perfect, if you have one), heat the oil over medium heat and add the beans to the pan to "refry" them. Stir the beans constantly, mashing them slightly while frying them, taking care not to scorch the beans on the bottom of the pan. Cool and reserve.
Excerpted from CRAZY FROM THE HEAT by Dave Hirschkop with Kjeld Peterson Copyright © 2003 by Dave Hirschkop
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.