Calling all Chileheads!!! Follow Blair Lazar on Twitter and keep an eye out for promotions. Every so often the Man himself will run an impromptu contest for free goodies; many times simply for tweeting phrases such as “Feel Alive.” I myself was fortunate enough to get a hold of a vial of “Death Shake” from Blair’s own pepper garden (for a chile head, can you think of a more sacred place?) – and what a delectable prize!
I’m still waiting to hear back what all the constiuent parts of this concoction are, but I can tell everyone that it’s a wonderful dry mixture of various peppers and spices. It has a very “bright” taste; hints of fruit, plenty of heat, and multidimensional flavor. It went great on a variety of dishes that I tried it on, and here have it pictured on a Bob Evan’s breakfast sandwich. It would also be great on eggs, hash browns, popcorn, burgers, pizza, meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, chili, wings…and anything else you could dream up.
And the best news? Blair is intending to make this part of the regular line-up over at Death Sauce HQ. I heartily recommend picking up some Death Shake as soon as it’s available. At this time I don’t know what the pricing, packaging and size/wt. will be, but I doubt anyone will be disappointed. So I say Feel Alive…and Get Excited!
Coal Gulch Trading Co. of Madrid, New Mexico, has a stand out product in their Chipotle Seasoning. It’s an awesome, all-natural blend of black pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, chipotle chile, and minced onion. And though black pepper is the foremost ingredient, chipotle takes center stage in this combination of flavors, and, as you may have noticed, salt is absent from the line up.
This surprised me at first, because oftentimes salt is the main ingredient in many rubs and seasonings. However, this only adds to the appeal and versatility of Coal Gulch Trading Co.’s Chipotle Seasoning. For instance, I’ve tried it in at least two applications where the sodium content of the other ingredients would have otherwise limited my use of the Chipotle Seasoning, and would have really subtracted from the wonderful flavor punch it would have added. The two main dishes I tried this in were a “Southwest-style” pizza (pictured), and chicken taco meat. It was great with both, but it was stunningly good in the chicken taco filling and worked like a charm.
As far as the Southwest pizza was concerned, I simply used it as a topping to spice things up and add a little bit of the unexpected to the typical pizza flavors. With the chicken taco meat, on the other hand, I browned a pound of ground chicken in a skillet over medium heat; drained most (but not all!) the fat, then added a ½ cup chopped white onion, a ½ cup chopped jalapeno, and a ½ cup chopped regular mushrooms (yes, mushrooms). I then stirred to combine and evenly coat the vegetables with the remaining chicken fat, and continued to heat until the veggies were softened a bit, then added a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon chicken base, a teaspoon of sea salt, and a loose tablespoon of dried Jolokia flakes, and again, mixed to combine. Last, but not least, I added a tablespoon of the Chipotle Seasoning and thoroughly incorporated into the mixture. It turned out absolutely wonderful; spicy, slightly smoky, and downright scrumptious.
Same pizza; different angles. These pics bring back delicious memories.
Bottom line, Coal Gulch’s Chipotle Seasoning is an ideal complement to taco filling, chili or any other Mexican or Southwest-inspired dishes, including, as per their site, being sprinkled on popcorn, added to sour cream, or used in sautéing vegetables. In any event, do not hesitate to replace/substitute big brand/store-bought taco or chili seasoning with Coal Gulch Trading Co.’s significantly superior Chipotle Seasoning. You won’t be disappointed. Be sure to visit Coal Gulch’s website for additional products and recipes.
I’ve ordered products from Sonoran Spice Company on two occasions, and have been pleased both times. For the most part their products are as described, reasonably priced, and are shipped and received in a timely manner, and their Ghost Pepper Flakes were no exception. As far as the flakes themselves are concerned, they’re significantly hot, have a nice earthy, slightly fruity flavor, and are convenient to have on hand for cooking. They are also grown and produced in the Assam region of India, which is where the Ghost Pepper, a.k.a. the Bhut Jolokia, originally comes from. While hot and pleasantly flavored, Sonoran Spice’s Ghost Flakes are not very consistent in size, and so are a bit unwieldy as compared to the kind of crushed red pepper flakes one typically finds at the pizza parlor. These are more like dried Ghost Peppers which have been torn into various size pieces by hand, with the majority of the flakes not being a workable size to fit through the shaker top provided with the bottle. Even so, this is a relatively minor issue which does nothing to diminish the fact they’re a perfect complement to all kinds of dishes; especially Indian-inspired dishes. Certainly, Ghost Peppers are a natural fit for curry, and since I had some prepared rice already on hand, I decided to whip up some Ghost Pepper-infused curry rice…with delicious results.
Size of flakes are widely variable, rendering the shaker cap mostly ineffective.
Curry connoisseurs will probably want to create their own from scratch, but for time and convenience I chose a decent quality, store-bought curry (I like McCormick’s Gourmet Collection: Hot Madras Curry Powder blend). I usually guesstimate, and adjust to taste as I go, so times and measurements in this “recipe” are approximate and simply a general guide–Prepare rice according to directions (I like jasmine rice), set aside. Sauté a ¼ cup finely chopped white onions, 2-3 minced garlic cloves and about ½ to 1 loose tablespoon Ghost pepper flakes (adjust accordingly to your desired heat level) in about 1-2 tablespoons of good quality EVOO or canola. Sauté on medium-low heat until onions are translucent and garlic lightly browned (I usually start with the onions first, giving them a 1 to 2 minute head start, and then add the garlic so both will finish cooking about the same time. It’s very important to watch this part carefully so that the garlic doesn’t burn.) Add in 2 tablespoons of curry powder, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for about another minute, being careful not to scorch curry mixture. Then, add in about 1-2 cups of the prepared rice and thoroughly combine with curry. Serve with chicken, pork, shrimp or scrambled eggs, and garnish with cilantro (optional). Whatever your preference, Sonoran Spice Company’s Ghost Pepper Flakes are tremendously versatile, and will instantly crank up the heat of any dish they’re added to. And, be sure to check out sonoranspice.com for this and other products and recipe suggestions. (They also currently offer two free whole Ghost Peppers with the purchase of Ghost Pepper Flakes )
Although a bit unwieldy in some applications, Sonoran Spice Company’s Ghost Pepper Flakes are perfect for all kinds of cooking; especially Indian dishes.
These babies’ll put your nose hairs in the cross hairs if you’re not careful.
I’ve been usin’ the heck out of these dusts lately, and I’m happy, almost downright ecstatic, to report that these are two of my new favorite products which have firmly established themselves in my top 10 of “go to” spicy products. And that’s just the beginning. Volcanic Peppers has a wide horizon of spicy products that I’m anxious to explore, and for those of you who have not tried them, I suggest you do the same. Among their products are Volcano Dusts 1, 2 and 3, with the heat level of each increasing as the numbers do. I decided to zero in on Dusts 2 and 3 because I figured Volcano Dust 1 may be too mild for my taste (and VP was kind enough to include Dust 2 with my original order of Dust 3, the Scorpion powder, and their new Hot Garlic & Onion powder ).
Volcano Dust 2 on the left, and Dust 3 on the right. The more orange color of Dust 2 is most likely due to the presence of habaneros, and the darker red of 3 to the Bhuts, 7 Pots and Scorpions.
First off, Volcano Dust 2 is made from smoked habaneros, red peppers and bhut jolokias, and has a lighter, more orange cast than does the Volcano 3, which has a darker red shade. Its incredible aroma is one of the best things about it, and on aroma alone I would give it 4 1/2 stars out 5. Just imagine the smell of fresh peppers combined with the scent of hickory wood smoke; it truly has to be experienced. To me this is one of the best smells on earth; truly magnifiSCENT. It tastes as good as it smells, and Volcano 2′s flavor meets the high bar set by its aroma. Volcano 2 is vibrant, and smokey (good smokey, like smoked meat good, but peppers), and its spectrum of heat reflects its constituent peppers while they dance on your tongue like little embers fresh from a hickory smoke campfire. Likewise, Volcano Dust 3 also has great aroma and flavor, but with more of an edge. There are subtle taste differences, but on the whole, the heat level increase is the most prominent factor. The 3 is made of smoked Bhut Jolokias, 7 Pot, and Trinidad and Moruga Scorpions.
It’s harder to see the color contrasts in these pics, but I went through the trouble of taking them, so figured I’d still include ‘em in the post.
Like the Volcanic Peppers website proclaims, “The Dust is a Must!,” and it’s a perfect alternative to sauce. It’s light, portable, flavorful, packs heat, and is tremendously versatile; whether on top of food or in recipes. It’s killer in/on burgers, sausage, eggs, pizza, pasta, tacos, whatever you can think of, the Dust will work with your imagination. Last but not least, it also allows for convenience in the kitchen. For instance, with “The Dust” you don’t have to concern yourself with two or more wing glazes when your’re serving wings to a group of people. Simply make your usual recipe, and add Dust 2 or 3 in whatever configuration and amount you prefer after all the wings have been glazed. This gives you the option of adjusting heat level to the various tastes in your group (and I’ve had both of these on wings as a topical “finishing” ingredient, and they’re outstanding in this application). For all these attributes I give both products 4 1/2 stars out of 5, and heartily recommend them to all my Chilehead brothers and sisters!
Pork sandwich topped with Gouda and Volcano Dust 3. The Volcano Dusts go on almost everything, and will elevate pretty much any food you’d normally put sauce on.
Me trying Volcano Dusts 2 and 3 on some Jack Daniel’s barbecue pulled chicken…
Slap ya mama! Okay, don’t do that, but I definitely encourage you to try Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. There’s really not a lot to say about this one, but that it’s incredibly tasty and good on just about anything; eggs, pizza, chili, popcorn, seafood, burgers…
Heeding that classic advice to “keep it simple, stupid,” Slap Ya Mama keeps its ingredients straightforward, but flavorful: salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic (No MSG). And that’s it. This product is proof that a good sauce or seasoning does not have to be “complex” or have seventeen different ingredients. It’s also why the aged expression to K.I.S.S. is still with us today.
Slap Ya Mama seasoning and hot sauce can be found at Harp’s and some Reasor’s stores in northeast Oklahoma. If anyone would like to find out more about Slap Ya Mama, visit slapyamama.com.