Archive for the ‘ Chiles ’ Category


Every once in a while I’ll spend a Sunday afternoon making some Thai curry paste. Like I mentioned in my recipe for panang curry paste, a quick trip to the Asian market for a few hard to find ingredients and about an hour in the kitchen with your mortar and pestle will set you up for a good month of authentic Thai cooking at home.

As far as I’m concerned, this stuff is money in the bank.  It keeps for a  up to a month in the fridge and is perfect for pulling together a bona fide Thai meal in minutes.  Stir-fry the paste, some meat and a few handfuls of seasonal vegetables in your favorite wok, add in some stock, palm sugar, fish sauce and Thai basil, throw it all on top of some sticky rice and you’ll be set up for some truly delicious eating.

Unlike a red, green or yellow curry, phrik khing is considered a “dry-style” curry, free of any coconut milk.  Instead, the paste is fried in oil and moistened with a bit of stock to create a sauce that clings to the protein and veggies.  The resulting dish can be characterized as smooth and a bit peppery with fragrant notes of galangal and lemongrass throughout.

So, next time you’re looking for something to cook on a lazy Sunday afternoon, consider making some homemade curry paste and look forward to reaping the rich culinary dividends of delicious Thai meals in the weeks that follow.

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If you celebrate Cinco de Mayo the way folks around here do, you’re going to need some serious grub to soak up the booze. The following recipes will not only satisfy any Mexican cravings, they’ll also lay down a base coat before your night gets going. Best of all? They can pretty much all be scaled up to feed a crowd. So enjoy responsibly and leave other Cinco de Mayo menu ideas in the comments.


Tacos de Barbacoa

Chile-Braised Pork Tacos

Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

Red Chile Beef Tostadas



Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa


Habanero Hot Sauce

Chipotle Bean Dip

Crema Mexicana


Smoky Chipotle Black Beans


Agua de Horchata


If you are looking for a jalapeño popper that looks like this, then sadly, this recipe is not for you.  If, however, you are a popper purist looking for the authentic, crispy-fried variety, then you have come to the right place.

I’ve been looking for a good jalapeño popper recipe for some time now, and, after several failed attempts to find anything I could truly be proud of, I’ve finally cobbled together a version that lives up to the high bar set by frozen versions sold in bars around the country.  I tried everything: versions with fresh jalapeños, versions with cream cheese, fine breadcrumbs and egg batters.  These same iterations, were either raw, greasy or simply exploded in the frying oil. My winning version utilizes a combination of quality pickled jalapenos, a combo of cheddar and jack cheese, hot sauce and a buttermilk/panko batter.  Served alongside some buttermilk dip, and you have a appetizer that has few equals in the fabulous world of fried food.

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Throw grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, and cilantro over a bowl of Stagg Chili and you have a satisfying bowl of chili.  Throw those same condiments over a warm bowl of this hearty lamb and chorizo chili, and you have an epic winter meal.  But I’ll warn you, this chili isn’t for the faint of heart.  This is some rich, earthy fare the likes of which are seldom explored by the typical American diner.  In my mind, I believe this is chili the way chili was always meant to taste.

Thick, heavily spiced and slightly gamey, this is cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs food at it best, making it not only great for the winter season, but also perfect Super Bowl grub if you’re looking to feed a group with a big appetite. I’d go so far as to call this real man food, if my girlfriend weren’t so quick to remind me that women love chili, too.

Garnishes are key here; they lighten the rich flavors while enhancing the chili’s meatiness, so set out a spread of shredded cheese, chopped onion, cilantro and sour cream and let your guests go nuts.

Continue reading lamb chili recipe . . .


Chipotle Bean Dip

NFL Football playoffs start this weekend and that means it’s time to bust out the heavy hitting game day recipes.  We’ve got wings, mozzarella sticks, and potato skins covered, but I thought it was high time to break out a recipe for a good old-fashioned American dip — Bean Dip.

I know, I know, bean dip sounds boring.  Surely guacamole and salsa seem to steal the show anytime tortilla chips are broken out, but I assure you, this is no ordinary jarred bean dip.  First off, we’re making our own pinto beans.  That’s right, from the very get-go this is a homemade affair which means you can load as much flavor into this seemingly humble dip as possible.  Slow simmered with smoked pork, cumin seeds, oregano, onion and garlic there is no canned pinto bean on earth that can match that flavor.  Next off, we add spicy chipotle chiles for maximum punch and savory, smoky undertones.  After a dollop of two of sour cream to cool everything down and lend a velvety texture, the whole thing is topped with cheese and thrown into the oven until piping hot and gooey.

I promise, you’ve never tasted bean dip this good.  It’s fantastic served alongside some thick, crispy tortilla chips and dare I say, even better with Fritos Scoops. But if you’re feeling truly badass, try using it as the backbone for a homemade 7-layer dip and taste the rainbow of game day paradise.

Continue reading bean dip recipe . . .