Archive for the ‘ Spicy ’ Category


This recipe for sweet and spicy pork ribs is one of my family’s all-time favorites.  Seems like every time the warm summer weather rolled around, we could expect my Mom to whip up a batch of these sticky ribs to eat out on the patio on a warm night.  Their flavor is so unique and the dish itself so craveable that I was stunned to learn how simple they are to prepare.  If you have a can of sliced peaches in heavy syrup, a pinch of crushed red pepper and a bottle of supermarket barbecue sauce in the pantry, then you’re in business.  Now, I’m a nut for good, slow-smoked, true barbecue, but if you need to feed a crowd and don’t have the time or equipment needed to produce the genuine article, these will do just fine.  Serve with some baked beans and grilled corn and you’ve got a dang good BBQ dinner.

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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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Having grown up in the Bay Area, I’m pretty accustomed to eating some damn good Mexican food.  As a true fan of the cuisine, I consider myself blessed to live within minutes of the birthplace of the original Mission-style burrito.  So, with some of the best taquerías in the entire state literally moments from my apartment, it’s with great embarrassment that I am here to say I enjoy eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill every once in a while.  Don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER pass up a burrito from one of my favorite joints here in town, but when I find myself craving some good barbacoa, I always know where I can find some.

Even though we have a taquería on every corner here in San Francisco serving mounds of carnitas, al pastor, chile verde and carne asada, very few in fact offer a version of this dish.  Good barbacoa is succulent beef that is slow-simmered in a spicy broth flavored with tangy lime juice, smoky chipotle chiles and plenty of garlic until it’s practically falling apart.  Seasoned with just the right amount of herbs, vinegar and salt, Chipotle’s come pretty darn close to some of the best I’ve ever eaten.  So, cobbled together from a few imposter recipes and knock-offs floating around the internet, along with some good, old-fashioned cooking know-how, I am here to offer my rendition of the barbacoa I’ve come to love from this massive chain restaurant .  I typically have them throw the stuff in a burrito at the restaurant, but here I serve it in authentic Mexican fashion, mounded up on a griddled tortilla and topped with diced white onion, plenty of cilantro and a lime wedge for squeezing over the top.  Pass some good bottled hot sauce or some avocado-tomatillo salsa for another great accompaniment or whip up a batch of cochinita pibil or chile-braised pork and throw a taco party.

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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 . . .