Posts Tagged ‘Spicy’

19th March
written by Arthur

Many of the recipes in my new favorite Mexican cookbook, Truly Mexican, call for chile powder.  Yes, you can buy the stuff in the store and the cookbook’s author gives you the go ahead to use the store bought stuff when the homemade isn’t on hand. But making the chile powder from scratch is so easy, cheap, and quick I’m willing to make the investment.  Plus, I love spice.  Having a another option to spice-up any meal in front of me is a good thing and the powder stores up to three months.  I’ve only made the recipe using árbol chiles, but I’m very curious to try the other options.

I don’t have a spice grinder, but the blender method worked out great.

The recipe yields 1/4 cup.



1 ounce dried árbol (30 to 40), cascabel (about 5), or chipotle mora (8 to 10, purplish-red color) chiles, wiped clean and stemmed.


Heat or comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over low heat for árbol chiles and medium-low for cascabel and chipotle chiles.

For the árbol chiles, toast them, turning them over and pressing them down frequently with tongs until they are browned with some blackened spots, about 8 minutes.

For the cascabel chiles, break each into about 3 pieces for easier toasting, then shake out and reserve the seeds.  Toast the pieces turning them over and pressing down frequently with tong, until they turn a lighter, slightly mottled red, about 1 minute.  Remove the pieces.  Toast the seed in the skillet, shaking and tossing, until they’er lightly browned and fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds.

For the chipotle mora chiles, toast them, turning them over frequently, until dark, blackish blisters appear in spots (some will even puff up), 3 to 5 minutes.

Grind or blend the chiles (and the toasted seed, if you’re using cascabel chiles) to a powder in a spice grinder or blender jar.

Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place (not in the refrigerator) for up to 3 months.

28th October
written by Loren

Few things hit the spot on a tipsy Saturday night better than a spicy pork and noodle dish with just the right amount of grease. This recipe doesn’t take a lot of planning either, as its short on unique ingredients and, once your mise en place is done, everything comes together in 15 minutes or so.

Stir together well in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat, when it is hot pour in 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, swirl around the pan until very hot but not smoking.  Add and stir fry very briefly until the garlic is slightly brown:

  • 2 tablespoons finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chile peppers (I used seeded serrano peppers)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped canned bamboo shoots


Add 1 lb ground pork and stir fry the meat, breaking it up, until it is no longer pink but not yet browned. Meanwhile, cook in a large pot of boiling unsalted water, 1 pound chinese egg noodles (or spaghetti, if you must).

Add the stock mixture to the pork, stir well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add and stir fry briefly 1/2 cup of 2 inch scallion pieces, cut on the bias.  Remove the pan from the heat, drain the noodles (they should only take 2-3 minutes), add to the pan and toss with the pork and sauce.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, stir well, and garnish with 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions.


As I was getting into the final stretch of putting this together, I was really wondering if it was going well. As you can see above, the recipe (from Joy of Cooking) makes repeated references to stir frying, even after adding the pork. For me, as soon as I added the pork, there was way too much liquid coming out of the meat to do any stir frying, from there on out everything was being simmered in a sauce, especially once the brother mixture was added. Typically when that happens it means that your pan isn’t big enough to allow the liquid to evaporate as it comes out of the meat, or you don’t have the pan on high enough heat. In this case, I was using my widest pan and had the heat on the highest setting. Absent using a wok and a commercial grade heat source like on the badass mofos below, I’m not sure how I could solve this problem although I will be experimenting with using chicken thigh pieces rather than a ground meat to see if it releases less moisture.  Either way, by adding the noodles to the pan it helped soak up some of the additional moisture and the end result was fantastic, with a soy-ish sauce, with just the right amount of spice and fresh ginger, and enough fat from the pork to coat the noodles.



22nd October
written by Loren

Howdy football fans! My deepest apologies for missing last weeks post. Words cannot express my sorrow, but I know you’ll forgive me. To make up for the absence, this week I’m posting my favorite Renzo Original of all time! I was going to save this one for the Super Bowl post because it’s so damn good, but here you go: Renzo’s Jumbo Skrimp Skewers!

This recipe came as a result of having a pound of jumbo shrimp, a grill, and a desire for spicy deliciousness. There may be an ingredient or two that might refine this recipe or add a little something, but all of the ingredients were what I had on hand at the time. The only reason I don’t make this every single week is because of how unfortunately expensive jumbo shrimp are. Sometimes I can find a bag of frozen jumbo shrimp for a few dollars less per pound,

These are about the right size

and when I see these things I pounce and stock up the freezer. Don’t try to substitute normal size shrimp for the Jumbos, they would be very dry and over-done by the time they get any grill marks and smoky flavor.

1 lb of Jumbo shrimp, the biggest you can find (peeled and deveined)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (damn Rachel Ray for tainting the acrnoym EVOO!)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp papeika
1 tsp red curry powder
5 cloves of minced garlic
2 serrano peppers, minced
1 large handful of chopper cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a Tupperware or ziplock bag and mix well before adding the skrimps, then let that marinate for 30 minutes or so. Do NOT let this sit longer than an hour. All that citric acid will essentially turn this into a ceviche and so the shrimp will be “cooked” before they even hit the grill. Take them out of the marinade and skewer them (if they’re really big skrimps you might not even need the skewers). Throw them all on a very hot grill (bright glowing coals or propane turned to high) and cook them for about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side. This is a delicate balance; you want a grill hot enough that you’ll get nice char marks with only about 100 seconds per side of the shrimp. They’re done when they’re opaque all the way to the center, which should match up with the cooking time above. Serve with whatever you like for a real dish, or just put the platter out in front of everyone watching the game for an appetizer.

I hate this guy. Only player to ever get kicked off a probowl team. Seriously.

I think our problems boil down to one main point: The O-line. It is horrid. Bryant McKinney is the most over paid (and overweight) player in the league, we can’t find a player to hold down the Center position for consecutive games, Loadholt might be good in a few years but he’s struggling right now, and Hutchinson is by far our best lineman but is past his prime. I know I’ve said recently that Favre is having problems with his arm, and I still think he is, but if we had a decent O-line we would at least be able to run the ball effectively when Favre is struggling to keep his head above water. As it is, there are practically no holes for AP to run through, Favre is getting destroyed  after every single passing attempt, and Randy Moss will never be a downfield threat because the QB has to remain standing longer then 4 seconds in order to chuck it deep!

The Packers are having huge injury problems, but their biggest strength remains they’re passing game and I think Aaron Rodgers is going to throw it at Lito Shepperd all game long. This week boils down to the simple fact that I don’t have confidence in our offense to put up more than 250 yards (only 190 last week!!!), and I think it’s going to take more like 400 to put this one away. Final Score: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Again please.

Arthur’s Two Cents:
The jumbo shrimp sounds awesome.  Citrus and some heat?  I don’t see how you can go wrong.

The game:  I’ve been saying the offensive line is the main problem since our first game versus the Saints.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been any improvement in the last 6 weeks.  And with Greenbay leading the NFL in sacks I don’t see good things coming this week.  Farve needs a few seconds to let Moss get down field, let alone to be able to throw to him.  It seems that in each of the last two game Farve was able pull him self together and pound out about 5 consecutive minutes of solid play, regardless of the O-line folding like superman on laundry day. If he can do that twice this game, well we have a shot.

Given the GB injuries I foresee a lower scoring game: Vikings 9, Packers 12.  While this is going to be a painful match-up to watch, at least I have the Packs defense in fantasy to dull the pain.