Add some heat this winter with spicy foods

Pittsburgh Post-GazetteMarch 5, 2014 

This winter got you down?

There’s one surefire way to heat yourself up: Add some spice to your cooking.

Ghost pepper: Ghost pepper will give you all the heat you need and then some. It checks in at a million Scoville units, the heat measurement used for peppers. By comparison, crushed red pepper flakes that you might shake onto your pizza measure about 30,000 to 40,000 Scoville units.

More peppers: Try the African birds-eye, a tenth as hot as ghost peppers, but flavorful. Also look for chile pequins, ancho and chipotles.

African spices: Look to a berbere spice blend to add to soups or stews.

Indian cuisine: Consider garam masala and chili powder blends that are hot, as well as hot chutneys.

SPICY recipes from C3

Chili Pepper Soda Dip

 •  2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened

 •  6 to 8 ounces Fresca, 7-Up, Sprite or other lemon-lime soda

 •  1 tablespoon chili powder

 •  2 teaspoons garlic powder

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Spicy Berbere Lentil Stew  •  3 tablespoons olive oil

 •  2 cups onion

 •  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 •  11/2 teaspoons powdered ginger

 •  2 tablespoons berbere seasoning blend

 •  2 cups split red lentils

 •  1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

 •  3 ounces red wine

 •  6 cups vegetable broth

 •  24 precooked turkey meatballs, optional

Sauté onions in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Add the berbere and saute for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions should start to caramelize.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, red wine, vegetable broth and meatballs and bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook uncovered for an hour. Shrimp Pili-Pili  •  1/4 cup butter or margarine

 •  1/4 cup peanut oil

 •  1 pound large shrimp or prawns, shelled and deveined

 •  1 tablespoon crushed dried African birds-eye chile, or pequins

 •  4 cloves garlic, minced

 •  3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

Melt butter and add oil and remaining ingredients. Simmer for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors. Transfer to a ceramic bowl.

Toss the shrimp in the marinade and marinate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Thread the shrimp on skewers and grill over charcoal or broil, until shrimp are slightly browned. Discard leftover marinade. Thick French Toast with Spicy Rum Butter  •  3 eggs

 •  cup milk

 •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 •  Pinch of sugar

 •  4 1-inch-thick slices multigrain bread

For spicy rum butter

 •  1/2 stick butter

 •  1/4 cup brown sugar

 •  1/2 teaspoon rum extract

 •  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

 •  1 teaspoon chili powder

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk, vanilla and sugar. Soak bread in egg mixture.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat and cook each piece of bread about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until browned.

For rum butter: Soften butter. Cream with brown sugar, rum extract, cinnamon and chili powder. Serve over French toast.

Source: Adapted from “Chili Pepper Madness” by Michael Hultquist (CreateSpace Kindle edition, 2014) Yield: Serves 8 Source: Adapted from spicesinc.com Yield: Serves 4 Source: fiery-foods.com Yield: Serves 4 Source: Adapted from “Chili Pepper Madness” by Michael Hultquist (CreateSpace Kindle edition, 2014)

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