And the Golden Chile goes to…

GOLDEN CHILE FRAMEToday we’re awarding the Golden Chile to someone who speaks eloquently and passionately for all us non-native heat-lovers. We may not have the genes of chile-popping people, but we’ve more than made up for it with a profound love—obsession might be a better word—for the feeling that peppers give us. That warmth! That kick to the senses! That anything-but-subtle reminder that, yes, we are very, very lucky to be alive!

MIERS

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Her name is Thomasina Miers and she’s the author of the aptly titled, Chilli Notes: Recipes to Warm the Heart (Not Burn the Tongue) and the co-founder of Wahaca restaurants.

She was recently featured in this beautiful “Nowness” video, preparing preserved peppers and speaking about her bottomless love for culinary heat. As our mission is to “Spread the Chile Love,” we couldn’t agree more with what she has to say. You can follow this link, or click on any of this post’s larger images to see the video: Preserving Chilies with Thomasina Miers on Nowness.com

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Cookbook Crush

GOLDEN CHILE FRAME

Can a grown man have a crush? Darn straight he can. Can he fall in love with a book? Why not? As relationships go, it can be a whole lot more rewarding than the human kind. And if the book happens to be Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison then all these questions are just plain silly because VL (for short) is a one of a kind.

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How to describe it? It’s a mixture of food, cooking, gardening with some botany thrown in.  Deborah is the author of 11 cookbooks, started her career at Chez Panisse in California and ran her own restaurant Greens. And did I mention she lives in New Mexico?

I rest my case.

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In Vegetable Literacy she covers the veg gamut including chile – of course. You’ll find it in the chapter on the nightshade family (peppers, potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes to name a few august members). Just read the opening line in that chapter and you’re hooked: “The nightshades have been loathed and loved and regarded as lethal and luscious.” Sounds like someone I used to go out with…

I digress.

The book is also packed with 300 recipes including my fav for Chilled Avocado Soup with Poblano Chile and Pepitas. Are you hungry yet?

So for all its 405 pages (weighing in at over 4 lbs so you can use it as an alternative to a workout at the gym) we say, “Bring on the Golden Chile!”

And the Golden Chile goes to…

GOLDEN CHILE FRAMEThey called her The Pepper Lady. I mean, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Her ‘real’ name was Jean Andrews. A native Texan, she did it all – a well-recognized illustrator, author, cook, collector and world traveler. Born in 1923, she got her bachelors, a masters and then earned her doctorate (she started that when she turned 50). She wrote books about wildflowers and sea shells but she’s perhaps best known for her books on peppers.

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I came across Red Hot Peppers at Nicholas Potter books here in Santa Fe. I’d heard about her but surprisingly didn’t have any of her books. I snatched this one up, if for no other reason than the copy on the jacket, “A Cookbook for the not so faint of heart.” Here, here.

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Turns out Jean – who died in 2010 – knew a heck of a lot about peppers. She travelled around the world tracing their path once Columbus brought them back to Europe. During her own travels, she brought back seeds from South America, Africa, and India and grew them back home. She loved chile so much that – according to an article I read – she even had a red Mercedes 380 SL with the license plate “Pequin”. Nice.

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Go online and nab one of her books. Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums or The Pepper Trail: History and Recipes from Around the World are two. Enjoy them for the recipes. Enjoy them for the illustrations – Jean’s own. But most of all, enjoy reading the words of someone who was full of life and full of love for chile.

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And the Golden Chile goes to…

GOLDEN CHILE FRAMEWe love the blog Love and Lemons and we love, love, love blogger Jeanine’s fresh flavors. I dare you not to drool over her recipes.

So we thought about awarding the Golden Chile for her Taco Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing. Then we thought maybe her oh-so-yummy Grilled Veggie Skewers. But hey – how about those tasty Mini Ceviche Tacos?

taco-salad2_loveandlemonsIMG_00082In the end we thought, what the heck – it’s all great. So a big Golden Chile to Jeanine. Check out the recipe and her blog Love and Lemons.

CEVICHE TACOS

And the Golden Chile goes to…

GOLDEN CHILE FRAMECrank up the heat, and that’s when you can tell the men/women from the boys/girls.

And that’s exactly what happened at the first annual Tri-Ed San Antonio Chili Cook Off. Because the competition was hot for first-time chili cooker-offer (cooker-offer – a new phrase but a good one), Phillip Baker and his team.
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Luckily Phillip had the Los Chileros double-whammy of Chile Molido (hot) and Chimayo powder in his pot. The result? Phillip’s team beat the competition to grab the coveted crown. Phillip tips his hat to Los C and says, “I think the real secret, in addition to the powder, was the fact that I ground up all the meat the night before. Fresh ground just tastes better I think.”

Phillip you got that right.

So Phillip and his team can now add another feather to their chili cap – the Golden Chile. No prize money but lots of bragging rights. Congrats Phillip and best of luck next year.

You’ve got someone you think deserves the Golden Chile? Someone who has gone the extra culinary mile to make the chile star shine a bit brighter? Let us know because maybe—just maybe—they’ll be our next Golden Chile winner.