For the last six years, friends of ours up in Long Island have hosted a spicy food party known as the Phlogistic Pheast. It's a potluck where everyone brings a spicy dish aimed at searing the tongues of the other guests. We all sit around their enormous dining room table sampling all the dishes and describing how we prepared the recipes. It's a night of good food and good conversation.
I'm sorry that the picture quality isn't great - the lighting wasn't very good and I was trying to snap pictures quickly before the hungry hordes descended.
Our dish was Flamin' Crustacean Annihilation (Hot Jalapeno Crab Dip):
... that we served with toasted baguette rounds. The dip was creamy and you could really taste the crab. What we liked most about it was that you took a bite and thought it was just crab dip, but then the heat from the jalapenos snuck up and hit you about a minute later. It was very addicting.
One of our hosts made Leapin' Lentils: Volcanic Vegan Victuals (Lentil Soup):
... which was basically a firey version of lentil soup. It turned out to be thicker than a soup, but the lentils were creamy and spicy.
The Calm Before The Storm (Mixed Greens Salad):
... was a salad made with fresh greens, chunks of tomato and peppers with some jalapenos thrown in for a little kick. I'm not sure what was in the dressing, but it was nice to have some crisp lettuce to counteract all the spicy food.
Eggplant-zilla (Stuffed Eggplant):
... was a tasty take on stuffed eggplant. Slices of eggplant were coated in firey spices and stuffed with beef before being baked so it looked like the eggplant was eating the beef. Very tasty.
Not For The Chicken Pizza:
... was absolutely incredible. It was definitely the most complex dish of the evening. He made his own pizza dough using all kinds of spices and added cooked chicken before baking it. Then he slathered on some apricot glaze and homemade BBQ sauce, along with three kinds of slow-cooked carmelized onions and two kinds of cheeses. It was rich and satisfying, sweet yet spicy.
Take A Chicken and Keep it Kickin' with Jalapeno Cheese Grits:
... arrived after we'd already eaten most of the food, but we all managed to find some room for this amazing combination. He marinated the chicken pieces overnight in buttermilk and hot sauce then coated it with an egg wash and seasoned flour before frying it. It was out of this world tender, with a great spicy kick.
I don't get to eat grits very often, so this was a real treat for me. He cooked the grits with some milk and butter and added sharp cheddar cheese and jalapenos for a kick. The grits were creamy and spicy and so good I had three helpings.
The Beef Dish That Shall Remain Nameless (Slow-Cooked Beef):
... was slow cooked beef in a spicy tomato-based sauce. It was served with flour tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapeno slices. The beef was extremely tender and very flavorful - even though I was getting full by this point I still wolfed down two tacos.
Jerk Chicken Wings was a surprise:
... since they were actually a huge steaming pile of mussels cooked in beer with tomatoes, onions and spices. They were addicting. I must have eaten an entire plateful of these little goodies. Even the host's daughter, a professed hater of mussels, couldn't stop eating them
Fried Fired Fritters:
... were deep-fried wonton skins encasing gooey cheese and (I think) jalapenos. They were crispy and good. I only wish there had been more.
We even had spicy desserts, including Theezarintchust Spicy Cookies:
... made with huge chunks of chocolate, allspice, hot sauce, mace and pudding. I ate three, despite being so full I was falling into a food coma.
The other dessert was Habanero-Lime Cheesecake, which we had been warned was incredibly spicy despite its innocent appearance:
This was another dish where your first bite seems tame - it tasted like lime cheesecake - and then a few seconds later the heat of the three roasted habaneros that went into it whacks you upside the head. This was the only dish of the evening that literally took my breath away. But it was hard to stop eating, despite the beads of sweat on my forehead. Luckily they had vanilla ice cream to tame the flames.
As always, the evening was a huge success. We had a fantastic time and can't wait for the 7th annual Pheast next year.