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Extra! Extra! Silverleaf International Halts Vampire Invasion!

 

The Prestigious Golden Chile Awarded to the Ghost Pepper Verde Sauce

The Prestigious Golden Chile Awarded to the Ghost Pepper Verde Sauce

Okay, not really, but they could stop a Vampire invasion! Silverleaf International, the Missouri City, Texas based company owned by Neal and Adriane McWeeney, is home to some of the best gourmet salsas, olive oil, jellies, and marinated garlic on the planet. I’m telling you, folks! This is vampire stopping good garlic! I’m talking garlic so good that even Edward Cullen and Count Dracula couldn’t resist! Plus, when you factor in the whole silver leaf thing, those guys don’t stand a chance (Get it? Vampires…silver…silver can kill a vampire….ok, fine…. I thought it was clever..)!

Silver? leaf? What’s that got to do with anything, you ask? Well, maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m gonna tell you anyway.  When I was visiting with Neal and Adriane in New Orleans, I learned a little about the back-story of their company. They had gone to Italy on vacation some years ago, and while walking in a monastery olive orchard one morning (sounds like a cool vampire movie setting, doesn’t it? Just sayin’!), they loved the shimmering silver hue of the olive tree leaves. That’s right, the same olives that you buy at the store, or press for oil have cool silvery, shimmery leaves. When they were ready to start their business, the memory of those shimmering olive leaves reappeared, Silverleaf International was born, and the rest is history!

Award Winning Red & Green Ghost Pepper Salsa

Award Winning Red & Green Ghost Pepper Salsa

And that history has been richly rewarded.  Their ghost pepper salsa, made with fresh roasted tomatoes and fresh diced garlic cloves, combined with the super hot ghost pepper,  is a perennial favorite and winner at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival, and won awards there from 2009-2012. And their Ghost Pepper Salsa Verde, a green sauce made with fresh garlic, tomatillo, and ghost peppers, won a coveted Golden Chile award!  Seeing how both those awards come from Texas, where you best be on your game when it comes to salsa, that’s saying something! Just tonight, I had breakfast burritos for dinner, and their Fiery Hot Garlic Salsa was a perfect compliment, with just the right amount of Habanero heat combined with their fresh California grown garlic and spices. I highly recommend their salsa for any occasion, including watching old Bela Lugosi Dracula flicks, or for you trendy, modern types, a Twilight marathon…

Silverleaf International Fiery Hot Garlic Salsa adds to any dish

Silverleaf International Fiery Hot Garlic Salsa adds to any dish

So if you’re like me and get a little twitchy watching all those vampire flicks (I’m really not a monster movie kind of guy), and need some protection, Silverleaf’s wide selection of marinated garlic simply blows me away! If you go to their website, you’ll see there’s a flavor profile for everyone, from Mediterranean, to sweet bread and butter, to chipotle, and more.  I love the bread and butter garlic and the ghost pepper garlic. If you’re not familiar with a ghost pepper, it reminds me of a bell pepper on steroids, so the sweet pepper flavor combined with its substantial heat marry beautifully with the garlic’s savory notes. Smashed onto a piece of bread, added to any dish, or simply munched as a snack, the ghost pepper garlic will brighten your day, bring a mild (or wild) sweat to your brow, and a big smile on your face. Unless you’re a vampire, in which case you’d pretty much be hosed.

A broad variety of Ghost Pepper Infused Products!

A broad variety of Ghost Pepper Infused Products!

So check out Silverleaf International’s great selection of gourmet quality products. I’ll give everything I’ve tried to date (several types of garlic, all of their salsas, an awesome peach jelly,  and their ghost pepper infused olive oil) a minimum of 4 Fiery Worlds!  They will be at the New York City Hot Sauce Expo March 29 & 30, 2014, so if headed to the expo, definitely make their booth a must visit! For the rest of the world, check out their website, pick up some garlic for your next vampire slaying expedition, and tell ‘em I sent you! Why? Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s a Fiery World!

Getting Creamed by the Culinary Pyros at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo

 It was a cute little jar. All pretty and unassuming. It’s gold top gleaming at me, anonymous due to the lack of any labeling – filled with the creamy spread inside that called me…..Kennnnnn…….Kennnnnn…….I’m creammm cheeeese….…..I’m smoooooth…..I’m sweeeet…..I’m……..REALLY FREAKING HOT!!!!!

International Society of Culinary Pyros

International Society of Culinary Pyros Motto: Burn One, Burn All

That, Ladies and Gentlemen, was my introduction to one of the most awesomely unique and delicious products I’ve tried in a while, Zane & Zack’s International Society of Culinary Pyro’s currently unnamed and unrated Reaper Cream Cheese Spread.  Unveiling it’s formal name and debuting at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo on March 29th, 2014, this is a gourmet, artisan cream cheese spread laced with the Guinness world record holder Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper, recently dethroned but still insanely hot Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Habanero, and other “select” peppers! And I was told there are “other super hots” in the spread as noted in the “select pepper” ingredient list!!!  Bwahahahaha!!!!

Sam McCanless’ masterful blend of spices and ingredients make this a gourmet quality product – cream cheese, Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper, select peppers, lime juice, fresh garlic, vinegar, minced onions, red chile flakes, and salt.  And I can tell that salt is not a main ingredient, as it doesn’t overpower the sweetness and allows the natural slight saltiness of the cream cheese to shine through.  He limited the ingredients so each flavor has identity so not to make any one flavor overpower the other. Even the peppers are layered nicely, hitting me at different times and in different ways and places, like a savvy prize fighter picking his punches for purpose and effect. A quick Habanero jab to the face, a hard Scorpion right cross that instantly hurts, and then the steady body blows of Carolina Reaper.

ISCP Reaper Cream Cheese is a Gourmet Spread That is Smooth, Flavorful, and HOT!

ISCP Reaper Cream Cheese is a Gourmet Spread That is Smooth, Flavorful, and HOT!

Speaking of a prize fighter, the as yet unnamed Reaper Cream Cheese Spread kinda reminds me of a boxing match. It packs a pretty stout punch, but it’s not a knockout punch. Not the “I’m gonna rip Evander Holyfield’s ear off” angry Mike Tyson punch, but more like Rocky and Apollo Creed’s post Clubber Lange victory fight punch. The punches sting…okay, downright hurt, but just for a minute, then you’re ready to take on another round. And you’re smiling! And you like it! You like it a lot! A whole lot!

The International Society of Culinary Pyros have done themselves proud with a gourmet quality cream cheese spread that earns 4 Fiery Worlds from me. I can’t wait to see it officially at the 2nd Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo, March 29 and 30, 2014. Check out the Expo website for more details and check out Zane & Zack’s website for more fine sauces and products from Sam and Tina McCanless! You can also find their products from the fine folks at www.iburn.com. So beware the unassuming jar with the gleaming gold cap! Why, you ask? Because ladies and gentlemen, It’s a Fiery World!

Hey Honey! What Bee’s All The Hype About!? Intensity Academy Did it Again?!

Honey Hype Adds a Sweet/Savory Glaze to Pork Loins

Honey Hype Adds a Sweet/Savory Glaze to Pork Loins

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! Michele Northrup and Tom Was at Intensity Academy came out with one of my favorite new products in 2013, and if this was the 1930’s, I’d say it is the Bee’s Knees! I’m just now writing what I’ve known for months- that all the hype is for Honey Hype, Michele and Tom’s newest dry spice blend! I was introduced to it while in New Orleans at the Chile Pepper Extravaganza, and immediately fell in love!

So what’s to love?  Well, it’s different. It’s not the normal salt based seasoning blend. And it isn’t just a sweet barbecue rub. It is unique, and I love unique. In an industry where there are so many products that are similar in taste, texture, and use, it’s refreshing to find one that creates a buzz that makes bees all over pollinate with pride!!! And Chile Bee pride is evident in the catchy label! I’m wondering just what Intensity Academy was hyped up on turning bees into flying chile peppers and using a hornets’ nest instead of a bee hive, but it looks cool and is in line with Intensity Academy’s high quality graphic standards. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a little dramatic license! But what’s behind that label is what matters.Honey Hype is some high quality stuff, folks! It uses turbinado sugar, a higher grade that is taken earlier in the refining process, so it keeps more of the dark sugar/molasses flavors. You can tell it’s there by the way that it gives an extra richness to the sweet layer. And what a cool name! Turbinado! Sounds like Sharknado for food! But unlike the bizarre, and cheesy, combination of tornados and killer sharks, the turbinado pairs extremely well with the savory components in Honey Hype- paprika, granulated garlic, and onion powder.  And don’t forget the subtle additions of salt and “natural” spices to round out the ingredients! But what about the honey, Honey? (We call everyone Honey and Sugar down here in the South, so I thought I’d throw that in for cultural authenticity!) Well, Intensity Academy uses honey powder, that seems to just lay a blanket of smoothness over everything.  And everything is right!

Honey Hype Works Great With Chicken

Honey Hype Works Great With Chicken

I have yet to find a dish where Honey Hype doesn’t work. From sweet potatoes (deeelish, as Ms. Ray would say) to Fish to pork or poultry, there is a lot to be hyped up about! The sugar and honey powder combo make a killer combo for a glaze, as it did on some pan sautéed tilapia filets. As you see in the picture, chickens are proud to wear a layer of the sweet and savory sharknado style attack, and I could go on and on! But I won’t! I’ll get to the point!

I’m giving Intensity Academy’s Honey Hype 4 1/2 Fiery Worlds! It’s close to perfect, but I learned that you have to keep it well sealed in a dry place or moisture can creep into the spice, making it clump ever so slightly (A common issue with turbinado sugar, and a small price to pay for higher grade and more natural). Don’t get me wrong- it’s not enough to cause problems using the spice, but I would like to see some instruction on the label.  So there you have it, folks! Another winning entry by Intensity Academy! Go to their website, or you can get their products at the various shows or at www. iBurn.com. I’ve also done reviews for several of their wonderful products on the blog, so check out the archives! Why, you ask? Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s a Fiery World!

It’s Sunday, It’s Sushi, It’s Saucy Everything!!!! Intensity Academy Stays Saucy Once Again!

Saucy Everything Adds spice and dimension to Sushi!

Saucy Everything Adds spice and dimension to Sushi!

I’ve been craving Sushi lately! So today after church I stopped and picked up a Spicy Tuna Roll. I don’t often crave sushi, but I’ve had a really good reason….I needed a vehicle for Intensity Academy’s latest offering…..Saucy Everything! This spicy creation from Michele Northrup’s kitchen is a “mayoish” sauce that sends subtle messages like “Put me on Sushi!” And “Hey You! Miracle Whip?! Seriously?! Do your Ham and Cheese a favor and get lost!” Really…..I think I actually heard voices…..little voices…….okay, fine, it’s the medicine, but this stuff would if it could! And speaking of medicine, Saucy Everything has what ails ya!

Looking at the ingredients, it starts out sounding like Mayo….egg yolks, canola oil, lemon, etc. But then this spicy concoction spreads it’s fiesty little butterfly wings and takes off into flavor tow…….Oh wait, that’s the line the uber cool, spiky hair dude from Food Network uses…..so let’s say “Flavor Village”! Cause we all know it takes a village! Okay, I digress…… But it is the inhabitants of this Spicy, Saucy Village that makes Saucy Everything so special…..they veer off from the boring, middle class existence that mayo inhabits! With organic chai tea (one of Michelle’s signature ingredients), thai peppers, red jalapeños, rice wine vinegar, garlic, cane sugar, and other spicy villagers, this sauce offers so much more than almost anything you could pick up in the grocery store!

Intensity Academy Saucy Everything shows a ham sandwich some spicy love!

Intensity Academy Saucy Everything shows a ham sandwich some spicy love!

Saucy Everything enhances and works with so many foods….. it complimented my spicy tuna sushi roll perfectly. The peppers, garlic, and vinegar combined to add a nice undertone to the tuna while at the same time rescuing the boring brown rice from itself! And on my ham sandwich, it brings out the savory notes in my sweet ham, adding to the satisfaction and announcing to the village that “no one boring lives here!” And on a BLT….OMG! Bacon (candy of the Gods), Lettuce, and Tomato never had a better neighbor! What kind of neighbor, you ask? Well, imagine if Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt moved in next door! Your neighborhood instantly added a layer of exotic beauty and spice that never existed before! That’s what I think of when I use Saucy Everything! Well, fine, it doesn’t take much to make me think of Angelina Jolie, but hey, the analogy totally works!

So, what’s the verdict!? 4 1/2 Fiery Worlds from this reviewer! It is another addition to the outstanding stable of products that Intensity Academy offers! So go out and get you some! I gave you just a few examples of Saucy Everything’s potential uses! Heck, use it for a dip! In your deviled eggs! Cole Slaw! Potato Salad! Yea, I’m going through the whole mayo stable of uses, but that’s the point! Send your mayo packin’! Add some Saucy Everything to that village you call a refrigerator! But why, you ask? Because, Ladies and Gentlemen-It’s a Fiery World!

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