Posted April 16, 2007 by Jim Campbell in Hot Events

Indiana Hotluck Re-Cap

My first review! Be gentle with me 🙂

This last weekend featured the 11th Annual Indiana Hotluck & Fiery Foods Expo in beautiful, historic Madison Indiana. Co-sponsored by the Thomas Family Winery and Mild to Wild Pepper & Herb®, it’s become a bit of a ‘cult classic’ among chileheads. Madison is a quaint old river town that features about a zillion bed & breakfasts as well as several nice hotels. The winery sits in an 1850’s carriage house just a two block walk from the banks of the Ohio river.

The event is divided up into two parts, the first of these being the ‘hotluck’ held on Friday night. The hotluck is a form of potluck dinner featuring many varied and creative uses of all things chile. The dishes can run from the mild to the extremely hot. The “admission fee” is to bring a covered dish, recipes to share, and/or a desire to chat chile with folks from all walks of life. It’s not unusual to find people there who have driven over a couple of hundred miles to attend! The dishes are laid out and everyone is free to sample whatever they’d like. Many folks go to great length and prepare elaborate dishes that would compete in any ‘top chef’ competition. Others keep it simple (but no less mouth
watering) and do desserts and appetizers. The hotluck typically starts around 7 in the evening and has lasted as late as 2 in the morning 🙂 At least a couple of the commercial vendors attend and it is a chance to ‘shoot the breeze’ with them under very relaxed and informal settings.

The second part of the event is the Fiery Foods Expo and runs the better portion of Saturday. We ‘evil corporate types’, and several newbie ‘wannabes’ set up and sell our wares. As you can note in the photos, this is a rather unique sales area 😉 The quarters are tight, the atmosphere casual in the extreme, and the bar no more than 25 feet away. The free food continues on Saturday, consisting of the leftovers from the previous night as well as some simply awesome dead burnt animal parts, slow cooked by the proprietor of the winery, Mr Steve Thomas. This year featured beef brisket, slow cooked with wood smoke over a 13 hour period. Live music is also to be had as the vending part of the show winds down. At least a couple of the vendors have used this event as a ‘test market’ for future releases of some collectibles.

All in all, if you find yourself out in this neck of the woods, it is well worth your time to stop in and take a visit!

Indiana Hot Luck
Famous Vendor

One of the more famous vendors setting up to sell his wares! Arriving in a whirlwind on Saturday morning, bringing Anthony of Urban Chef fame with him, CaJohn anchored the line for the corporate types. This event is an ideal setting for the chance to chat at length in a relaxed setting with him.
There aren’t mobs of people pushing you on to the next booth and there is ample time before and after the sales event to ‘chew the fat’ and get to know “da’ man”.

Indiana Hot Luck
Swelling Up!

The backroom starts to fill up as the crowds make their way up and down the line, sampling the many, many foods. This years’ event featured well over 30 different dishes including a frozen peanut butter cake with pecans and cayenne to hoppin’ John.

Indiana Hot Luck
INCaneFane & soon to be Mrs., Caveat & CaJohn

Watery eyes were not just from the chiles! A member of the HSB popped the question in a rather unusual, but befitting manner with the help of CaJohn. InCaneFan hid the ring in with a bottle of Caveat Emptor to be discovered by his betrothed when he requested she clean a smudge off the bottle. We’re still debating as to whom the term ‘caveat emptor’ applies to here 😉

Indiana Hot Luck
Pasta Al Dente

Another dish that disappeared fast was my own “Pasta al Dente in Cheddar Roux with Chipotle Glaze”. It is a dish I’ve done many times, long before being a member of the blog. Though a very versatile chile, chipotle just begs to be combined with cheddar cheese and this dish highlights that.
It’s also a fancy name for ‘Mac & cheese with chipotle’ 🙂 I missed the controversy over the Mac & Cheese but will stand with whomever thinks it’s a great combination 🙂

Indiana Hot Luck
CaJun Crab Dip

By popular acclamation, one of the better dishes of the night was the “Cajun Crab Dip” seen here. It was brought by one of the ‘new folks’ (Jennifer Lake) selling garden fresh, home made fruit salsa.

1 package crab meat
1 16 oz sour cream (or light sour cream)
1 8 oz cream cheese, softened (or light cream cheese)
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 package veggie dry soup mix
1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime)
1/2 tsp Cayenne (or hotter)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)
2 cups shredded cheeese (cheddar or mozzarella)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder

Mix all except the cheddar cheese (sprinkled on top when done) and cook at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Indiana Hot Luck

‘nough said! This dish featured Tecate beer as well as cumin, garlic, hominy, and green chile. It didn’t make it to the second day 😉

Indiana Hot Luck
Spicy Veggies

For those folks that eschew critter meat, there was also a large selection of veggies and vegetarian dishes for those who prefer to graze for their food. Here is an example. Susan Byers (of Jane Butels’ book “Real Women Eat Chiles” fame) didn’t have time to bring her assortment of vegetarian sushi rolls, so this stood in its’ place.

Indiana Hot Luck
Jim’s Infamous Bread

Long, long famous on the old chileheads email list, this innocent looking bread was probably the hottest dish there. It features generous amounts of both Red Savina® and Fatalii powders giving each crouton sized piece the fresh equivalent of about three whole chiles. The sign is serious 😉

In Closing:
Each person, me included, walked away with a lot of fond memories and a stack of recipes. At least one walked away with a life time commitment, eh Canefan? 🙂 I wish I had time to relay them all- the Frozen peanut butter pie was to die for! Other interesting dishes included the chipotle/cinnamon chocolate ice cream and the habanero/lime honey bread. “Habanerohead” from the Chileheads list brought an incredible assortment of spicy German meats including tasso and cottage ham rolled in chile. This is where you normally put the line “for more info contact me” but I’m going to sign off with; if you’d like copies of these recipes and much, much more, plan to attend next year 😛

Jim Campbell