Mick Kipp, Firing Up the Holiday Salsa

Mick Kipp at work in his Baltimore kitchen, wearing a bandanna with chili peppers. i i

Mick Kipp, dressed for work in his Baltimore kitchen. Tracy Wahl, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tracy Wahl, NPR
Mick Kipp at work in his Baltimore kitchen, wearing a bandanna with chili peppers.

Mick Kipp, dressed for work in his Baltimore kitchen.

Tracy Wahl, NPR

In a church basement on the west side of Baltimore, there's a guy dressed in pajama bottoms and wearing a kerchief decorated with hot peppers.

His name is Mick Kipp. He's a former stunt man, survived a bout with cancer and he's now a fulltime salsa inventor. The church basement serves as his laboratory.

On a cloudy winter morning, he was at work on a cranberry salsa, a crawfish salsa and a salsa that blends cayenne pepper with chocolate.

His culinary career began when he made a hot sauce for Christmas one year and named it Cuyahoga Fire (for the river in Cleveland, Ohio, that was infamously set ablaze several decades back).

The heat in his food is a metaphor for life:

"Sometimes you spit it out, sometimes you swallow it," he says. "Most of the time it leaves a permanent reaction."

Three Hot Recipes from Mick Kipp

Hot sauce in hand, Mick Kipp is ready for another recipe. i i

Hot sauce in hand, Mick Kipp is ready for another recipe. Tracy Wahl, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tracy Wahl, NPR
Hot sauce in hand, Mick Kipp is ready for another recipe.

Hot sauce in hand, Mick Kipp is ready for another recipe.

Tracy Wahl, NPR

Mick Kipp shares recipes for tofu ceviche, pirate gumbo and pumpkin sloppy pirates (think sloppy joes, only spicier).

Tofu Ceviche

1 pound extra firm tofu (cubed or sliced)

1 cup Cuyahoga Fire Hot Sauce Marinade (or hot sauce of your choice)

1 cup lime juice

4 tablespoon catsup

2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

3 fresh tomatoes, diced

20 pitted black olives, sliced

Press tofu for thirty minutes by placing it on a towel and then covering with plate and weighting it down.

After 30 minutes, slice tofu and add all remaining ingredients and mix and let sit for an hour to marinade.

Pirate Gumbo

12 boneless chicken thighs

1 white onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of butter

1 pound smoked sausage

2 1/2 cups of water

1 pound shrimp

2 tablespoons of Whiskey Island Cajun seasoning (or cajun seasoning of your choice)

Boil chicken breasts with onion and bell pepper in a large pot of salted water for about 20 min or until cooked through and no longer pink inside.

Drain broth and set aside.

In a large sauce pan stir together flour and butter over a low heat to make a roux. Do not burn the roux!! Cook slowly until the color is a rich dark or brown mustard, twenty to thirty minutes.

Add chicken, sausage and water and bring all to a boil. Cover sauce pan and simmer over low heat for about one and a half hours. Add shrimp and simmer for about one more hour, then add seasoning to taste and serve.

Pumpkin Sloppy Pirates

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jar of Red Hot Hon Sauce... (a Baltimore specialty)

1/2 cup of pumpkin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 can condensed tomato soup

Cook beef in a giant pot until done. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. And let simmer for one hour.

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