Chili offerings make catalog a hot choice

March 30, 1994|By McClatchy News Service

Southwestern cuisine is trendy. Practically overnight it jumped from cafes in Santa Fe, N.M., into restaurants throughout the nation, then into home kitchens.

If you like cooking the hot stuff, but you're having trouble finding just the right chili pepper for a recipe, the Old Southwest Trading Co., a mail-order retailer in Albuquerque, N.M., offers a catalog for ordering dozens of Southwest items.

The company offers a wide assortment of dried chilies, including more than a dozen exotic chilies, and will ship fresh New Mexico green chilies during fresh chili season. Ingredients for Mexican and Southwestern foods such as blue corn meal, corn husks and New Mexico-grown pinto beans are also included.

Nancy Gerlach, who owns the company with her husband, Jeffrey, is also the author of several hot cuisine cookbooks. "Fiery Cuisine" and "Just North of the Border" are two of her books available by order.

In 1988, the company started on the Gerlachs' dining-room table. "Six years ago we started with two varieties of dried chili," Mr. Gerlach says. "Today we sell many, many different varieties as well as chili T-shirts, . . . chili posters, in fact, just about anything related to chilies."

Most of the items in the catalog cater to cooks who like to prepare recipes from scratch, but there is also a collection of prepared foods, including fiery pickles, spicy salsa, habanero ketchup -- remember, habanero is the hottest of the hot -- even chocolate truffles with chilies.

For those who want to make their spaghetti Western, the catalog offers several chili-flavored sauces, including chipotle/basil pesto. For window gardeners, pepper and salsa sets are available to produce an indoor garden within weeks.

For a free catalog, call (800) 748-2861.

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