Can you turn us on with chocolate and chili peppers?

Whether Valentine's or Schmalentine's, we're sure you can whip up something hot and sexy. Plus, last week's winners

Published February 9, 2010 1:20AM (EST)

Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon under your real name by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.

Whether in your view Valentine's Day is an affirmation of love, a stressful crucible of romantic one-upsmanship, or just a cynical corporate ploy to sell things, we can all at least take universal pleasure in the wave of chocolate that washes over us every February.

But if we are talking about love, shouldn't our Valentine's Day treats be a little dangerous? I mean, love is never really just about sunshine and freshly cut flowers. So while it's not really clear to me which flavor best symbolizes despondency, we can get at the hot side of romance pretty easily. So this week, show us what you can do combining chocolate and chilies. It can take any form you want, sweet or savory, but it's got to have a little bite.

Be sure to tag your post: SKC chocolate and chili

Scoring and winning

Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and sweet hot sexiness.


Annie Wang! For a completely adorable and only somewhat disturbing recipe for trompe l'oeil burgers made from homemade versions of Girl Scout Cookies. It's postmodern food art at its finest.

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In the More Trouble Than It's Worth category:

Mamie Chen, for a fun, heartbreaking story of childhood suspicion and the joys and pains of making your own Samoas at home. "What would possess my mother to order Trefoils when you could buy shortbread cookies at any grocery store? Didn’t she know that we spent 11 months out of the year waiting for our boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas? Did she not know us at all?"

In the Move Over, Girl Scouts category:

Lucy Mercer, for an appreciation of Thin Mints, but how, frankly, they're not nearly as moving as the ginger-raspberry cookies of her youth: "If Girl Scouts sold these ginger cookies, not only could they send millions of girls to camp, they could build a retirement village with the proceeds." (Recipe for chewy ginger raspberry thumbprint cookies included.) 

In the Island of Lies category:

Linda Shiue, for wondering where Samoas (which, unfashionably, are sold as Caramel De-lites in half the country) got their name, and giving a fascinating account of the fictions and half-truths with which Samoans lace their stories. (Recipe for coconut pudding and cookie trifle included.)

In the Scout's Dishonor category:

I Am Surly, for, well, defrauding a whole neighborhood of Girl Scout Cookie buyers. Who says you don't learn valuable life skills in the Girl Scouts? "You can trust a Girl Scout to deliver. Unless that Girl Scout is me." (Recipe for Tagalong Magic Bars included.)

In the Crime Wave category:

Little Willie, for a harrowing report on the violence of Girl Scout Cookie turf wars. Tell me: Where is the community? [sighs, shakes head]

And finally, in the Cookies and Booze category:

Jack Ballantine, for having the integrity to stand by his vision and dip his Girl Scout Cookies in liqueur-spiked chocolate. (Method for chocolate-covered cookies included.

By Francis Lam

Francis Lam is Features Editor at Gilt Taste, provides color commentary for the Cooking Channel show Food(ography), and tweets at @francis_lam.

MORE FROM Francis Lam

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Food Kitchen Challenge Valentines Day