Mt. Tabasco chocolate lava cake. Photo courtesy Tracy Moore
Before she became a firefighter, Tracy Moore cooked only out of a box. It was only after having Chinese takeout covertly delivered to her station on her first night cooking for her crew--and the associated sticker shock--that she started really cooking. FAST.
Tough crowd, firefighters. "They're just brutal around here," Moore says.
Moore, a captain at Fire Station 5 in the South Minneapolis Phillips neighborhood, has advanced in a competition--firefighters only, thank you very much--sponsored by the company that makes Tabasco sauce, and will head to New York early next month to compete against nine others.
Her winning combination? Habanero Tabasco sauce and chocolate, what she has dubbed the "Mt. Tabasco chocolate lava cake." A recipe of her own creation (click here for Paula Deen's take, sans hot stuff), Moore cooks it until it is just firm, but still runny on the inside, like lava. The chocolate hits you first she says, the spice kicks in later.
The winner take home $10,000, half of which would go to his or her station. Meanwhile, Moore is hurriedly testing subtle variations of her recipe on co-workers. For aspiring cooks like she once was, Moore recommends following recipes exactly at first, and cooking foods you already know you really like.
"Listen for a reaction," she says. "If it is completely quiet (especially in a firehouse filled with hungry firefighters) you know you've done a great job."