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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fanning the Flames of Hell

I almost set my family on fire last night.  I'm sure they thought I was trying to kill them.  In the process, I almost killed myself.  Right now you're wondering if I'm sitting in a smoky house, if there was a kitchen fire, or if I accidentally left a candle burning.  The incident occurred in the kitchen alright but it was just me trying a new recipe.  So today's lesson is: Know your ingredients. 

If you have been reading my blog for long, you know how excited I get over new foods and recipes.  Last night I was anticipating a really good dinner because I was trying a new Mexican dish, picadillo tacos.  The recipe was easy with few ingredients so it seemed a shoo-in for a weeknight meal.  However, I had never eaten chipolte peppers, at least not that I remembered or in any quantity.  The recipe called for 1 or 2 cans of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce.*  I added one can and thought it needed to be "saucier".  I added the other can, gave it a good stir and tasted.  Instantly my lips and mouth were seared with the flames of hell like no other heat I've ever felt.  I grabbed some bread to absorb the oils and cool down the heat in my mouth.  Great.  What was I to do with our lethal dinner?  I told Grace to start picking out the peppers, hoping that would tame things to an edible level.  I dashed out to feed the horses.

When I came back, Grace had a plate full of peppers.  (The small, 4 oz. cans couldn't possibly have held that much!)  I crossed my fingers as everyone gathered and we sat down to eat.  Right away, the situation was bad.  Removing most of the peppers hadn't helped a bit.  Each bite was like a blow torch in your mouth.  Grace and Barry powered through, saying that if you just kept eating, it wasn't so bad.  Cameron and I struggled.  Breathing through your mouth was horribly painful as was each bite.  We all ate bread and drank large gulps of milk, holding it in our mouths to ease the pain.  Finally Cameron and I gave up but the other two managed to eat it all.  Cameron complained that his stomach hurt and lay on the couch for awhile.  I was mad as, well, mad as hell for ruining dinner.  I certainly felt like I'd been to hell and back.

I'm always encouraging everyone to get in the kitchen and try new things.  Just learn from my mistakes and find out what you are putting in your food first.  Meanwhile, I'm excited to announce that I found Meyer lemons at Wal Mart yesterday!  I've read about them for years but have never seen any.  I bought two bags and have been busy trying to decide just what I'm going to do with them.  I'm sure good eating lies ahead for my family.  Check back next week to learn more about Meyer lemons and find out what I did with them.

Have a happy weekend.  If you come out to the HMG Health Fair, I hope you catch my cooking demo at 10:30.  I promise my food WON'T be hot.

*For those of you who don't know, I NOW know that chipolte peppers are dried, smoked jalapenos.  Their heat ranks 7500 on the Scoville scale used to measure heat in peppers.  A sweet pepper for instance, is 0.  Adobo sauce is a spicy tomato sauce.  You can reduce the heat of the pepper by removing the seeds and white membrane inside, neither of which I did.          

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