Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jamaican Hot Peppers

A couple nights ago I was intent on julienning some jicama. But it was not to be. The Fine Fare had all sorts of tubers but no jicama. I was going to make a salad. I decided I'd still make one - without the jicama.

I picked up some cilantro, okra (why is it slimy?), tomatilloes, red onions, a red pepper and a package of Jamaican Hot Peppers - what little I know of Caribbean cooking could fit on a postage stamp and I thought the JHPs were going to be well behaved, something that might go into a jerk seasoning, maybe a little heat but not too much. Plus those pepps were priced to move so I moved them into my basket. What I didn't realize at the time was that Jamaican Hot Peppers go by another name - scotch bonnets. I'd crossed paths with those sb's before and wouldn't have knowlingly done so again.

Salad time. I chopped the goodies, I removed the seeds and ribs of the peppers. We tried a teensy taste. Hot. High pitched screaming hot. But too hot? We had cheese - a cheddar and a farmer's queso and tortillas - all good for dampening the heat of peppers. I thought we were good but what I hadn't counted on was that pepper juice getting on my hands. After a little while it became apparent that I'd gotten some of that pepper lava on the back of two fingers and a thumb. Three pinpricks of heat like three magnifying glasses of sun boring into me. Ow. I cursed myself for thinkng Alton Brown was a sissy when he'd chop peppers with latex gloves. I tried cold water. Soap. I applied cheddar cheese, queso, lotion but the burns burned. I went to bed with those three pinpricks of heat and by morning they were asleep though they stirred when I took this photo - maybe it was just my memory of them.

They say you can build up a tolerance to these things. (They being some web site I can't remember the URL for.) I have to wonder at what price though. If I am able to stand the heat would it mean my pleasure in the taste of something else would be diminished? I like how I taste things now - most things taste good, even beets now. I'm OK with my being a wimp when it comes to hot peppers - I prefer a smoulder over a fire.

The offending peppers are now in the freezer. I'm hoping that will cool them down.