Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh the Habanero

Friends of ours grow their own peppers each year. They know that we are foodies like them (as we often trade recipe ideas and treats that we have made). This year they grew some habaneros and asked if we would like some. Sure, I've never cooked with them before, being a little fearful of the intense heat, but what the heck. 
My first venture out, I decided to add them to a batch of salsa.  The original recipe called for 10 jalapeno peppers, so I wasn't sure exactly how many habanero peppers to put in their place.  I looked up the heat charts and thought that 2 would bring the heat up.  The salsa turned out well, but not nearly as spicy as I wanted to make it.  I think I'd use 4 next time with that volume.
The unfortunate part of that cooking experience was that I just wasn't thinking about handling the peppers.  I didn't wear gloves.  Oh my word!  The undersides of my fingernails were burning.  Really really burning.  And not thinking again, I tried to wash the oil off my fingers - note to self - water makes the heat re-intensify. Ouch!  Thank goodness I remembered not to let the baby suck on my fingers for teething relief until the oils were truly gone.
Today I tried out a recipe for a roasted spicy squash soup.  Doesn't that just sound lovely?  I mean, I dream of recipes like this for fall.  It called for 3 habanero peppers (I used only 2).  Okay, I really, really have to learn my ratios for this little pepper.  The house smelled so fragrantly wonderful.  I roasted the squash and peppers and garlic.   I used fresh turkey stock that I made from my Thanksgiving turkey this past weekend.  It should have been beautiful.   Until I tasted it.  Oh mouth on fire!  Mouth on fire!  My husband laughed at me.  But I thought at least he could enjoy it, loving spicy food that is really fiery more than I.  Nope, he can't eat it either.  At least not a full bowl full.  Too bad.  Here's the link to the recipe for those who really like heat in their soup.
So now I am not sure what to do with the rest of the peppers.  They still sit there inviting me, making me believe that I can use them in something and it will turn out alright.  I like spicy, but not so spicy that I can't eat it.  I know some of you are better at this than me!
Incidentally, here are a couple of ways I learned you can reduce the heat from a habanero pepper oil on your skin:
-white toothpaste
-soak your hands in a bowl of cold milk

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