A Tisket, A Tasket, A Pretty Pepper Basket   3 comments

Lights, cameras, action. Welcome to my blogumentary. I will be your narrator and my monkey mind will talk to herself (as usual).

Saturday afternoon

I‘m in Manhattan, and as is my usual habit when there, I’m strolling through the Union Square Greenmarket.

Farmer’s markets are not cheap, but my bargain antenna is up. If any are here, I’ll find them (or go home empty-handed).

 

I don’t have to go far before a sign beckons to me:

 Cilantro – $1.50 a bunch

Wow! that’s a huge bunch. Okay Sunday dinner decided – Mexican. I have a few enchiladas and sour cream left over from last week.  And I have black beans I can soak overnight.

I only cook on Sunday evenings, and I only make things I love since I make enough for the week. Luckily I do love enchiladas so I choose the biggest bunch, and look for someone to pay when…..

Cibolla onions –  $3.00  a basket

Wow – that’s bargain! So tiny and cute, and they’re sweet. Good for lots o’salads, and I can use some in the enchiladas.

All the baskets have the same amount, but I pick out one with the flattest onions. I once heard on TV that the flatter they are, the sweeter.

I look for someone to pay when ……

Ooh, such bright colors and so shiny – orange, yellow, red, and look, one little green one. Hmm, interesting sign  

$3.00 a basket  Various hot peppers.

Wonder what they are, exactly. Doesn’t matter, nothing’s too hot for me.

 

Sunday evening

Brr, it’s a bit chilly. Glad I’m having Mexican Food. Eating hot peppers always warms me up. Better than wearing a sweater

I cut up one of the cibolla onions and the monkey mind thinks  it’s pretty small so I cut up another one and toss it into the pot with some olive oil.

I mince a clove of garlic but the monkey mind thinks it doesn’t seem to go far amidst the onions so I mince another one and toss it in. Now for the peppers.

Hmm, what kind? I wonder, is this a Scotch Bonnet?

 

I slit it down the middle and use the paring knife to carefully scrape out all the seeds onto the cutting board.  I’m careful not to touch any of them. Seeds are the hottest part. Professional cooks usually wear gloves because once the oil get on your skin it stays there. You don’t want to touch your eyes after handling a hot pepper (trust me). But since I’m only using one pepper, I forego caution.

I slide the tiny pieces from cutting board into the pot. But as I stir, monkey mind thinks it looks overwhelmed by all the garlic and onions. I add another pepper

And this is the last decision I make with a right mind. Or maybe I should say, a cool mind?

Ooh, my fingers are burning. I never noticed those dry cracks in my skin.   I must have touched the pepper.

Since the night is chilly night, I’ve closed all the windows. Knowing the garlicky smell could linger all night, I switch on the exhaust in the range hood. Then I check the pot to see make sure the heat’s not too high.  As I lean over the pot, my nose starts to run, my chest burns, and my sinuses feel like they’re inhaling volcanic vapors

Tissues, tissues. I need a tissue!

I run through the house to the bedroom and grab a tissue, then another… and  another. On my way back to the kitchen I notice the cat brothers who were keeping me company in the kitchen have deserted the ship for the couch, and as I enter the kitchen I see why. It’s like walking into sulfur and brimstone.

This can’t be good for me. Think what eating this is going to do to my insides. Maybe I should just throw it away. Nah, come on!  Just dilute it with cool stuff.

I put stirring as long as I can, then choose my longest wooden spoon and with a stiff, outstretched arm, stir from a distance.

Ok time for the beans. Shoot, that’s not enough. I should have cooked more.

I stir the mixture and hazard a taste – three beans.

Oh my God, oh my God – my tongue, my mouth, my throat. It’s travelling down my chest. Everything’s on fire. This is serious – scary serious!

I open the refrigerator in search of cool stuff to add.

I almost forgot about the cilantro; good thing I bought such a large bunch. Nice cool cilantro Yuck, it’s sandy.

I wash and start to chop.

This calls for quantity. Little bits won’t do. Throw it all in!

Going heavy on the cilantro does improve things. I can now stir and look into the pot without my face breaking out in a hot sweat. The only problem is ……now, it looks like a pot of ugly soup greens.

 

 

I try another taste.

Umm – better

 Ooh ooh, no – my tongue, mouth. It’s just delaying the heat a bit .

But, ok, not quite as hot.

With faith that once all the ingredients are layered and wrapped in the tortilla the h-factor will be watered down, I gather everything on the counter

Of all the times to have selected this flavor!

 

 

Cheese, that’ll help – 

 

Sigh – why do I always go for the hot?

Okay lay out tortilla, slather on some sour cream, – nice cool sour cream; and chunks of avocado,  nice cool avocado, and a handful of cheese,   Okay, (sigh)  time for the bean mixture, just a little.

 

 OK ready set go

 

I start nibbling from the end with small bites, and it’s bearably hot, but it’s mostly tortilla.   It gets a bit more fiery as I approach the guts and grits of the middle where the cheese and sour cream ooze out along with the stringy cilantro and beans. Still hot but ……….yep, this is doable.

 

 

That was downright delicious.

 

 

I always feel like a meal is more healthy when the ingredients are from a farmer’s market. Let’s see – two hot peppers down and

 

How many to go?

 

 

Anybody need peppers?

 

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3 responses to “A Tisket, A Tasket, A Pretty Pepper Basket

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  1. Don’t you dare try to serve me lunch at your house when we meet – I’m now officially terrified of your cooking method J

    PS: sorry not to use the official comment box, but it doesn’t allow me to enter a comment unless I login to Facebook, ugh!

    Mary

  2. You’re brave, I can’t handle the really hot stuff 🙂 Even mild chili makes my nose run! Glad you were able to enjoy your meal in the end…

  3. V, This is normal scotch bonnet territory. Those darn things are meant to be respected… You are brave indeed. I don’t know if you were aware that I use them in my chili most of the time. Finding them is not easy however, so you did good girl.Thank you for sharing your tasting adventure. Bill

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