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August 31, 2002
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Too Hot

9:09 pm: My hands are burning. I wasn't expecting them to still be burning. Especially since I used pablanos for the chile rellenos I made tonight.

I think of pablanos as being bland chilies. They're green, with just a bit of the alkaline bite of peppers with just a bit more heat than green peppers. I don't think of them as being *hot*. Which is why, when we were at the Longmont Farmers' Market, I bought a bag of the pablanos eventhough the sign by the bags said that they were of medium heat and that the Big Jim green chilies next to them were of the same caliber.

We had an interesting morning. Since Jet had gotten to sleep a little earlier last night, and then he got up at midnight and then got up and stayed up at 5am. I nursed him, tried lying next to him to get him to go back to sleep, but he refused, so John took over at six. I went back to sleep until I heard running around and happy yelling that I couldn't ignore.

John made breakfast burritos and then went out to mow the lawn and do some repair work on the drip system while I nursed Jet. We were sure he'd go down for a nap. I had to settle him into our bed, this time, and he went to sleep for about fifteen minutes and then was up and running around again.

So we went out. We hit various things in Longmont. First was the recycling center. Then the Salt Box, which is a little place that sells herbs, spices and herbal tisanes. Jet loved the place too much. He wanted to pick up every little thing, so John took him down the sidewalk for a walk while I took a little bit of a lot of things. It was nice to be able to buy half an ounce of something I'd wanted to try. I also found straight licorice root. I want to use licorice root tea in my next batch of root beer, as I love the taste of the stuff.

I also asked for some of the Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, and when the lady poured the stuff into the bag the cloud of dust got both of us to sneezing. It was so strong! This is going to be good stuff, but I'm going to find some gloves to work with it properly and maybe some people who love hot food more than I do.

Anyway, when I chased John and Jet down they were in a spelt bakery looking over the merchandise. I'd always thought of spelt as being the grain left over from brewing. This place printed brochures that said that spelt was one of the ancestors of modern wheat! It has all kinds of nutritional and magical powers and it's the best thing for you. Of course, while it has twice the protein, it has no gluten, so the empanada we bought was spongier than I thought it should be. It didn't help that the guy nuked it until it was glowing and John spent half the walk back to the car trying to get it to cool enough. Of course, once it cooled enough, Jet ate about a quarter of it, happily.

From there we hit the Longmont Farmers' Market and got ripe tomatoes, orzo in Southwest colors and flavors, a cantaloupe, and some onions. We then went to Safeway and stocked up. John stuck strictly to the list and afterwards I thought of several things I wanted. One amusing thing that happened was that I wanted to try doing chicken wings with the hot sauce and everything, but when I saw that the wings were $1.49 a pound and the leg-thigh quarters were 39 cents a pound, I just couldn't buy the wings. It was impossible. Heck. I can grill quarters, add hot sauce, and pretend they're wings... and enjoy the meat, too.

Hee.

From there we hit Tanaka's, the local produce stand, and I got the really great garlic they have. It's firm, fresh, and solid and none of it's sprouting the way nearly all of Safeway's garlic seems to be sprouting. I saw green tomatoes at the stand, too, and had to buy one. I've always wanted to try fried green tomatoes as I've never had them and I keep hearing about them.

Jet fell asleep on the way home. He stayed asleep this time.

I made the fried green tomato by just slicing it, seasoning it, dredging it in self-rising Southern flour, and then frying them. I ended up with about as much oil as I put in as I didn't start them until the oil was hot enough to get water boiling off the tomato slices.

It was interesting. The flesh was firm, almost crisp even when cooked through, and it was tart and tasty that way. The frying gave it a crisp edge, and good flavor, but it's not something that I'd clamor for or crave. Of course it wasn't ever part of my childhood cuisine, either. Now that I've tasted them I don't have to do that again.

I made fresh salsa and as part of it peeled one of the pablanos and got the nasty shock of opening it up to pull the seeds out and getting so much capsicum scent that I choked. I literally had to just stand there and cough for a while. Yow. When I ate a bit of it, just to see if my sense of smell knew what it was talking about, my mouth just lit on fire. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

It was way too hot for my kind of chile relleno. I just couldn't stand it. I finally started peeling, coring, and seeding all of them, and put most of them into a plastic bag. A few of them I tasted and of the whole two dozen of them, only two chilies really got past my taste meter to the point where I thought they were edible.

Jet woke up in the midst of all this. John was napping on the couch. So I nursed Jet a while and rested. Jet went back to sleep for about fifteen minutes and then woke up enough to watch some TV, and then, when John started snoring loudly, he went over and tackled John. That woke John up. But he'd had a good hour and a half's worth of napping as with the nursing, Jet was quiet for nearly three hours. John then offered to take over with the chilies as my hands were burning. He tested the last three and thought two of the three were mild. I should remember that John's taste buds aren't nearly as sensitive as mine are.

Trusting his judgement, I made chile rellenos with the mild chilies, taking only one hot one from the hot pile for John's. As I wanted to use all the mild ones and leave all the hot ones for the freezer and John's chile pot. I did it by cooking a filling with onions, garlic, kernels of corn off one of the corncobs with the milk and starch off the cut cob, and with some spices. I used cinnamon, cloves, and oregano with some fresh cilantro. I then added an Oaxacan cheese that was remarkably like mozzarella, and stirred it all together and spooned it in the chilies.

I then dusted the chilies with flour and started whipping two egg whites until they held stiff peaks, whisked the yolks until they were lemon colored and then folded the two together. That's what I dipped the floured chilies into before frying. It's a wonderful coating. And they fried up beautifully brown and crisp with the insides melting all over.

John, in the meantime, grilled the other four cobs of corn, and we sat down to eat.

I nearly choked on the two chilies I had. They were so hot by the middle of them that I was crying. Actively crying. I finally had to give them to John and trade him for the two really mild ones that I'd found while I was going through the chilies. I guess he got the two that I'd picked out while I'd gotten the two that he'd picked out as being just fine. He ate the hot one with relish.

Jet got half a cob of corn and ate it all with gusto. He then plowed through all the leftover coleslaw and a bunch of beans and rice. He ate well. He also ate a bunch of ice cream that we had for dessert that really got my mouth back to normal. I so hate having a meal that's tasty but so hot I can't eat it. I still have something of a headache from those chilies. Yow.

We then went through the basement and cleaned out a bunch of stuff that we're probably going to sell at the garage sale next week. Joan's throwing a big one and inviting everyone to bring stuff. So we'll bring stuff. There's a lot of stuff that we have that we don't use, and it's good to get a chance to get rid of it before carrying it all through another year. I'm really glad of the chance.

Jet got his bath. I'm tired from the last few nights. Time to head off to sleep, I think. If I do one thing this holiday I'm hoping that it's get caught up on sleep. I need it.

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