It's hot times in my house, thanks to the zillions of jalapenos that have come out of our garden. Hubzam and I pondered how to approach the task of saving the bounty of summer for the December slumps when we will be thinking about making chili and stuffed jalapenos a couple times a week. Hot food and cold weather; yep, it's a plan.
Fortunately, we have a television to guide us in all our important life decisions and my Hub has teamed up, once again, with Alton Brown. Mentally, that is. We love Alton, but he is not - I repeat, not - a personal friend. We just act like he is because Alton has special powers that make us try things we have no business trying. Things like flash freezing jalapenos with dry ice in your kitchen.
With the enthusiasm of a much younger couple and the cooking finesse of a toddler with plastic appliances, we chose our cutting surfaces and knives and started the prep. It was a night of peppermania, and we had Alton to guide us.
Just look at that innocent, all-knowing face.
|Uh, dude...what's with the knives?|
I've portrayed you as the saint of all food mentors.
You're looking a wee bit psycho here.
Not to change the subject, but why is it that we can grow peppers like a werewolf grows facial hair, but I can't grow a melon in our garden to save my soul? Knowing this little bit of garden trivia about ourselves, we still planted three jalapeno plants and three larger green, red and orange peppers. We threw in a pimento, just for flash. Realistically, our pepper needs can be met with one or two plants.
Just to make it interesting, we technically planted three different types of jalapenos. That stroke of genius made for some interesting dinners, since one of those plants is hot as Satan's volcanic jacuzzi and we don't know which one it is. Every time we pick peppers, we debate which pepper is the scorcher, and then we mix them up anyhow.
This simple act doubles as my audition for the sequel to Dumb and Dumber; I'm almost sure I could submit a video of myself repeatedly eating a jalapeno that is too hot for the average Joe and exhibiting actual surprise that I've scorched my mouth again.
Our thought process on gardening leans toward pessimism; we always think that plants will die, deer will eat them, rabbits will have a buffet or bugs will totally bug out. It doesn't happen, so I'm not sure why we are firmly and uncompromisingly in that negative mindset. Those darn jalapeno plants had more peppers than they had leaves; the other plants had a booster year, too.
I've stuffed more peppers this summer than all the eastern European cooks combined.
Back to the kitchen with our tale...
Chopping and slicing away, I noticed we both were coughing. The few IQ points I retain told me to keep my hands away from my face, eyes, lips, etc. Yet, it never occurred to me that I'd be breathing in the full wrath of the pepper devil. My hands started burning and I realized that I have a lot of little cuts and abrasions on my hands, and one big ole' paper cut (ouch, where did you come from, buddy?). Yow, this is why people wear gloves, but I didn't want to wimp out with preemptive steps I poo-poo in others. Turns out - I'm an idiot. Gloves would have been a fabulous idea.
Hubzam placed the newly acquired bags of dry ice in a cooler and we set a tray of prepped jalapenos on top of the ice. Twenty minutes passed, and they weren't a even a little bit cold. We had an efficacy issue here. Could it make that much difference if the ice was in the bag - or out of the bag? Apparently so. Once we cut the bag open and emptied it in the bottom, the familiar Halloweenish smokiness filled the cooler as we placed the foil covered wire tray on the ice once more. The tray let out a weirdly demonic moaning sound - no joke. Hubzam and I looked at each other and gave our best cartoonish, "what the hay?" face.
Closing the lid, we crossed our fingers...our burning, inflamed, fingers. Fifteen minutes later - it worked! Frozen green slabs of spicy deliciousness, ready for the freezer. Success!
Alton, you have done it again. I kiss his 8 x 10 glossy. My husband doesn't have a glossy, but I give him full props.
Downside: I've washed my hands repeatedly, and even consulted my old pal, Internet, for ways to get this jalapeno juice off of my hands. Let me save you some trouble. The helpful hints are overrated.
My hands are still on fire, I know that it'll end up in my eye some time...and I have to use the restroom. I'm truly fearful. This might be another opportunity to dig out those gloves.