Monday, November 29, 2010

Scotch bonnet peppers

These are some of the little jewels I picked up at H & W Produce yesterday...from left to right: Scotch bonnet peppers, Thai chilis, and fresh habanero peppers.

Check it, friends.  These are some of the hottest peppers you can buy.  Aren't they cute?  But, yeah, hot.  The Thai chilis not so much, but the other two...hoo!  I've already featured dried habaneros, so today I tried a Scotch bonnet--the little red fella at the top, to be exact, which is about one inch square.  Here was what it looked like cut in half--somewhat evil, I admit:

I was so careful not to touch it with naked hands, and cut it up with a knife and fork.  I did give a little lick to the knife when I was done, and this stuff is powerful.  To showcase it, I made a variation on the Tomatican from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook [On edit, the recipe is here; I halved it], which I don't use often enough as the recipes seem so simple to look at, but actually are really good despite their simplicity.  It's a Peruvian-style stew, flavoured only (in this case) with a little cumin, this one Scotch bonnet pepper, and some salt (the original recipe called for 1/8 tsp cayenne, hey!).  Here you see the proportion of pepper to onions in the stew:

The pepper gave kind of a hot halo to everything it came in contact with: my lips, my hands (even though I didn't touch it), just from contact with the air.  Was it super-duper hot in the final stew?  Yes, and no.  It was a little scary in that such a little made such heat without adding any perceptible actual taste.  I feel bathed in capsaicin without actually being in pain, and also feel like I could have added two to the stew with few to no ill effects, though it's kind of frightening that my hands are burning without any actual contact with pepper/stew/dishwater in which pepper-infused things have been placed.  As I am one of those people who credit hot peppers with good health, next time I will be more daring!  Here's what I actually ate:

The stew, over Aztec blend (rice/split peas/other stuff from Bulk Barn), and topped with avocados and cilantro and grated cashew cheese.  And yes, that is some of the banana squash from yesterday you see in the stew!  Mmmm, so hot, so good!


  1. Whoa, Zoa, you are signing out of mofo in a blast of fire! Will you use the rest of the peppers tomorrow and send smoke through the Internet? That said, your dinner looks MUCH better than mine did. Probably tasted better, too.

    I meant to ask you, did you like the muenster cheese from Uncheese Cookbook?

  2. I love that, "signing out in a blast of fire!" Yes! My dinner was great, but you didn't post yours, so no fair comparing. Yes, the muenster was good, but I have to admit not as good in my opinion as the Cashew cheese from the sidebar of this blog, which you see in this post though it looks identical to the muenster...and I know what the secret is too, it's the soymilk/canola oil base. But for a lower fat choice, the muenster is, indeed, excellent.

  3. Ooh I love spicy food, but I must admit that scotch bonnet peppers scare me a bit. Mmmm that stew sure looks good, though, so I'm sure the taste is worth enduring the heat!

  4. They do look like jewels!

    Wow, the tomatican recipe sounds fab! Cumin and hot chili is a great combo. Sounds like a real experience with HOTness. Looking at the proportion of pepper to onion and so on in the mix, I'm thinking "what an amazing little pepper".

  5. Those Scotch Bonnets scare me. No thank you!