Thursday, September 1, 2011

Adventures in Random Vegetables: Cherry Bomb Peppers

After practicing yoga very regularly the last several years, I've noticed I'll often get odd ideas in the middle of a particularly vigorous class.  Granted, one of these weird ideas was "I don't want to eat meat anymore," and clearly, that's worked out well for me.

Tonight, after a particularly creative warrior sequence, I got fixated on the following idea - "I want to cook with a vegetable I've never eaten before."  Given that I'm an adventurous eater, this was no small challenge. 

However, the Safeway next door to my yoga studio actually has a nice produce section with a variety of more exotic items - rambutans, dragon fruit, quince, etc.  Given the bevy of fruits available, I was confident I'd find a vegetable that would suit tonight's yoga induced craving.

Cherry Bomb Peppers
I decided to go with Cherry Bomb Peppers, which, coincidentally, were featured on a rerun of Chopped I watched this weekend.   I wasn't sure offhand how hot they were, so I only grabbed two.

After I, along with a platform full of red line refugees, was abandoned by an impatient metro driver who shut the doors before all the passengers could even get off the train and left with a TWENTY minute wait for a train (yoga only gives me so much beatific patience - I. WAS. MAD.), I had time to do a little culinary research on the Cherry Bomb before I got home and got cooking. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Scoville Units, it's a measurement of how much capascin is in a pepper.  Capascin is the chemical that gives peppers their "heat."  The higher the amount of capascin, the more heat a pepper has.  According to this chart, a Cherry Bomb has 2,000 Scoville Units, which puts it solidly ahead of a bell pepper (10 units), but still less spicy than other familiar peppers such as Jalapenos (4,000), Serranos (8,000) and Habaneros (200,000).  Since I regularly use Serranos in my guac, I had better sense of the heat I could expect from the Cherry Bombs.

Anyhow, I decided to finely dice my Cherry Bombs with my Oxo chopper.  I didn't get them as small as I'd like, but had I been less hungry and cranky from my metro debacle, I  would have worked at them a little more.  I then put some minced yellow onion in olive oil and let that cook up, and then added the peppers, shredded kale and black beans.  I seasoned the mixture with a healthy amount of cumin and oregano.  We put it on top of brown rice that my husband made in the rice maker while I was stuck waiting in tunnel and hungry (yes, still bitter two hours later), and I put some mozzarella daiya on mine to balance out the heat a bit.

Husband was a big fan - he finished his meal before I even got halfway through mine, and I'm usually the faster eater.  I liked it also but I think it would have been improved with more of a "sauce."  I was hoping to use some vegetable broth to make one, but our carton in the fridge smelled off, so I didn't use it.

As for the heat, it was satisfying, but not overwhelming.  My lips are still a little tingly a few hours later.  If you like hotter salsas or spicy guac, you'll enjoy cooking with Cherry Bombs.

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