Tag Archives: heat

Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken

In my last post, I was telling you how much we enjoy Melissa Clark’s recipes and videos. She is an absolute delight and her recipes are fresh, fun and fabulous. The recipe that I’m going to introduce you to here is a prime example of what we’ve come to expect and enjoy from what she’s creating.

Many of the ingredients in this recipe we sourced from our local organic market which is located just half a block up the street from where we live in Cabo and is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings. A fresh, free-range organic chicken, organic lemons, Mandarin oranges, honey, carrots, onion and green onions all combine to make this a truly delicious and flavorful dish. A few steps outside the front door is where I have fresh herbs growing, and I cut some fresh thyme and Italian parsley for the recipe as well.

I highly recommend that you watch Melissa’s video to get a sense of who she is and the fun she’s created with this dish. You can just link to the recipe, but you’ll miss her delightful personality. This dish is described as a “chile-flecked, honey-imbued marinade spiked with fresh citrus juice that gives this chicken its fiery, syrupy character. Dates and carrots give the sauce texture and additional sweetness while a garnish of fresh herbs and pistachio nuts lends freshness and crunch.” This is a really fabulous dish that can be prepared a day in advance, making it perfect to warm up in the oven for a dinner party. Serve with rice or something else to soak up and savor the sauce with. This is absolutely a five-star dish that I highly recommend!

The World’s Hottest Chile!

The Naga Jolokia (the name originates from the ferocious Naga warriors what once inhabited Nagaland, an area in the far north-east part of India), also known as the Bhut Jolokia, ghost or cobra chile, is considered to be the hottest in the world. The Guiness World Records certified in 2007 that the Naga Jolokia was the hottest chile pepper recorded to date, being 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.

The Naga Jolokia is found in Bangladesh, the Assam region of northeastern India and Sri Lanka. These fiery little peppers (2 – 3 1/2 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide) range in units of heat on the Scoville scale from 850,000 units to 1,042,000. For comparison purposes, Tabasco sauce measures from 2,500 to 5,000 units. Yikes! The Scoville rating of these chiles is dramatically impacted by the climate they are grown in (they will have far less heat if grown in an arid versus a humid climate).

Believe it or not, this chile is used in India as a homeopathic remedy for stomach ailments, as a spice to induce perspiration in the heat of summer (for natural air-conditioning purposes), in smoke bombs or smeared on fences to keep wild elephants away, as a hand grenade ingredient for crowd and terrorist control, and as a pepper spray ingredient for police use and self-defence.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat………..!

Wear gloves to protect your hands when using fresh or dried hot chile peppers. Capsaicin oil, the substance that is the source of “heat” in chiles, can cause severe burns.

If your bare hands and fingers do come in contact with your hot chiles, wash thoroughly with soapy water (a dish washing liquid that cuts oil works well). If burning persists, soak your hands in a bowl of milk. Also, be careful not to touch your eyes or other sensitive areas.

When grinding dried chiles, use a mask as the chile dust in the air can irritate your eyes and throat.

If you eat a chile or food that is too hot, don’t try to extinguish the heat with water! Capsaicin is an oil that will not mix or be diluted with water (or beer!) and will instead distribute the heat to more parts of your tongue and mouth. To cut the heat as quickly as possible, drink some milk (rinsing the mouth while swallowing it), or eat some ice cream or yogurt. Eating starchy foods like rice or bread will also absorb the heat.

Drinking tomato juice or eating a fresh lime or lemon will help as well as the acid will counteract the alkalinity of the capsaicin oil.

“Fire” Extinguishers

Hot food is usually served in small quantities with foods that cool the palate. If you’re new to hot foods and hot sauces, start slowly.  Always start with a small amount and add more to taste as desired.  Your tolerance for heat will increase the more often you indulge in fiery foods!

Because capsaicin, the chemical that created the heat in chiles and peppers, is an oil based substance, the worst thing you can do is to drink water or beer when your mouth is on fire.  They just spread the pain even more!  Instead, try some bread, rice, beans, yogurt, sour cream, milk or cheese as they will help absorb the oil and take away the burn.

Bite Your Tongue When Sharing These Hot Sauce Tips!

Serious hot sauce lovers and collectors already use “liquid fire” in all kinds of ways. Outlined below are some suggestions that people may not have thought of or for those more timid, to convert and inspire them to “eat the heat”:
• Try mixing a small amount of hot sauce with softened cream cheese as a spread for bagels or as a dip for vegetables or crackers.

• Mix equal parts of olive oil and your favorite hot sauce and marinate skinless chicken breasts or fish fillets before grilling or broiling.

• Mix equal parts of soy sauce, dry sherry and hot sauce (or to taste), add a small amount of corn starch and mix in at the end of cooking your favorite stir-fry dish. If you’re using meat in your stir-fry, marinate the meat in the sauce mixture beforehand.

• Add a few drops of hot sauce to mayonnaise or salad dressing to add some extra flavor.

• Add a few drops of hot sauce to your favorite salsa, gravy, soup or stew for a little extra “kick”.

• For a different flavor in your next Bloody Mary, Caesar or glass of vegetable juice, try adding a few drops of your favorite hot sauce to “kick” up the taste.

• Use hot sauce on pizza and pasta dishes instead of red pepper flakes.

• Try cooking ham, pork roasts or smoked sausage in any tropical fruit nectar (pineapple, etc.) with a few shakes of hot sauce.

• Try a Caribbean style hot sauce on cottage cheese or your favorite salad as a low calorie, low fat dressing.

• Try mixing your favorite hot sauce with ketchup for a quick and delicious barbecue sauce.

• Tired of airplane food when travelling? Try carrying your own hot sauce to jazz up whatever they serve you.

• Try replacing the salt in your diet with hot sauce. Sprinkle it on burgers, vegetables, eggs, rice, salads, sandwiches or on any food that you’ve grilled. The sauce adds great flavor and is much better for you.