Friday, April 4, 2014

I'm A Poblano...He's An Ancho...She's A Scotch Bonnet

Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?

Remember that old David Naughton commercial from the 70s for Dr. Pepper?  Ah.  The 1970s.  From what I can remember of that decade, it was pretty good times.  No car seats.  No buckling in.  AM/FM radio.  Gas rationing.  Hostage crisis.

Okay, so I don't remember any of the 70s.  But, my parents don't complain much about that decade...which is a good indicator of happy times (relatively).

Supposedly, my 13-year-old daughter likes spicy food.  And by that, she means jalapeños, and the Tabasco and sriracha sauces.  I don't think she means a Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce.  Take a look here.

Image courtesy of
This is the Scoville scale for rating the heat of peppers.  The higher the Scoville units, the more likely you'll burn off your taste buds for eternity.

So, The Kirbster likes jalapeño pepper, which registers in at 2,500-8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).  And she also likes Tabasco sauce (as do I), which sits at 30,000-50,000 SHU.

But I wonder how she'd feel about a Trinidad Scorpion pepper sauce?  The pepper at The. Freaking. Top. Of. The. List.

I feel pretty positive that she (nor I, for that matter) would be down with that.

We are not those kinds of Peppers.

My sons and husband are far less adventurous...they hover right around an Ancho/Poblano, way down the chart.  And frankly, Elliot prefers the Bell Pepper range (SHU = 0).

This morning, I prepared a marinade for a thinly-sliced flat iron steak to be used in spring rolls tomorrow.  The recipe called for a Thai chile...which I knew I would likely NOT find at my local grocery store.  But, now, looking at this chart, it's probably a good thing I couldn't find one.  Should I have used a Thai chile, the marinade/meat would be much hotter than a majority of my family would enjoy.  Fortunately, I did happen to have Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce in my refrigerator, which is a perfectly suitable heat substitution.  However, the Adobo sauce also adds a smokiness to the marinade that seems more Mexican than Asian...

Ah well, that's what we call 'fusion'.

Here's the marinade recipe in its entirety.  Of course, I've made changes based on what I had available to me, but the springboard is the "Pan-Grilled Beef with Thai Flavors in Rice Paper" recipe from John Torode's Beef and Other Bovine Matters.

1 Tbsp orange marmalade (lemon juice would work too)
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. Korean BBQ sauce
1/4 - 1/2 cup water

Put everything but the water in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth, add enough water for desired consistency.  Pour over thinly sliced flat iron (or chicken or pork!) and let sit over night.

The marinade is a pale but lovely orange color.   For those of you who like a little kick, this marinade's got it...but it's not overwhelming.  Kind of comes right in there at the end.  It's soaking right now into my sliced beef, and tomorrow will be become spring rolls.

Wouldn't you like to be a Spring Roll, too?


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