Sunday, August 5, 2012

500,000 Scoville Units--That's Not Too Many, Is It?

I'm making lunch today (a big lunch that will take the place of dinner), and I thought it was a good time to try a few new things. You know, now that my significant other is out of the house and can't try and change my mind. Like poaching tongue the other day. That was a decision she suggested might have been in error....
That's really unfair. Paula is very supportive when I cook, but there are some things she just has no interest in (like tongue, or offal of any sort). And also, our spice palette differs. I like to pull out the spice weasel occasionally and "kick it up a notch." And that notch is sometimes over her limit. So the time to try a ground chili powder that comes in a test tube and is rated at 500,00 scoville units is probably when she is out of the house.
I picked about five pounds of veg yesterday from the community garden plot we have, and thought I should do something with it. So, lunch. And what am I having? Well, baked potato (allegedly from BC, but how do you really know?). A pork chop--again, supposed to have been grown on the Island and certified cruelty-free. This one I trust a bit more because the store is small and local, the meat comes in once a week and is cut on premise, and I know the owner. So I pay a bit more, more secure in trusting that I'm getting what I pay for.
And I went out in the backyard yesterday and picked small purple plums. Sun-warmed, beautifully ripe, I ate most of what I picked. Even though I was disturbing one of the residents--a hummingbird flew up, tick tick tick-ed angrily at me about being in front of his favourite flower, and then perched a little more than arm's length away to watch what the crazy ape was doing.

I'm not the only one picking plums. While walking the dog we care for yesterday afternoon, I noticed a shiver in a tree when there was no wind. When I walked up and took a look, there were four young raccoons in different parts of the tree, feasting happily on the same type of plum I'd been eating earlier. They were cute and amusing and startled at having been busted feeding, but all I could think of was "Stay the hell out of my food supply!"
So I've taken a handful or two of fresh plums, cooked them up with a pinch of locally-produced fleur de sal, and a bit of sugar (maybe a teaspoon full), and a bit of chili powder. I was hoping for a heat-and-sweet sauce to drizzle over my pork. But....the powdered pepper does come in a test tube. And there is a big warning on the shelf where you pick it up. And it says 500,000 in big black block numbers, and warns you to wear gloves and not touch, well, anything. Particularly not you eyes, mouth, or genitals.
So, with a little over 500 ml of sauced plums, I added about a match-head worrth of pepper. 'Cause half a million scoville units, that's not too many.
There's an old joke that I've told endless times, that sets up with a camp cook who doesn't like cooking. But if anyone complains, they have to cook. The cook makes a particularly foul dessert and serves it to the work crew. One of the workers suddenly cries out "Hey! This here's moose turd pie!" But before he can be blamed for complaining, he covers by saying "Good though!"
So the spicy plum sauce? Maybe not the best thing I've made. Good though!

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