Fear of habaneros!

I fear habaneros. I distinctly remember when my grandparents moved to Arizona, for xmas that year they sent some habanero peanut brittle, needless to say I really had no idea what I was biting into! Youch! Now I eat many more spicy things and often include chili peppers in my cooking, but I still avoid the oh-so scary habanero.

Enter the Rick Bayliss’s Mexican Kitchen cookbook and a recipe for Spicy Yucatean Beef “Salad” Tacos (Tacos de Dzik), which calls for his Essential Chopped Tomato-habanero Salsa. It sounded good and I just didn’t want to be a wimp and substitute a milder pepper. I decided to go for it.

First, I had to go to 3 grocery stores before I found any at a Whole Foods, my resolve was wavering….then I realized that I really needed/wanted gloves (I told you, habaneros are scary and I once tried to sleep with my hands in a bowl of ice water after dicing serranos!) So, Whole Foods does not have disposable latex gloves… I do find big thick latex-free purple kitchen gloves. Great! They are like armor!

The thickness of the gloves does make it a little hard to mince the very small pepper but I felt really safe….Anyway, now is the the time to admit that I really am a bit of wimp, so although the recipe called for 1/2 a pepper, I only used 1/4 of one. (mistake!)

I had steamed the beef roast ahead of time and just pulled it out if the fridge and let it warm to room temp while I chopped up the salsa ingredients, then shredded the beef and mixed them all together.

This is a really nice summer meal, it is beef but actually light and refreshing, with a little crunch from the radishes in the salsa. And guess what, I was too big of a wimp! No burn at all! It was actually a little bland! I will now follow the recipes in the future and use the suggested quantities. I will continue to use the giant purple gloves when cutting peppers.

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