My nephew showed up this morning with The Gift Of Vegetables. (This is the guy who painted my house; he was asked for an estimate by a neighbor, whose house he ended up painting, and he was down to do another estimate for another neighbor: good work is its own best advertisment!)
Among the bounty (which included The Squash, photo possibly to follow), a number of tiny, hot bright-red peppers.
I decided to make Cincy-Tex chili; this is a spicy, fragrant, beanless treat with good beef (stew beef from Fresh Market), onion, and three kinds of tomatoes: fresh, diced-canned (Italian imports!) and crushed-canned. And, of course, the hot peppers.
Got the beef goin', with some chili powder (can't find my cumin!), added the onion and a couple of big, red
Het up a little skillet with some oil, chopped 'em and tossed 'em in. They did not go quietly. About a minute in and thirty seconds to go, I took a deep breath -- and started coughing. Eyes not-quite burning but holy cow! Opened up a window and started a fan to help the exhaust and it was still strong enough to catch Tam a good one when she wandered in a few minutes later.
I only added about half the peppers to the chili, along with the canned tomatoes and Various Spices* and let it simmer for a half hour. Umm-mm, good! And not even Tam went after the reserve hot peppers, either.
We both qualified for the Clean Plate Club. But I've gotta tell you, for a few minutes there, I was wondering -- I could not catch my breath when the hot peppers heated up! Afterwards, they still had bite but weren't harsh or overwhelming.
* Some black pepper in the pan with a very little oil, at the start; let it heat up, salt the stew meat a little and cut it up small. Then add some chili powder as it browns. With the canned tomatoes, some more chili powder, tarragon, garlic, paprika, ground nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon. Yep, nutmeg and cinnamon. You won't regret it. I'd tell you how much of each to add if I could -- I go by smell and, as it simmers, taste.