I consider myself a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to peppers. I have lived in New Mexico, California, Mexico and now Texas. I have grow up my entire life eating and loving chilies. I know the 101 when it comes to chili rules and regulations. I have cooked with enough spice to know and respect the mighty little peppers. So I am horribly embarrassed to share this tale of how the chili kicked my ass!! I do so only for you my friend, may you NEVER experience (insert dramatic music) Fuego de Manos!!
Last week I visited some friends in Santa Barbara. They had planned a dinner party and invited all their friends (none who I know). Being that I love to cook, I offered my help to assist the chef. My job was to peel the skin off the sweated chilies… a job I had done a thousand times. What I had not done is taken on more than 6 chilies at a time. It was me vs about 30 chilies. I stupidly did not think that this could have been an issue and started my task. I did not take a break other than to sip my wine and never noticed anything out of the norm. After my task was executed perfectly, I thoroughly washed my hands.
By the time the guest started to arrive, I tiny burn started to creep up. Like having a small cut on your finger when lemon juice makes contact. Slowly it progressed into a very uncomfortable dulling throb. Mind you the house is slowly starting to fill with guest… whom I have never met. As all this is going on, I simply keep sipping my wine… smiling… “yes so nice to meet you, too!!”… smile some more… acting as if I have not a care in the world. By the time the last guest arrived, my hands were in full nuclear meltdown. My composure had left stage left… the smile had turned into more of a teeth death grip and I was now wrapping my leg around the other like I had to pee my pants. Thinking somehow that killing the circulation in my legs would help my hands. I was desperate and was starting to break down!!
Unless I was running my hands under cold water, I was in excruciating pain. The cold water would provide temporary relief, but 10ish min later it would return. The chef was horrified and his guilt was reviling my pain. I sat through dinner with a bowl of ice water next to me. I would rotate soaking my hands while barely able to eat. At this point the entire conversation at the dinner table was about my hands otherwise known as (insert dramatic music) Fuego de Manos.
After dinner the pain had moved into a something I words cannot describe. I would have cut my hands off, if that was an option. Sam started googling for remedies. She found several and we started checking them off the list.
- Wash hands thoroughly with dish soap. We washed my hands with dish soap, bar soap, Dr Bronners and I think even maybe laundry detergent.
- Aleve. This was not on google, but a pain reliever seemed smart. 2 down the hatch.
- Soak hands in milk. Bowls were filled of milk and cream. We had to put ice in the bowls to cool the milk, so I could handle keeping my hands in for more than a minute.
- Alcohol. We never defined they type of alcohol, but never the less one bowl of tequila and another of whiskey were filled. At this point, I was in such a miserable state I also started doing shots of tequila. Seemed fitting to go with the chilies.
- One of the guest suggested chia seeds. Nothing against chia, but if I was going to be cured… Clearly it was going to by Happy Hemp and not chia. I tried both. Neither worked.
- There were a million other suggestions of what to do… Some were “R” rated, but we did discuss going to the emergency roon. I shot that down with more tequila.
The only thing left to do was try to sleep and ultimately wait for the burn to go away. By then all the guest had gone home…Thank God!! I had moved into a crazy state of laughing hysterically, really what else was there left to do at that point? As I readied myself mentally that I needed to go to bed, Sam prepared oven mitts of frozen peas for my slumber. Needless to say, I spent the entire night in the bathroom with my hands running under cold water. I can’t remember when I finally crawled into bed…I think my body had finally given up from shear exhaustion. Somehow in my crazy state a photo was snapped. I love how even in my pain, my pj’s match the William and Sonoma oven mitts.
When I woke the next morning…. I was dazed and confused. I had to think for a second why was I laying in a bed of peas? The horrible memories of the night before came rushing back. Did my hands hurt? I had to physically look at my hands to make sure they were even still at the end of my arms. My hands were very pink for the next day or so, but the burn was gone. It had been replaced by a feeling of being lightly asleep… tingles. I was just grateful the burn was gone!!
In honor of the great chili god, I have a prepared a stuffed green chili pepper recipe for today. You might think…WHAT? How can you entertain even saying the word pepper? I am a girl who gets back on the horse…however my friends…. spread the tale of (dramatic music) Fuego de Manos. This is could happen to you!!
Happy Stuffed Green Peppers
- 6 green bell pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup Happy Hemp
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove the seeds. Cook peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes; drain. Sprinkle salt inside each pepper, and set aside.
- In a large skillet, saute beef and onions for 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 1/2 cup Happy Hemp, 1/2 cup water, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Stuff each pepper with the beef and rice mixture, and place peppers open side up in a baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine tomato soup with just enough water to make the soup a gravy consistency. Pour over the peppers.
- Bake covered for 25 to 35 minutes.