Friday, November 06, 2009

The Burn of a Poblano Pepper

Peeps, I have a somewhat funny story that I have to share with you. For those that don't know, I'm recently unemployed (my husband was relocated for a new job) and embracing being a job searching house wife for a while... So here's the deal - I unpack/organize/care for the house and take care of preparing meals while my husband works and "brings home the bacon". I have to admit, I like unpacking. I love organizing and putting everything in it's place but the sea of boxes has been somewhat overwhelming!

Yesterday, I finally felt like I made a breakthrough since the kitchen was almost entirely unpacked and put together, so I decided to cook my first meal in our new house. I had been dying to try the Three Bean Chili Con Turkey recipe from the Clean Eating Magazine email newsletter I got last month. So I'm making the chili - chopping, dicing, measuring like the engineer that I am - and I think it's a little odd that the recipe calls for 1 cup each of dried black, pinto, and kidney beans but does not require them to be cooked. I even mentioned this to John the day before (once I set out the dried beans to soak overnight) and said I thought it was going to take a lot longer than 45 minutes to cook the beans. Well, I get to the point where I think I'm done and decide to check the recipe again because I didn't think there was enough liquid to cook the beans, when I see this at the top of the email I kept for the recipe:
We apologize for any inconvenience but we have an update to yesterday’s Three-Bean Chili Con Turkey recipe. We assumed that readers would know to soak their dried beans overnight, but it should be clarified. If you have the time, soak your dried beans in water overnight, or for at least one hour. Boil the beans, according to package directions, then add them to the saucepan. In a real hurry? No problem. Although we encourage readers to choose dried beans over canned whenever possible, canned are fine in a pinch – just rinse them well before using.
AUGHHH!!!!! Are you kidding me?! I just thought the text at the top was newsletter chatter and just scrolled down the page to the recipe. Really, I should have known better. I do know better, but I am such a recipe follower... not trusting of my own cooking skills. So what to do what to do... everything was mixed together. The garlic, onions, celery, poblano pepper, spices, turkey, and dried beans... Well. I cried a little. Then I sucked it up and started picking out the beans a spoonful at a time. 20 minutes later I took my pots (the chili pot and pot for beans), sat at the kitchen table so I could sit and watch/listen to TV, and continued to separate the beans from the chili... for 2 hours.

Yes. I. DID.

Then I cooked the beans and added them back into the chili and cooked it according to the recipe. Which ended up drying out. So I had to add more broth, then once John was home and started helping we added more broth, water, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. By this time I was swearing and just sick of looking at this chili. I didn't even taste it. By this time it was ~8:30 PM (I started at 3:30 PM) and I realize that my middle, ring, and pinky fingers of my right hand were really burning, along with my right thumb under the finger nail. I couldn't remember burning myself and it started out as a mild discomfort and got worse and worse. I put my thumb in my mouth for something and when my mouth started burning I figured out that I had gotten pepper stuff under my nail. I washed my hands really well with soap and put some aloe on my fingers. It did not help, in fact it got worse. What the heck, it was just a Poblano Pepper! They're supposed to be fairly mild, it didn't even occur to me to wear gloves though I was careful with how much I touched it and had washed my hands right after handling the pepper. Desperate I googled hot pepper burns and found this treatment on ehow.

How to Treat a Hot Pepper Burn
  1. Wear rubber gloves the oil can seep through latex gloves.

  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap to get all the oil off your hands. Use a fingernail brush to scrub nails with dish soap.

  3. Take an over the counter pain killer as directed

  4. Soak fingers/hands in a bowl of cold milk. The fat in the milk helps soothe hands better than ice water.

  5. Apply an ointment to treat and soothe burns such as aloe vera or hydro cortisone cream.
  6. Repeat the milk soak as needed. It will not harm your hands, so do not hesitate to soak as often as necessary

  7. Put on gloves to clean the area where you cut the peppers. Use a cleanser with bleach to rid your counter tops, cutting boards and knives of any residual oil.
The only milk in the house we have is skim and 1% so I did the soak in the 1% which felt good while my hand was in it, but as soon as it was out it was burning again. Then I tried lowfat yogurt with the same result. Now it's after 10PM and I'm cursing the chili again and debating running to the store to get either full fat milk or burn cream or both. Finally it dawned on me to try butter... 30 minutes later the burning completely stopped. Butter - thank you thank you, I love you, and will never talk badly about you again!

I had a bowl of the chili for lunch. To my surprise it turned out great! Which makes me feel a teeny bit better about yesterday's ordeal. I topped it with colby jack cheese and had yellow corn chips for dipping. Yum-O!

The recipe instructions and ingredient amounts were way off... but I was able to pull it off. I used 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth, and probably a cup of water or more. Hopefully if you try this recipe (which I do recommend) you will have a better experience than mine!


  1. What a disaster! I'm glad it all turned out ok in the end!

  2. Love this story! It sounds like most of my cooking experiences, only much more ambitious. Usually I'm just trying to boil rice ;-)

  3. I can't believe it turned out as great as it did! We got 7 meals out of it, 2 of which are in the freezer saved for dinner next week.

    H - I'm glad you can relate :). I can follow pretty much any recipe but take it away or worse have the recipe have mistakes and I'm lost with disaster the usual result!


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