As a Korean-American foodie who resides in West Oakland, I’m lucky that there’s a slew of fine eateries not too far from our home all along Telegraph Avenue in Temescal.
Summer may be coming to an end, but pepper season is heating up. Native to the Americas, the fruits of Capsicum annuum are in full force at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market from summer into early fall, where you can find more than 40 varieties in just about every color of the rainbow.
Are you feeling sad that the local pepper season is drawing to a close? Don’t be. The owners of Emmy’s Pickles and Jams, Jarred SF Brine and Paulie’s Pickling show how a little vinegar, salt and aromatics will let you enjoy those late-season jalapenos and serranos well into the winter.
I used to think chili was a mishmash of ground meat, powdered spices, and chopped bell peppers. This is, after all, how everyone made it when I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized chili is really a stew. Historically, it’s more like Beef Bourguignon than a sloppy joe in that it’s made of chunks of meat, vegetables, and a simmering liquid. Sure, the vegetables are chilies, but the core starting point — slowly braised hunks of meat — are what make chile and other stews not only similar, but appealing in the first place.
So how do you make a great pot of meat chili? Let’s break the process down into easy categories.
But there was something else tucked into that crispy tortilla which made my tongue heated up. A lot. He threw in peppers. Scotch Bonnet peppers. Craig and his girlfriend Shannon had just started dating and were trying to out-macho each other on the Scoville scale. As an occasional participant in their bizarre, heat-related courtship ritual, I considered myself a wimp when it came to such things, but I continued to eat. My eyes burned, my nose began to run. After a couple of bites, I was in discomfort; after a couple more, I was in pain.
The gulping of hot tea did nothing to help. The swishing of orange juice around my gums only seemed to spread the heat everywhere. I had never eaten anything so hot in my life. It was horrible, yet oddly delicious. And then something unexpected happened.