Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Dangerous Game

If I could enforce upon you one rule, I think it would be this: Know your chilis.
When you reach into that bin at the farmer's market that only says "hot peppers", yet contains a variety of sizes and shapes? Be ever vigilant, or pay the price.

I've made this recipe before with jalapeños, and it was delicious- so when I pulled out a small green pepper shaped kind of like a super tiny bell, I thought it was relatively harmless. It didn't smell like much, so I threw it in seeds and all.
What I didn't know was: Habaneros come in green.

I ate a lot of this, I couldn't stop myself. The flavor was good, but the heat levels were, well, hardcore. I ate it anyway, and I learned my lesson the hard way. There is a charred and shriveled abyss where my stomach once was.

Okay, consider yourself warned. On the upside, when not done with a lethal chili, this is pretty damned addicting. Somewhere between a warm salad and a salsa, it is a hodgepodge of delicious that hinges on some key ingredients, as well as methods.
Let's begin.

A Fire in the Belly

1 Bag of Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Corn
2 red/orange/yellow bell peppers, chopped
Pint of Grape (or cherry) tomatoes, Whole
1 Avocado (diced)
1 Jalapeño (chopped)
Juice of half a lime
2 teaspoons of Mrs. Dash, table blend (yeah, that's right)
Salt to taste
A pinch of smoked salt (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, a fistful (optional)
1 package chicken-y strips (like Lightlife)
Earth Balance margarine for sautéing

In a deep saucier, sauté the bell peppers until slightly softened.
Clear a space in the center of your pan, and add around 2 tablespoons of the margarine.
Once that's melted, add the corn. The fire roasted kind really adds a great flavor and depth to this- I recommend it to insane degrees, it's great even on its own.
Add your chopped chili. Heed the warning.
Add the Mrs. Dash. In all seriousness, it's great. It's the only use for this stuff I have. It goes on this corn, it goes on this corn like destiny.
Then salt to taste. I know that's the opposite of what Mrs. Dash is for, but be brave. Rules were meant for breaking. If you have smoked salt, try the tiniest bit here.
Add the juice of half a lime.
The corn won't take long, about 5-7 minutes on medium. You're warming it through, and getting a bit of a crust going. Once this has happened, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Clear the pan and put in about a teaspoon of canola oil.
Drop in your grape tomatoes whole, over medium heat.
Sauté these, while keeping them moving (shake the pan or bust out the wooden spoon for this). The object is to get some color to them, and to get them to split from the heat. Once they have, add them to your corn mixture. Tear up a few cilantro leaves and stir in.
Add the diced avocado to the mix, and sprinkle with lime juice.

Clear the pan once again, add some canola oil, and
sauté the chicken-y strips until they are brown on each side. I feel like I've used the word sauté at least 5 times now. I'm not going to count.

Get yourself a bowl, fill with the corn goodness, and top with some chicken-y strips

See if your farmer's market carries any ghost peppers, you know, for next time...


Mihl said...

This sounds really good! What happened to the pictures? I can't see them. (Or is it my computer/browser, etc.?)
I recently got those ghost peppers from my uncle. They are ten times hotter than a habanero. A little goes a very, very long way!

Kevin said...

That looks so good!

Jenni said...

That looks awesome! I just cruised over as part of VeganMoFo. If I make this, can I link to your page, it looks right up my alley.

I just got something interesting at Trader Joe's. It's chickenless chicken stuffed with corn and black beans. It looks spicy and tasty. I hope it's good!