As American as…

Thursday, September 14th, 2006 | All Things, Friends

SYB’s dinner party tonight. The theme this night was: Apples. For the first time since he started hosting these potluck gatherings, I didn’t cook or bake anything, opting instead to contribute a gallon of fresh-pressed cider I picked up from the Farmers Market on Thursday morning. Lazy guest!

Luckily, there was plenty of food: SYB whipped up batches of chicken-apple sausage and broccoli rabe pasta and an apple-less vegan chili, to accommodate the vegan contingent (which I suppose was comprised primarily of JL.) The chili packed quite a wallop, thanks to his inclusion of the bright orange habañero peppers we picked up in our farmer’s share this week.

Depending on the variety, habañeros typically measure 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale, though certain varieties far exceed that. Wilbur Scoville developed this scale in 1912 to standardize the heat measurement of chiles. The original Scoville test required a panel of tasters to evaluate how many parts of sugar-water it took to neutralize the heat of a given pepper. Doesn’t sound like a fun job. Nowadays, human tongues are spared and HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromotography) scientifically measures the concentration of heat-inducing capsaicin in parts per million. Those figures are in turn converted into Scoville heat units; one part per million is equivalent to 15 Scoville units.

Bell and sweet Italian peppers have values of 0 Scoville units (not at all hot); jalapeños weigh in at 2,500-5,000; cayenne at 30,000-50,000; and the hottest variety of habañero — the Red Savina — clocks in at a searing 350,000-570,000 Scoville units, earning it the the Guinness record for the “World’s Hottest Spice” in 1994. There have since been challenges to the title by the Naga Dorset pepper and the Naga Jolokia pepper.

I like a little kick in my food as much as anyone else, but I cannot comprehend the cult that surrounds those damage-inflicting, sweat and agony-inducing, blisteringly hot hot HOT pepper sauces. The names alone are enough to be offputting: all the violent variations of “Kill,” “Death” and “Blaze,” plus… Anal Angst X?!

Uh, no thank you. (Please: no wiseguy comments about how that was an awesome movie.)

Always wear gloves when handling!

There was also an abundance of apple desserts, most homemade. JL baked a pair of tarts on site; AH brought in a picture-perfect apple pie she had baked at home. And someone sent in by proxy the divine Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie from Little Pie Company: a dense crust layered with thin slices of apple and sour cream, and topped with chunks of cinnamon walnut crumble. I will have to get one of these to J for comparison against his favorite Apple Crumb from La Cheesecake in College Point.

On the way home, it began to rain.

Sunnyside View

There are 2 Comments ... As American as…

September 17, 2006

There actually was apple cider vinegar in the chili. 🙂

Love the link.

And that has got to be my favorite picture to date, because it’s a picture of home.

October 3, 2006

It’s funny how the last shot is actually from the Flushing bound side of the station, did you have to double back that night?

Go for it ...