Use Chili Peppers, and Hot Spices, Carefully

I love spicy foods. Now, compared to what you can get in Thailand, my food is not terribly spicy, but one Habanero pepper can pack a wallop. Even a jalapeno or serrano pepper can cause pain. Your mileage may vary here.

When I cook spicy foods, like Chuck's Kick In The Seat Of Your Pants Chili, or maybe Chuck's Memory Of Thailand Mango Salad (with fresh jalapeno peppers), I take precautions. If you are going to use my recipes, I advise the same, based upon experience. The hot peppers (Habanero), and spices (Cayenne), can cause burning - seriously - if you're not careful. I like to joke around - a lot - but I am not joking here.

  • When you clean and chop raw peppers, don't put your face in line with what you're chopping or cleaning. A squirt of juice or a seed from a jalapeno, in your face or your eye, will interrupt your cooking activities for more time than it takes to clean and chop it carefully.

  • When you're cooking something with spicy vegetables, or hot spices in general, and you take the lid off the pan, use common sense. Don't stick your face into the fumes. Take the lid off with the opening pointing away from your face.

  • If any discomfort is felt in eyes, stop immediately what you're doing, and flush eyes with water. Never rub eyes with hands until following morning.

  • Wearing contact lenses may make your eyes especially sensitive to the fumes given off by the spices / hot peppers as they cook. Beware.

  • Wash hands thoroughly, under running water, after preparing chili peppers. I use a kitchen brush with plenty of detergent, and scrub each finger on both hands, and under the fingernails. Plan on 5 minutes of scrubbing.

If you ignore my advice, you'll find out one day what I'm talking about. Or you can laugh at me for being a wimp. Your choice.

Perfect Meatloaf

  • 1/2 C catsup
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 4 t vinegar
  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 2 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 t hot sauce
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 2/3 C saltine crackers, crushed (16 or so)
  • 1/3 C minced parsley

  1. Mix the glaze: catsup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350.
  3. Heat oil in skillet or pan on medium.
  4. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 min.
  5. Set pan aside to cool.
  6. Mix eggs with pepper, salt, thyme, mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and milk.
  7. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic.
  8. Mix well with fork, until evenly blended, and mixture doesn't stick to the bowl. If it continues to stick, add a little milk.
  9. Starting with wet hands, mold mixture into a loaf shape, about 9" x 5".
  10. Place mixture in a foil lined pan, brush with half the glaze.
  11. Bake until crisp, about an hour at 350.
  12. Let cool 1/2 hour or so, then brush the remaining glaze over top, and serve.