Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have never eaten ceviche before and certainly never made it. I didn't even know what it was when I picked it out of Women of Great Taste. I was pretty sure the Top Chef contestants made it on a fairly regular basis. I studied the list of ingredients and scanned the instructions and it looked easy and with out any terribly weird ingredients

Off to the store I went with my roommate, Kim. On the way she asked me what I would be making and I told her ceviche. "Oh that's with raw fish." What, wait, I only scanned the directions. Surely I would have noticed not cooking the shrimp. Later when I got home I found out to my relief that I did get to cook the shrimp. (I may draw the line at raw fish.) When we got to the store Kim stayed in the car leaving to me to my own devices. (She is a much more experienced cook than I.)

The only challenge at the store was the pepper. I know nothing about peppers except green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers which I use all the time in my cooking. I know that jalapeno is hotter than I like. I know that cayenne is hotter than I like. That's it. The recipe called for an Anaheim chili pepper of which I could not find. Nor could I find a produce guy or gal to ask. So I looked at the different peppers not that there was much of a choice and I picked one that said it is good in salsa and dips. O.K. How bad could that be. I like salsa and dips.

At home I cooked the shrimp and combined it with the onion and the tomato. Then I took one of the peppers and decided to dice it up really, really small just in case it turned out to be hotter that I wanted. I was suppose to use a whole pepper but after putting in maybe 1/2 teaspoon, I decided to taste one. The piece I put in my mouth was the size of a coarse grain of salt and the minute it hit my tongue I thought I was going to die. I couldn't get to the water fast enough which didn't seem to help at all. Several glasses of milk later my tongue was starting to feel almost normal. Needless to say I picked out each and everyone of the tiny bits of pepper and threw them in the garbage along with the unused peppers.

At that point Kim walks into the kitchen and I tell her what happened. She says "Habaneros. Those are the hottest peppers you can buy." Now she tells me. So I decided to do a little research on peppers so the next time I need a pepper I will be more informed.

Peppers are rated by the Scoville scale. Bell peppers, pimiento, and sweet banana peppers rate a 0 to 100. Anaheim (also know as the New Mexico) rate 100- 1000. Canned green chilies which I like along with chili powder rate a 500-1000. Jalapeno 2500-5000. Cayenne 30,000-50,000. Habaneros 100,000-300,000. I'm lucky I didn't die. Who in the world can eat a habanero pepper that's what I would like to know. I did find out that the reason Mexican food often comes with sour cream is that it cuts down on the heat. The same is true of yogurt in Indian dishes. And that's why the milk worked better for me than the water. Fortunately it was whole milk because it is the fat in the dairy that cuts the heat. So don't serve low fat sour creams with your Mexican dishes.

Back to the cevichi. I had a red bell pepper in the fridge and I added that to the shrimp, onions and tomatoes. For the dressing lemon juice, catchup, frozen O.J. fresh minced cilantro, sugar, salt and pepper. You marinate for at least 4 hours then add a little beer and serve over salad greens. The result was delicious though it might have benefited from a little heat.


  1. Thanks for the info on peppers. John likes habaneros. I like the inbetweens.
    I have a friend that went to Panama a few times and she said as soon as she arrived she would go get some cevichi before she even went to her hotel room. Kind of like Mom and New England Clam chowder when she came to visit me.

  2. I had a boss who loved habaneros. Randy dared me to eat a pepper once at a restaurant. Don't know what it was but it was really hot. I am kind of a wimp though, John and Nate don't like to go to Mexican restaurants with me because I always eat chips and salsa before I get my drink and I immediately start coughing everytime.

  3. After talking to Judy on the phone last night I went to the combined Blogs and began reading them with Janet. "We" made it about half way through and then I commenced again about 5AM. I had no Idea that you (all) had such literary talent. I would like to take credit for one thing though. As you will soon see I began a blog in 2008. It was short lived but can anyone beat the date. One of the blogs I enjoyed the most was Judys on "talking on the phone" and as you know I fit into the category. After I read her blog it all made sense and I was glad I talked to her first. The sun will come up soon over the Eastern mountains so I need to get to work. More later Tom

  4. Just ordered "Women of Great Taste" on Amazon as a late Valentines present for Janet. We had a copy once but it was given away to some worthy cause. Hope to follow along in this way. Tom