me picó


love is a place 
& through this place of 
love move 
(with brightness of peace) 
all places

e.e. cummings

greetings, reader! i come to you bearing great news:

i’m smitten.

head over heels.

i think i hear champagne corks popping.

it all started sunday afternoon.

i received a few delightful gifts that day. one which led straight to the other. my gorgeous roommate gave me a massage appointment. (thank you!!!!) as i was leaving, my massage therapist and friend, malinda, gave me a new ingredient to try that she had found at her co-op. the first gift was undoubtedly amazing and much needed. the latter, a surprise like no other. a simple plastic bag full of little peppers is now, in a few short days, turning into what i believe, my dear reader, to be true love.

may i introduce you to my new boyfriend, shishito.

yes, you heard it here first folks. yet again i have surrendered to the seductive ways of the capsicum cultivar. i cannot seem to help myself. for as long as i can remember, i have craved foods that make me cry. i long for the sensation to continue, even when the tears roll grey down my cheek from the mascara i so delicately applied, now being washed and wiped away for the sake of more chile.

i’ve learned to be more conservative about this when in public. it can get awkward. people start offering you water (which you should never consume if something is too spicy, always milk or a corn tortilla) or they ask you if you’re ok (…is she crying in her soup?) or they think you’re crazy (daaamn that is a lot of hot sauce, girl! where you from?) but if i’m alone, there are no holds barred.

if i told you some of the things i put hot sauce on, you might stop reading right now and never take me seriously again. i’ll leave it at that.

let’s get back to this new fling with shishito.

the shishito pepper is god’s gift from japan. along with the umeboshi plum and a few other beauties. it is crispy and juicy, it bursts with flavor,  and it has a perfect amount of spice while being delightfully spontaneous. sometimes you get a little tiny bite, while others sneak up and POW! you have to take a little break. if you identify with any of the feelings i previously mentioned about spicy food, you’ll eat these guys like a normal person would a bowl of cherries.

i mixed in a bowl some raw and some that i sautéed very quickly in hot oil and sprinkled with salt. the skin blistered but they kept their texture, though they softened inside and sweetened up a bit.

the rest i used to make this dish. i was even inspired to write a little poem, and it goes like thish:

i seek it breakfast lunch and dinner

supper brunch and yes, the punch

be it salty or be it sweet

be it fruit or be it meat

i want my spice

i want it nice

please if you can,

i’ll have it thrice


thank you, malinda, for so many things, but especially for reminding me of what’s really important.

5 thoughts on “me picó

  1. you know me i always keep stock
    for soup or sauce or in a wok

    one or two jars always on ice
    stir in veggies and add some spice

    add some onions or kohlrabi
    four syllables in giamatti

  2. Before ZoeMaya could walk, I remember the first time she enjoyed habenero spiced spaghetti sauce. We had only been living in Mexico a few months and had purchased some ready made food at the local super market. The spaghetti looked very bland, just pasta tossed with a sauce so light, it was more pink than red. A friend sat in a chair feeding ZoeMaya bites of pasta, “Do you think it’s alright for her to be eating this?” He asked as he gave her another bite, “she seems to love it but it’s a pretty spicy.” I assured him, “no problem”. A few minutes later, I noticed tears streaming down her face but she wasn’t crying… “Let me taste that,” I exclaimed, as she held open her mouth waiting for another bite from him. Oh, how she cried and carried-on as I took it away. She crawled across the floor behind me on my way to the kitchen. She bashed her forehead onto the floor in protest. I tried to explain that it wasn’t good for her. (She was still a nursing baby. She hadn’t had much more than avocados, oatmeal, and bananas introduced into her diet.) The next morning when I went to nurse her I saw big blisters on her tongue. I rushed her to the emergency room. She was fine and obviously not the least dissuade from chiles. I cannot count the times I’ve heard her siblings say, “Zoe! That can’t be good for you,” as she consumed an inordinate amount of chile powder on candy, fruits, vegetables, sprinkled right on a lime, or if nothing else is available, directly on her finger. Her brothers have taken me aside to have a serious talk about her chile consumption. In every bedroom of every house she was raised in I could find a stash of chile covered tamarindo candies, chile coated mango suckers, chile, lime powder, sugar, & salt mixed in tiny canisters that looked like bombs, and gooey red pastes in bags that were guaranteed to make her tummy ache.

  3. I heard you’re making some boozy frosties? Hot popsicles? Chilled liquor? Frigid firewater? Siberian spirits? Icy toddy? Arctic hootch? Marble moonshine?

    Giamatti hears it’s going to be a long hot summer and he wants to stay cool and crunk!

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