Next time you’re at the pharmacy picking up some of your bare essentials, pick up a box of latex gloves. They come in handy for a variety of household chores but aside from keeping a couple pairs in my first-aid kit, I use them the most in the kitchen. I am not talking about some sort of kinky affair over the stove… Umm, wait… where was I?
Latex gloves are key for messy jobs in the kitchen or when dealing with spice. Some of the oils tend to stick to skin and so if you happen to rub your eye for any reason it may end up stinging pretty badly. They are great for handling chicken, mixing marinades with your hands, cooking any ingredient that stains (like beets and pomegranate), slicing and dicing hot peppers, anything and everything that’s messy.
Funny story; true story! The first time I made salsa verde, I had gone to the Jean-Talon market and picked up a basket of fresh jalapeños. Upon eyeing them my mouth started salivating over the roasted pepper salsa I instantly whipped up in my mind. It was going to be great! Perfect for the dinner I was hosting the following evening. Paid and wrapped up, I went home, turned on the grill and plopped on the dozen jalapeños I had just acquired. As they were charring away, I prepped garlic, onions, cilantro, lemon and olive oil. Off the grill, into a bowl and covered in plastic wrap to cool. This was my first attempt at salsa verde and this version of my recipe did not include any green peppers, only jalapeños, lots of them and no latex gloves in sight. The technique of charring jalapeños and letting them cool under plastic wrap also works for sweet peppers. The condensation from the heat under the plastic wrap is what helps the skin of the peppers separate from its flesh. So I start peeling the skin off and scraping out the seeds. I have cleaned out nearly half of the jalapeños when the tip of my fingers starts to tingle. As I work my way through the rest of them the tingling turns into burning. Finally, the batch of peppers is cleaned out and in the food processor, along with the other ingredients.
I rinse and wash, and re-rinse and re-wash my hands but there is nothing to be done. My fingers are burning and throbbing. I taste the salsa with a nacho and it is unbearably hot. I can handle my share of spicy food and hot sauces, but this was beyond what my taste buds were capable of wrangling. There was no way I could serve that to guests. So I take some of that salsa and add equal parts sour cream to the mix but it is still too spicy. I added more ingredients, different ingredients in an attempt to salvage my plan for appetizers at my dinner party. Nothing to be done and at this point not only is my mouth on fire but the burning has moved to the majority of the hand. I eventually went to bed with an ice pack held dearly in my hands and finally managed to fall asleep. The next morning I woke up to hands and fingers not only still searing from the jalapeños but red from the irritation. Needless to say, I opted for a different appetizer that day.
So please remember, no glove, no love!