Feel the Burn

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Typically, when someone is talking about , ‘Feeling the burn’, they are referring to the euphoric high of an intense workout. The one that makes each breath of oxygen fuel your muscles, so that you can continue to get in one more set, one more rep, or maybe just one more step. The burn is the production and build up of lactic acid.

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High intensity exercise can cause an endorphin rush much like the intake of Capsaicin, which is an active component in chilie peppers and is said to promote weight loss. It is also an anti fungal.

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I am known as a chili head. I enjoy the burn of hot peppers, sauces, seasonings and all things chili. I have been busy grinding dried Mulato, Ancho, Ghost, New Mex., Chococlate Habanero, and Fatali chilies. I mix this with a few seasonings and use it as a topical addition for eggs, soups, meats, you name it.

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These Fatali peppers are one of my favorites for their citrus like flavor. I am wearing gloves due to the oils that are present on these chilies. The vast majority of the heat is not in the seeds, as some people think, but in the membrane or placenta, that holds the seeds.

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I recently took a stab at making my own pepper sauce. It turned out rather well. I made my first batch with Jalapenos and Poblanos. These were fermented in a brine solution with yogurt culture to help create the process. After about six weeks, I added vinegar, a few final seasonings, ran half the batch through a berry strainer, and my first bottle of hot sauce was born.

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There was a point where we had to vacate the premises and air it out, due to the overwhelming fumes. This gave us ample time for some great Mexican food at my favorite restaurant.

Whether you choose to explore the use of capsaicin as a topical for pain relief, the ingestion of more spice for health reasons, (circulation), or just grab a bottle of chipotle sauce for flavor, I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I have enjoyed sharing mine with you.

Feel the Burn!

In fitness, Bob

Chili Cook Off (chili verde that is)

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IMG_20140819_154206_415It is time for the chili cook off in Westerville, Ohio again. I was unable to attend last years event due to an illness in the family. The year before that, I went home with 1st place in the Ohio Regional amateur division. This was open to five states! It was truly an unforgettable experience to be a part of. This year’s contest will be at the Iron Pony.

The contest brings in amateurs such as myself, professionals from the ICS, (International Chili Society), local chefs, and professionals from surrounding fire departments and law enforcement. The public has the opportunity to purchase a tasting kit, which includes a score card for their favorite chili in different divisions. There are also vendors that sell chili seasonings, hot peppers of all types, clothing, pepper earrings, and just about any thing else you can imagine.

Since the amateur division judging is this weekend, I made the grocery run to my favorite Mexican market today for my staples. About 5 lbs. of pork stew meat, 20 Poblano chilies, 20 large tomatillos, fresh cilantro, and a few jalapenos. The rest of my ingredients I already have. Garlic, onion, chipotle flakes, Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, white pepper, brown sugar, chicken broth, olive oil, and masa (corn flour) for thickening.

The most time consuming task, and what I believe makes my chili verde stand out, is the fact that I roast my Poblanos and tomatillos before I peel and puree them. This is also what makes this chili green. Green in Spanish is verde. It is quite difficult to get the same amount of spicy heat in each batch, due to the fact that the heat levels are never the same in the peppers. I also like the flavor best after three days of simmering. The flavors change so much over the course of each day,  it is a challenge to leave enough for judging. Occasionally I get carried away with the heat and not everyone can enjoy the fire it leaves.

I will follow this post up with a detailed recipe and pictures after the event. If I have left your mouth watering and searching for green chili, then we are on the same quest.   In fitness, Bob