Pickled Peppers


I’m not a pickling person. I don’t have a pickled past. I love pickles, yet I have never pickled. My husband loves pickled herring. If I have no pickled herring or cornichons or capers, my fridge feels unbalanced. In September, when life ( or Robert ) gives you a lovely bag of peppers, make pickles! … or so I’m told.


I grew up near the penultimate exit off I-5 before you drive into Mexico. Pickled jalapeño compliments most Mexican food, so I was keen. I followed the recipe exactly and I suppose I wait.


Lucy packed the peppers with dill, pepper corns, garlic, onions, carrots, peppers and tried to make them look perty. I filled them with hot, bubbling vinegar mix and sealed them tight. I know I’ve not met prize winning pickledom, but I have high hopes that these beauties will taste nice next to some ground beef, cream and some Substance P.

Substance P


I loves me some hot. Hot Thai, hot Indian, hot Mexican, hot hot hot. I don’t get to heat up the food much because our kids are too young to take it on. They have so many brain cells accepting and filtering too much emotion, too much growing, too much sibling and too much flavor in food. So I secretly spice my food up on the side. Brent spices up his farmer’s breakfast, but his heat level is about an eight. Mine, is at eleven. For whatever reason, call it “lizard”, on our first date, I tested his palate. After a day of coffee and walking, a silly scarf and general courting, we went to the pizza place. There, I ordered “The Firestarter.” This was a lovely number of typical pizza bits with jalapeño and pineapple. I loved it. I think Brent liked it too. I never once noticed sweating or fear. “Hey. This guy ‘s good.” Great date.  He drove me back to my car that was filled with boxes and furniture because I was moving somewhere and I had to get my friend to the airport.  This was my back-up plan.  I accepted an airport run to get out of the date should things not go so well.  Things were going well. I was a bit late to leave, but she made it there in time.  In hindsight, this heat test was a great tactic to see how far this dude would go.  If he can withstand super hot pizza, can he move cows with big horns?  Can he pound in fence posts during a drought?  Can he parent our crazy children?  Yes, he can.


Substance P is a neuropeptide that is an important part of pain perception. It’s the “owie” neurotramsmitter. Substance P is a hot sauce I make when our amazing gardner friend lays down bags and bags of GORGEOUS hot peppers. I know it’s coming. I feel that September sun. The peppers are ready. The peppers are ready at the same time the pears are ready, so I enhanced Substance P with a fall peary flavor. I think it’s nice.


I’m still working out what’s in Substance P, but for now we have:

– hot peppers of some description or whatever Robert brings over
– pears
– ginger
– garlic
– cider vinegar
– black pepper
– fish sauce
– tomato paste

Fish sauce and tomato paste == Umami. Not directly, but close enough. The sauce came out good. I need a few more tweaks. I’m enjoying the slow heat. At first it’s “meh,” then the heat slowly sneaks up on you. This is my favorite type of spice. I added it to Grasspunk Mince and some peppers and mushrooms and shallots with some cream. The heat worked in nicely with the ingredients. I think I could have added some more.


Notes To Self and Outline Comments:

– Always use gloves when working with peppers.  I’m lazy or courageous or more likely stupid and did not use gloves when working with 74 red hot beauties.  The heat seeped underneath my nails.  I can no longer wash my hands without cringing.  Water on my hands feels hot.  Really hot.  I hope this goes away.

–  “We are The Neuropeptides!  Are you ready to rock, Seattle?!”

– Substance P could be a SuperVillian

– Substance P has no problem with pink plating

– Tasting and perfecting a brownie recipe is easier than tasting and perfecting a hot sauce recipe.

– I think a Neurokinin A sauce should follow for the heat impaired. A zesty fun sauce that can be friends with Substance P without taking it too far.

– Hey, this guy is good.