Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food Disaster Prevented.....with a Lemon

Last week I was making homemade Sloppy Joes for my family and my parents (which by the way are awesome with one of those meatloaf mixes of beef, veal, pork). It was a busy day and we needed something quick.  As usual, I was throwing ingredients in the pot regardless of any recipe. The last of the fresh parsley from my garden went in. It was green and it was fresh, so why not? Then, I opened my spice cupboard and reached for chile pepper powder with no preference in mind - either the cayenne pepper or ancho chile powder would have been fine.  I just wanted to add a little zip. Well, I was talking (with my hands, of course) and my hand slipped. A pinch of one of them became more like a few tablespoons. It happened so fast. Oops! I mixed it in anyway and sampled. Wowsy! Burning tongue! It was hot!  My first thought was that my father, my husband and my son were going to love it. With a big bun and a lot of shredded cheese, I could probably take the heat as well. But, my next thought was for my daughters and my mother. They'd never be able to eat this. Grace thinks pepperoni is spicy! What to do? I didn't have enough extra ingredients to increase the batch size around the chile powder. And, with Julia's diary allergies...the sour cream/milk route was not a viable solution. I recalled learning that acid cuts spice. I was skeptical but since I had a lemon on hand and didn't think it would hurt the flavor of my sloppy joes, I gave it try. A big squeeze of lemon went in the pot followed with a few good stirs. To my amazement it worked!  The heat was dramatically reduced. Everyone enjoyed the sloppy joes and a red alarm food emergency was avoided. I was so excited with my new found food weapon and all the various applications. I enthusiastically shared my experience with my husband, "We could try it with a lime at the Franklin Inn, if we ever accidentally make the salsa too spicy." My husband assured me that we could never make something too spicy at the restaurant. Someone would like it. (Hmm...I'll keep it in the tickler file in my brain anyway and remind him should the need arise.)  Do you know of a food super hero like my lemon that can save a meal from doom? Have you tried something that saved your meal from a food disaster? I'd love to hear about it.