This meal was like a big plate of autumn. Which is good, because until it all came together, I was worried it might be a big plate of fail. Sometimes my culinary instincts aren't right on point, and I ignore the cautionary voice in my head and power through anyway. (This mostly affects my baking, resulting in lumpy icing and dry bread, which I never know how to rescue.)
If you like spicy, I mean really really like really spicy... then you'll love the Naga (or bhut) jolokia- sometimes called the ghost pepper. It is unrivaled in Scoville units (nearly 1 million, which is 2-3 times a habanero's level) AND has great flavor. In both sauces and fresh (on pizza, sandwiches, etc.) it gives a slowly warming heat, with a bright flavor. I could probably describe the flavor better if I had a chance to focus on it- usually I'm marveling at how my face sweats when I so much as look in its direction. In fact, I think I'm starting to sweat just thinking about the pepper....
Okay, I know what you're thinking. This is not only a really boring, but quite possibly icky-tasting idea. This is one of those meals that I love having for dinner, but that E (and probably a lot of other people) considers just a side. I am not the biggest turnip fan, but I think adding a little garlic and crunchy pecans into the mix fixes what can sometimes be a kind of watery, why-isn't-this-as-tasty-as-other-root-vegetables kind of dish. By the way, I'd love an alternative method for cooking turnips. I have no idea what else to do with them, so if you have ideas, please share!
In the summer of 2009, The Boog systematically destroyed my hopes for a crop of home-grown vegetables and herbs by digging up whatever I planted. Had I planted a shoe-tree or a bacon-bush, she no doubt would have pitched in with the watering and weeding. Seeing no real benefit for herself by allowing Green Intruders to occupy what were otherwise perfectly decent Digging Spots and Future Mud Holes, Boog promptly removed the gorgeous basil, peppers, and tomatoes I had managed to nurse into adulthood. Mind you, I was the idiot who figured that we might as well start a garden in the spot Boog dug up, because there was already a hole. It wasn't "a" hole, it was "Boog's hole," and she was not interested in sharing.
Unlike our dogs, E and I are easily trained. We learned that if we were going to grow anything, it would have to be well-protected from our nefarious beasts. Thus the construction of a simple chicken-wire fence around our garden last spring, and an ensuing feeling that we were officially Gardeners. I mean, it's nothing to go bragging about, being the result of 4th-grade-level engineering and $20 worth of supplies from the hardware store. But it did its job...for 4 months.