Saturday, October 7, 2006

Habaneros and Hospitality

I had an interesting evening yesterday which I simply must share with you all. (Warning: contains embarrassing glimpses into Janna's social phobia and 'inner-nerd').
First, though, I need to back up to last Tuesday (Oct 3) at ABC group. There were only three people there (a rarity, to have so few)-- me, Kyle, and Colleen. During the course of the evening, Kyle mentioned that Jason was having a party at his house on Friday. A slight moment of awkwardness ensued, as I realized I'd heard nothing about this party and had not been invited. I mean, Jason's a nice guy, and I highly doubt that I'd been dis-included on purpose, but still it felt odd.
Ok, now fast-forward to Thursday (Oct 5). I noticed Kyle had left me a message. He said that Friday's party would start around 5:00-6:00, and that Jason had said "The more, the merrier."
So I tried to decide if I should go. Y'know how in the cartoons, people have an angel on one shoulder (good-conscience, telling them to do good things) and a devil on the other (bad-conscience, encouraging bad behavior)? Well, here it was like I had a squirming nerd on one shoulder and a rational psychologist on the other...
Nerd: "Aw, don't go. Take a hint. It'll just be awkward, and there might be unfamiliar people there, and you'll never know for sure whether you were really invited or not...."
Psychologist: "For goodness sake, GO! Jason's a good guy and a gracious host; he'll certainly welcome you just the same as all the other guests. Besides, it's not like you have alternate plans, and this'll be GOOD for you. It's good to get out and meet new people now and then. I'll probably be fun. Now get out to the damn car and drive over there."
So I went.
And I ended up being glad I went!
Jason said he'd read my blog for the very first time that week, and he had a surprise for me. I watched as he went out to his backyard garden and brought back about six habanero peppers. (Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets are generally recognized as being the hottest peppers on the planet). He said he was going to make a batch of fresh pineapple-habanero salsa with these. And he did! I watched as he sliced the peppers and dropped them into hot oil along with whole cloves of garlic. A wonderfully acrid throat-burning smoke arose and crept around the room. My eyes watered a little, and I coughed. I sneezed twice, and my nose ran. It was almost a religious experience.
"This is gonna be some seriously GOOD stuff," I thought, getting more excited with every cough and sniffle.
And ohhhh, was it EVER good stuff. Good and hot. There's a nice sweetness to it, because of the pineapple, but then the delightful punch of heat knocks you over. Bravo.
Best of all, Jason surprised me by saying that this batch of salsa was MINE to take home! How nice!
And that wasn't the only culinary expertise being displayed. In addition to the fresh salsa, there was fresh tomato sauce being made from scratch, along with freshly-made pizza dough and fresh oregano & basil harvested from his herb garden. We were going to have homemade pizza-- cooked outdoors on the grill!! (Sounds like something Bobby Flay would do). Along with the pizza, (and also grilled,) we had hot Italian sausage and BBQ ribs. Wow. The guests were definitely well-fed and well taken-care-of. I'll say it again: I'm glad I went!
A few other tidbits about the evening:
1) One of the movies we watched was SuperTroopers, which is one of those "stupid on purpose" movies which require remarkably low expectations. If you like Beavis and Butthead, or the Police Academy movies, you'd probably like SuperTroopers. Anyway, while the final credits were rolling by, I noticed that the governor had been played by Lynda Carter!
"Oooh," I said, "I didn't recognize her!"
Kyle looked blank. "Who's Lynda Carter?" He asked.
"She played Wonder Woman!" I exclaimed.
And his continued blank expression made me realize in horror that he had no idea who that was. Oh my goodness. Am I really that old?
2) Either Jason has a ghost in his house, or he's got some pretty freaky electrical problems, or a sick sense of humor, or any combination thereof. While one of the guests (Jenelle?) and I were sitting in the TV room, the lights in the (empty) dining room began flashing on, off, on, off, on, off, on, off... Jenelle looked over at me and said "Um, is it just me, or are those lights flashing on and off?"
I said the lights really were flashing. Still not sure exactly why. There were only four people in the house at that time, and no one was in the dining room at all.
When we told Jason about it later, he got this weird look on his face and said "oh, shit."
I said "What??" ...and he didn't answer.
So who knows. Maybe there's a wiring problem, maybe there's a ghost, maybe he was just screwing with us somehow. (Jason, if you're reading this, feel free to explain!!)
3) So far, i've tried the habanero salsa on crackers, beef/cheese nachos, and a chicken sandwich. Yum. I'd also like to try it mixed with sweet & sour pork/chicken. Or shrimp! And I bet it would be good on Thanksgiving turkey.
Habanero peppers and Hospitality-- two things for which to be thankful.


Reel Fanatic said...

Don't worry .. you're not .. everyone should know about Wonder Woman! As for Super Troopers, I liked it enough to own it on DVD, but I'm definitely a fan of silly movies from time to time

Janna said...

Yes... silly can be good. Especially in a room where a whole bunch of people are talking all at once; it's nice to not have to pay rapt attention to any plot lines.

Anonymous said...

So I'm curious as to the "lights" situation. Did Jason ever reveal what was happening?

Janna said...

Nope, he hasn't "enlightened" me yet!

Anonymous said...

The "infamous" light situation. So... yeah... my dishwasher wasn't working. And neighbor Dave and I were in the basement flipping breaker switches. Sorry... no ghosts... though I do like that story better. :) Adds a bit more excitement, don't you think? :)

And, Janna, as to the invitation... You, my friend, are always welcome in my home... invited or not. You know I love ya!