Monday, January 19, 2009

But is it the right Peppers for your Salsa?

Last summer I was walking through our local produce goods store/cheese counter/grocery store/greenhouse (It's not a chain -- a local place called Horrocks in Lansing -- take the Saginaw Highway Exit towards Lansing and it's right there. Great store!) and saw they had all sorts of Michigan Hot Peppers for sale -- Banana Peppers, Tomatillos, Jalapeno, Habanero, Red Mild & Chili Peppers as well as Green, Red, and Yellow Bell Peppers. Since fresh tomatoes were in abundance, along with several types of Onions and Carrots, I decided to make a nice big batch of fresh Salsa.

What I wasn't counting on is the fact that certain peppers, when mixed with certain other ingredients I put together, intensifies the heat. Instead of one Habanero, I put in three. Same with the others. I figured it would be great -- heavy on different types of peppers (please note, this was my first time experimenting with my Mother-in-Law's Salsa Recipe. By the end of the summer, I had it down pretty well.)

End result? It tasted great!

For all of about half a second. That is when your tongue would either blister or just plain spontaneously combust. I swear it took half a gallon of milk to start calming it down -- I tried chewing on ice and it just made it worse (like an idiot, I had taken a great big chip and stuffed the whole thing in at once. Note to self: Taste test Salsa in small quantities. Also, in further research water spreads the hot juices around rather than neutralizing them.) I ended up swishing milk in my mouth slowly, just kinda holding it there until it no longer felt cool and the burn returned, and then repeated. I was able to salvage the batch of Salsa by putting in an extra 5 batches worth of tomatoes. Lots of great Salsa, lots of lessons learned.

Regular readers of this blog will remember how, as the season progressed, I compared putting together a football team to cooking. You don't just need to know what you want as the end result (Salsa) but how each ingredient you have available can be put together in the right quantities, in the right order, to get the end result you are looking for. It is not a science, but rather, a process dictated by sight, sense, and some higher knowledge that can only be called intuition at best, wild guesses at worst.

In football, the human elements and injuries add all sorts of wrinkles cooks never have to deal with. When is the last time my Habanero had a knee injury that kept him out of the mix? That my Bell Pepper stole the Banana Pepper's luggage and had to be booted out of the kitchen? That my Tamatillo got in trouble at the night club and ended up in Jail? That my Yellow Onions demanded a new contract or they were going to leave for my neighbor's salsa because the recipe I'm using doesn't accentuate their flavor enough? That I had to go with less tomatoes as a base because I couldn't fit them into the bowl, and the kitchen dictated that I had no more bowl space because I used it up on that exotic purple onion? That my Jalapenos lacked work ethic after they were added in and just didn't have that spice I expected? (Okay, that has happened, but it taught me not to shop around for old discount peppers past their prime.)

I'm sure you all are catching the point here. It's not that I don't like peppers, but you need the right kinds in the types and quantities you need to make your Salsa come out great. Right now, I just don't think the Lions' Salsa needs Julius Peppers.


Ty said...

First of all, Horrock's is the bomb, and I shop there all the time for fresh produce. One of the best beer selections on the planet, too (check out the Aventinius Wiesse Doppelbock, my #1 brew)!

First of all, let's get this out of the way: Julius Peppers is a freaking beast, and I maintain that not getting the opportunity to draft him instead of Harrington was the critical failure where it all went irretrivably wrong. Further, I do believe that a monster edge rusher is the quickest 'fix' you can apply to a defense. Add 15-sack guy, whole defense gets way better immediately.

Still, I concur with your conclusion. The 2008 Lions defense was one of the statistically worst defenses ever assembled, and rushing the passer was the only thing they managed to be even mediocre at. Adding Peppers (and possibly watching him pull a Woody--no, no, I mean sit on his fat butt and count his money like Damien Woody) would do nothing to help the dire run defense, the brutal non-Bodden corners, or add an average of 18 pounds of muscle to every linebacker on the roster. Peppers could do for an average defense what Jared Allen has done for Minnesota, but here he'd just dog it and get double-teamed. Look for Peppers to land with the Jets, where they have a 3-4, Rex Ryan, money to burn, and a big inferiority complex.

RIP said...

lmao with this post. Especially after the "For all of about half a second. That is when your tongue would either blister or just plain spontaneously combust" comment.
Wayne Fontes, even after loosing Andolsek and Utley the same season, tried to get that right combination of a front four on defense.
I agree that we do not need Peppers, unless N.C. would only take our first pick off our board. He is the only worthy first pick for the money that I have seen so far. Then again it is still early in the process before the draft.
If we add the 'salsa properly' this If Season, which I believe we can, this next season should be entertaining.
This next season may be more like the 90's bend but don't break defense (without the T-2 label). It will be headed in the right direction where the presser on QB is not created most the time with a blitz included.
The same with the offense. With the right FA quaterback (game manager with right TD-TO ratio), still improving line play, and a new second receiver, we could be competitive this year.
It will also come done to the leadership on the new OC, and DC that we hire. This is I am most intested in right now.
Also heard that the only players worthy of the first pick may be Harvey, or Crabtree. Lets hope not.

RIP said...

Hey Ty,
Enjoyed your blogs. Good stuff which also was a good read.
Cluster Fox. Good find in another true fan.

Anonymous said...

You forgot my two favorites. The bell pepper that went through the drive thru naked, showing off his stem and the really big, fat tomato who went into the shredder and tried grabbing (allegedly) the bell pepper before spilling his seeds on the floor.

Ty, this train wreck started long before Joey Harrington was selected. This newest train wreck started when the Moustached Monkey actually started believing some of the things he was saying during pre-game analysis and then sold it to a comatose old geezer while changing his Depends undergarments.

It was then perpetuated by the fleecing of several number one draft picks that were "Mel Kiper shoo-ins". The court of public opinion is an oar, when you have no motor for direction.

Killer wrote a great article a few weeks ago about at no time did he ever feel that Marinelli had a chance to "outhink or outwit" his opponent. I've erbally said the same thing several times about no trick plays, fake field goals, or anything for the past three years. Which brings me to my last point.

WE NEED CHEERLEADERS. No baton girls. No fat guy singing the Lions on to Victory. Lionesses. With little furry tails.


Isphet said...

total non-sequitur but this is an interesting article on Mayhew which someone posted the link to on Mlive.

Anyways, I totally agree on the Peppers thing. Would he be awesome to have? of course. Is he going to cost way too much for a team to get? Yep. Especially if he gets slapped with the franchise tag.

If the Lions think they need a guy like Peppers to make the defense better; wouldn't it make more sense to try and draft that guy with the first pick instead of taking a chance on Peppers and hoping that he has a few good years left in him?

I wouldn't call Peppers any less risky of a pick up than a #1 draft pick; maybe even more risky. If the dude doesn't want to be on Carolina's team; what is he looking for, exactly? Because the grass ain't any greener in any other teams' lawns, dude.

Mark said...

Peppers will not be a Lion he wants a winner and a super bowl ring. Jets, Cowboys, Steelers and two other teams come to mind. Peppers is not old at 29 just look at Kearse at 34 still going strong. As was said before the Lions are going young and not going after big name free agents due to the favt Mayhew said that why are they availble what issues do they have. I agree with someone forgot name that we need hungry players and not ones after a pay check.

Go lions.

Where in Mich are you guys from I was born and raise in Romeo but moved out to AZ back in 1996.

DetFan1979 said...

I'm in Lansing, Mark. sounds like you are too, Ty.

I agree Peppers is one hot tomale on the field. No doubts about it -- 14 sacks this year. But I disagree that he wants to go to a "contender" --

Carolina was Jake Delhome's worst game of his life away from being in the NFC championship game. They have a solid defense, and a solid ball control offense that is still capable of putting up points.

He wants two things:

Money and More BIG Stats -- IE sacks

He wants to the sack leader and rack up more stats for his "legacy"

I don't think he fits the Lions because they do not need that one extra flavor to push them over the top. They are still looking for the tomatoes, much less the exotic purple onions.

So while he may be a great player, he would not be a fit for the Salsa Schwartz is making.

LOL Nubs -- nice additions

Anonymous said...

LF79, Love the site, first time post. Thought I'd weigh in on this one.

Anytime you have young squad and are looking to build from the draft, at some point you need to bring in a player/motivator. A successful veteran that a coach can trust to instill confidence on the field and to teach them how to get the most out of practice. After all, it's the players on the field during those critical plays that effect the outcome of the game. No matter how much talent the rookies have, they need "that guy" talking them up. Redding has the experience, his "mean angry face look", but not the pedigree.

I couldn't tell you if Peppers is "that guy" or not. "That guy" has to have leadership qualities and patience working with rooks. Peppers has expressed his desire to leave his current team to expand his football knowledge.

Peppers could be their Ray Lewis. It would be prudent for Mayhew to research and find "this guy". Peppers price may be well worth it.

BTW, Horrock's rocks. Try their homemade salsa!


detroitsims said...

Good article, you never disappoint DetFan1979!!! Havent had a chance to do alot, been out of town. My wife's dad passed last Tuesday and we had to go to New Mexico and take care of all of his stuff. The man didnt write a will! She os the the only relative he had left besides her X-Step-Mom. It didnt go too bad but, we had some issues with her! Anyways, I wanted to say I am sorry to her about your daughter Cheif. It gave me chills just readin it! No parent should have to bury their child. Hang in there, my thoughts are with you!

I am from Coldwater, MI

Anonymous said...


My condolences. I had to go back and catch all that, and am sorry for your loss big guy.

I have lived in all parts of the state (except western U.P.) and currently live in Harbor Springs.

Horrck's rocks. My brother went to MSU, and the beer selection is AWESOME. When the economy gets better, we need to open a brew pub/steak house in Petoskey.

The point about the veteran free agent is a very good one. I am sure that you would all love to point to the Green Bay Packers and show that the addition of Sir Reggie White was a terrific addition that pushed the Pack over the top en route to a Super Bowl and that point is well taken.

But Rod Marinelli brought in Terrence Trent D'arby and Brian Kelly to help season a defense with mentors. It didn't work out so well. That's why the second post about making sure the "guy" is the right "guy" is SO IMPORTANT.

I also do not know if Julius (or Albert) would be the right guy. I would think that due to Scwartz playing/coaching with Haynesworth, we will find out quickly in free agency if he is the guy. Haynesworth is quite a bit younger than Peppers, and with the emergence of Avril in the last half of the season, I think run-stuff is the more needed commodity within the Lions D-line. Time will tell.

Ty said...

nubs: great call on the little furry tails. I was dying laughing on that one! I realize that the Harrington wasn't "where it started going wrong", I just mean that if we'd gotten Peppers instead of Harrington, it wouldn't have gotten nearly so bad, nearly so fast. Also, parting some of the Petoskey/Charlevoix folks from their money with a premium steakhouse/brew pub is a FANTASTIC idea.

RIP: thanks for the props man; I hope you keep reading!

DF79: I actually live in Holt, which is obviously in the Lansing area. Oh, and thanks for adding my site to your links! One request, though, could you label the link "The Lions in Winter"? While I'm not actively trying to hide my real name, I'm also not trying to brand my site with it.

CHIEFGER139 said...

thanks all
funny you mention horrocks
family was in town from gr and we went to mindys funeral showing-the night before the funeral-funeral was tuesday afternoon-they wanted to get flowers and I took them to horrocks-nearby and still open-her mother got a dosen roses-baby breath, and even had a bow made up and a vase for under 20 bucks-we just bought 2 roses with the mother daughter ribbons on them to put on mindys casket and it cost more-the rest of the family was able to pick up nice plants at a discount too!! been usin horrocks for funerals ever since my dad told me about them about 3 years ago-to top it off after telling them about the loss of mindy they gave all 7 of us free popcorn to boot-someone said they give out free popcorn all the time-we were all hungry from all the running around and it helped tithe us over till we got home from battle creek-about a 30 mile trip,.I say no to peppers too-or any other high priced guy-bite the bullet and stay young-no one over 30 period!! rebuild right this time-no magic in a bottle-and I want to live to see us in the superbowl someday-im only 49-50 in april but now i know it dont matter what your age-each day is a gift from god-enjoy it while you can-signed the wize chief!!

Isphet said...

The Lions signed Gunther Cunningham to be the D coordinator. Looking forward to reading what you guys think of the move; and I'll add my 2 cents when the discussion comes up, as always.

I'm in Grand Rapids. I love the city, but it looks like I won't get to stay here. I've been looking for a job in West Michigan and haven't been able to find one; so I began looking elsewhere about 2 weeks ago. I have an interview for my dream job in Lexington, KY early next week; wish me luck!

If I do end up moving out of state, luckily I have Mlive and here and can pick up the NFL network to continue to follow the Lions. If I live in Lexington, I'm pretty sure people there root for the Bungles; which I don't think I could do.

Oh yeah, I'm in total agreement about the cheerleaders. I want to see more fluffy tails. *Homer Simpson voice* MMmmmm. Fluffy tails.

CHIEFGER139 said...

so sorry to hear from your condition-
is it from already losin your job or just the fear you may lose it anyhow?? we all want to know!! if its your dream job-we all you wish you the most of luck ever-and im sure i speak for all of us we truelly do!! some things are scary and we dont know what to do-me i always wanted to live on the lake costs to much i know-but once i became chief engineer-aka the chief-went for it tellin the wife even if i lost my job even if it was for a year or two-fullfilled my life dream-my dad wouldnt take the leap of faith and do the same thing but we did-9 years later like you im in fear of losin my job too even after 26 years of faithful service-cum-laude job from wmu-etc-turning 50 this year-but at least i took the plunge and enjoyed it thoughly-even with the loss of my daughter-she loved the water and was a fish-she enjoyed it too-even though here almost loss my wife to an affair-got a felony for goin after the guy-spent time in jail now lost my daughter-one horror after another-but yet so glad i took that leap of faith-accomplinshied my dream-even though dreams arent as rosy as you hope i did it all-one lost soul once told me at the young age of 19 he did everything he ever wanted and he was a scoundrel-in prison now as far as i know-yet told me he acomplished all he wanted to do in life at that young life and was ready to meet his maker-despite all my screw ups-i think this weeks episode tells me the same-ive finally did all in more than i could ever expect-and if god takes me tommorow so be it-i guess my message to you is- if this is your life time dream-and yes its a big time risk-go for it-and tell your wife like i did mine-cause its the truth-sure we may lose it all but we did it we had it all my lifes dreams if only for a moment-we had it all!! you wont be sorry-cause believe me doesnt matter if you live in apartment with your mom etc-you can lose it all there too!! god still loves us and wants us to have the best-i know he does-if you can do this without cheating others do it!! signed the wize chief!!

ClusterFox said...

Terribly sorry about your loss, got 3 little ones, can't imagine. Truly appreciate the wise words of the Chief.
Did I detect a WMU in there. Born and currently live in Grand Blanc, aside from a 4 year stint in KZoo at Western. Haven't visited Horrock's but If you haven't tried some of Bell's brews from Kzoo, I can vouch for them.
You know how I feel about the Peppers deal, but I like bringing in the experience and comfortability of Cunningham for Schwartz.Even if he is past his prime it eliminates some of the variables that Schwartz has to attend to in his role.

One thing that erks me. I just read at mlive some one saying Cunningham sucked. They made the comment "that was just a mediocre coach, coaching talented players."refering to his early KC years
It lead me to this question to ponder. When has any coach(O or D) ever gotten credit for coaching poor players into winning situations?

Always confused by the masses,

Mark said...

Hi Guy's never been to Horricks next time I'm in the state I'll swing by. I have family in Grand rapids they work for the Griffins.

I'm in Benson just outside Tucson Az. the net is a great way to stay in touch with the sports you love.

I read that too about Cunningham sucks and the Cheif's D sucked like he traded away Jarred Allen. Went he was the LB's coach in Tenn the LB's rocked. He's always been a great D man.

Who's next for OC?

Go Lions Go Wings

Anonymous said...

CUNNINGHAM- Good article in MLIVE (I think that's where I read it) about Cunningham. Sounds like he was forced to play cover 2 for Herm, and not what he likes to do. It stated that personally Cunningham likes to dial up some heat, and the man sounds like he has some thumpin' in his voice. The article made Cunningham sound a little "off bubble" and that he gets a little excited and intense.