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I did it. I took the plunge and purchased a box of Hatch chilies. The advantage of a whole box is that Smith’s will roast them for you. At least I thought that this would be an advantage.
It just happened to be 107 outside in Las Vegas when I decided to take the plunge into this gastronomic adventure, but undeterred by the heat, I carted home the treasure; a fragrant box of butter soft, black as coal, seeming benign,mass of chilies. I had no idea of what I was getting into next.
I began pulling them out of the heavy plastic bag into a bowl thus beginning the process of removing the blackened skin and opening them to take out the seeds. The idea was to end up by cutting them into small pieces for use in omelets, soups, adding them to any kind of Southwest dish that I might be making, or just wrapping a warmed, cooked chile around a slice of Monterey Jack cheese. A perfect appetizer!
Inexperienced, novice that I am with roasted Hatch chilies, I was not expecting my body’s reaction to this endeavor. My nose started to run. I began to cough, sneeze and feel a tingling sensation in my hands and fingers. I turned on the kitchen fan. I started up the garbage disposal thinking that running water over the chilies would aid in relieving my discomfort. I took a break from the cleaning and seed removal process. Now I’m stuffing the chilies into plastic bags straight from the box. Cooled, these will go into the freezer. Enough with the cleaning process!
Five freezer bags and three large containers of cleaned and chopped chilies later I am resting with my nose stuffed up and hands still tingling.
But this morning I put together a wonderful roasted Hatch chili and Cheddar cheese omelet. On the side I had fried mini-Yukon Gold potatoes and a watermelon smoothie. Awesome. (For my diabetes prevention folks or in the process of losing weight friends, I will eat half of this plate.) And I think I have enough Hatch chilies to last me a very long time. If anyone else wants any give me a call.
I’ve done some crazy things in my life and this surely makes the list. Bottom line- I now have great respect for those in the food industry who work with chilies. My hat is off to you.

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