Can't Stand the Heat? Don't Get Out of the Kitchen, Just Tame that Too-Spicy Dish

October 30, 2016

We’ve all had it happen to us: an overly-seasoned dish. Whether it’s due to being heavy-handed with the salt or adding one too many chiles, calls for a last-minute Hail Mary to save a dish regularly come up on the Hotline.

This week, Sauertea wanted to tone down the level of heat in Green Chile Pork, but wasn’t sure where to start. Trena Heinrich jumped in right away with multiple suggestions: first, cutting the cayenne pepper and next, removing not just the seeds of the peppers, but the pith as well. And then, if the dish is still too hot, for the next time, she suggests replacing half of the poblanos with bell peppers, as poblanos “can become quite hot due to environmental issues such as temperature and water during their growth cycle, despite the fact they are classified as a mild pepper.”

This in-depth response is a typical one from Trena Heinrich, who is a regular friendly presence on the Hotline, answering questions right and left and encouraging Food52ers along the way: “chin up, we’ve all been there." This month we could scarcely keep up with her helpful answers on everything from favorite appetizers to freezing foods (like burritos and breads) to using unripe squash, which is why she received this month’s Hotline MVP title.

It was hard to narrow it down, but here are a couple of our favorite responses from her this month:

I use pickled garlic as an addition to so many dishes. I like to chop it up and add it to black beans and rice. Drizzle the beans with excess vinegar in the jar for extra flavor. Tuna, chicken, and egg salad sandwiches taste great with a clove of pickled garlic. Add a chopped pickled garlic clove to your favorite bean dip recipe. I happen to love garlic so the possibilities are endless.

Years ago I became frustrated with the regularity with which I replaced small appliances like my programmable drip coffee maker. Since then I've switched to a very low-tech coffee press. If you go this route, I find that using an electric tea kettle helps speed up the coffee making process.

Congratulations to Trena Heinrich and thanks to everyone who participates over on the Hotline—the community wouldn’t be the same without you.

New here? To thank our members for their dedication to helping out their fellow cooks, every month we’ll choose a Food52er whose activity on the Hotline has caught our eye, and treat him or her to a $25 gift certificate to our Shop. Want to boost your kitchen karma? We’re looking for enthusiastic participation throughout the month that is helpful, thoughtful, and considerate.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • PHIL
  • inpatskitchen
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


PHIL November 2, 2016
Good job Trena!
inpatskitchen October 31, 2016
Congratulations Trena!!!