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Phrase: Endorphin rush
Definition: Feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress

Jane ButelChile, chili, and chilli . . . which is correct?

The word “chile” is derived from the Aztec language and refers to Capsicum peppers in Central America including Mexico, and in several parts of the southwestern United States.

The word “chili” is thought to be the anglicised form of “chile” and is now commonly use to describe pungent types of Capsicum peppers in the United States.

Similarly, the words “chilli” or “chillies” are used in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

Developing a chile habit is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself! What happens when one eats chiles is that the capsaicin within the chile fires one's endorphins in direct proportion to the heat, or Scoville units, within the chiles. Endorphins are what produce a sense of well-being or runner's high - a rather euphoric feeling.

Chiles are the primary food that one can eat to produce this rush! Chocolate excites the endorphins but not to nearly as great an extent. The other methods one can get an endorphin rush from are basically through physical activity such as sports, running, exercise, yoga and sex.

The benefit you receive from eating chiles coupled with a balanced diet and a moderate amount of exercise is that weight loss or at the least weight maintenance is assured. You will not be as hungry when you eat spicy food and will also eat less. I find all this truly fascinating.

Chiles also act to reduce stress, reduce facial wrinkles, increase heart health, assist with digestion and circulation and have been known to cure endless amounts of physical ailments. It is so much fun to study chiles. I highly suggest that you begin the chile-a-day habit and then come cook with us during our weekend or weeklong or online cooking schools.

To select chiles for cooking, if you are searching for milder chiles, always select ones that have broad shoulders and blunt tips - conversely, select chiles with pointed tips and narrow shoulders for hotter dishes. This is important because you can have up to thirty-five different piquancies on one plant at a time.

If you are sensitive to the "bite" of chiles - the stinging sensation that comes from touching them - always try to not touch the inside of the chiles when you are working with them, handling by the stem and touching the outside skin. If that seems impossible, wear rubber gloves or generously grease your fingers with any kind of shortening, even the spray on helps.

Now with the height of summer, it is the perfect time to enjoy green chiles. One of our most requested favorites is our Green Chile Chichen Enchilada recipe. These are wonderful made flat and made with freshly roasted green chiles . . . widely available now.

Chilis Chilis


This basic, yet versatile sauce without the chicken can be used to create enchiladas, or pour over chimichangas or burritos. Seafood, beef or beans can be substituted for the chicken.


1 Tablespoon butter or lard
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons flour
1 - 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup (or more) chopped green chiles
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground comino (cumin)


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Sauté the onion until soft.
  • Stir in the flour.
  • Add the broth.
  • Then add chiles, garlic, salt and comino.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes; then use for making enchiladas.

Makes 2 cups



In New Mexico, the favorite is flat enchiladas, as they have more sauce and less calories, due to not frying the tortillas, which is needed for rolled enchiladas.


8 to 12 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
1 recipe Green Chile Sauce (above)
3/4 cup 50/50 mixture of grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, or to taste
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream


Caribe, coarsely chopped Romaine and Red Leaf lettuce, tomato wedges


For Flat Enchiladas:

  • Place a spoonful of green chile sauce on the plate, then top with the tortillas followed by cheese, onion and more sauce.
  • Repeat once or twice more.
  • Top each enchilada with more sauce and cheese.
  • Heat in a moderate 350°F oven until the cheese melts.
  • Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a few grains of caribe.
  • Encircle each enchilada with Romaine lettuce first, topped with a few pieces of Red Leaf and tomato wedges at 12 o'clock, 3, 6 and 9 equidistant around the plate.

For Rolled Enchiladas:

  • In a skillet, lightly fry the tortillas in 1/2 inch of hot oil (or dip in chile water or just warm the tortillas).
  • Dip the lightly fried tortilla into the sauce and place a strip of each grated cheese and chopped onion down the center.
  • Roll and top with more sauce and cheese.
  • To serve a crowd, place the rolled enchiladas in a large, shallow baking dish, but do not cover with sauce.
  • Just before serving, heat in a moderate 350°F oven.
  • Warm the sauce separately and add just as you are ready to serve. Do not overcook or the enchiladas will be very mushy.
  • Top with additional cheese and reheat until it melts.
  • Add lettuce and tomato wedges around edges before serving.

Serves 4 to 6

Jane Butel

Chilis Chilis

This article and the recipes come from Jane Butel.

Jane Butel, the first to write about southwestern cooking, is an internationally recognized authority on the regional cooking of the American Southwest. In the late 1970s, following a successful career as one of America's top Consumer Affairs executives, she launched her southwestern writing, teaching, television, consulting, and spice business. Her South-western Cooking Schools in New Mexico and Arizona have garnered high recognition. Bon Appetit magazine selected it as one of the four best in the world and listed her hotel-based schools as the best in the United States and one of the world's top ten. She also conducts tours to Mexico and Spain. Pecos Valley Spice Co, a trusted source for chiles, spices, and other authentic southwestern ingredients, was founded in 1978. She continues to spice up America's favorite cuisine with the recipes from the rich culinary, cultural, and historical heritage of the Southwest. She has written seventeen cookbooks, including Hotter Than Hell: Hot and Spicy Dishes from Around the World.

Jane operates her own site-based Cooking Schools, which have been recognized far and wide for their quality of instruction. Jane's Cooking School specializes in week long and weekend full participation classes on New Mexican and Southwestern cooking - to find out more click here.

If you would like to know more about Janes' most recent book, Real Women Eat Chiles, then click here.

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