How would you tell someone who wants to try a hot pepper [and who may not be very experienced with hot foods] to try it?
Obviously, he can't just go and take a bite. I wouldn't want someone to try it in a complete recipe and then find it too hot and have to throw the whole thing out.
Would you suggest he just put a measured amount [how much?] in 1/4 cup of olive oil, heat it, and then pour it over a small salad, adding vinegar and straining out the actual pepper?
I would suggest cooking with meat. Try chunking up one chicken breast, brown in skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. As it's browing, season with garlic salt and a little black pepper. Put one or two whole peppers in to brown with the chicken. This will release some of the pepper's oils, but not introduce the seeds and the white flesh inside the peppers (these are the two hottest parts of the pepper). Once chicken is cooked through, add vegetables of your choice for one serving. I usually hit the frozen vegetable aisle at the grocery store and pick up a bag of stir fry vegetables. A third of a bag is plenty for one person. Put a lid on the skillet and let the steam cook the vegatables for about 5 minutes. It's a one serving dish - if they don't like it, there's not much wasted. And if they're brave, they can take a tiny bite off the tip of the pepper to see how much they can handle.
If I were serving appetizers that included VERY hot peppers, I would tell everyone that certain appetizers are for the brave of heart. People who do NOT enjoy HOOOOTTT peppers will prefer knowing which appetizers have a lot of heat so they can avoid them. I think there are certain people who like trying hot flavors and their are folks who DO NOT like hot flavors and you can never convince those people to enjoy HOT peppers. Your best bet to encourage folks to try hotter peppers is to acclimate them slowly, using other flavors to offset your hot peppers with other milder flavors. For example, try making 2 different salsa's... one can be hot and the other mild to help people build a tolerance in trying other pepper types. Good luck and have fun!!!
Cooking can take some of the heat out. If you flame roast the peppers and remove the burned skin as well as the seeds and ribs, it can make them milder, but a hot pepper is still a hot pepper.
If serrano or jalapeno peppers are too hot for you, try poblano.
I loved horseradish as a boy (still do), but could not tolerate hot peppers. Gradually began by adding some hot sauce to various dishes - now grow jalapeno and chili pequin. But usually deseed the jalapenos, and use very few pequins in a soup or stew. I want the flavor and some heat - not all heat.
Also have every Tabasco sauce available in the kitchen.
A friend gave be a hot sauce that is so hot we use very few drops in our Red Beer only - I probably have a lifetime supply in that one tiny bottle.