jalapeno poppers

No $20 grill rack needed.I have a love affair with kitchen gadgets and doohickery. (Ironic I should say that after yesterday’s post, no? But it’s true.) I love tools that I can use to create yummy cakes and pies. And I especially love items that I can use for a myriad of things: like my panini press. It does not just press paninis, it also grills meat and vegetables, and is a godsend in a small apartment when you don’t have an actual grill. So the other day, I was browsing the new items at Sur la Table, just because it’s fun to look, when I came across this: a grill rack for jalapeno poppers. Oh, and corer. For 20 bucks. Now, forgive me, but WHO needs a $20 grill rack for jalapeno poppers?! Does it stuff them for you too? No. Does it do the dishes for you afterward? No. It’s just gonna take up space until the once or twice a year you pull it out from the very back of the cabinet, behind the sort-of broken coffee pot, and under that dish you don’t really like, to make poppers. I have a grill rack for jalapeno poppers. It’s called a muffin tin. That serves a dual function of making muffins like my pumpkin muffins filled with cream cheese. Oh, right, and the corer. I have a corer too. It’s called a paring knife (a.k.a. “the little pointy one”).

All mustered up with self-righteous indignation, I, who have never before in my life made jalapeno poppers, set out to prove it. Well, or I just started daydreaming about jalapeno poppers and then had to make them to satisfy my craving.

Here’s what you need:
I {think} I might actually have all the ingredients in here. Knock on wood.For the stuffing: whipped cream cheese, garlic powder, lime juice, cheddar cheese, tomato, and onion. Jalapenos. Bacon to wrap and cilantro garnish optional. (Ok the bacon’s not really optional. I just like to try to accommodate my vegetarian friends.)

For about 10 poppers, I used:
10 jalapenos
2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
a dash of garlic powder
a few splashes of lime juice
about 1/3 lb. cheddar cheese
1/2 a tomato
a few slices of onion
2-3 sprigs of cilantro
5 slices of bacon

I should specify: I used Weight Watchers whipped cream cheese. It’s not nearly as fat as regular, but it still tastes really good (not like fat-free philly…bleah). And whipped cream cheese is easier to mix and spread.

Oh yeah. And be very sure to get jalapenos. Not the extra-large serranos that are lurking surreptitiously right next to the jalapenos, ready to attack the unsuspecting customer. You know, unless you like pain. Me? I choose life.

Here’s what you do:
Don't forget to wash your hands.1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops off of the jalapenos, and with a small knife, scrape out the seeds from the inside. Be very careful doing this. Don’t be in a rush or you could accidentally cut yourself. And cut plus chili seeds plus lime juice = no bueno. Not that I would know from personal experience or anything. Also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap afterward because the oils from the chillies transfer everywhere and 5 hours later you could rub your eye and then get a mighty burn in your eyeball and then you’ll run around and curse down the house crying. Again, not that I would know from experience. Just sayin’.

So when you’ve done them all, they should look like this:
so I left some seeds in there...oh well.And look! What’s that? It’s a muffin tin!

2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, garlic powder, and lime juice. Go ahead, give it a taste. You know you want to. I know it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough for the peppers, but I chose pretty darn large peppers, and it was just enough for them. With a butter knife, take a small dab of the cream cheese mix and put it into the peppers until each of them has some of the cream cheese.

If you want, you could take evil hot chili powder from hell:
Ooh that stuff is hot!and sprinkle it into one of the poppers for a *surprise* popper. And then subtly arrange it later so it ends up where your husband will be the one to eat it and find the surprise. Not that I would ever do such a thing. {evil grin} Just don’t make it TOO hot. Because what goes in must come out.

Fire in the hole!

Just sayin’.

Then, cut the cheddar cheese into little sticks and stuff the sticks into the peppers too. Cut the bacon slices in half, cross-wise. Wrap the peppers with the bacon pieces and use a toothpick to hold it together. So they should look like this:
Don't forget to wash your hands!See how the muffin tin keeps them elevated so the stuffing doesn’t run out? Uh huh, tha’s right.

3. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. The bacon should be cooked and the peppers turn soft and a duller shade of green. But while the peppers are baking, you can chop up the tomato and onion, mix in a tiny smidge of garlic powder, lime juice, and cilantro to make a mini pico de gallo.

4. When the peppers are done baking, let them cool for a few minutes. Then stuff a tiny bit of the pico de gallo into them. Serve fresh with cilantro garnish.

Oh, and look! No $20 grill rack needed. (Plus some of the cheese oozes out onto the muffin tin and then you have crispy baked cheese. No one will know if you scrape that up and snack on it.)

I tried to come up with a literary name to call these little guys, but I’m unfortunately just not up on my Chicano Studies literature. And everything I could think of along those veins just sounded more like a racial slur. The best I could come up with was calling it “Cheesy Popper and the Half-Baked Pig”, with a hat tip to my favorite book of all time. {smirk} Buuuut, I didn’t. You’re welcome. So they’re just plain ol’ “jalapeno poppers”.

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3 thoughts on “jalapeno poppers

  1. These look so good! I've never had jalapeno poppers with bacon round them and I've never made them myself either! I'll add this to my list of things to try – although I need to find somewhere I can buy fresh jalapenos, not sure where I'll get them from.

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