Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stuffed Jalapenos!

Woo hoo! My jalapeno plant is giving forth an abundance of fruit in a delicious and very spicy sort of way. This is a great surprise, as most my hot peppers of the past have been small and not so spicy. These guys are big, big enough to stuff, and very flavorful as well as hot.

I've been making a lot of salads these days. I eat them as a main course rather than a meager side dish, but it's fun to spruce them up with their own side of something exotic. Last night i made a mexican themed salad with a side of stuffed jalapenos wrapped in turkey bacon. It was too delicious, so i'm making it again tonight.

The salad could be any combo of lettuces and veggies you like - i used:
  • half large head Romaine
  • half cucumber diced
  • 3 small yellow bells from the garden, diced
  • about 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • about 1/2 cup canned black beans
  • one carrot, chopped
  • handful black olives, chopped
  • few leaves of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 or a whole avocado, diced (avocado dicing tutorial to follow)
  • didn't use, but would be great with: jicama, black eyed peas, shredded cheddar cheese, etc
Toss with some cumin, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Serve with some fresh salsa spooned on top. Perfectly delicious, with a complete protein and low cal. Serves two as a main course, 4 as a side salad. The avocados add a really nice feeling of oily satisfaction, but are better for you than most salad dressing oils.

The Jalapenos:

To be fair, I usually stuff my jalapenos with things like refried beans, fat free cheese, healthier stuff. But i sent the husband to the store and ended up with cream cheese - which is delicious, just a bit more decadent.

(this stuffed last night: 4 decent sized jalapenos, plus one large Giant Marconi bell/ tonight: 2 jalapenos, 3 small poblanos, and 1 small marconi - would probably be enough to stuff about 6 regular sized jalapenos (about 3 inches long or so)
  • Jalapenos (also works with small poblanos, or just about any thick walled bell pepper, preferable slender in shape)
  • about 4 oz. light cream cheese (half a small tub)
  • half can of black beans, drained
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • several dashes cumin
  • salt
  • finely chopped cilantro - about 1/2 tablespoon
  • Turkey bacon
Mush filling ingredients together until well blended. This filling is great when it's super garlicy, so don't skimp on the garlic! Put on some thin rubber gloves (trust me) and carefully cut the top end off of each jalapeno, cutting out the seeds and membrane and knocking out any remaining seeds. Do this carefully so that you don't pierce the walls of the pepper - you can leave some membrane/seeds in, but watch out: if you're peppers are as hot as mine, you'll want to be conservative. The heat is in those seeds and membrane - so use your judgement and leave as little or as much in as you want to risk. Stuff each pepper with the filling with a skinny spoon, filling the cavity.

Now that your peppers are filled, preheat your oven (i again used the toaster oven on the convection setting) to 375 (convection) or 400 (regular). Now take a strip of turkey bacon per pepper, sometimes you can use only a half strip depending on the girth of your peppers. Wrap the bacon around the pepper and secure the ends by piercing a toothpick through.
Note: you can also prepare these on a grill, it's super delicious - just keep an eye on them and turn as needed.

Alternative wrapping - holds the filling in better.
Set your peppers out on a cookie sheet and heat til bacon is cooked to your liking and peppers are softening. It's okay if the peppers blister in places. I also flipped the peppers once every 5 or so minutes to get good crispness on all sides, about 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy! And keep a glass of water (or some dairy product) handy!

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