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Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper Poppers

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper hors d’ouvres.  These meet all the qualifications of a great hors d’ouvre, starter, or appetizer.  They can be eaten with your hands in one or two small bites, they aren’t too messy and they are very good.  In fact, the spiciness stimulates the appetite.  Don’t worry too much about the heat of the pepper.  Capsaicin, the active chemical that causes the the “fire”, is reduced when cooked.

You’ve heard me talk about all the good food we eat when we visit our Alabama relatives.  Well, that inspired me to ask Brent if I could release his stuffed jalapeno pepper recipe to the world and he graciously said yes.

I’m going to have a separate post for Brent’s recipe, but in this blog I’m going to talk about the different variations and components you can use to create great poppers.

Methods

The Cut-

the peppers can be cut in a varitiey of ways.  I’m going to post some pictures below to show some of those great ideas from top cut, half cut, lengthwise cut, cut and capped, end cut to side sliced.

    

    

 

As you can see, there are also many ways to cook them and many things to stuff them with

Ways to cook –

After market devices like the holders shown in the pictures above allow the peppers to be grilled, baked and broiled.  You can also deep fry the little buggers, breaded or not. If your stuffing is just cheese all you have to do is cook the peppers until the cheese melts or gets crusty.  If you use meat, you should either partially precook the meat or cook the peppers until the meat is done.

Ways to stuff them-

Peppers can be stuffed with hard cheese, soft cheese, rice, sausage, quinoa or a mixture of any of those.  I sometimes cut cheddar cheese into long square pieces just large enough to push up into the bottom of a pepper when the end is cut off.  Brent cuts his peppers in half lengthwise then stuffs each half with a cream cheese mixture and finishes by wrapping them in bacon.

To wrap or not to wrap –

Many people like to add flavor and texture to the peppers by either coating them or wrapping them.  The most popular wrap is with bacon.  The coatings could be egg wash then dredged in  flour and bread crumbs or other things like grated hard cheese and cornmeal.

      

 

 

Precautions

When you are cleaning the peppers, ALWAYS, DID YOU READ THAT, ALWAYS, WEAR GLOVES.  You may not write to thank me if you follow my caution, but you will most definitely think of me if you don’t and then either rub your eyes or use the bathroom.  Don’t laugh, it is hard to explain that your “junk” is on fire and you need help putting it out because when you touch it with your pepper hands, it just gets worse.

 

Look for the recipes I’ll be posting in the near future, or better yet, please send me some of your own.  Thanks again to Brent for his inspiration and great recipe variation – Jughandle

 

 

 

Caveman Steaks on the Grill

Caveman steaks take us back.  The other day we talked about how our bodies haven’t evolved as fast as our technology in the blog about “A Reversal on Carbs“. Here is a chance to step back to our caveman roots and cook a steak directly on the coals. Please use hardwood charcoal, not charcoal briquettes.

This recipe comes from Men’sHealth section on Guy Gourmet – Eat to Live, Live to Eat.

The recipe says that by cooking directly on the coals you will create a crispier crust and juicier steak.  This recipe calls for T-bones, but any grillable cut of meat will do.  Try the hellfire hot sauce for an extra kick.

 

First, make the caveman steaks.

What you’ll need:
4 T-Bone steaks (each about 1 1/2 inches thick and 12 to 14 ounces)
Coarse salt and cracked black peppercorns

How to make it:
1. Build a charcoal fire and rake the coals* into an even layer (leave the front third of the grill coal-free). When the coals glow orange, fan them with a newspaper to blow off any loose ash.
2. Generously season the steaks on both sides with salt and cracked pepper. Place the steaks directly on the embers about 2 inches apart. Grill the steaks until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare, turning with tongs.
3. Using tongs, lift the steaks out of the fire, shaking each to dislodge any embers. Using a basting brush, brush off any loose ash and arrange the steaks on a platter. Cover the steaks loosely with aluminum foil and let them rest while you make the sauce.

Next, make the hellfire hot sauce. Don’t skip this. All you need is four ingredients and a cast iron skillet.

Hellfire Hot Sauce

What you’ll need:
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced crosswise
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¾ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

How to make it:
Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet directly on the embers, on the side of a gas grill, or on the stove. When the oil is hot, add the jalapenos, garlic, and cilantro. Cook the sauce over high heat until the jalapenos and garlic begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour the sauce over the steaks and serve. Serves 4 hungry people.

*Raichlen says: “To get the full effect, you must cook the steaks on a bed of charcoal or wood embers. If you don’t own a charcoal grill, you should. But if you’re firmly wedded to propane, you can achieve acceptable results by preheating your grill screaming hot before you put on the steaks.”

 Jughandle says- Not many things better than a grilled steak and you’ll be getting a good dose of protein too.  Try a grilled sweet potato as a side or grilled vegetables, you’ll love it.