Even though we have a small garden we seem to be overwhelmed at harvest time. What we want is the exact amount of basil called for in the recipe I’m making, not a basil bush that will bolt and turn brown at the fall breeze.
In the spirit of overwhelming fresh produce (I know, what could be worse?) I’m going to post a few of my favorite recipes using produce from the garden. The first, I suppose, was the salsa verde recipe. We planted tomatillos, cilantro and jalapeno in hopes of making homemade, homegrown salsa, but our cilantro bolted and died and we’re still waiting on the tomatillos.
But the jalapenos? Oh, we have buckets of jalapenos; we have four jalapeno plants. I think one plant would produce enough peppers for an entire neighborhood, but last year I had a ton of jalapenos and stumbled upon a recipe for jalapeno poppers. We liked it so much I decided to grow a jalapeno farm again.
My popper recipe is adapted from this one from Kraft Foods. Their recipe also looks amazing, but I made a few changes.
Every popper recipe starts out the same way: with a great big pile of jalapenos.
I had about 26 for this batch, but the more the merrier.
Next, shred 8 oz. cheese and combine with 4 oz. cream cheese.
(This is Tom’s least favorite part. He hates cream cheese so I have to keep quiet about it until he after he falls in love with the final result.)
I used less than 8 oz. of cheddar because I only had 26 peppers. If I had more I would have used it all. You sort of have to guess and add cheese as you go. I know, terrible recipe. My husband would never write a recipe that said, “Just keep checking it until it looks good.” Or, “I don’t know, just add as much as you want.” His recipes would inclue exact measurements of time and ingredients.
He’d also never write a recipe that included cream cheese.
Speaking of cream cheese, mix the cheeses with a fork. It’s pretty easy, but it helps if the cream cheese is already soft.
Next, put on a pair of gloves. Pepper safety is very important. I never practiced pepper safety until I had a baby and imagined accidentally getting pepper juice in his sweet baby eyes or nose or whatever. Nowadays I wear gloves anytime I slice peppers.
WHOA! Is that a picture of me wrestling a jalapeno with my bare hands? You may remove gloves for photo-ops.
I slice the tops off the peppers and make a long vertical cut down the base. If you don’t want super hot peppers remove the veins and seeds. If you don’t understand the term “too hot” and also don’t like the work that removing the veins involves, leave them in.
As you can see, I overstuff my peppers. Why use a little cheese when you can use a lot of cheese?
Next, dust the peppers with flour and roll them around a little. If you’re industrious you can individually dip each pepper in flour and roll them around. But if this recipe is starting to feel tedious and your hands are sweating in the gloves, just dust them with flour and get on with it.
Now’s a good time to set up a pepper preparation station. Crack and beat one egg in a bowl. In a second bowl pour some Panko.
Dip the peppers in the egg, roll them in the Panko and your poppers are ready.
Stash the peppers in a the fridge for a few minutes to let them set.
Now the next step is very important. Maybe the most important step besides wearing gloves.
The next step is: ask your dad to fry the poppers in his FryDaddy.
That’s what I did anyway.
I’ve done these before on my stove in an inch or so of hot oil and they were delicious. However, asking your dad to do it in his FryDaddy is much easier.
Dad popped them in the oil for 5-6 minutes, until they were golden brown.
You’ll know they’re done because the breading is golden delicious and the cheese is gooey.
Another sign is that everyone will try to sneak one before they cool.
Or maybe that’s just my family.
A plate of jalapeno poppers: fresh from the garden to the fryer to the plate.
And then after they’re done, just go back to the garden and will more jalapenos to hurry up and grow already.
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten
1-2 cups Panko
2 cups oil
Prepare jalapenos by washing, removing stems, and slicing lengthwise. Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands from pepper juices. Next, prepare and mix cheeses. Stuff each jalapeno with the cheese mixture.
Dust prepared jalapenos with flour to coat. Next, dip jalapenos in eggs, then roll in Panko to coat.
Refrigerate jalapenos while heating oil in a medium pan to 375 degrees (or use a fryer). Add peppers in small batches. Cook 3-6 minutes, until golden brown. Place on paper towels to cool.