I haven’t blogged in a week. Sorry, but my fingers needed a vacation. And Suzi and I did vacation to the hilt. We entertained or were entertained four nights. Even when being entertained, we still brought bread or dessert or drinks or all of the above. We biked on the Erie Canal and the Farmington River, and we hiked in the Berkshire Mountains.

We kinda need a vacation from our vacation.

We were busy, so when we cooked for ourselves, we made it simple and intense in flavors. We made poppers.

I mean that: poppers. Plural, as in multiple types. Why make just one flavor of popper when you can load up with two or more? Here you’ll find two very contrasting popper ideas. One is high in cheese heat and dotted with bacon for added flavor. The other is smoothly soft, using Boursin cheese, and letting the jalapeno itself provide the punch.

You can use these recipes as a template, switching in alternative cheeses and toppings.

As for prepping the jalapenos themselves, you’ll find ideas ranging from the simple — used here — to the more complex, like boiling the peppers before stuffing them. Suzi actually likes that boiling approach. I’m more of a slice-and-stuff guy.

I have two fillings here. Use half the peppers for one, the other half for the other.


Two Popper Ideas

Yield: 48 jalapeno halves, enough for perhaps 6-8 people

Ingredients:

For the jalapenos:

  • 24 medium fresh jalapenos

For an intense filling:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 ounces hot habanero cheddar cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 crumbled strips of bacon

For the smooth filling:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 package of Boursin cheese, either the pepper or shallot and chive varieties [or your pick], room temperature
  • Grind of fresh black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Removed the stem ends, the seeds and the ribs.

Prepare each filling. In each case, put the cream cheese and the other cheese in a small bowl and use two forks to blend the cheeses.

Add salt and pepper to your tastes.

Fill the peppers with the stuffings, being careful to avoid gaps or air pockets. For the peppers with the intense filling, top with crumbled bacon.

You can use your imagination here and top with other elements, like diced onion or scallion slices. Anchovy? Oh, I don’t know.

Bake for 5 minutes, then check to see if the cheese is beginning to brown. You may need another few minutes to get the finish and “meltiness” you desire.


Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑160