Monday, September 29, 2008
Some Like it Hot!
We've had some tasty little jalapenos in the fridge waiting to be used. Today, we finally decided to use up most of them. I've been wanting to make jalapeno poppers, but upon checking the jalapenos, we realized that they were much too small to make decent poppers. So Jeff took several peppers and turned them into some really insane hot sauce. This stuff seriously needs to come with a warning label, but we figured a biohazard sign would be sufficient.
Jeff's Insane Jalapeno Hot Sauce
1/3 cup onion
1/3 cup jalapenos
2 tsp. minced bottled garlic
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. bacon bits (optional)
Combine in food processor and process until finely minced. Pour into one half-pint jar. Microwave uncovered about 2 minutes. Put lid on and let cool at room temperature. When Jeff made this, the lid actually popped down, like lids do when you process food in jars. But since we didn't process it, and I'm not sure about the food safety stuff involved, it's best to store this in the refrigerator.
This is very spicy, especially when you use (as we did) tiny jalapenos that have been sitting in the fridge for a while, because they heat up the longer they sit. Yum!
Jeff says that this can be added to stuff like ketchup or salsa to spice them up, or just use it like you would any hot sauce. If you're brave enough...
This sauce is really good, but I wasn't satisfied. We still had lots of jalapenos left, and I was still craving poppers. After thinking about it, I realized I could have the jalapeno popper flavor, without actually making poppers. I made it into a hot spread by taking the ingredients normally found in poppers, mixing them together, and baking them.
Jalapeno Popper Spread
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tbsp. bacon bits
Several jalapenos, seeded and chopped
In a 9-inch pie plate, combine first four ingredients. If your jalapenos are particularly small and spicy, you might want to microwave them in a bowl with about a tablespoon of water first (cooking dulls the bite). But if you're like my husband, and start washing some dishes right in the spot where the steamy air shoots out the side of the microwave, be prepared for the jalapeno steam to hit you full in the face and make you choke a bit. As you're coughing, be sure to rub your eye with the fingers you got jalapeno juice on while you were chopping them. Yell a lot, and go running to the bathroom to rinse your eye thoroughly as your wife giggles at you.
Here's a pretty picture of the spread just after I added the jalapenos. I hadn't mixed them in yet, and it looked so pretty and colorful!
After you've combined the cream cheese, Colby Jack, bacon bits, and chopped jalapenos, spread it out evenly in the pan, and top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
This turned out so fabulous! It had all those great jalapeno popper flavors - cream cheese, bacon, melted cheese, and spicy jalapeno. Jeff and I absolutely loved it. I didn't particularly care for the fact that as I ate it my nose started sweating and running - but that's just what happens to me when I eat spicy food. TMI? Sorry...
Anyway, this wonderful spread can be used for crackers, chips, pita bread, or ... Focaccia Sticks!
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup water
Seasonings - garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and water. Plop dough out onto a greased baking sheet. Pour oil in your hands and spread the dough out flat. Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 16 bread sticks.
I handled the different baking times and temps thus: As the bread was baking at 425, I was busy preparing the jalapeno spread. As soon as the bread finished baking, I removed it from the oven, turned the temp down to 375, and popped in the spread. The bread was cooled and sliced by the time the spread was done in the oven. It worked perfectly!
Since the jalapeno popper spread was too spicy for the kids to eat, I made a simple Italian-style tomato sauce for them to eat with their focaccia sticks: I combined 1 can diced tomatoes with 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. minced garlic, and about 1/2 tsp. salt. They loved both the focaccia sticks and the sauce.
Here's the whole spread, on the table and on my plate!
And we still have four jalapenos (see picture at top of post) to use somehow!