Another year has passed and it was time for the Annual BBQ at the Apana Hale. A big tech conference here in Hawaii. My dad attends. My dad knows lots of people at these tech conferences. My dad has a BBQ/Potluck. My mom goes overboard on the food preparation. At some point in the morning we have to talk her out of making about 5 new things, “because someone is going to bring a salad, Mom!”. This year, I decided to make some dips and appetizers. I made 5 different dips (didn’t take pictures .. figured they weren’t fun nor colorful enough to highlight on the blog) which consisted of a clam dip, onion dip, creamy guacamole, artichoke and lemon dill. For appetizers I made fried goat cheese polenta with a mushroom fricassee, crumbled bacon and gorgonzola as well as bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers.
Can you tell I got the going overboard on food prep from my mom? In my defense, my Mom added the guacamole to my menu .. because the “avocados were so cheap” at the commissary!
The shining star ended up being the bacon wrapped jalapenos. Probably because they were stuffed with three different kinds of cheeses but most likely because they were wrapped in bacon. I got the recipe from my new cookbook, Pioneer Woman Cooks which ended up being based off the recipe she has on her website for Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies (her words .. not mine) but she adds more stuff in the cookbook. And I added more stuff. Because that’s how I roll. Ok ok. So I really just added one more thing but I think that one ingredient really made the peppers stand out. Or .. It could’ve been the bacon.
Take the jalapenos and wash em. Please. Lots of people touching produce in the market. Trust me. Wash em. And then, halve them.
After halving the 17 (original recipe calls for 18 but 1 had to be sacrificed to the avocado gods) go ahead and remove the seeds and white membrane. That’s the part that holds all the heat, by the way. OH. Also. WEAR GLOVES. My left hand was burning into the next day. I thought I’d be ok. I’ve cut jalapenos before. I mean, I’ve chopped, sliced & diced jalapenos before and never felt the burn. It’s especially interesting when your hand starts to burn in the middle of a church sermon. I think it was about humility. Dang. You think that was a sign? hmm..
Gloves are highly recommended. Even if you think you’re wonderwoman/superwoman/catwoman .. or man (HeMan, Superman, Wonderman .. oh .. wait).
Gut em. Line em up. Grab a beer.
In a bowl, combine the following ingredients and mix: 1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened), 1 scallion sliced, 1 cup shredded cheddar (please buy a block and shred yourself .. plus you can always cut off chunks and eat said chunks whilst shredding from the larger chunk. All things in moderation, folks), 1/4 cup feta (thats my addition), a dash of garlic powder, and a few turns of the pepper mill. Mix well. Proceed to stuff the peppers. Grab a packet of bacon. Cut it in half. Take a half strip and wrap it around the stuffed jalapeno. Regular cut bacon. None of that thick cut stuff .. I made that mistake and a couple of my peppers lost their coats.
So I ate them.
Now place each pepper on a pedestal (I’m kidding!!!). Just lay them side by side on a half sheet and brush with bbq sauce. Whichever is your favorite. We’ve got Sweet Baby Ray’s in the fridge .. the Vidalia onion one and its fantastic but you can use whatever you want. Ok. Now that they are brushed, I should’ve told you to preheat that oven to 275 but I didn’t. Because I forgot. So now that you know .. thats what you should do. Once it reaches temperature .. throw the peppers in there and let em bake for an hour. I let them go for an hour and then cranked the heat up a bit to get them really good and caramelized. I increased the temperture to about 325 and baked an additional 10 minutes to get them where I wanted. But it was worth the wait. And constantly having to turn on the oven light to check the status was all forgiven with the very first creamy-cheesy-spicy bite.
Try not to eat them all as you plate them and then watch em’ disappear. I had accounted for 1 per person. Luckily the party stayed outside so the people grabbing 5 at a time wouldn’t have to share.
This is a great dish that can be made for just about any occassion. Even the fancy ones. Just serve with little forks. Little forks make every occassion fancy.
The night ended with a banana cake with chantilly frosting from Liliha Bakery, brought to the Hale by two of the most wonderful beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Plus they brought enough so I could bring a whole cake with me to share with my co-workers! SWEET!