A surprise birthday party tonight for the wife of a friend, and I cooked. Mexican theme. Chili pulled pork (in the CrockPot) straight up and turned into mini pizzas on little pitas. Stuffed jalapeño poppers, chili-lime peanuts, beef empanadas (little half-moon pastries), quesadillas with beans and queso fresco, and angel food cake with berries and cream. And something I have been waiting for an excuse to make for a very long time – homemade churros. If you’ve only ever had them at Costco, the homemade version, made with a simple choux pastry piped into hot canola oil using the large star tip of a pastry bag and then doused while warm in cinnamon sugar, is to the Costco ones what, I don’t know, the very best chocolate chip cookies are to a generic packaged kind.
I’d love to tell you about them, but there will be more tomorrow morning at our Easter egg hunt, so I’ll save it. And seeing as it’s almost midnight, I can hardly keep my eyes open and I lost count of how many people (with their kids) are coming for brunch tomorrow, and I’m still not really sure what I’m making except that I missed the boat on my orange-chocolate hot crossed buns, I’m going to bed.
But if you are a fan of jalapeños and cheese (I have never been a fan of jalapeños, but I’ve been recently converted) these are a fun party food.
6 good-sized fresh jalapeño peppers
1/2 – 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup grated old cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1-1 1/2 cups Panko (crunchy Japanese breadcrumbs), or fine dry breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. (Rubber gloves are never a bad idea.)
In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar and cumin. Stuff the jalapeño halves with the cheese mixture – they will be overflowing! That’s OK. When I do this, I take a bit of cheese in my hand and roll it into a rough cylinder, then press it into the pepper.
Get three shallow dishes. In one, beat the eggs with a fork. In another, combine the flour, salt and pepper. In the third put the Panko or breadcrumbs.
One at a time, dredge the jalapeños in flour, then in the beaten egg, and then into the crumbs, pressing to coat well. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately. Makes 12 poppers.
Per popper: 87 calories, 3.6 g total fat (1.7 g saturated fat, 1.2 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 4 g protein, 9.5 g carbohydrate, 43.2 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber. 37% calories from fat