Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week of June 6,2011

Like my experience with Everybody Loves Raymond, The Golden Girls and The Sopranos (or any other shows that I discovered only after they'd started to rerun them) I came to poppers late in life. Wait. I can explain. I only ever saw them in boxes in the frozen food section of the grocery store and they all had pictures of some oblong breaded things on the packages.
They didn't interest me. I'd spent money on deep-fried looking things in the frozen food cases before and had been sorely disappointed on the waste of money and calories. (I hate spending what I imagine to be my daily allotment of calories from fat and bad stuff on, well, really bad stuff!!!)
It wasn't until last summer that I got all fanatic and obsessed with poppers when Maria Vieagas
was talking about getting a poppers holder for the grill that I got interested. Then another friend from Canada said something about putting them in the smoker and my mouth started watering and I had to make some.
I got the stuffing recipe from my sister, who bakes hers, and the idea from wrapping them in bacon from Dave who barbecues his. I'll give both recipes.

Jalapeno Poppers

8 oz cream cheese softened
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
4 Monterey Jack, shredded
1/4 t salt
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs - if baking
1 lb fresh jalapenos
Preheat over to 300 degrees. Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and seed. Combine cheese and seasonings. Spoon about 2 T filling into each half and roll in breadcrumbs. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes for hot, 30 minutes for medium and 40 minutes for mild pepper taste.
Note: When working with hot pepper, always use plastic gloves to protect hand and avoid touching your face.

I make mine basically the same way with the exception of using the bread crumbs, of course, and baking them in the oven. As I stated on my show, I like to wrap some bacon around each one, secure with a toothpick and bbq (off heat and with the lid closed) until bacon is done and jalapeno is tender. Alternately, and even better in my opinion, you can use a smoker instead. The flavor is just spectacular with the addition of that good hard wood smoke.

My next recipe on the show was for slow cooker meatballs. After looking over the list of recipes for meatballs, I realized I had given the wrong recipe. If you copied down the recipe from the show, feel free to use it and let me know how they turned out. I'm going to give you the recipe I use.

Slow Cooker Meatballs

2 lbs ground beef
1 1/4 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup minced onion

For Sauce:
1 can pineapple chunks, drained, juice reserved
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Several grindings of fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 chopped green pepper

Combine meatball ingredients and form into small cocktail-sized meatballs. Brown in skillet in batches lift out with slotted spoon and place in slow cooker.
Pour reserved pineapple juice into the same skillet in which meatballs were browned and stir to combine. Mix cornstarch and cold water and add to skillet stirring over medium heat until thickened.
Add the rest of the ingredients heating through and add to slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Since I have a picture of the Peanut Butter Cake that I mentioned on the show, I'm going to give the recipe for that now and finish up with the rest of the appetizers and the Calabrian Spaghetti later.
As I stated on the show, this is the cake that was sold at The Strawberry Festival up by the kitchen. Hope you'll try and enjoy it.

Peanut Butter Cake

1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs (room temp)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cold water

Generously grease and flour a bundt pan. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time combining well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with water mixing well after each addition.
Pour into pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan and cool thoroughly on cooling rack.
Frost with following:

Peanut Butter Butter Cream Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

Cream butter with peanut butter, vanilla and salt.
Add sugar alternately with milk, beating until light and fluffy.

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