For days I have talked about scratch cooking or sight-cooking on various blogs. Now that I have talked the talk, I am ready to walk the walk. Here we go!
We were at a party, probably over 20 years ago. The buffet table had a plate of wonderful stuffed jalapeño peppers. I asked the girl who brought the peppers if she would share the recipe. She asked for a pad and pencil and this is “God’s truth” how she wrote it down for me.
- Peppers – Split,seeded
- Cheddar Cheese – grated about 1 pound
- Garlic – freshly pressed
- Chopped onions
- Parsley chopped
Combine all ingredients. Mix with mayonnaise until mixture holds for stuffing.
Ole timers will know exactly what to do with this list. For those of you who are wondering why I would bother to put this in a blog. I do it because they taste great!
Here we go – for a party use a large 26 oz to 28 oz can of whole jalapeño peppers. Cut each in half, the long way and with knife gently scrape out seeds and membranes. The membranes are where the capsaicin is stored. It is this part of the chili pepper that carries the heat. The membrane looks like a vein and there will be 2 to 4 of them depending on size of pepper. Rinse if necessary and turn over on paper towels to drain. Handle pepper gently in order not to tear them. You may want to try a small can with about 4 ounces of cheese and other ingredients adjusted to taste to try them out. If you serve them at a football party, you will have to go into the kitchen and prepare the big can.
Be careful when you handle any kind of chili peppers. They contain oils which can burn your skin and especially your eyes. Avoid direct contact as much as possible. Many cooks wear rubber gloves while handling chilies, or generously grease your fingers with any kind of shortening or use cooking spray.
In any case, after you have worked with peppers, be sure to wash your hands and nails thoroughly with soap and hot water. Your eyes will really burn if you forget and rub your face.
I normally prepare about 12 ounces of shredded cheese. This is where you make decisions. Once you shred cheese, you have to decide if it is it enough for the amount of peppers you have. You can always store the cheese mixture if you make too much. Cooking by sight becomes second nature once you start using your head instead of a hard-and-fast recipe. This doesn’t apply to baking most of the time.
I use about 2 teaspoons minced garlic. I buy minced garlic in the jar or a squeeze bottle. It saves you a ton of time to have prepared garlic on hand. I dump the garlic, a tablespoon each of minced onion and parsley on top of the grated cheese and toss it all together before adding mayonnaise. Stir mayonnaise with a large table spoon until mixture begins to hold shape. Too much mayonnaise will make it greasy, so go slowly. When it tastes the way you want, either refrigerate the mixture or stuff the peppers. Taste as you go along and prepare cheese mixture ahead if possible for flavors to meld.
Once you stuff the peppers and be generous with cheese mixture, place in refrigerator until time to serve. These peppers are a wonderful appetizer or buffet item. WARNING! The longer these peppers stand, the hotter they get as the cheese absorbs the pickled juices. I usually stuff half and then make a second platter as these run out fast. For my die-hard fans, I make a plate for them earlier in day and let it stand. If certain people want to beat their wimpy chest as what little hair they have burns off, who am I to deny them?