Pickled Jalapenos

With my first batch of pickles done, I knew I had opened the flood gates for a barrage of new pickling endeavors. I always have store-bought ones in my fridge, so I was excited to see what they would taste like making them at home.

After the Carolina Reaper cukes – it had to be a pepper. And I put pickled jalapenos in everything, so it was a natural next step.

I knowingly overdo it with garlic. So my pickled vegetables will probably always have a heavy garlic vibe going on – including these jalapenos.

The other pickling ingredient I wanted to try out was mustard seed. Black peppercorns are a necessity according to what I read online – but I love mustard flavor, and figured that extra spicy punch might jive with the jalapenos.  It did. I want to slowly try new pickling spices as I go – to be able to see what each spice does for the batch. If I added too many at once, I don’t know that I’d be able to taste what each spice is doing to the brining liquid.

Mustard seed added a complex flavor. A little bit like what you’d taste with cornichon – which automatically made me think of pickled vegetables you’d find on a cheese plate.

I also upped the brininess of the pickling liquid here – adding more vinegar, salt and sugar. It helped pickle the jalapenos a bit quicker, I think, and the flavor was punchier. Not everyone is a fan of the brine factor, but for those who are, this ups that yummy sour factor that only vinegar can give you.

Next vegetable to pickle? Who knows. It’ll probably come to me when I’m least expecting it. But I do have a very large, stalky ginger root in my pantry right now… 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 32. oz jar of pickles.

  • 6 jalapenos, tops removed, cut into slices
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • Small handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 stems parlsey leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar, plus 1 / 4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon sugar, plus 1 / 2 teaspoon

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Let the pickling liquid cool.
  2. Put the jalapenos, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and parsley in a large mason jar. Pour the cooled pickling liquid over the jalapenos and other ingredients. Seal the jar, and put in the fridge to pickle for 5 to 7 days.

Deviled Jalapenos

What makes a food devilable?

Because I would devil a glass of water if I could.

I’ve oogled over Trisha Yearwood’s Deviled Potatoes. And recently, learned about a deviled crab recipe that originated in the American south. I’m sure there’s a million versions. A food capable of holding in filling must be a requirement, but I gave my imagination ample space to run wild after that.

jalapenos4

Enter jalapenos.

This wouldn’t cut it as a crowd-pleasing recipe – I don’t think. You can remove the seeds and membranes, and leave out the pickled jalapeno if you need to cut some of the burn, but you’re still chomping into a raw jalapeno.

An obvious alternative? Use the sweet, small tri-colored peppers you can usually get in bulk at any grocery store nowadays. If you want to go this route, just substitute the sweet peppers and nix the pickled jalapeno – the preparation instructions will remain the same, with an equally scrumptious outcome.

I’ve been contemplating new ideas for game day bites that can be made ahead of time and tossed on the coffee table. I’ve already made enough buffalo chicken dip in my life to fill a 10-foot hole in the ground.

But my boyfriend can’t tolerate spicy food, even in moderate amounts. I had purportedly added hot sauce to a dish, and after a minute of did-I-didn’t-I, we realized he was feeling heat from the black pepper that must’ve been a bit too freshly cracked.

I haven’t isolated a hard and fast rule as to what makes something deviled. One of my earlier blog posts for Tuna Nicoise Deviled Eggs recounts the history of the word deviled, which essentially meant anything heavily seasoned. Like the deviled egg, this recipe includes dairy ingredients, and presents itself halves-side-open.

deviledjalapenos2

Whether it’s the jalapenos or the sweet peppers that appeal to you, you aren’t going to disappoint your guests with a dairy-saturated cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and aromatic garlic filling.

And it’s about time I gave Buffalo Chicken Dip a much-deserved break.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 10 jalapenos, all cut in half longwise, with half the peppers minced
  • 1 / 2 block room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 / 4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated finely
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 3 to 5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  •  5 pepperoncinis, minced, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Plate 10 jalapeno halves, mincing the remaining jalapeno halves for including in the filling. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a bowl, combine the minced jalapeno, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, and most of the pepperoncinis, reserving 3 to 4 minced tablespoons for garnish.
  3. Equally distribute the filling amongst the jalapeno halves, overfilling them a little bit. Top each half with the remaining pepperoncini.
  4. Pop the plate in the fridge to allow the peppers to chill.
  5. Serve within 2 hours, or the pepper flesh will begin to dry out and shrivel.

 

Smoky Jalapeno Cheddar Soup

Another rainy day, another bowl of bubbling hot spicy soup. There’s not much else to do when it’s pouring out, and who doesn’t love an excuse to stay at home and cook all day?

I bought too many jalapenos and wanted to find a way to make them the centerpiece of a soup. So here we are – with jalapeno two ways – fresh and smoked.

Smoked jalapenos, if you’re not already familiar, are called chipotle peppers. You can find them canned in their sauce in any grocery store.

Chipotle, as it so happens, is also the namesake of my favorite fast food restaurant. As in, “If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you eat?” – my answer would be Chipotle.  No really – I ate Chipotle 4 to 5 days a week in high school for two years.

The flavor of chipotle is smoky, incredibly hot, and very addictive. I keep bags of it frozen in my freezer. Throw it in anything Tex-Mex – it’s like the Tex-Mex equivalent of barbecue sauce, incredibly versatile.

Your start to this soup is a roux, much like any chowder. It creates a thicker, stewy feel to the soup. I bet chicken and beans would be great in here as well if you wanted to bulk it up a bit, but I’m happiest when I get the full flavor of the cheese and the spices.

What’s your favorite go-to rainy day soup?

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 2 / 3 quart whole milk
  • 1 1 / 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 / 2 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper, minced (from the can)
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle pepper sauce (from the can)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Once melted, add the flour, stirring for a couple minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add the milk, whisking until there’s no visible clumps of flour. Continue to cook on medium heat until it thickens and the mixture coats a spoon.
  2. In a separate saute pan drizzled with olive oil, add the onion, jalapenos, garlic, chipotle peppers, chipotle pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Saute for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent.
  3. Once the vegetables are tender, add them to the soup. Then add the cheese, and stir until completely incorporated. Serve, garnishing with additional jalapeno slices and a drizzle of extra chipotle pepper sauce, if desired.