The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Jalapeño Poppers 5 Star Junk Food with
 Mango and Grapefruit Salsa Crème

It is time once again for our 5 Star Makeover group to post the
months challenge theme or ingredients. And March's
challenge theme is Junk Food. The task was to incorporate
junk food into our dishes...and so we did.

As always the 5 Star Makeovers are hosted by the ever lovely
and talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie, and the incomparable
Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks

Junk Food...As per Bing online dictionary = food lacking nutritional balance:
 food that does not form part of a well-balanced diet, especially highly processed,
 high-fat snack items eaten in place of or in addition to regular meals.

Now as for our Wheat Thins, they really do not run off to badly, as far as
junk food is concerned. But our, so yummy, Easy Cheese, well lets just
say it is fully qualified to fit the bill. Although the second ingredient is
indeed cheese, the rest run off like a "Who's who" of the
 processed food world.

Have you ever seen red jalapeños? They are the result of allowing the
ripened green jalapeños to mature further while still on the vine. The
result is a slightly sweeter pepper. The seeds, the portion that contains
the majority of the heat, are hotter in the more mature versions.

I decided that a nice cooling salsa would be a perfect accompaniment
 to out rather heated little stuffed peppers. So I went light on the heat
in this area, just enough to give it that salsa like flavor.

The salsa has an added touch of refreshing coolness with the addition
 of some Crème fraîche and Lime. Then we pulsed that baby
up to get a smooth and creamy sauce.

We are adding just a hint of additional flavor with some black cardamom,
cumin and black pepper.

Our traditional bread crumbs are being replaced with, you guessed it,
crushed Wheat Thins. Since they have always been the cracker of
choice whenever we indulge in this creamy cheesy treat, I
decided to keep them together here.

What you will need:
For the poppers
8 medium jalapeños

3 ounces Easy Cheese
½ cup Mexican cheese blend, grated
1 pod black cardamom seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 jumbo egg, beaten
2 tablespoons cream or milk
1 cup Wheat Thins, crushed
1/2 garbanzo flour, or other flour

For the salsa crème

Small handful of cilantro, leaves and stems
1 mango, peeled and diced
4 grapefruit sections, chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeño, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine or juice of choice
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons Crème fraîche

Emulsion blender or small food processor
Mortar and pestle
Parchment paper
Baking sheet

Let's get cooking:
For the poppers
Take your cleaned peppers and slit lengthwise down the center, careful
to not slice in half, we are leaving them whole. Not cut a small cross at
the top just below the stem area. Wearing gloves, remove seeds and stems
from the peppers, if you want a bit more heat you can leave a few.

Once you have your peppers prepped, lay out your grated cheese and
spread long stripped of the Easy Cheese onto the top in sections like
in the photos above. Note: I found this much easier then trying to mix
 the cheeses together. Stuff each pepper with the cheese mix and set aside.

Now grind your Wheat Thins until they are fine like bread crumbs,
add your black cardamon, pepper and cumin mixing well,
place on a plate. Place your flower on another plate, then
whisk your eggs and cream then place in a bowl.

Dredge your stuffed peppers through the egg mixture, then the
flour, repeat. Then dredge threw the Wheat Thin crumbs.
Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bake in a 350 (F) degree oven rot 30 -35 minutes or
until the cheese begins to bubble out of the peppers.

For the salsa crème
Note: you can make the salsa portion ahead of time
adding the Crème fraîche just before serving.

Prepare your mango, grapefruit, shallot and peppers by
chopping them into small bits. Add all remaining ingredients
along with  these into a mixing bowl. Using your emulsion blender
blend until completed smooth, add the crème fraîche, continuing 
to pulse until smooth and fully incorporated.
Serves 4

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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