Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Delicious when made with regular, low, or fat free cream cheese. Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish and are a very good source of vitamin A, as well as a few other nutritional goodies which makes this is a most mindful treat. Treats are just fine as long as you do not have them every day. Choose your day, your treat and enjoy each bite.

Ingredients:

10 extra-large or jumbo sized jalapenos
1 (12 oz) package cream cheese, brought to room temperature so it is soft (the spreadable version is fine)
2 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 T sun dried tomatoes, drain the oil and chopped into very small bits
2 T cilantro, chopped very fine (optional, but tasty and yes, you can use 1 T dried)
10 strips thick applewood smoked bacon, or the best meaty bacon you can find
20 toothpicks

Directions:

Put the toothpicks in a small bowl and cover them with water.

Mix the cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and cilantro in a small bowl. Then just let the bowl sit on the counter so it stays soft. You will need a good heaping tablespoon for each jalapeno. If yours peppers are very large, you can always buy a larger package of cream cheese and increase the other ingredients a bit. Recipes are a template that sits awaiting further instructions from you. Breathe, think, and choose.

Do not cut the jalapenos all the way through. Make two slits to form a T shape only on the “top” of the jalapeno – again, do not cut all the way through. The horizontal top of the T went across the pepper just under the stem cap. Then the vertical line of the T went from the center of the horizontal cut all the way down to the end of the pepper. (See the pic)

Gently pull apart the cut as if you were opening a shirt. Scoop out the membranes and seeds with a small spoon and consign to the compost bin. Parboil the jalapenos for two minutes, drain, and cool.

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Assembling:

When the jalapenos are cooled, stuff them with the cream cheese mixture. This is a very messy job that can be accomplished with a combination of spoons and/or fingers – and is rather fun.

Remove the toothpicks from the water. Gently wrap one stuffed jalapeno in bacon, stretching a bit as needed. Make sure to cover the T shaped cut (you can always surround it with a bit more bacon and another toothpick if the gap is too large). Secure the bacon in strategic locations with two soaked toothpicks. Repeat 9 times!

You can prepare them to this point and refrigerate them until it is time to grill. Let them set on the counter at least a half an hour or more if you refrigerate them so the insides have the opportunity to return to room temperature.

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Grilling:

Grill the jalapenos over hot coals turning frequently until the bacon is well charred. How long will depend on the thickness and meatiness of your bacon and the heat of your coals. Ours took about 12 minutes.

Spoon Mage™ Notes:

Always get good meaty bacon. Sometimes even the meatiest of bacon will have a fatty end. Just cut that off. When bacon is grilled, the remaining fat drips off and what remains surrounding the jalapeno will be largely the meaty part. Did I say get very good meaty bacon? Applewood smoked is tastiest.

These are best served on small plates with a knife and fork unless your peppers were smallish – then you can just treat them as finger food and bite them off near the stem. Mine were a good four inches long not counting the stems and too big to eat as one would bite a fried shrimp.

Enjoy these savory spicy treats as mindfully as possible with good friends, family, and a nice glass of a hearty red Zinfandel makes a good one that is moderately priced and a perfect fit with this dish.

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