Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stuffed Jalapeños! Oh, My Darling Boyfriend, I Am Sorry.

This new low-sodium diet won't get the best of me. I've quickly learned what I can and can't eat, and how to make tasty modifications. I've found sodium-free bread (Ezekiel's), salt-free, organic peanut butter (Woodstock Farms), and a few cheeses: Coach Farm goat cheese, and unsalted fresh mozzarella. Actually, there are lots of cheeses I can eat in moderation (list available by clicking here). In addition, I can eat things like red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and even Tabasco sauce.*  Completely off the menu are all cold cuts, anything fried, anything processed, most soups. This dietary modification is easy now that I've gotten the hang of it, and it's made me feel a whole lot better.

Tomorrow I am trying a new recipe that I am creating off the top of my head. Stuffed jalapeños. Years ago, W and I had them for an appetizer at Tim Schafer's. They were unbelievable. The jalapeños were seeded, then stuffed with some kind of cheese (I can't remember what kind), battered and deep fried. 

I hadn't really thought much about trying to make anything like this myself until I was slapped with this low-sodium diet. I've found that spicy vegetables are a great source of flavor, without the salt.  As I stood in the cheese section of the market holding a handful of jalapeños, I wondered what I could stuff them with to make them fun and tasty. I started reading the cheese labels and found low sodium cheeses that would work nicely together. I decided that I could blend the Coach Farm goat cheese with Sorrento's whole milk ricotta cheese (the part skim has more sodium) for the cheese mixture. I think the goat cheese would be fine on it's own, too, but since 6 oz. is $13, stretching it with the the ricotta is a thrifty idea. Plus, I think the consistency and the flavor will be a bit more interesting with the blend of cheeses.

My planned ingredients
I wanted to add more spunk to it, so as not to just have cheese and jalapeños, so I picked up a bunch of fresh cilantro, some organic chili pepper spice blend, and a tomato. I am going to dice the tomato, tear the cilantro, and then put both into the cheese, sprinkle it with the spice blend, and maybe add a couple of drops of Cholula sauce. I will split the jalapeños in half, seed them, and boil them for a few minutes, just to get them soft. Next, I will pack the jalapeños with the mixture, and then bake them face up until brown, at about 400*F.

I am going to write the recipe as I go along (writing this post on Tuesday, making the jalapeños on Wednesday, will publish on Thursday), so I will add it to the end of this blog post and then post it all at once. I may not add the Cholula -- need to think about it for a bit. Can't wait to get started.

The Verdict:

I just made them. Seeding/hulling them was harder than I imagined, and I did it with my fingertips, gloveless. After washing a bunch of times, my fingers are loaded with heat. I won't dare touch my eyes. I'd do it the exact same way, if I were to do it again, but I'd know to be more careful afterward. 

But I won't be making them again. At least not my recipe.

It was bland. The jalapeños' skin was thick, and the stuffing was near tasteless. I was surprised, because the goat cheese on it's own has a really divine flavor. I am stumped. W did add salt to his, and he said that wasn't the missing piece. Something is still missing. I can't figure it out. Maybe the recipe needed garlic, or onions. But they were so unappealing that I literally threw the batch away... and I never waste food.

After all this, though, I wouldn't dare leave you without a recipe, so I found one for you that I thought you might like. Bobby Flay's Grilled Stuffed Jalapeño Chiles. I will keep working on my recipe until I get it together. In the meantime, I defer to the master, Chef Flay. 

Humbly yours, the Domestic Goddess

Bobby Flay's Grilled Stuffed Jalapeño Chiles

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded aged white Cheddar cheese
  • 2 ears corn, grilled in husk and kernels removed
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 jalapeno chiles, halved, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ancho chili powder

1. Heat grill to medium.
2. Whisk together the cream cheese and goat cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the Cheddar, corn and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Fill each jalapeño half with about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and sprinkle the top with some of the ancho powder.
3. Place on the grill, filling-side up and cook until slightly charred and tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.

*Some are better than others -- Cholula has 85 mg per tsp/about 5 mg a shake, Tabasco also has 30 mg per tsp/2 mg a shake; Emeril's Kick It Up Red Pepper Sauce is way to salty, with 140 mg per teaspoon, and my beloved Frank's Red Hot is off the list with 460 mg per tablespoon/20 mg per shake.