Introduction: Jalapeno Chili Pepper Screamers
You've heard of poppers, how about screamers?
Engineered from the same exacting standards as the Kentucky Fried WTF, consider this the mini-coop of the big SUVs.
These are small and peppy. More gas to the gallon and guaranteed to get you going.
Can be served as an un-appetizer - finger food or just plain simple fun bar food. It will definitely be noticed in a crowd at a party.
Step 1: Keep It Simple...
A simple preparation!
These are essentially fried stuffed jalapeno chili peppers with a bit of ecoutrements.
This is really another project to clean out the fridge. See what you have on hand and substitute anything you do not have.
You will need:
Jalapeno peppers - you can try other varieties and sizes.
For the stuffing, you will need
shredded cheese, any variety - the stringy kinds are good like mozzarella
seasonings - garlic, onion, salt, pepper, crushed pepper flakes, parsley, chili powder, etc. whatever you like.
Adjust the heat to your preference.
bacon - I'm going to try this turkey bacon as it might be "healthier", you can also use any other additional cured meats as flavoring, ham, proscuitto or pepperoni bits.
Stick pretzels - small thin ones, not the pretzel rods, you can even use potato stix.
Couple of strands of cooked spaghetti, or noodles
For the breading:
egg or milk
breadcrumbs - you can also use cornmeal, cracker crumbs, panko breadcrumbs or just back into the flour tank
You can go with a batter type coating also. Try beer batter or tempura.
And lastly, a kitchen equipped for deep-fat frying or try the oven-fry method.
CAUTION: Frying with oil may be hazardous. If you don't know what you are doing in the kitchen, work on perfecting poached eggs and then graduate to the deep fryer. Handle chili peppers with care as any trace contact from peppers to sensitive areas on your body might irritate and hurt like the Dickens...and that too.
Step 2: Preparation Aches...
Have on hand a few strands of cooked spaghetti. Cold leftover pasta is better for handling purposes.
I had some cream cheese left over for schmearing on my bagels in the morning.
I got some Muenster cheese slices for my lunch sandwiches.
And I got a pack of turkey bacon that I am going to try out. They really don't compare to real porkfat bacon but hey, at least I am trying to think healthy.
Throw a couple of slices of bacon in the toaster oven to brown and crisp up. If you want the splatter all over the place you can pan fry or do the microwave thing or the regular oven thing.
Slice and dice into small bits. Chill the bacon bits in the fridge until we are ready to make the cheese stuffing.
I had a few slices of Muenster cheese to add to the cream cheese. Dice or shred that up to bits.
Mix the cream cheese, the shredded cheese, and bacon bits together. Season if desired.
Throw that mix back in the fridge to chill a bit until the peppers are ready to stuff.
Step 3: Core Samples...
If you are worried about handling hot chili peppers, just wear food-safe gloves or just put a plastic bag over your hands. The seeds and membrane contain the "heat" of the chili pepper, most of it anyway.
Start with rinsed jalapeno peppers that have been patted dry.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Cut off and discard the stem.
Use a knife or a metal spoon to rake and scrape out the seeds and membrane walls that the seeds were attached to.
Discard the membrane. Save the seeds and dry them in the sun so you can plant your own pepper plants.
Cut four slits, two on each side where the "legs" will go. You really don't have to do this but it gives a slot to help hold the limb in place.
I think I should have run something like a nutmeg grater/microplane/zester over the glossy skin to rough it up so the breading would stick better. It still worked out well without doing that.
Step 4: Stuff It...
Lay in a strand of spaghetti to be the tail.
Cover the pepper half with the stuffing mixture. Just use your fingers to press in the cheese mixture.
Break off bits of pretzel sticks and place in the four legs of the critter.
Massage into a nice critter shape.
Step 5: Batter Up!
Dust alll over with flour.
Dip in the egg or milk wash.
Dredge in the bread crumbs to create the breaded coating.
Repeat to get thick coating.
Stick in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.
Step 6: Fry Now O Lator...
When you are ready to cook, take them out of the fridge and pop them into the fryer.
Gently slide them into the hot oil by holding the main body part and not by the tail. Let the tail lay out freely.
I placed the feet side down first so that the breading would harden up and contain the melted cheese.
Fry in the hot oil at 350 to 375 F till they are golden brown.
They might float so you have to hold them down while cooking and turn them over as necessary to ensure even frying.
When ready, take them out and drain on paper towels.
Give em plenty of room so the tails don't get tangled. Handle carefully so you don't break the tail off.