CSA basket recipes: Jalapenos

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July 28, 2013 by E.

Back in April, A. and I signed up for a two-person share from Bull Run Mountain Farm.  For $648 total, we get 20 weeks of farm-fresh, non-GMO, responsibly grown, absolutely delicious vegetables.  We pick up a basket each week from the Dupont Circle delivery site, which lasts us through most (though not all, since we I cook the majority of our meals at home) of the week.

Picture of a four-person bushel, taken from Bull Run Mountain Farm's facebook page.

Picture of a four-person bushel, taken from Bull Run Mountain Farm’s facebook page.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the CSA.  It’s convenient, it’s cost-effective (we were spending close to $30 in produce at our local Harris Teeter each week for vegetables that came from Mexico or further), and it’s introduced me to so many varieties of veggies that I never would have found at any grocery store (even Whole Foods, as much as I love that place).  I’ve cooked kohlrabi, garlic scapes, white eggplant, pattypan squash, pak choi, sorrel, and romanesco cauliflower.  I’ve learned that I don’t hate all cucumbers, only the tasteless, sad, watery neglected ones grown out of season and forced to ripen while they traverse the country on a semi truck before ending up in the produce aisle.

In summary, I am in love with my CSA, in love with my farmer, and in love with the whole concept.  My inner hippie rejoices at fresh summer produce, and despairs at the thought of going back to the dark ages of shopping for vegetables under harsh neon lights.

But.  There has to be a but.  Just like with everything else that is magnificent and glorious, there is one downside.  You don’t choose the vegetables, the vegetables choose you.  What’s in season is what’s in your basket.

What do you do when your weekly basket includes 12 jalapeno peppers?  Ok, that’s a lot, but hey, you love spice!  You can handle this.  Maybe you make salsa.  Maybe you throw them into stir fries.  Maybe you add them to shrimp and grits.  End of the week – yay!  We used all the peppers!

Next week, 10 more jalapenos. Repeat the process.  But even for 2 people who love spice, this is getting ridiculous.  You contemplate adding jalapenos to your morning breakfast cereal.

Next week, 12 jalapenos.  You still have 4 left over from last week!  Help!  Your taste buds (and digestive system) need a break.

Enter your savior: stuffed jalapenos, wrapped in puff pastry.  

This recipe arose out of desperation, but let me tell you, it is delicious.  Even if you don’t find yourself in a jalapeno emergency, it’s worth a trip to the store to stock up.  Creamy, flaky, spicy, gooey, a little bit sweet, a little bit rock n’ roll spicy.  And did I mention incredibly easy?  I didn’t measure anything, so adjust the peppers/filling/spices to your needs.  We had 8 jalapenos, which were split in half to make 16 poppers.   Here are my approximations.

The Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry (frozen store-bought, unless you’re a total badass and make your own)

8 fresh jalapenos, whole

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

3 oz gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature

1 – 2 oz Monterey jack or cheddar cheese (optional), cut into 1/2 inch slices

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

pinch of cinnamon (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)

pinch of cumin (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)

olive oil for sautéing

1 egg, for egg wash

The Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Follow instruction for thawing puff pastry.  While it thaws, prep the filling jalapenos.

Add cheeses and spices to a medium bowl (go easy on the spices at first – cinnamon and cumin are strong flavors; remember you can always add more later).

Heat oil in a pan and sautee garlic for 1 minute until fragrant and translucent.  Add garlic and oil from the pan to the bowl with the cheeses.  Stir to combine well.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  (I found that the gorgonzola seasoned the mixture enough and didn’t add additional salt, but if you think otherwise, go ahead and add some.)

Prepped jalapenos

Cut the stems off the jalapenos and slice in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapenos, unless you’d like to keep it spicy.  We removed most of the seeds/membranes but left some for a medium level of heat.

Spread out the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and unfold it.  If using extra cheese (I used Monterey Jack), place 1 piece of cheese on the puff pastry, followed by 1 half of the jalapeno.

You can just barely make out the piece of cheese under the pepper

You can just barely make out the piece of cheese under the pepper

Take some of the cream cheese filling mixture and stuff onto the jalapeno.

I used my hands, but you could also use a spoon

I used my hands, but you could also use a spoon

Repeat the above steps until you have a vertical line of jalapenos on the puff pastry stuffed with the cheese mixture.

Stuffed jalapenos on puff pastry

 

Using a sharp knife, cut a vertical line in the puff pastry to the right of the jalapenos, and then horizontally in between them.  Puff pastry is super stretchy, so you can cut pretty close to the peppers and will still be able to wrap the dough around them.  Once you have the peppers wrapped up, pinch the edges to seal and place them on the baking sheet.  Continue this process until all the peppers are stuffed and wrapped.

To make the egg wash, lightly beat the egg with a touch of water.  Brush the tops of the poppers with the egg wash, then bake the poppers for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Golden poppers

While the poppers are baking, be sure to show your signifiant other how spicy you are!  (Remember to set a timer, no one likes being interrupted from adult play time by the shrill of the fire alarm.  Not that we would know from personal experience or anything.)

After 20 minutes, remove the poppers from the oven and cool on a baking rack for 5 minutes.  Then dig in!

Gooey center

These things are so good!  The cinnamon and cumin really play well with the gorgonzola and the spicy jalapenos.  And, let’s be real, puff pastry is good with everything.  A. has been zealously rationing our jalapenos from last week and has made me promise that I’ll fix this recipe again once we receive more jalapenos from this week’s basket.  He doesn’t need to ask me twice!

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