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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Texas Jalapeno Poppers

8 - oz. cream cheese, softened
1 - 8 oz. package shredded sharp cheddar cheese or
half cheddar & half monterey jack cheese
1 -2 tablespoons bacon bits (optional)
12 oz - fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
(we used about 15 jalapenos to yield 30 poppers)
1 - cup milk or buttermilk
1 - cup all-purpose flour
1 - cup dry bread crumbs
2 - quarts oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Wash and clean peppers cut in half and remove seeds. Make sure to wash you hands again after handling the peppers and before stuffing. Blanch the peppers in boiling water for a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This recipe does not state to blanch the peppers first, but I highly recommend doing that before stuffing the peppers. Spoon the cheese mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves. Put the milk, flour and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated. In a medium skillet or home fryer, heat the oil to 375° F.. Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. Serve with ranch dressing or eat them all by themselves.

Definition of Blanching: To plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables, lets you easily peel fruits, and slip the skins off nuts. The food does not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved.

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