Just another Sunday meal with the Grasso sisters. This one’s a little less fancy…it’s Super Bowl Sunday and my hot GF wants to make “football” food. What does this entail? To her it means jalapeno poppers, wings, guacamole, and meatballs. To me it means an evening of hot food, cold beer, and intense heartburn. She’s been teasing me all week that she’ll give me salad and water. I’m convinced certain things are worth the discomfort of acid reflux and putting myself at risk for esophageual cancer.
I start by making us Mimosas–or more aptly, “Mango Limosas”. It’s my creative take on mimosas: orange-mango juice, champagne and a splash of lime.
With a Mango Limosa within arm’s reach, I begin shredding the smoked gouda cheese.
“How much cheese should I shred?”
While I’m shredding, she is peeling the casing off 2 sausages–excuse me, “chorizo”, as I’ve been scolded–“There’s a big difference!”–and continues on about the quantity of cheese called for in the recipe: “Once again, they’ve measured in pounds. It should be ounces–who the fuck uses pounds? It drives me crazy.” I shred about half the brick. “Is this enough?”
“Yeah, that’s fine,” she responds, still sensibly irritated about cheese weight semantics.
My hot GF has the pan heated up and transfers the sausage–I mean, “chorizo”–and red onion to it. Her sister is busy prepping guacamole at a small table behind her and they converse without looking up from what they are doing. It’s as if they are talking to themselves. “I looked for ground in the store and it doesn’t exist. The recipe calls for ground and as you can see,” Allison chops at the pan with a wooden spatula, “it doesn’t want to be ground.”
Some way or another, she manages to ground the chorizo up coarsely in the frying pan and sets it aside when it’s finishes cooking. She requests her sister slice the jalapenos in half and her sister proceeds to hand her a jalapeno cut directly down the middle, horizontally. “Like this?”
“No, the other way!” Allison laughs. “How are you going to stuff them like that?”
“Oh, I thought you could stuff them like that,” her sister replies nonchalantly. I was thinking the same thing.
Allison is now also cutting the jalapenos in half–vertically–and placing them in an organized fashion on the cookie sheet.
At some point amidst my writing she has also combined all the ingredients for the stuffing–the shredded smoked gouda, cream cheese, sour cream, the fried chorizo and red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper–into a large pink bowl, and begins working them all together with a wooden spoon. “Can you come over and stir this?” she pleads. “I need your muscles.”
Years of mixing cement by hand on my father’s construction job site finally pays off. I knead everything together with a spatula with such speed and dexterity that it prompts her sister to state “whoa” in a sarcastic tone. My hot gf looks over, “Looks good babe. See! This is why we need you here.”
If it wasn’t for years of slave labor I wouldn’t have a purpose right now. Thanks, Dad.
“Should I bread the jalapenos?” my hot GF inquires.
“That would be insane.” Because I know what I’m talking about when it comes to cooking.
“Insane? Meaning?” she responds, perplexed.
“Like fucking awesome,” I reply, candidly.
“Oh, ok. We’ll bread them then.”
It feels good to influence the chef’s executive decisions. Allison takes a spoon and begins filling the jalapeno halves, placing them back on the cookie sheet, as her sister individually picks each one up, dips it in egg, then breadcrumbs, and returns it to the cookie sheet, in a mechanical fashion.
I’m typing away and Allison comes over with her mimosa and takes a swig. “All set for the oven! If we owned a deep fryer, we could have breaded them and…” she motions as if to submerge something in a deep fryer while making a “shew” noise. I’m not paying attention and look up from my keyboard. “Huh?”
She repeats the motion. “Oh, gotcha,” I reply, which is code for, “Are you buzzed?”
The poppers have baked for about 25-30 minutes, as per her estimation. She often lets it be known that she is “not a baker”, which explains why her tendencies with her culinary preparation are not an exact science: she measures by eye, quantifies by feel, and seasons to taste. “They’re done,” she states enthusiastically.
My hot gf pulls the hot poppers out of the oven and I’m in awe. These things look scrumptious.
Yeah, that’s right, “scrumptious”–I said it. I’m salivating as we speak. I take one bite and am blown away. “Holy shit babe. Breading these things really put them on a whole ‘nother level. Can’t even imagine how they’d be any other way.”
“You can thank Lauren for the suggestion,” she responds.
Of course! Nevermind my critical input and support–it was all Lauren–who gives a shit what involvement I had with this, if any! Her sister deserves all the credit. Eh, fuck it, at least I was recognized for my mixing abilities.
Besides, I get to eat these things–even if it means keeping her up tonight because I can’t sleep due to the fire in my chest. She tolerated me last night after drinking Scotch and eating White Castle at 1am, so I’m sure this will be a cakewalk for her. Although it is Sunday and she presumably won’t drink as much as she had either last night, so chances are she won’t be passed out while I moan and reek ostensibly during my disruptive slumber. I think I am going to make her another Mango Limosa.
On that note, enjoy this week’s recipe:
Hot Party Poppers
Time to get the party started
- 2 links Mexican chorizo, casings removed or ground if your supermarket is better than mine
- About 1 cup shredded smoked gouda (ask SO to do this while you are cooking chorizo)
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, I like the softened whipped kind so it is easier to mix in
- 3 tablespoons sour cream, feel free to go reduced fat here, I did
- Salt & Pepper
- Freshly chopped cilantro, about tablespoon
- 12 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved (lengthwise not horizontally!)
- For breading – flour, egg (mixed with a little water), mix of panko and Italian style breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray, and take out all refrigerated ingredients so they come to room temperature.
- Cut up chorizo and brown in a skillet for about 10 minutes, breaking it up as it browns. It will be a little hard at first. Add red onion and sauté together for about another 4 minutes, until onion softens.
- Put this mixture into a large mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
- Add in the gouda cheese, 1 egg, cream cheese, sour cream, cilantro and salt/pepper. Ask SO to help stir this up, as you need some muscle J.
- Stuff this mixture into the jalapeños.
- Set up breading station, season flour with salt pepper, mix up the egg with a little water and season with salt/pepper; mix panko and Italian style breadcrumbs.
- Bread jalapenos starting with the flour, then egg wash and lastly breadcrumbs.
- Place breaded jalapenos on baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning them about 20 minutes in. Don’t worry, the mixture will stay put when you turn them over.
These are quite spicy, especially if some of the seeds are left in. I recommend serving them up with some sour cream.