July 23, 2007
Bust Out the Goggles!
It’s Jalapeno Time
Most of us know about the great, classic kitchen combinations – peanut
butter and jelly, bread and butter, oil and vinegar. There is another
one, just outside the dawn of man. It is a spicy union, and one that
makes sense in retrospect, much like Tabasco sauce and fried catfish. It
is bacon and jalapeno pepper.
The righteousness of the combination should now begin to dawn upon you.
It makes sense because it seems to make sense. One is a hot pepper
mostly associated with salsa, and the other is a meat cutting from the
belly of a pig. What could make more sense than bringing them together?
is with the pepper that we get started. The first step is to look some
distance into the future. At some point, you are apt to get sleepy and
feel like rubbing your eyes. Or else, a gnat will inevitably fly into
your eye and you’ll want to remove it. At any rate, you’ll eventually
touch your eye with your hand.
Under normal circumstances, this isn’t a big deal. After having handled
jalapeno peppers, however, this is no insubstantial hazard.
Were some of the capsaicin from the jalapeno make contact with your eye,
your eye would immediately burst into flames. Or else, that’s how it
would feel. No matter of screaming or jumping up and down will douse the
flames, either. The pain will eventually ebb. The memory of pain will
linger . . . sometimes for years.
So, it is typically recommended that anyone who even so much as touches
someone who touches a cut jalapeno pepper don a pair of surgical gloves
to prevent the emotional scars.
Once gloves are slipped on over the hands, and once a proper pair of
industrial-grade eye goggles has been placed over the eyes (they should
stay there for at least 48 hours to prevent contact with residual
capsicum), it is time to bring out two knives (one sharp, one butter)
and a spoon (place something heavy on the spoon … once it realizes it’s
going to get a healthy dose of capsaicin in its eyes, it will indeed
high-tail it with the dish).
Cut the pepper lengthwise, and grab the spoon with a very firm grip, or
else it might try to flee.
Use it to scoop out the seeds and the soft white membrane attaching the
seeds to the side of the pepper. Look at the spoon closely. Almost
imperceptibly, it is writhing in pain (were it not made of rigid metal,
it would indeed be flopping about). Feel free to laugh maniacally while
looking at the spoon, especially if you have guests in the other room.
Your goggles will protect you from anything the spoon can pull off.
Place the two jalapeno halves together. It looks like the pepper from
just five seconds before. Pull them apart. The pepper, which five
seconds before was full of membrane and seeds, is now empty. It feels
sad, lonely, dejected.
The thought strikes you to fill it. Follow through with this, it is the
right thing to do.
Take a tub of soft cream cheese from the refrigerator and, with the
butter knife, fill each half with creamy, heart exploding goodness.
Place the two empty halves back together. If you have indeed filled the
two halves with cream cheese, they will stick together.
Here is where we introduce bacon to the equation. Wrap the whole pepper
in a piece of thick-slice bacon, and spear the entire thing with a
toothpick. You look at it, and it is a tiny little button of
dangerous-looking green wrapped in one piece of greasy bacon. Wipe your
mouth, for saliva is now dripping out of it, in anticipation of what is
The question here is how to cook it. The answer is simple – you grill
it. Or, if you have no charcoal, you broil it. You can also bake it, but
avoid boiling or steaming it.
is important, at this point, not to remove your gloves. You will have
had one, and you will think to yourself, “I must have another one of
those.” That one will be followed by another one, and so on and so forth
until you have exhausted all available ingredients, at which time you
should roll your gloves right off your hands and into the garbage. Do
not roll them into the dying embers of the grill. The resulting
capsaicin-filled smoke has been known, in less civil times, to spark
long, bloody wars.
© 2007 North Star Writers
Group. May not be republished without permission.
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