Click Here North Star Writers Group
Syndicated Content.
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Nancy Morgan
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Page
David J. Pollay - The Happiness Answer
Cindy Droog - The Working Mom
The Laughing Chef
Mike Ball - What I've Learned So Far
Bob Batz - Senior Moments
D.F. Krause - Business Ridiculous
Roger Mursick - Twisted Ironies
The Laughing Chef
  The Laughing Chef's Column Archive

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?


It 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 coming.


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.


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.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column #TLC042. Request permission to publish here.