Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jalepeno !Bang! for July 4th

Explosions of Flavor!

Fireworks won't be the only thing lighting up your 4th of July picnic! Stuffed and grilled jalapeños will have a flavor explosion in every single bite. It would hardly be July 4th without burgers and dogs, but they don't have to be your everyday, run of the mill variety. Kick everything up a notch or two as Emeril would say.

Begin with fresh sweet corn that hasn't been shucked. Peel back the shucks leaving them intact, remove the silk, pull the shucks back up and soak for an hour or two, or even all day (great to do ahead). Prepare a medium heat grill (plenty of charcoal, probably a second chimney full). Place corn directly on grill, close and cook, turning occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes. After corn steams, it will begin to caramelize adding even more sweet flavor. Take corn from grill to sheet pan, remove and discard shucks, and brush corn with melted butter mixed with fresh lime juice, smokey paprika, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little grated parmesan. Cover sheet pan with foil, and hold in low (225°) oven until ready to serve.

And for those special dogs, choose your favorites, whether sausage, chicken or beef, and grill them over medium heat. Be sure to brush the inside of the buns with butter. Grilling the bun makes all the difference in a good hamburger or hotdog. To take your hamburgers and hotdogs over the top, add Cheese Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Grilled Jalapeños. They're absolutely delicious and the ultimate condiment, adding that 4th of July explosion of flavor you're looking for.

For juicier burgers, add some sauteed onions, BBQ sauce, an egg, salt and pepper, and some grated cheese to your meat. Toss together with forks and avoid compacting too much when making patties. Chill patties until ready to grill. Over medium heat, add patties to grill, DO NOT press down with spatula. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. Serve on grilled buns with condiments. They will be DEE-LICIOUS!


Cheese Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped, Grilled Jalapeños

8 Jalapeno peppers

1 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil

8 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, small dice

8 cherry tomatoes

4 strips bacon, microwaved about 4 minutes, until about half done

4 (12 inch) bamboo skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes before using.

Cut the stem end off the peppers, and with a small paring knife loosen the ribs and scrape out the ribs and seeds, leaving the pepper intact. (The seeds and ribs are the hottest part of the pepper.)

Add the olive oil to a small saute pan, and over medium heat saute the outside of the peppers just until they begin to blister, only a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Stuff as much cheese as you can into the peppers, and tread a stuffed pepper onto a soaked skewer beginning with the closed end. Follow with a cherry tomato, pushing it down to plug the top of the pepper and hold the cheese. Put two stuffed peppers and two tomatoes on each skewer.

Wrap peppers with partially cooked bacon, using tooth picks to secure. Use one strip of bacon for each skewer.

Grill for several minutes over medium heat, turning until bacon has finished cooking and cheese is melted.

Remove from skewers, and eat as appetizers, or use as condiments for hamburgers or hotdogs.

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