jalapenos

Jalapeno Poppers

First things first: did you see the post on Sunday about the two podcasts I was interviewed for? Well I have one more to tell you guys about. Heather from Half Size Me also interviewed me over the summer and the podcast is now available. Check it out here:

031 – Half Size Me: Weight Loss Success Story with Lisa, 110 Pounds and Counting!

Hope you guys like them!

Did you know that we have a gazillion jalapenos in our garden this year?

Okay maybe not a gazillion but we have about 10x more this year than we ever did last year and unlike last year–they actually taste like something this time! I don’t know if we bought a different kind of plant, but this year’s crop is hot as hell. Last year, they tasted like nothing. Since we have a ton of jalapenos, Michael decided to pickle some. We eat the peppers year round in tons of stuff–omelettes, burritos, enchiladas, guacamole…you name it and we’ll try to make it spicier.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the pickling to be done and the peppers ready to eat, but I will let you know.

The other way we’ve eaten them is in poppers! I got home from the pool one night recently and Michael had already made them up and they were ready to munch on while dinner cooked.

Here is the recipe he used:

Jalapeno Poppers

Category: Dinner, food, Food update, gardening, harvesting veggies, recipes, Urban Farmer, Vegetable Garden

From: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/14284/ridiculously-easy-jalapeno-poppers/

Ingredients

  • 6 jalapenos
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or spring onion
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 12 wooden toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Add toothpicks to warm water for 20-30 minutes before baking or grilling.
  2. Slice each jalapeno in half, lengthwise. Then, using a small spoon, scrape out and discard all seeds and any white membrane.
  3. Stir together the cream cheese and chives or spring onion in a small bowl. Use a spoon to fill each pepper-half.
  4. Cut the bacon slices into three 1 1/2-inch pieces, and wrap one piece of bacon around each stuffed pepper-half then slide a toothpick through the bacon and pepper so the bacon is secure.
  5. To make in the oven: Heat oven to 375 degrees F then line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place stuffed and wrapped peppers, filling side facing up, onto the baking sheet and bake until the bacon is crispy and glistening and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes.
  6. To make on the grill: Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place a grill basket, slotted grilling pan or aluminum foil directly on the grill (this helps to prevent the poppers from falling through the grates). Then, place stuffed and wrapped peppers onto the basket, pan or foil, filling side up and grill until bacon is crispy and glistening and the peppers are tender, about 15-20 minutes. If, while grilling any poppers become too charred, just move them to a cooler section of the grill.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=33695

The poppers were fantastic! I loved them and was sad there weren’t more. They were super spicy and the cream cheese mixture tasted great. I want to have these again asap. I ate the poppers with a glass of milk to wash it down, they were that hot–AND Michael had removed all the seeds. Incredible.

He was a busy bee that night, too, because he made guacamole from scratch to go on our steak salads. Dinner was a big bowl of lettuce with some black olives, pico de gallo, guacamole, a little bit of shredded cheese, sour cream and the steak cubed up.

Usually when we make these Mexican salads we add beans to it and the black beans sit in my stomach like a brick. This time I skipped it and was happily satisfied with dinner without feeling like I ate too much.

I want more poppers.

QUESTION: Can you handle spicy? What are your favorite uses for jalapenos?

Harvesting My Crop

I’ll admit, I was pretty clueless about gardening when we set out on this quest to grow our own veggies. I guess I just assumed we’d plant and then the work was done. Boy was I wrong. Recently I wrote about things I learned for next year’s garden. It’s been a learning process every step of the way.

One of the big things I should have done is make a gardening calender for when I planted the crops, and when they should be ready for harvesting. Next year! I’ve been reading gardening books and consulting Google for advice on when my crops are ready–and HOW to harvest them.

LETTUCE

I just cut off the leaves, wash them and eat them. The lettuce regenerates pretty quickly, so we always have lettuce. Here is the romaine lettuce when we first planted it:


And it turned into this:


The lettuce is the biggest success of the garden, I think.

Until it bolted and I had to pull it all out. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to prevent that next year, unfortunately.

ONIONS

Apparently onions can be picked at any stage but the thing to look for is the leaves to lose their color and flop over.  The instructions were to pull the onions up on a sunny day and let them sit in the sun for another day or so to dry. This drying kills the root system at the bottom of each bulb. The roots will be like little brittle wires when they’re dry. Onions are ready when the skins rattle and the roots are dry and wiry.


I pulled one really early and it tasted great–it was small, but tasty.

SQUASH

There are so many different kinds of squashes, and apparently different rules for all of them. For example, summer squash should be harvested when still tender and slightly “immature” but winter squash needs to be “fully matured.” How the heck do I know the difference?! I planted acorn squash.

Squash before:

Acorn squash is a winter squash (who knew?) and needs to be harvested when the rinds are tough. The easiest way to know when to harvest: it’s dark green in color and hard. This is where a gardening calender would have come in handy because the squash takes between 80-100 days to ripen.

Squash after:

 

ZUCCHINI

The zucchini was the biggest surprise. I had no idea the plant would get so big and literally take over the garden. The advice from everyone was: “pick them young and pick them often.” Big zucchini is apparently flavorless or bitter. The zucchini can be picked in the “baby” stage and it’s supposedly sweet. The normal size when picked is 6-7 inches long. Baby zucchini:


To harvest, snip the fruit from the plant with pruners or scissors, or just give the zucchini a bit of a twist; the stem should come away from the rest of the plant easily. The zucchini is ready:


The zucchini was amazing. It would be tiny on a Tuesday and I’d get busy and forget to check them until Sunday and all of a sudden they’d tripled in size! I loved the zucchini. I gave tons away to friends and coworkers, plus we ate a ton of it all summer long.

TOMATOES

These were pretty self-explanatory. When they are red they’re ready! Our tomato plants grew humongous and a few of them even toppled over because of the weight. There were hundreds of tomatoes growing on the plants. We got a few different varieties of plants so it was cool to see the differences in size and color as they ripened.



I picked some of the baby tomatoes that were ripe. They were delicious and sweet, tender and more amazing than anything I’ve bought in a store.


Once the tomatoes all came to fruition I had to become creative with ways to use them:

  • Mozzarella, basil and tomato salads (my favorite)
  • Tomatoes on green salads
  • Homemade salsa
  • Marinara sauce

Lots of yummy options!

PEPPERS

I was really looking forward to harvesting this little guy:


For months I watched him grow,  plump up, turn a golden green. I was excited to see it change colors. Then one morning I found this:


Yep, some little bastard destroyed my pepper. So so so sad! 🙁

Luckily one survived the slugs and I was able to enjoy my pepper.

 

JALAPENOS

Michael had done tomatoes and jalapenos before and they were successful. We did jalapenos this summer to go with our tomatoes and (what I thought was) cilantro to make salsa.


We chopped up the jalapenos and put them in a lot of things–turkey burgers, salsa, everything. They were tiny but delicious.


Finally, the herbs I planted were massive. They flourished and I didn’t really have the opportunity to use them as much as I wanted to. I wish I had been on top of things to make a bunch of pesto with the basil to freeze. I am currently in the process of drying some oregano and parsley though.

QUESTION: If you are a gardening, what was the biggest success and failure of your garden?