Monday, March 19, 2012

Jalapeños Make Everything Better

I've noticed a pattern in several recent conversations.

Me: "I want to create a new kind of candy for my Etsy shop. I'm thinking about--"
The Texan, interrupting: "What about chocolate-covered jalapeños?"


Me: "What do you think about flavored caramels? You know, like espresso or chocolate."
T:  "I'm thinking jalapeño-flavored caramels."

and then,

Me: "Would you please make a loaf of bread to have with dinner tonight?"
T: "Jalapeño bread all the way, baby!"

Knock yourself out.

But then we decided to make chili, and because we both love cornbread, we knew that Coyote Joe's Jalapeño Bacon Cornbread recipe was the flavor direction we wanted to head in. However, the two cups of buttermilk, two eggs, cup of cheddar, one-third cup of butter, and half-pound of bacon in the recipe wasn't the direction our arteries wanted to head in, so we used the recipe on the back of the box of cornmeal and added a single slice of applewood-smoked bacon and a jalapeño.

It was ridiculous. As in, really good. And perfect with a bowl of chili.

But then, as we made our second batch of cornbread to eat with the leftover chili, I noticed our conversations were heading in a new direction.

The Texan, wide-eyed: "Let's add the entire half-pound of bacon that Coyote Joe's recipe calls for!"
Me: "Let's not."
T: "Why?"
Me: "Because Coyote Joe had gastric bypass surgery in 2006."

Chocolate-covered jalapeños are starting to sound pretty good right now.

Jalapeño-Bacon Cornbread
adapted from On the Chile Trail and Albers
makes 12 servings

1 C yellow corn meal
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C milk (I used 1/4 C milk + 3/4 C soy milk)
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1-2 jalapeños, diced and seeded

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 8" x 8" pan with cooking spray. 
2. Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 
3. Combine milk, oil, and egg in small bowl. Mix well. 
4. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just incorporated.
5. Add bacon and jalapeño. Stir until just combined. Do not overmix! Pour into prepared pan.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Note: This recipe can also be used to make muffins. Fill cups 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes, using same test for doneness as above.

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