We're turning up the heat this week with lots of local jalapenos! Don't fear the heat, as there are plenty of easy ways to prepare them that will mask the burn and highlight their lovely smoky flavor. But be warned, you will want to wear kitchen gloves or put some baggies on your hands when seeding and chopping the jalapenos, because not only will you undoubtedly rub your eyes sometime later that day and then rue the jalapeno's existence, but you will also find that your fingertips themselves will burn. Leave feeling the burn to the gym, not the kitchen!
So here's two great recipes for this week's bounty of jalapenos. First up, the best ever layered taco dip I've had in my life, courtesy of my good friend Alicia. There was a memorable New Years Eve when we co-hosted a party in which this taco dip was made, along with enough food to feed about 30 people. There were 5 of us at this party. We have a slight problem with going over board. But you will want to make a ton of this layered taco dip and then go hide yourself in a closet with a bag of chips. Just the spiced cream cheese base of this is to die for!
Then the next recipe comes from everyone's favorite down-home gal, The Pioneer Woman. She once made these killer BBQ Jalapeno Poppers, and while you can certainly go the BBQ route (how amazing would they be with some of that Almost Heaven Apple Butter BBQ we have in store?!?), Miss Valerie in our office LOVES to replace the BBQ in this recipe with peach jam. Say what?! Sweet with heat, sign us up! We pretty much have peach jam coming out our ears in the store, including a new Sunshine Peach Jam. But ooo, how deliciously exotic would it be with some Mango Jam or some of the Mango Mango Preserves? Go ahead, get a little crazy this week!
Miss Alicia's Taco Dip
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
1 tsp chipotle pepper (or less to control the heat)
Beat all ingredients together until well-blended and creamy. Spread in the bottom or a deep dish or pie plate.
1/2 head of iceburg lettuce, chopped fine
Evenly spread over cream cheese mixture.
Grated cheddar cheese to taste
Evenly sprinkled over lettuce.
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 chopped sweet onion
1 chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper
3 Tbsp minced, fresh cilantro
1 tsp lime juice
Mix all ingredients together in a separate bowl and then evenly spread over top of cheese. You'll likely have left over pico de gallo, so save to use as a plain salsa or for topping homemade tacos, grilled fish or chicken.