Remember these bad boys? I got them from a friend a couple weeks back and as soon as she handed them to me, I knew what I wanted to do with them. Some time ago I happened to catch a Rachael Ray show while working out on the treadmill and on that show she showed a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers.
I thought they looked really good, and since Erik likes all things jalapeno, I put it in the back of my mind as a good recipe to try sometime. Enter the lovely jalapenos I got from Yvonne. Actually, I don't think they are jalapenos. I think the ones I got from her are actually habenero peppers. I think this because when I went to the store to get more jalapenos, I noticed they were big, quite a bit bigger than the peppers I had at home. Next to the jalapenos at the store were habenero peppers, which look an awfully lot like the ones in my frig at home. So, I didn't actually use the ones I already had. They are still in my produce drawer.
So, I got the ingredients and planned to serve the poppers to a little get-together we host every other week. It's several families from church and we get together to have a little bible study and hang out. Sometimes I like to make new and fun appetizers or desserts to serve everyone, so this week it was going to be poppers.
I prepped everything but the peppers, saving them for last. Once everything else was ready, I started on those. I had to cut about 1/4th off of them lengthwise, making sort of a boat, scoop out the seeds and fill them with the buffalo chicken mixture. I vaguely remember my mom wearing gloves when she cut up jalapenos for her salsa, but I didn't think it was necessary. I started cutting, and thought I'd be fine, it didn't bother my hands at all. I had gotten through most of them before I noticed my nose was reacting to the peppers like they do to onions. I was having to sneeze and my throat was feeling like I needed to cough. My hands, they were fine. Once I was done with all the cutting I decided I had to go to the bathroom before starting in on the stuffing of the peppers. So, I went.
Now, remember I hadn't felt anything wrong with my hands at this point and this was the first time I'd actually cooked with jalapenos on my own, so I really had no clue. So, I'm done doing my thing in the bathroom and as I buckle my belt I realize that I feel sort of like I'm burning. And not my hands. It takes me a moment or two to realize why I'm burning. I hadn't washed my hands after cutting the peppers. Then I'm scrambling for wet wipes and then the laptop where I google "getting jalapeno pepper sting off sensitive skin". All the while I'm struggling not to cry. (Lindsay had a girlfriend over from school to play and I didn't think it would be appropriate for me to run around the house with no pants on, screaming and crying.) I try a few things (i.e. rubbing alcohol and clean clothes) and notice the burning is going down. I felt like I could walk normally and possibly even go back to my cooking. At this point I'd also used hand sanitizer several times on my hands after reading it was suppose to help (the alcohol in it) as well as grease cutting dish soap and some aloe vera. But, it didn't help my hands and they continued to burn as the evening wore on. They didn't blister, thank goodness, but it was rather uncomfortable for a while before it started to fade.
I was able to finish cooking the poppers, and even though I had nearly suffered horribly, I still thought they might be good. Fast forward to our get-together and we'd finished the bible study and were ready to dig into some snacks. I served the poppers and heard some ooh's and ah's. Erik was the first to try a bite, and immediately needed water and reacted like it was hot, hot. I was thinking, "Great, if its too hot for Erik, its too hot." But he kept eating and several others decided to try them, too. I'm so grateful I served ranch dressing and celery sticks with these bad boys, because they were hot! The first bite burned my lips, and it wasn't because they were hot from the oven. A few more bites in and they weren't bad with the filling. I ended up eating three, but my lips were on fire afterwards and I had to dip them in ranch and drink tons of water. Two of the junior high girls tried them and their whole faces turned red after their first (and only) bite. Several folks refused to eat them all together. (They might've been the smartest ones.) Out of 22 poppers, all but 5 were consumed, but I think some of them just ate the filling out of the pepper. The consensus? They were hot. I'm so grateful that my friends are forgiving and are still my friends after I served that dish! Will I be making these anytime again? Well, I asked Erik if I should save the leftover popper's and he said "No." So, I don't think I will be making them again. They were just too hot.
As for cooking with jalapenos. I would do it again, maybe for salsa or artichoke dip or something where they are mixed in with other things, but I am definitely and most assuredly wearing gloves the next time I take a knife to a jalapeno pepper!