Last summer I spent most nights bed ridden with a terrible bouts of pregnancy induced vomiting and migraine headaches. On occasion Jim would fill these lonely nights by having a few of his guy friends over for beer, dinner on the grill, and swimming. One such evening his friend, Chris, made grilled jalapeno poppers. The next morning Jim raved about how delicious they were and how sorry he was I was sick and missed out on enjoying them. I was kind of surprised, knowing he wasn't really a hot & spicy kind of guy but he noted that they weren't that hot and he really enjoyed them.
Enjoyed them so much that he decided to grow four jalapeno plants in the garden this year. He has been waiting with the adrenaline filled anticipation of a kid on Christmas Eve for his first crop of jalapenos. Sunday evening he finally was able to prepare his long awaited delicacy.....
First there was a little sweat along his brow. Then he started commented that his thumbs were burning (he had used bare thumbs to remove the seeds). The fresh jalapenos stuffed with blue cheese hit the the grill, his excitement causing him to temporarily forget that he has almost lost normal sensation in his thumbs. He is salivating now (or is it more sweat?!). Meanwhile I'm in the kitchen preparing the sweetest foods I can think of, sweet potato fries and a salad with raspberry vinaigrette. I bring a fan onto the porch and blow it directly at Jim's chair. We are plating up our food. Jim is shirtless and increasing in sweat production. He serves up two poppers for each of us. I let him take the first bite, waiting only a few minutes I give mine a try. Pretty good!
Then a fire is set from Jim's stomach clear through to his mouth, pushing through every inch of his causing in the form of a smooth, glistening layer of perspiration. I think his eyes even started to water. His is only mildly consoled by the surrounding food on his plate and the cold Corona in his hand. I on the other hand am experiencing nothing. A bit of heat in the back of my mouth but in a good and expected way. Riesling and I proceed to giggle at Daddy as he hangs his head in defeat, claiming he can't bear to eat even a second one (he used 8 peppers, equally 16 poppers). I tried a second in one gulp and was kicked in the a** by the sudden flames consuming my gut. Apparently the first one was a trick! I however refused to be defeated (and hated to see all those jalapenos go to waste) and after a short recovery period drudged forward.
It turned out that not all of the jalapenos were of equal heat. I'm not sure if Jim left some seeds behind in a few or it's just the nature of the beast. After I gulped down a few more I convinced Jim to try again. He agreed only if I sampled a bite of each one first. He managed to eat several more, sweating buckets and guzzling beer and raspberry vinaigrette drenched salad in between. It was seriously the funniest thing though. He was totally suffering the whole time but wanted so badly to for those poppers to be as good as he remembered that he forced himself to keep eating them. Riesling was in a cheery ole mood and seemed to realize that it was appropriate to laugh at him. It was the best Sunday evening I've had in awhile!
If you're interested in trying them for yourself....
Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
Slice jalapeno lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribbing (Jim recommends using gloves!). Stuff with blue cheese. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and place jalapeno open side up. Cook over medium heat ~5 minutes or until cheese is melted and pepper is slightly softened. Enjoy at your own risk.