Category Archives: Sides

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Do you ever get that craving for something but don’t have the urge to make them, or heck even purchase any store bought brands? I recently had that craving, and it was for jalapeño poppers. I have never found a frozen, store bought jalapeño popper that I even came close to liking, and that is why I have made my own in the past.  But I will admit, they take a bit of time to make and that’s when I decided to take a different approach and come up with a new idea around the whole thought of jalapeño poppers.  I decided to take all that I loved in that appetizer, and turn it into an egg roll style. Man were these ever awesome.

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • Egg Roll wrappers
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups Canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Take each jalapeno pepper, and slice it in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and ribs, and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining jalapeno peppers.

Drizzle a bit of canola oil over the peppers, and season with a bit of salt. Place in the oven, and roast the peppers for about 10 minutes. You will want a bit of texture to the peppers.

Remove from the oven, and let them cool. During this time, heat a pot on the stove over medium heat. Add in the remaining canola oil and bring it to 350 degrees.

How to make Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Fill each jalapeno with a generous amount of cream cheese.

Take an egg roll wrapper, and lay on a plate with the points facing you, and away from you as pictured above. Add the stuffed jalapeno to the center, then fold over the bottom, gently pulling in towards you to tighten the fold.

Roll about a 1/2 inch, then fold over each side. Brush the exposed, top part of the egg roll wrapper with the beaten egg, and continue to fold to seal the egg roll. Repeat.

Once your oil is heated and the egg rolls are rolled, carefully drop about 3-4 into the pot, or as many that can comfortably fit, and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove with some tongs and place onto a paper lined sheet to let any excess oil drain.  Repeat.

When you are ready to serve, just dig in and take a bite. It’s everything you love about a jalapeno popper, but in my opinion a heck of a lot better. I think the egg roll wrapper is actually a much better vehicle instead of the cornmeal exterior.

If you are looking for a great appetizer, or some great game day grub, give these shot. Hope you enjoy!

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 12 whole medium sized tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

One of my first visits to the local Farmer’s market this year yielded a bunch of rhubarb. I do not often cook with rhubarb, but I like to buy a little bit of everything from the market to support the farmers. I remember growing up and having a small bunch of rhubarb growing in our small back yard, and I remember eating it raw, and recalling the tart flavor and the texture being somewhat similar to celery.  With that said, I wanted to use the rhubarb and pair it with a bunch of strawberries I had, and that’s when I thought of creating a jam.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam

The great thing, besides how awesome the flavor is, about this recipe is that it is so easy to make, and I did not find anyone that did not fall in love with it. It’s a great use of rhubarb during the late spring time.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, chopped, hulls removed
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

Start by adding the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and water into a sauce pot on medium heat. Cook until the fruit begins to break down and all of the juices begin to extract from the fruit, about 25 minutes or so. Using a stick blender, blend the mixture. I like the stick blender because you do not have to strain anything or pour it into a blender.

rhubarb-strawberry-jam-ingredients

Once blended, reduce the heat, and add in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir. Continue to cook until the jam thickens. I typically measure the thickness by running a wood spoon in the jam and seeing how well it sticks to the spoon. Once thickened, remove the jam from the heat, and let cool on the stove.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam Recipe

Once cooled, pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator. My wife and kids loved this jam, and heck, so did I. I’m not much into sweet stuff, but this was a bit addicting. I should say my friends and neighbors loved the rhubarb and strawberry jam as well. You can can this if you are into canning, however I just placed in the mason jar. It lasted for several weeks.

One of the uses beyond spreading this on toast or peanut butter sandwiches was to spread it on some brie cheese and warm it in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. I served that with some chopped apples for an appetizer. It was heavenly. If you are looking for ways to use rhubarb, give this one a shot.

Crock-Pot Caramelized Onions

Sometimes I think what the heck would we do if we did not own a Crock-Pot, or slow cooker, if you will. The Crock-Pot is a thing of beauty and has helped me so many times throughout the year, especially during the work week. I typically use the slow cooker to break down beef, or chicken, or really anything I will not have time to make when I return home from work. Recently I smoked a pork shoulder, and decided that after 5 hours on the smoker, that I would place it in the slow cooker, and continue to render that should down. Let me tell you, it was delicious! As I was cleaning out the Crock-Pot, I noticed some onions I had, and decided that I would try tossing those in the slow cooker, and see if they would caramelize over time. They did, and let me tell you, they rocked. Super simple, and one that you can set and forget.

Crock-Pot Caramelized Onions

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Spanish Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme

Add everything to the Crock-Pot. Cover, and set on low heat. Cook for 18-24 hours, or until the onions are nice and caramelized. Stir a few hours into the cooking process to get the oil, butter, and seasoning incorporated.

crockpot-caramelized-onions-ingredients

The end result is nothing short of amazing. The onions yield nearly three cups of deliciousness. I’ve been using these in stuffed mushrooms, and pizzas. The great thing I love about caramelized onions is that you can essentially use them in everything from omelettes, sandwiches, and pizzas. Give these a shot next time you want to caramelize onions.

How to use Caramelized Onions