Pumpkin Spice Jalapeño

By: Anne Ewbank 

Atlas Obscura

Photo by: The Chile Pepper Institute .

If you’re expecting a fall-flavored latte, you’re in for a surprise with this Pumpkin Jalapeno .

 

It’s not really fall without the avalanche of pumpkin spice products, from lattes to dog treats. Those looking to get a jump on the trend might find themselves tempted by the Pumpkin Spice jalapeño, which appears with the start of chili season in mid-summer.
But if you bite into this pepper expecting the flavors of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves that make your PSL so tasty, you’re in for a spicy surprise. The name actually refers to its pumpkin-orange hue, and the “spice” to its jalapeño heat. Pumpkin Spice jalapeños do, however, taste more fruity than your typical green pepper.

The “NuMex Pumpkin Spice” jalapeño was developed specifically for its color. The variety was recently released by New Mexico State University, along with “NuMex Lemon Spice” and “NuMex Orange Spice.” In a 2015 paper describing its breeding process, pepper experts Paul Bosland and Danise Coon write that the new vibrant peppers were bred to help growers boost sales. Since shoppers love brightly-colored produce, they might be attracted to sunny shades on their jalapeños, which the authors noted are “not currently available in the marketplace.”
Need to Know

 

Pumpkin Spice jalapeños are still not widely available. However, seeds are easily purchasable online, including from their origin, NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute.

The Little Pepper That Could

By: Ryan Bradley 

Eater

Illustrations by Chrissy Curtin

The chile looks a lot like a jalapeno and, well, it tastes like a jalapeno, too. But, you know, different. I first noticed it when I was eating the rice and beans at B.S. Taqueria downtown Los Angeles. The dish — the rice and beans — had a lot going on: The rice was puffed; the beans (white and garbanzos) were lightly fried. There were also grilled onions and cotija cheese, all served in a brown paper bag that quickly went wet with grease. But the chiles, they pulled the whole thing together, giving it a strange hint of sweetness, a tinge of smoke, and heat of course, a buzzy tingle and occasional pang. They never overwhelmed. They were very, very good. I was intrigued and, quickly, borderline obsessed. Why hadn’t I heard of a Fresno chile before?

Not long after that first encounter, I was talking to Ray Garcia, the chef-owner of B.S. Taqueria, who created the rice-and-bean dish. Fresnos are a “gateway chile,” he said — they’re friendly, easy to eat, both familiar and not. “People are like, ‘Oh! Fresnos! Yeah, I grow these! I grew up on these! This is, like, right before a jalapeno goes green, yeah?’” It is not. But it’s entirely possible you have encountered a Fresno, possibly in a supermarket, most likely mislabeled as a jalapeno. “No one knows what they’re talking about with Fresnos,” Garcia said, which seemed like it couldn’t be true. But, the more I looked into it, the more it turned out to be the case. Fresnos are right on the edge of familiarity: If you’d heard of them, you either had nothing to say about them, or what you did have to say was likely wrong. The chile was like the California city: a place you drove past and barely considered. Only, I wanted to consider it. I wasn’t even sure, starting out, if the city and the pepper had anything to do with each other.
They do. Sort of. Fresno chiles are named after Fresno, not the city, but the county in California’s central valley containing the city of the same name. They were developed in the 1950s by a local grower and seed merchant named Clarence “Brownie” Hamlin, who lived in the county of Fresno, in a town called Clovis, which is just outside the city of Fresno. The chile pepper Hamlin hybridized was, like all chile pepper plants, magnificently malleable. The chile pepper is a self-fertilizing plant, meaning the flowers on a single specimen contain both male and female genes. To crossbreed a pair of chiles, one plant has to be pollinated with the other. Swab the flower of one plant with a bee-like apparatus, perhaps a Q-tip, smear that across the flowers on the other plant, and boom, you’ve hybridized two peppers.
Okay, sure, it’s more complicated than that, since certain traits might show up in some peppers and not others, so there are seeds to save, and generations to cultivate, and traits to draw out through those generations, which is what Brownie Hamlin surely did to reach the variety he felt worth hanging onto and making an heirloom, the variety he named after the county he lived in and the town he lived near, the town at the center of the largest, most productive stretch of agricultural land on the continent, if not in the whole entire world.

Illustrations by Chrissy Curtin

Hamlin’s nephew, Casey, also lives near Fresno and sells seeds, including those of the Fresno, which he describes on his company’s website as similar to jalapenos but with thinner walls, which makes them perfect for cooking, or in a salsa. When I tried to buy the seeds online, or contact Casey directly, I couldn’t. Links were defunct, my calls and emails unreturned. I contacted the Fresno Historical Society, as well as the Fresno agricultural board, and, for good measure, the University of California’s agricultural cooperative, which has a few stations near Fresno. No one had anything to say about the Fresno chile.
Meanwhile, I began seeking out Fresnos everywhere I could, which produced all manner of disappointment. Unlike a jalapeno, serrano, Italian, shishito, or a bell pepper, a Fresno isn’t a regularly stocked item. You couldn’t plan around a Fresno, couldn’t count on it being there. And yet it is very much like those other far more common peppers, all of which are variations of the same species, capsicum annuum. (Not to be confused with black pepper, or piper nigrum, which comes from southern India.) All chile peppers come from the Americas — most likely central Mexico, where the plant was first cultivated at least 5,000 years ago.
Once the Spanish arrived, the peppers crossed oceans, first to Europe and then, carried by the Portuguese, to Asia, via the Indian port of Goa. Centuries passed, generation after generation of peppers: cultivated, hybridized, and folded into the cooking of regions throughout the globe. Peppers travel well and keep easily. The capsicum is a hearty plant, and the fruit works nearly every which way: grilled, sauteed, pickled, or dried and crushed. When looking at the great sweep of the chile pepper’s history, the Fresno is a very recent arrival. But that still doesn’t fully explain its second-class status. What might is its heat, or lack thereof.Capsicums are unique plants — their fruit produces compounds called capsaicinoids, possibly, initially, evolutionarily, as a protective measure: to keep from being eaten. Capsaicinoids, you see, are what give the pepper its heat. The compounds aggravate and alarm our immune system. They make us feel hot and go sweaty. Humans, like peppers, are unique: Many of us find the experience of burning pain to be fantastic, excellent, delicious.

Illustrations by Chrissy Curtin

 

In recent decades, there has been a sort of arms race to hybridize ever-hotter peppers. In 1912, a Connecticut pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test — a test for spiciness that involved progressive dilutions of a pepper’s extract into sugar water. The more dilutions required to minimize the heat to an imperceptible level, the hotter the pepper. And thus, the Scoville heat unit scale was born. A jalapeno requires about 5,000 parts water to one part chile extract to minimize its heat, so a jalapeno is around 5,000 Scoville heat units. A Fresno is about the same. A bell pepper is zero. The recently developed Bhut Jolokia is over a million SHUs. The Trinidad Scorpion is around 1.2 million. There is a very silly but also sort of fascinating debate as to which pepper is truly the hottest on Earth. On YouTube, there is a robust community of men (only men; mostly British) eating these peppers, going very red, weeping uncontrollably, falling on the floor, writhing, moaning, sweating, cursing, gasping, and bellowing. These are stunt peppers, not — if you are a sane and average person — for eating. The Fresno can’t compete.
Still, I wanted to track down some Fresnos, and find someone who could tell me something about them. I finally called Craig Underwood, a farmer who until recently grew all the jalapenos for Huy Fong Foods, Inc., makers of Sriracha, on 2,000 acres outside Ventura, California. He still grows jalapenos, as well as serranos and cascabels, but this year, he was putting in extra rows of Fresnos. “Way more than we’ve ever planted,” he yelled over the thrum of his pickup, piloting his way across his fields. His farm manager noticed that Fresnos were fetching pretty good prices down at LA’s 7th Street Produce Market, and Underwood wasn’t one to question what people wanted to buy. Maybe, he ventured, it was because in the fall, when the peppers turn red, their skin doesn’t crack the way a jalapeno’s often does. “People won’t buy a red jalapeno when it’s cracked,” he said with the confidence of a man whose trade is peppers. I asked Underwood if he thought there might be some growers still in Fresno, growing Fresnos. The community of pepper-growers in California was pretty small, he said, but he hadn’t heard of Brownie Hamlin or his nephew, and wasn’t sure about Fresnos growing in and around Fresno, which had lately turned to more lucrative crops, like almonds.
A few days after my call with Underwood, I decided to drive up to Fresno and find out for myself. Heading north from LA, up and over the San Emigdio Mountains, you first see the San Joaquin Valley from high above. If it’s early, which it was, clouds cling to the peaks as you drive by, and off in the distance, further east, nearly lost in the haze, are the Sierra Nevadas, still snowcapped in places, still holding the water that has fed this great valley since long before history, giving it some of the loamiest, richest soil on earth. The farmland begins even before the land levels out, continuing uninterrupted for some 450 miles. Fresno is smack in the middle. Some 85 percent of America’s carrots grow here, along with more than 90 percent of our raisins and almonds, around 95 percent of our processed tomatoes, and most of our walnuts, grapes, and pistachios, too. If you’re passing through the San Joaquin, you take I-5 (and, indeed, I usually do). But California State Route 99 cuts through the heart of the agricultural center and its cities. Driving the 99, it often seems like half the cars on the road are trucks laden with just-picked crops.

 

My first stop was a farm stand in Clovis, the town adjacent to Fresno and where Brownie Hamlin had first hybridized his chile seed. There I met Vincent Ricchiuti, great grandson of Vincenzo Ricchiuti, who first arrived in the Valley from Northern Italy in 1914. Vincent’s father, Patrick, runs P-R Farms, Inc., among the largest farming concerns in the valley. They grow peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, apples, grapes, almonds, and olives. Vincent runs ENZO, an olive oil company; one of his olive oils is also made with crushed Fresno chiles. As it happened, he was just planting his field of Fresnos that morning, behind the building where he sold the oil.
Fresnos start the same as all the other peppers — after all, they’re technically the same plant, with different characteristics drawn out at different times in the life cycle. In Thai chiles, for example, the pepper begins green, as all peppers do. Then, the pepper turns a brownish color, and peaks in spiciness before eventually going red. Some recipes that call for Thai green peppers, or for Thai brown, or still others for Thai red — well, people think they are different peppers, but it’s the same exact pepper, just picked at different times throughout the season.
Across the street was a massive beige building, a packing plant for the family business. Behind the stand and store was a few acres of dirt, bounded on two sides by a housing development — enough space for nearly 11,000 chile plants. As we walked out toward the field, Ricchiuti described what it was that had drawn him to Fresnos, the only chile he used in any of his oils. He said that they were “nice and level” and “really approachable,” as well as “warm and inviting.” A spice that “doesn’t hit you in the face,” he said. Also, he added, his mother, “who does not like spice at all, puts it on her eggs all the time.” But the real reason he was planting all these Fresnos was because Fresnos had felt to him like a discovery, or a rediscovery — a re-evaluation of the place he was from and called home.

 

Illustrations by Chrissy Curtin

 

”It’s the most quintessential Fresno thing,” Ricchiuti said, squinting as he looked out over his field of chiles. “Here’s this beautiful food, named after us, but we’re not celebrating it, we don’t even know about it. It’s like a complex we’ve got: We’re not LA, we’re not San Francisco, and we’re reminded of that, often.” We walked along the rows of peppers for a stretch in silence. I had to admit, the plants didn’t look like much quite yet, just a few green shoots springing up out of the nearly black soil. “You got to go over to see Kong’s farm,” Ricchiuti said, breaking the silence. “That’s who got us set up here, because we’re not vegetable growers, really. But Kong, man, he’s growing the best vegetables in the country. I mean, Thomas Keller is flying his stuff to New York. Go see Kong. He’ll tell you what’s what. I think he’s got some Fresnos going in, too.”
An hour later, I arrived outside a small black gate, the entrance to Thao Family Farms, where Kong Thao met me and led me back to the 34 acres he and his parents and some of his 10 siblings farm. He smiled a rakish smile and asked if I was the guy who wanted to talk chiles, and then trudged off toward a patch of freshly tilled earth where his Fresnos had just gone in. “This is just a very small part of what we do,” he said, gesturing toward the patch. Beyond it were a dozen varieties of bell peppers, followed by dense rows of Italian long sweet peppers, Thai chiles, then arugula, tendrils of bitter melon, chards, collards, yu choy, bok choy, amaranth, blue spice basil, broccoli, Asian sorrel, Vietnamese coriander, chayote, several dozen varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 10 varieties of eggplant, six of summer squash, four of cucumbers — “a little bit of everything,” Thao said, eventually, giving up on listing it all.

 

Thao liked the Fresno chile’s complex flavor, but the reason he’d started growing it was even more basic than taste: “Vince and I, we’d been talking about it a few years, and finally we were like, ‘Let’s just do Fresnos, because we’re from Fresno.’” The taste of a pepper isn’t merely influenced by when it’s picked, but where it’s grown, so the Fresno has a different flavor when it’s grown in Fresno than anywhere elsewhere — farther north up the Valley, or along the coast, where growing seasons were longer. The peppers in those places get larger, but the flavor also gets diluted, according to Thao. In Fresno, the peppers were more compact, oily, and flavorful.
Thao mentioned a local chef named Jimmy Pardini, who also used his Fresnos, sometimes in salads, or on his pizzas. He came by the farm at least once a week to pick up some produce. It used to be, Thao would deliver directly to Pardini’s restaurant, the Annex Kitchen, but now Thao spends at least three days a week driving down to the farmer’s markets in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Torrence, so he doesn’t have time anymore. Pardini was another one of the few locals who seemed to know about and like Fresno chiles. Maybe I should go talk to him?
Pardini’s restaurant was, as its name suggested, annexed from his family’s banquet hall and catering company, which they’d owned and operated for two generations. The space had been a diner — it still had the long counter with the kitchen right behind it, but now a pizza oven and huge wood grill dominated the entrance. A stack of almond wood from the Ricchiuti family orchards sat next to the grill. Fresno is a small place.
Like Thao and Ricchiuti, Pardini had grown up in Fresno, but he didn’t learn about Fresno chiles until after college, working the line at Osteria Mozza, Nancy Silverton’s LA restaurant. The pepper was in a linguine with clams. “I was like, ‘Fresno Fresno? Where I’m from? I know there’s, like, a Fresno in Mexico? Is that the town?’” It was hard to believe this pepper, showing up in this fancy restaurant in the big city, was from his humble home. It had to be something more exotic. But it wasn’t. It was Fresno, Fresno.

Illustrations by Chrissy Curtin

 

Later, I asked Silverton about the ways she uses the chile, what makes her like Fresnos as an ingredient, and what might have made Pardini first notice it. “Well it’s a beautiful chile, and when cooked there’s almost like a sweet kind of smoky note that it takes on,” she said. She slices it thin and chars it in the wood-burning oven and puts it on her salami pizza. Pickled, she adds it to braised chicken and sausage. Raw, she slices it into very thick rounds and, with a jalapeno, adds them to her spicy bean salad. There’s also a pesto she makes with Fresno chiles, for pasta.
The conversation turned to the Fresno’s provenance. She knew they were named after the city, but not much more than that. “It’s a newcomer, right?” Silverton ventured. Perhaps that was part of the problem, why it hadn’t found much of a foothold beyond chefs. It was new, as far as food goes. It didn’t have a tradition, or much of a story. “It’s a little lost soul,” she said, wistfully.
Pardini told me something similar, that although the pepper had a place, was named after a place, it kept falling through the cracks. “Each ethnic group has their chile,” he said. Italians long for the Italians, Armenian peppers for the Armenians, Thai chiles for the Thais, a whole universe of peppers for the Mexicans, he explained. In California, he continued, everyone had a friend — or an uncle, most likely — who had the peppers he grew in his backyard, the peppers he’d brag about over the grill in the summertime, and those peppers, passed down from generation to generation, were almost never Fresnos. We were, after all, a nation of immigrants, and peppers travel well. Even when a pepper came from here — even though all peppers come from this continent — we are loyal to the past, to the peppers we’ve known, that our ancestors had brought along.
But the Fresno chile can have a story, too. What’s nice about newcomers is that their story hasn’t been fully written, and can be yours to write. A few days after my trip to Fresno, I was at a nursery near my home, and there, beside the jalapenos and serranos, near the rows and rows of tomatoes, was a single Fresno chile plant in a tiny plastic pot. I took it up to the register, and the woman behind it couldn’t find the price anywhere. She thought it might have been a mistake, this plant’s arrival and existence in the nursery. That it had gotten mixed in with the other, more standard chiles. She sold it to me for a dollar and the next day, I planted it. There is at least one pepper growing on it now, small and green. But by the time you read this, maybe it will have started going red. And soon enough, it will be fall, and I’ll cut it open and carefully take out its seeds, saving them for next year. Then maybe I’ll pickle the rest of it, or make it into a jelly. I’ll have friends over to try some and I’ll probably tell them, yes, it comes from Fresno. But like all peppers it comes from elsewhere, too. It’s a hybrid. It’s a newbie. It’s a great American pepper. And isn’t it delicious?

 

 

 

Jalapeno Brownies Add Spice to Any Fiesta!

By : 

Go Dairy Free

This jalapeno brownies recipe with photo was shared with us by Rio Luna Organics.

Special Diet Notes: Jalapeno Brownies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free, dairy-free jalapeno brownies, you can substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend, like King Arthur or Namaste Foods, for the all-purpose flour.
For egg-free and vegan jalapeno brownies, swap in aquafaba for the eggs, or see my egg substitute guide for more options.

Jalapeno Brownies

Print
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
30 mins

For sweet presentation, dust these jalapeno brownies with powdered sugar before serving.
Author: Rio Luna Organics
Serves: 16 brownies
Ingredients
½ cup oil (your favorite baking oil)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapenos, pureed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until no cocoa clumps remain.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, jalapenos, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combines.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and even it out.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the brownies pull away from the pan sides.
Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into fourths each

 

 

 

For That Final Flourish, a Flavored Olive Oil

By:Florence Fabricant

New York Times 

 

Credit:Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

Crushed lemon and jalapeño add zest and spice to products from McEvoy Ranch

 

Last year, McEvoy Ranch released a well-received olive oil seasoned with crushed lemons local to its Petaluma, Calif., location. This year, they’ve added a companion, an oil made with jalapeños. For both, the lemons or chiles are crushed with the olives. The jalapeño oil has a delightfully grassy, vegetal allure, with moderate heat. The lemon oil gets a boost from black pepper. Both are seasoning oils, to gloss and flavor a dish just before serving.
McEvoy Ranch Lemon and Jalapeño Olive Oils, $25 for 375 milliliters, mcevoyranch.com.

Party snacks: cheesy churros with a spicy salsa

By Susan Jung

Post Magazine 

Cheese Churro with a red pepper and jalapeno salsa . Photo by: Johnathan Wong

 

These cheesy, slightly spicy churros make a good party snack. They taste best the day they are made but, if needed, can be reheated in the oven (at 180 degrees Celsius for about five minutes) to crisp them up. While they are delicious as is, they are even better with this roasted red pepper and jalapeño salsa, which can be made a day or two in advance.

Cheese and piment d’Espelette butter churros with roasted red pepper and jalapeño salsa
It’s hard to say how much egg you’ll need for this recipe. It depends partly on the size of the eggs (because “large” can vary in size) but also on how long you cook the mixture on the stovetop after adding the flour.
For the churros:
120ml water
60 grams piment d’Espelette butter
75 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
2-3 large eggs, at room temperature
80 grams aged comté
Oilor the roasted red pepper and jalapeño salsa:
1 red bell pepper, about 200 grams
1 jalapeño chilli
50 grams ripe, sweet cherry tomatoes (I use the local pear-shaped variety sold by fruit vendors)
1 shallot, about 25 grams
The finely grated zest of half a lime
About 15ml fresh lime juice
Fine sea salt, for frying

Make the salsa first. Char the bell pepper and jalapeño by putting them directly on the high flame of a gas stove. Turn them over as they blister and burn so they cook evenly. When the bell pepper and jalapeño are charred, put them in a bowl until they are cool enough to handle, then strip off the blackened skin. You can do this easily by running the bell pepper and jalapeño under a thin stream of running water. After skinning them, blot them dry with paper towels. Halve the bell pepper and jalapeño and remove the core, seeds and stem.

Halve the cherry tomatoes and chop the bell pepper, then put them in a blender or food processor and process to a rough purée (you don’t want it to be completely smooth). Mince the jalapeño and shallot and mix them into the purée. Add the lime juice and zest, then season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for about an hour, or longer, if you like. Taste the salsa just before serving it. Add more salt and lime juice, if needed.

Make the churros. Put the water and butter into a sauce­pan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low then add the flour all at once and immediately start stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture will ball up around the spoon and come away from the sides of the pan. Continue to stir constantly over a low flame for a minute or two.

 

Put the dough into the bowl of an electric mixer and stir on low speed for a couple of minutes to dissipate the steam (if you don’t have a mixer, stir by hand with a wooden spoon). Mix in one of the eggs, stirring until fully incorporated. Whisk the second egg, then add half to the mixture and stir well. Add in more egg as needed, using the rest of the second egg and some or all of the third, until the mixture is glossy and smooth, and forms a soft peak when you touch it with your fingertip. Finely grate the cheese (preferably using a rasp-type grater, such as a Microplane), then stir it into the dough. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized star tip.

Pour some oil to the depth of about 3cm into a shallow pan and heat to 170 degrees. Pipe the churros mixture directly into the hot oil. Don’t make them too long (I like them about 3cm-4cm) and don’t worry if they are curled. Fry the churros until they are a medium golden brown on both sides then remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot, warm or cool with the salsa.

Jalapeno’s celebrates 25th anniversary

By: Caroline Lobsinger

Bonner County Daily Bee

 

(Courtesy photo) A few of the Jalapeno’s staff pose for a group photo. The iconic Sandpoint restaurant recently celebrated its 25th year in business.

 

SANDPOINT — Good food and good times combine at Jalapeno’s.

It’s easy to see why, then, that the restaurant recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in business.
Jalapeno’s got its start when Chad and Shari French started the now iconic restaurant in mid-April 1993, first on Cedar Street in the old Bootery building and then adding a second location on First Avenue, where Starbucks is now located. When they bought the old Elks on Second Avenue with partners in 1998, splitting the property with the Frenches remodeling the left half of the building, they closed the first two locations and combined everything into the new property.

When the couple was looking to sell the restaurant in 2013, Chet French approached local restaurateur Justin Dick after hearing he was looking for a new project. Dick was, in fact, looking for a project to do with friend Dave Vermeer, who was then managing the Coldwater Creek wine bar.

French wanted to sell Jalapeno’s to someone local who would continue what the couple had built — a restaurant dedicated to both good food and the community.
“The opportunity presented itself and they wanted to sell it to somebody local so it worked for us to take that on and kind of continue their legacy,” Vermeer said. “That’s what we all really wanted to do.”

Vermeer, who had been in the beer and wine business for 20 years, and Dick, the owner of several other area restaurants, took over Jalapeno’s on Jan. 1, 2014.
Until they were approached by the Frenches, the pair had never considered the possibility. However, as soon as they heard what he had to say, they knew it was a perfect fit and were immediately on board.

“Being able to buy an iconic Sandpoint restaurant, to be a part of it and to carry on the legacy of what they’d built has been amazing,” Vermeer added.
When they bought the restaurant, the pair hired all the employees already on staff. They didn’t want there to be a transition and, having both been involved in the industry for a number of years, they knew the value of a great staff. Initially, they kept the menu exactly as it was — in part because it was a successful menu and because folks made a point of approaching them in the store and letting them know how much they liked Jalapeno’s and hoped it wouldn’t change.

“Getting all that local feedback, we just really, really tried to not change the menu at all,” Vermeer said. “But over the last three or four years, we’ve definitely started to introduce new items and I guess more creative type items. The menu was very set and it’s got all the classics on it but there wasn’t a lot of new or fun things on it so we’ve started adding those.”
Among those items — which are quickly becoming classics on their own right — are the Juan-tons, packed with cheese, bacon and roasted serrano peppers. “They’re like a jalapeno popper but better,” Vermeer noted.

The menu has its origins in Jalisco, Mexico, as well as San Diego, Calif., where the Frenches were from. The serrano pepper is a key part of the region’s flavors and offers a more consistent pepper flavor as well. It was natural then — and now — to base the menu on that region.
It’s amazing to think that Jalapeno’s has been open for 25 years, Vermeer said, quick to give the credit to the restaurant’s employees, many of whom have been with them for years, and to the community for making a spot for them in their hearts.

“For a restaurant to make it, we feel it’s really incredible but we couldn’t make it without Sandpoint,” he added. “We want to really thank the customers and employees who have been with us for so long.”

It’s important for the pair, said Vermeer, to be a good community partner and, as a result, they contribute regularly to various fundraisers and events.
They also recognize it is important both evolve the menu, adding it fun new trends like the Juan-ton and recognition of the community’s diverse palates, ensuring the menu has something for everyone, from beef, chicken and seafood to vegetarian and gluten-free fare.

“We have a big menu and it’s complicated but everybody has something that they like and we want everyone to be happy,” Vermeer said.
While they’ve only been a part of the Jalapeno’s story for 5 years of so, Vermeer said he and Dick feel a responsibility to carry on the traditions and legacy started by the French family.
“We’re carrying on something that was started before us and they trusted us,” he added. “We feel responsible to keep doing it right.”

Information: Jalapeno’s, 314 N. Second Ave.; phone, 208-263-2995; online, sandpointjalapenos.com; or Facebook, facebook.com/JalapenosMexicanRestaurant

Jalapeno Cornbread Mac and Cheese Pops

By: Carla Hall 

ABC

(submitted Photo)

Enjoy Jalapeno Cornbread Mac and Cheese Pops!

Mac and Cheese Pops:
1 pound Cavatappi noodles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Cornbread Crumbs:
2 cups cornmeal
3 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil (plus 2 tablespoons, divided)
1 jalapeno (seeded, minced)
To Assemble:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs (beaten)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
vegetable oil (for frying)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
32 popsicle sticks

Directions
For the Mac and Cheese Pops: Line a 9×13-inch casserole dish with parchment paper, allowing parchment to hang off of the sides.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles 2 minutes less than package instructions direct. Drain and remove to a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk continuously until smooth. Reduce heat to low and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese in batches, and whisk continuously until melted. Whisk in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese sauce on top of the bowl of noodles and stir to combine. Remove to prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Allow to cool to room temperature, cover with plastic and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the Cornbread Crumbs: Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a large bowl, add the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, 3/4 cup of oil, and jalapeno. Whisk the cornmeal mixture into in the egg mixture, continuing to whisk until fully combined.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, warm remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble. Transfer

to the oven and bake until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

Once cooled, cut the cornbread into 4 pieces. In batches, transfer the cornbread to the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until cornbread is finely ground and remove to a baking sheet. Repeat until all cornbread is ground. Transfer baking sheet to the oven and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

To Assemble: Fill a tabletop fryer with vegetable oil and preheat to 325ºF.

Remove the mac and cheese from the freezer, and using the overhanging parchment, remove the mac and cheese from the casserole dish to a clean work surface. Cut the mac and cheese into 2-inch x 1 and 1/2-inch rectangles. Set aside until ready to bread.

In a large shallow baking dish, add the flour and season with salt and pepper, whisking to combine. In a second baking dish, add the eggs. In a final shallow baking dish, add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, whisking to combine. Dredge each popsicle in the flour, then the egg, and finishing in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides. Place on a baking sheet and return to the freezer for 30 minutes more.

Remove pops from the freezer and gently place in the preheated oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly. Insert popsicle sticks into a shorter edge of each mac and cheese pop. Repeat until all popsicles are breaded and fried. Enjoy!

 

Kinkaider’s Devil’s Gap Jalapeno Ale

By:Kayla Wolf

Lincoln star Journal 

Kinkaider’s Devil’s Gap Jalapeno Ale
Courtesy photo

Kinkaider’s Devil’s Gap
Jalapeno Ale

Kinkaider Brewing Co., 43860 Paulsen Road, Broken Bow, kinkaiderbrewing.com

Available: On tap at Kinkaider locations (including one opening soon in Lincoln) and various restaurants, and in bottles at select stores
When: Year-round
ABV: 4.7 percent
IBU: 6
Devil’s Gap Jalapeno Ale is a spiced/herbed beer packed with flavor. It took Dan Hodges, head brewer at Kinkaider, almost 20 years to perfect the recipe for what has become the brewery’s top seller.

The brewer works to use local jalapenos when available to give the beer its strong jalapeno flavor. Each Kindkaider beer comes with a story highlighting something about Nebraska history. The legend accompanying Devil’s Gap is as follows: “In 1878, cattle kingpin Print Olive and his posse made their way from Texas to the Sandhills. The Olive Gang ran folks off far and wide. Two brave but unfortunate souls stood up to the outlaw and were set ablaze in a blaze … of gunfire.”

Kinkaider plans to opening a taproom in the Haymarket’s Lincoln Station building near the end of June or early July.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese Crisps

By: Clinton Kelly 

ABC

 

(summited Photo)

Jalapeno Cheese Crisps make for a great snack!

 

Jalapeno Cheese Crisps:
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (finely shredded)
3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 jalapeno (stemmed, seeded, minced)
Kosher salt (to taste)
Scallion Cilantro Sour Cream Crema:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 bunch cilantro (roughly chopped)
1/2 bunch scallions (roughly chopped)
1 lime (juiced)

 

 

Directions
For the Jalapeno Cheese Crisps: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper and paprika and toss to combine. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the cheese into 1 1/2 tablespoon piles on the baking sheet 2-inches apart from each other. Sprinkle with the chopped jalapeno and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted, crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Serve with crema.
For the Cilantro Lime Crema: In the bowl of a food processor, add the sour cream, cilantro, scallions and lime juice. Pulse until smooth and combined. Remove to a bowl and serve with the cheese crisps.
Tip: These chips make an excellent topper to any soup, especially tortilla soup!

 

Five-ingredient Pico de Gallo is a Cinco de Mayo winner

By: Sharon Rigsby -Blogger Tallahassee Democrat USA TODAY NETWORK – FLA.

Tallahassee Democrat 

(Photo by : Sharon Rigsby)

Pico de Gallo is perfect for a Cinco de Mayo party with fresh jalapeños and other bright ingredients.

 

Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo is “muy delicioso” and if you have the five ingredients, and five minutes to prepare it, you are in business. My authentic homemade Pico de Gallo recipe is full of all things good for you including tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, lime juice and cilantro.
You can’t go wrong with this Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo, also called Salsa Fresca or Salsa Crudo, whether you are planning a Cinco de Mayo party or just looking for a healthy, gluten-free and low-calorie dip or appetizer.
If you are wondering, Pico de Gallo is pronounced “PEE/koh theh GAH/yoh.” Pico means ‘beak’ and ‘gallo’ is Spanish for a ‘rooster’ – so it’s translated as ‘Rooster’s beak.’ According to Wikipedia, Pico de Gallo got its name because originally it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating it resembled the actions of a pecking rooster.

You might also be wondering what the difference is between Pico de Gallo and salsa since the ingredients for both are nearly identical. Well, it turns out that the ingredients in salsa are finely diced and it has more liquid, which makes it soupier. The ingredients for Pico de Gallo, on the other hand, have a larger chop, and it has very little liquid.
Whatever you call it, homemade Pico de Gallo is a very versatile condiment and makes a quick, easy, and delicious topping for just about any Mexican or Southwestern food including tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, refried beans, or rice. It’s also delicious over poultry or fish, and I also always add Pico de Gallo to my guacamole and love to add it to salads.
For this Pico de Gallo recipe the five ingredients I told you about earlier are fresh tomatoes, onion, fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley), fresh lime juice, and fresh jalapeños.

 

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:
1-1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4-5 medium-large tomatoes)
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped; you can substitute fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped; you can substitute serrano chilies
Pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
To seed the tomatoes cut them in half horizontally and gently squeeze out the seeds and gelatinous matter surrounding them.
Place the chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro (or parsley), lime juice, and jalapeños (or serrano chilies) in a large bowl and mix well.
Add a pinch of kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Homemade Pico de Gallo can be made ahead. Cover it and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.