Appetizers, Holidays / Entertaining

Bacon-Apple-Jalapeno Pop ‘Ems

Do you watch Aarti Sequeira on The Food Network? I do! She has a season pass alongside my idols Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten. Once upon a time I used to watch oodles of shows on Food Network but now I only record a very select few. It’s a hard gig to make it onto my TiVo but Aarti is too adorable to pass up. She’s adorable. Her hair is adorable. The names she gives her recipes are adorable. Even the opening titles to her show are adorable and sort of look like a really expensive sheet of wrapping paper from Paper Source.

Aarti’s claim to fame is that she won The Next Food Network Star. I don’t watch that show as the only even mildly entertaining personality to arise from it is Guy Fieri and I only like him because he shot an episode where he got to bang on bongos with Matthew McConaughey — all right, all right, all-right…

During football season Aarti featured this recipe for Jalapeno Poppers on her show. Apple! Bacon! Cream Cheese! Hot spicy peppers! I was so there. Having returned to my Whole Foods shopping ways I was a tad wrroied that purchasing a metric ton of jalapenos for The Super Bowl would break the bank but they were actually very affordable and sold by weight not per pepper (phew!) I suppose talking about the manner in which vegetables are sold seriously conveys how little I actually pay attention when I’m grocery shopping. Oops!

The Bacon-Apple-Jalapeno Pop ‘Ems were so easy to put together — although I was extra careful and a little paranoid that one of the kittens would find a stray seed and burn their furry little mouths, but as neither Watson or Dexter ran away from the kitchen meowing in pain I believe I was successful at containing the spicy castoffs.

The cooling cream cheese, crisp apple, and rich bacon were the perfect accompaniments to the peppers and I ate them like they were going out of style. Yum!

Bacon-Apple-Jalapeno Pop ‘Ems
Originally published by Aarti Sequeira

1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and minced
3 large scallions, roots sliced off, green and white parts minced finely
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 jalapenos
20 strips thin-sliced bacon, chopped in half
Special equipment: 40 toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.

In a large bowl, stir and break down the cream cheese until smooth. Add the apples and scallions, plus as much salt and freshly ground black pepper as you like.

Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, and then either slice out the membranes or use a measuring spoon to scoop them out. Discard the seeds.

Either using a teaspoon or a small icing spatula, fill each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture; fill until just over the rim of the jalapeno. Wrap each pepper with a bacon half and secure with a toothpick. Line up the pop ’ems on the prepared baking sheet and pop into the oven until bacon has browned on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.