Monday, September 5, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers and Bruschetta: Maconda's Birthday Bonanza Appetizers

Glorious jalapeno poppers and bruschetta
Saturday we threw the amazing Maconda a little birthday bash/three day weekend celebration (we definitely weren't just looking for an excuse to have a party) that resulted in one of the greatest feasts man has ever known.  We started with jalapeno poppers and bruschetta as appetizers then made some spectacular grilled pizzas and finished it all off with whoopie pies. For this post, we're going to focus on the appetizers, which I would have gladly eaten until I was disgustingly full had there not been more food. I put on my sous chef hat and followed Kevin's lead for these bite-sized delights.

Jalapeno Poppers
Time: 1 hour

Cream cheese
Brown sugar
Olive oil

Candied prosciutto
  1. Remove the stems from the jalapenos, cut in half and seed. 
  2. Candy the prosciutto in olive oil and brown sugar. Mix brown sugar in olive oil then add the prosciutto over medium heat. Sprinkle on some extra brown sugar on top of the prosciutto and cook until it browns and crisps.
  3. Cook the shrimp in a mixture of onion, garlic and beer until the shrimp change to orange and start to curve in on themselves. Let cool then peel, cut in half and devein. Note: it's actually easier to peel shrimp before they're cooked.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375.
  5. Top a jalapeno with a spoonful of cream cheese, half a shrimp and a piece of candied prosciutto then bake for 10 minutes.
Further proof that beer is the most versatile ingredient.

The jalapeno poppers were definitely better than any deep fried ones you've had at a bar that caused you to burn all your taste buds off (You think I would've learned after the first 5 times). The candied prosciutto provides the crunch it's missing from not being fried and complements the shrimp quite nicely. 

I'll take one tray please. 

Time: 30 minutes

French baguette
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

  1. Start off by cooking down the tomatoes with salt, pepper, oregano and basil in a sauce pan. The longer you let it cook down the tastier it'll be.
  2. While the tomatoes are going, carmelize some onions. You want the onions to be fairly stringy, so don't chop them too finely. To carmelize the onions, cook them in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat for a while until they begin to brown. The natural sugars in the onion are causing this to happen. As the balsamic reduces, it will also add to the sweetness.
  3. Time to assemble. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch to an inch thick pieces. Top with thinly sliced prosciutto,  the tomato mixture, the carmelized onions and a basil leaf.
I hope this is an accurate portrayal of how the bruschetta was made. I was busy cursing the creation of shrimp (and wishing for Anya's world without shrimp) as I peeled and deveined what seemed like a million of them. These were a fantastic addition to the meal (although I have to give the tastiness edge to the jalapeno poppers). My only minor gripe is that I think lightly toasting the baguette would've helped counteract the natural sogginess of the tomato and onions.

Be on the look out for the final two updates of Maconda's Birthday Bonanaza: Grilled Pizzas and Whoopie Pies.

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