Sometimes you see a recipe and instantly recognize genius simplicity. The genius perfection of peanut butter and jelly filling for a chocolate layer cake. Or whipping up cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract and piping it into hulled strawberries with a sprinkle of graham crackers for a lazy cheesecake dessert. Baking dollops of cornbread batter in hollowed out jalapeño shells is right up there now with my favorites.
It’s time for Secret Recipe Club again and I had the good fortune of being assigned Flying on Jess Fuel, written and published by Jess, who’s married to a Navy Pilot. They’ve moved around the country for his fighter jet training and work, and are now nicely settled in California where she and her husband raise quail in the backyard (sometimes up to 40 quail at a time!!!) and grow an incredibly prolific garden.
There are so many things about Jess’s blog to love, such as the wide selection of recipes (including a whole vegetarian selection), and her fresh voice. Some recipes that caught my eye were Springtime Vegetable Skillet Baked Ziti , Spiced Dal with Cilantro Yogurt, Orange Sage and Beer Biscuits, and at the top of my list: Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies. I’ve totally got to try those.
But we’ve had a lot of little dinners and brunches in our new kitchen over the past couple of months, and what I really needed were appetizers. It’s my weakest area of entertaining. Between planning and cooking the main meal, and getting the house ready for guests, appetizers are a last minute scramble as I dig around the pantry for crackers not (too) stale. I’ve got to do better. And these amazing little Jalapeño Cornbread Poppers are just the ticket (assuming I don’t eat them all before guests arrive).
I made these in Tahoe at ~6400 feet above sea level, so I used self-rising flour and nixed the baking powder. At sea level, that won’t be enough to puff up the cornbread, so I recommend you follow Jess’s direction of using all-purpose flour and adding 1 Tablespoon baking powder.
I cut the recipe in half, and used a little more egg than recommended, again to compensate for the dryness in high altitudes. At sea level, use 1/2 egg if you cut the recipe in half as I did.
I substituted coconut sugar for granulated sugar, and used coconut oil for the oil. The result was a subtle coconut flavor that was great with the jalapeños.
Jess adapted these from Oh Bite It, which used a box recipe for the cornbread.
I had a little cornbread batter left over as I was a little cautious on how much to spoon into the jalapeño cavities. Baking at high altitudes can present explosive surprises. So darn it, I had to make little cornbread muffins with the left overs. So, so good.
Notes for the Vegetarian – Carnivore Table:
Adding a little cooked, crumbled chorizo sausage to the batter wouldn’t go amiss if you must add meat. Just make sure the chorizo has cooled off before you fold it in to prevent scrambling the egg in the batter.