Look - I've stated my case about V-Day before. You should show love for your significant other more often than once a year on a heavily commercialized day. And as a result, we planned a lovely dinner in for Saturday night, because holy God, you cannot get into a restaurant around here on V-day normally, much less on a V-day that lands on a weekend.
So Saturday morning we went to one of the farmers markets in Houston and found that, hey, this one actually kind of meets my needs. Except for the crippled lady who put her crutch on the INSIDE of Clint's stance, while he held Landon and therefore was not looking at his feet, took a step and nearly knocked her over. Uh - here's a lesson, don't put your crutch in the middle of someone else's feet. Whatever, I got some strawberries, and covered them in chocolate myself. There were a lot of greens, and I think next time, I may get some other stuff. It was kind of weird with the loud music and stuff, but probably worth at least another trip out there, hopefully not to run into crazy people trying to get tripped.
On to the trials:
These two are similar, because they fall squarely in line with everything I love about a low-carb lifestyle. They are wrapped in bacon.
# 11 - The jalapeño, Shrimp Brochette.
First you take your jalapeño, what sucks about picking jalapeños is that the heat is not something you can tell from the outside of the pepper. Supposedly the smaller or darker the pepper, the hotter, but actually, it has more to do with how much water it got while growing. SO just pick one that's nice and firm, not too much scarring. I generally go for a medium sized one.
You cut it open, remove the seeds. The white membrane stuff is where the heat is, so if you're particularly sensitive to that, you'll want to cut that out too, but the bonus to how I assemble these, is that if you like the flavor, but don't want it too strong or have an aversion to the crunch of the pepper itself, you can pull the pepper out prior to eating.
Cut it into strips. I generally get 4 to 5 strips out of each half.
Then you cut your cheese into small strips. Here I used a sharp white cheddar. I have also used cream cheese. They each have their pros and cons. Cream cheese is easier to work with, because it sticks together - where the cheddar falls apart, but the cheddar has a nice zing in the flavor.
Next, you cut your bacon into 3rds. Because I used thick bacon, I pre-cooked it a little - if I use normal bacon I just cut it raw. Also, this is the first time I used peppered bacon. And I just have to say. YES. DO THAT.
So then you take a cleaned, deveined shrimp, cut all the way down the back, as if you were going to butterfly them, but not all the way through the shrimp. Lay a pepper strip in the crack, and then a piece of cheese. Wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick. If I was smart I'd have pre-soaked the toothpicks, because they do burn on the grill. If you use peppered bacon, pepper will get everywhere.
I dab each shrimp with a little BBQ sauce.
We had also made steaks that night, so the grill was already fired up. We put them on the pit, until the bacon is done and the shrimp is opaque. It shouldn't take long (a few minutes), and you don't want to overcook the shrimp.
If you don't like the pepper, when you take the toothpick out, you can grab the pepper by the end and just pull it out. It leaves a little flavor behind.
#12 - Green Beans - Bacon wrapped
I like fresh green beans in applications like this. I like canned green beans as a side, because I can never seem to get enough salt on them otherwise.
Green beans are not in season right now. They were kind of expensive. but worth it.
So the first thing you do, is talk to someone who knows something about green beans and ask them which end you're supposed to snap off and which end you're supposed to be allowed to leave intact. I didn't. So I cut both ends off, but I'm a rebel.
Next thing you need to do is bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Throw the green beans in for a minute. Not long. Just blanch them. Then into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Or, if you're pressed for time, you can put them in the microwave in water for 1 minute. Still need to throw them in the ice water though.
Take 4 to 5 green beans and wrap them together in bacon, secure with a toothpick. Dab the tops with BBQ sauce (again with the soaking of the toothpicks in water.)
I have done these on the grill before, but last time they didn't turn out so well, so I put them in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes.
Clinton removed the peppers before eating the shrimp. And has tried the green beans before and didn't like them. But they are the best green beans in all the land. Landon likes the green beans, but only as an hors d'oeuvre, so he can hold a toothpick, he does not like them on his plate. And we didn't give him a shrimp, because he's not 3 yet.