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Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Unlike other recipes that call for coating in flour or breadcrumbs and deep fat frying, this recipe is a great lower fat alternative and can be made on the grill as well.

The prep is a lot simpler as well, so you don’t have to make poppers for hours on end. And you can make as many or as few as you want, leaving no extra ingredients (such as prepared filling or batter, etc). Just freeze left over bacon for later use, and refrigerate any unused cream cheese.

Ingredients:
jalapeno peppers
bacon (I prefer turkey bacon): one slice for every 2 whole peppers
cream cheese (can use low fat neufachel), chilled
salt

Directions:
Cut bacon slices into quarters so as to wrap 4 pepper halves with one total slice of bacon. First cut in half, then slit lengthwise. Set aside.

Prepare your peppers by slitting them from stem to tip (lengthwise). My purple jalapenos will turn green after cooking. Leave the stems on, if possible. De-seed and de-rib using a grapefruit spoon, or a small tongs.

Salt the open pepper halves sparingly. Fill the pepper halves with straight cream cheese using a spoon.

Then wrap with a quarter-piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Fry in a frying pan or grill on low heat. Start with the cream cheese side, then flip to the jalapeno side. The cheese will not come out as it is chilled when you start and you flip them before they can start melting. Flip them when the bacon is starting to crisp on that side. Alternatively, you can broil these. Put in a broiling pan and cook on high heat until the bacon is crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat when bacon is crisp on both sides. Let cool slightly and remove the toothpicks. Remind your guests to avoid eating the stem.

For a hotter popper, leave some ribbing and/or seeds behind. Otherwise, these should taste deliciously mild. You can also use extra thick onion dip or flavored cream cheese spreads instead of plain cream cheese for a different flavor profile. Have fun experimenting but keep it simple or you’ll never make them again 😉

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My DH was more saddened than I was at the news of the loss of 2 of our pepper plants. To slugs. But that was a very brief sadness. It quickly turned into a primal, masculine need for Revenge.

In other words, DH has declared Outright Warfare on those slimy unwelcome slugs. He promptly set out two kinds of traps: the classic beer trap and a cornmeal trap. I added piles of raw oats around each remaining plant. Next on the list is the Spicy Hot Slug Sauce.

This slug is inching its way to its death. Moo-ha ha ha! Side note: the beer level is lower than recommended.

Classic Slug Beer Traps:
Bury a shallow container in the ground so the rim is level with the ground. Then fill with beer, to about 1/2” of the top. Slugs are attracted to either the hops or the yeast in the beer, crawl in to taste some and drown.

Cornmeal Slug Traps:
Set out a shallow container with cornmeal in the bottom. Slugs are attracted to the cornmeal but quickly dehydrate and die.

Spicy Hot Slug Sauce:
This recipe is to spray on your plants and acts as a spicy deterrent, not a pesticide.

And the final tactic, old fashioned Slug Hunting:
Grab a container and half-fill with soapy water. Then using chopsticks, painstakingly poke around your affected garden beds looking for slugs. Use the chopsticks to pick up the suckers and drown them in the soapy water. The best time for this is to start at dusk and repeat 2 or more times per night for about a week. This will significantly reduce the slug population so that your other traps might be sufficient to finish up.

I’m going to need DH to really do this for me, as my pregnant belly makes it almost impossible to squat and lean forward at the same time. I could be a good wifey and hold the flashlight for him. Slugs are also most active after an evening rain, so slug hunting could be really good in a couple hours tonight. Shall I break out the war paint?

*Update*
Slug Hunting: 15 or more caught and drowned (hard to keep track amidst all the “There’s one right there! Oh, it’s huge! Oh, it’s slimy! Oh, the jar tipped over!”
Beer Traps: 3 caught and drowned
Cornmeal Traps: 0

*Update #2*
Beer Traps: I had no idea when I went to empty the traps for the first time (in order to put in fresh beer) that beer traps are an amazing attractant for Pill Bugs and Spiders! I was shocked, horrified, and amazed at the sheer number of dead pill bugs and spiders that poured out of those cups! Blech! Unfortunately, slugs are such soft bodies I couldn’t tell if the traps had caught any more of those.

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This recipe is to spray on your plants and acts as a spicy slug deterrent, not a pesticide. Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 bulb garlic
½ a medium onion, preferably not a sweet onion
1-2 whole habanero peppers
2 cups water
1 tsp dish soap

Directions:
In a blender or food processor, add in garlic, onion, and pepper with water and puree. Let steep for 1 hour or longer. Then strain into a clean container and stir in the dish soap. Pour into a spray bottle.

Spray onto affected plants, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves as well. Let dry. Repeat after a rain or as needed. Store any unused (and clearly labeled) mixture in the fridge.

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When you sow your own seeds, you always sow at least twice what you end up wanting to plant. I like to plant 2 plants of each variety to get a more accurate evaluation of plant habit, growth, disease resistance, production, etc. So I usually sow 4 seeds per variety. In case one of the plants turns out to be a runt, you’ve got the second one as a back up. But a lot can happen from planting out the seedlings to harvesting fruit. The first week in the ground seems to be the hardest. Pests, sunscald, too much root trauma, transplant shock, or a latent freeze can wreak havoc on your newborn garden. And if you buy flats of vegetable seedlings, don’t just toss the leftover plants in the compost.

In my garden, slugs rule. They think I planted those seedlings just for them and they chow down contentedly until the plant is chewed down to the nub. Luckily, they leave the tomato plants alone and prefer to eat my pepper plants. But outside of outright warfare or planting trap crops, I usually just plant the seedlings I kept in reserve for these “just in case” situations.

This year, I had the hardest time getting my seeds to germinate in the first place. Twice as many seeds to desired plants seemed an insufficient ratio as I combated too cool temps for an extended period of time, and then extremely rainy weather when I should have been hardening off. So when I went to plant out my plants, I found I only had just enough pepper plants and only a handful of “extra” tomato plants. So when my Japanese Oxhearts decided to up and die overnight for no apparent reason, I was able to replant with my reserved seedlings. And if those should die as well, I’ve still got two more Purple Calabash waiting in the wings. Not the same variety, but at least they’re tomatoes.

But when two of my Purple Jalapenos succumbed to the slugs after two nights, I could only replant with Huckleberry—no reserved pepper plants this year. Why do my slugs like pepper plants so much! And why are they chowing down on the Jalapenos instead of the sweet peppers, like they did 2 years ago? With my impending childbirth experience, and my predicted busyness until that time, I’m not sure I’ll even have the energy or inclination to combat those darn slugs this year. I may just have to sigh disappointedly and cut my losses.

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Those new to organic gardening may have never heard of such a thing. So what are trap crops? These are plant varieties planted specifically for bugs to eat. These varieties are so delicious to bugs that they’ll leave your other, more boring varieties alone to flower and make fruits that you and your family can enjoy. For example, in my garden the pesky slugs love pepper plants. This year their top pick is Purple Jalapeno. If I were to plant trap crops for slugs, I’d plant Purple Jalapenos for the slugs and some other variety for myself. Except that I really wanted the Purple Jalapenos for myself. So in that case, I’d have to research and find a different pepper plant that is even tastier to slugs than Purple Jalapeno—irresistible in other words. I’d plant tons of that variety and cross my fingers that the slugs eat to bursting and leave my Purple Jalapenos alone!

I’ve heard of trap crops being used for Tomato Hornworms (though I usually only get one hornworm per year and I just let it live), Squash Vine Borers, and Cucumber Beetles. These varieties are discovered through pure observation: one variety over another seems to be an attractant to certain bugs. The downside is that trap crops don’t always work. They may even backfire, attracting more quantities of bugs than usual and spreading the misery to all your delicious varieties. They also take up space in the garden, something that is quite lacking in my suburban plot.

But if pesticides aren’t your thing, you’ve got the space to plant varieties just for insects, and you can do enough research or talk to enough gardeners to find the trapping varieties, trap crops could be an organic solution to a universal problem.

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After pouring over my 2010 catalogs for months on end, and making a long list of ‘maybes’ I finally finalized and narrowed down my seed list and placed the orders last night. Whew!

I ordered from two places and will be getting:

  • 1 beet, a new vegetable for us
  • 1 bean, maybe just maybe I’ll be successful at beans this year
  • 1 watermelon, an orange one
  • 1 huckleberry, new fruit
  • 1 flower (gasp, I know), calendula which for my credit is edible
  • 1 herb, cinnamon basil
  • 1 kale
  • 6 new tomatoes
  • 5 new peppers

Plus I have 2 new tomatoes I got in a trade; and 3 new peppers from a trade. My main problem now becomes finding room for everything. . .

After my seedlings are growing then I’ll add the specifics to my Seed List page for quick reference.

2011 Seed Cost: just over $50
Ordered from: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Tomato Growers Supply Co.

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I got a catalog from tomato growers supply. It is sure fun to look at even though I have already finalized what tomatoes I want for the spring. Maybe I’ll get a different pepper, though. Chocolate habaneros, anyone?

I also got a gardening-themed birthday card from my mom. How sweet!

My mom made this card just for me. Isn't it special!

 

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