Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baked Jalapeño Cheese Poppers

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Are you gearing up your liver for Cinco de Mayo?!  Más cerveza por favor! We're making some spicy Mex inspired party finger food. I don't have a potluck to bring it to, but maybe you do. Did you also know that Cinco de Mayo isn't a celebration of Independence in Mexico. I used to date a Mexican so I've been told 235398 times. Terrible. Here, it's a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. But also to commemorate the Mexican army's victory over ze French in the Battle of Puebla. It didn't really gain popularity until the 1980s when beer (think corona) capitalized and promoted the holiday.

Myth Buster: Our tongues are mapped into 4 areas: salty, bitter, sweet and sour
Busted! The entire tongue can taste these senses almost equally. We have taste receptors or taste buds concentrated on the surface of our tongues that can differentiate between different tastes based on different molecules or ions that binds to those buds. If we get to the deeper biology of things, sweet and bitter taste is triggered by activated G protein-coupled receptors; while salty from Na+/ sodium ions and sourness from H+ protons/ acid entering the cell. Don't ever believe those wine snobs who think you should direct wine to a certain area of your tongue to taste the different tones. Bogus.

Nerdy cooking tip: 
If you think you've over salted your food, just add some acidity like lemon juice. Since they both activate the same taste buds, the lemon juice will interfere with your salty taste receptors and fool your brain.
Thank you science.

Wow, that's 2 myth busters today... Also, don't forget to wear gloves or wash your hands after handling Jalapeño peppers. Or else fire in yo eye!

Baked Jalapeño Cheese Poppers
Prep time: 10mins          Cooking time: 20mins

Hot from the oven!

8-10 Jalapeño peppers - sliced in 1/2 (seeded if you hate spice in your life... haha kidding)
4 oz cream cheese (feel free to use fat free)
3 stalks scallions (chives, parsley, cilantro all work)
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 tsp Red Chili flakes (optional)

1 egg
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 tbsp Chili powder
1/2 tbsp Cayenne

Start washing your peppers and slice them in half lengthwise. Cut off the tops and deseed them.

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, cheddar, chili flakes and a pinch of salt and lots of pepper.

Chop up your green onions finely and using mostly the green parts, mix it into your cream cheese mix. You can taste it and adjust it when you want it saltier or spicier

Stuff your deseeded peppers with the cream cheese mix.

In another small bowl, scramble an egg. This will be your binder for your breadcrumbs/ panko.

On a plate, lay out your panko crumb mix (with chili powder, cayenne). Adding paprika is nice too.

I used a seasoned breadcrumb mix of rosemary and lots of pepper. I think the panko would give it more crunch though.

Roll your stuffed pepper in the egg and then roll it around in the crumb mix. Coat it nicely.

Lay them out on a baking tray. You can sprinkle some olive oil over the poppers. But that can be skipped for lighter fare.

Let it bake for 25-30 mins or until you see that cheese oozing out!

Let it cool before you eat it. Or you'll burn the roof of your mouth like I did :(

Happy Early Cinco de Mayo!
Adapted from


  1. could you care to comment on the activation of my umami receptors once I ingest these mexican delights?

  2. Fully enjoying the myth busting as much as the recipes!

    1. Thanks! I try to find something interesting and weird that I don't know either.

  3. Good and spicy! mixing in chili flakes with the cream cheese was an excellent idea. Do you think upping the temperature on the oven would help get the jalapenos crispier?