Respectfully submitted by League member Liz Bornwasser
As the commercial says, “It’s bacon!” Topped with bacon or wrapped in bacon, The Tip-Off Poppers and Bacon Wrapped Dates are already two of my favorite recipes from Bluegrass Gatherings. I work with mostly men, so you can imagine anything with bacon is an instant crowd pleaser at work potlucks. Try making these for your next party, potluck, or tailgate, and you and your guests will not be disappointed!
20 fresh jalapeño peppers
10 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound regular slices bacon, crisp-cooked, and crumbled
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Variation: You may use fontina, Monterey Jack, Havarti or goat cheese instead of cream cheese.
Cut the jalapeño chiles in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and white membrane with a small spoon. Leave a small amount of seeds and white membrane if you prefer more spice.
Fill each jalapeño chile half with equal portions of the cream cheese. Arrange on a greased 10×15-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 16 minutes. Top each with equal portions of bacon and barbecue sauce. Bake for 7 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Wear food-handling gloves when working with hot chiles.
Liz’s Tips: As the recipe says, be sure you wear gloves when slicing and scraping the jalapenos; I also wear the gloves while stuffing the peppers with cream cheese. If you don’t, you will regret it later! Short on time? Just buy pre made bacon bits. One can never have too much bacon, so I top each popper with bacon bits both before and after adding the barbecue sauce. The poppers may be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Bacon Wrapped Dates
24 large Medjool dates, pitted
4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed
24 Marcona almonds
12 slices bacon, cut into halves crosswise
Make a lengthwise slit in each date. Cut the cheese into 24 equal pieces. Insert one piece of cheese and one almond into each date. Wrap one piece of bacon around each date and secure with a wooden pick. Arrange the dates on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through, turning over the dates halfway through cooking. Remove the dates to paper towels to drain and remove the wooden picks. Arrange in a serving bowl.
Liz’s Tips: You may substitute the Brie cheese with cream cheese or goat cheese. The baking instructions leave the bacon still somewhat soft, so if you prefer crispier bacon, bake the dates a few minutes longer until cooked to your liking. The dates are delicious as is, but a good sauce topping or dip is sriachia or another hot sauce mixed with honey.
Contact a member or visit http://www.juniorleaguelouisville.org to order Bluegrass Gatherings or any of JLL’s other cookbooks.