As I know I've mentioned before, I adore Williams-Sonoma. Is there anything happier than those white and green bags, filled with absolute extravagence for your unsuspecting, spoiled kitchen?
I need to be honest, though. Some of those items gracing the crisp magazine covers, and scanned into ridiculous registries, are just nearly useless. Unitaskers, as Alton Brown would say. Big, bulky specialty items that you might use once to the mild entertainment and amusement of guests, but then have to store for several ears after until you a. throw another strangely themed party that coincidentally is a perfect fit for it or b. put it out at a yard sale for $5, taking a very deep depreciation. Cases in point:
Yes, the chicken handle is "whimsical". But I don't like soft-boiled eggs, and I certainly don't need to keep this thing around on the off-chance that I throw an English-style brunch with crustless white bread toast strips that need to be dipped in yolk. I hardly profess to be a practical, clutterless cook, but come on. Even I draw the line somewhere.
Grilled Meatball Maker Thing
Again, something I've mentioned before, I adore meatballs. Italian-style, Asian infusion, old school barbecue crock pot... it's all good. It's one of my special signatures, something I love to serve and play with and know is a stand-by winner.
They're normally reserved for the vast 9-10 month cool weather in Oregon season, not for the blissful summer months. A little too heavy, and require way too much oven to be practical. I wouldn't try grilling them, and definitely not on some regular basis that would necessitate this laughable cabinet-crammer.
Jalapeno Grill Tray
Specially-crafted holes made just for jalapenos, just for the grill, just for one side dish/appetizer recipe! For one season of the year! I wish I was creative enough to think of something else to do with this thing, but I can't. And Williams-Sonoma isn't offering any ideas, either.
I saw someone make these things on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while I was folding laundry last week, and they looked pretty good. This could be kind of fun to try, I thought today as I was trying to come up with something different to do alongside leftover salmon and Matt's chicken. But how can I do it without the $20 tray I'd have to drive to Washington Square to get??
Kabob sticks seemed like a good place to start. They help keep things together, and are definitely grill-friendly. But getting them to stand up, and not slide through the grates?
You know, the Pampered Chef one I shill for without compensation. Just sticking the ends of the kabobs kept them in place, standing up at proper attention.
So, voila. The ghetto jalapeno griller was born.
I'm sticking the recipe below, which was based on the specialty I saw on the show that night. Oh yeah, that is bacon. My warning and advice would be to make sure that the peppers get very darkly, thoroughly roasted. Otherwise they will kill you with the heat! If you want something definitely milder, try stuffing Anaheim peppers. They're larger and less spicy, but would still work for stuffing and grilling.
Devils in a Sleeping Bag
8 jalapeno peppers (pick the larger ones you can find in the bin)
1 package of reduced fat sour cream, room temperature
1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 tsp Penzey's Black & Red Spice
4 slices of thick, applewood bacon, cut in half
Slice off the tops of each jalapeno and, with a small paring knife, take out the inner membrane and seeds. Once you loosen up the core, you can usually shake it out along with most of the seeds. You may want to wear gloves, to keep the capcasin from getting into your hands. Don't touch your eyes; ouch.
In a small bowl, mix together both cheeses and the Penzey's spice. Start stuffing each pepper by the teaspoonful until they're bursting at the top with cheesy squidginess. Wrap a half-strip of bacon around the pepper, which you secure by impaling on a pre-soaked kabob stick. You can fit about 3 on a stick comfortably. Stand up in the grill basket by letting the ends of the kabob sticks rest in the basket grates.
Grill on high until peppers are soft and throughly grilled and the bacon is crispy. I think it was like ten minutes, but just hang out and keep an eye on it.