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Food Perfection Achieved
It was only about ten or eleven years ago that I had my first bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper. I was hanging out with a bunch of Tea Party activists and we were eating and drinking with then-Governor Rick Perry of Texas. My taste buds were so thrilled that I ignored the rest of the wonderful food at the event and cleaned them out of the poppers.
For reasons I have yet to fathom, I didn’t start making them myself until last summer. I’ve had a couple of concussions, which is the only thing I can think of that comes close to explaining this egregious culinary oversight. If there are cooking gods I know I’ve offended them.
I think I’m making up for things now.
Trust me, dear readers, I am really getting close to bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers promised land. As many of you know, I recently got an air fryer and have become THAT GUY about it. Naturally, that’s what is bringing me close to popper perfection.
The air fryer gives the poppers an all-around char that I really like. I don’t wrap the entire thing in bacon (I used to) because I like some of the cheese to brown for extra flavor.
The key to my recent success, however, has been some tweaks to the cheese mixture. My best friend has been using smoked gouda along with cheddar and cream cheese for a while. For Easter, he added some smoked paprika. I ran with that combo and added garlic powder and finely chopped red onion.
The cheese tasted phenomenal just after I mixed it and tested it out. It was a gustatory and olfactory overload of unbridled delight after I cooked it in bacon.
One of my mistakes in the past is that I kept making the poppers as appetizers. I had a strong suspicion that I was going to love the new cheese mix experiment so I decided that they would be the whole meal.
With age comes wisdom.
And with an air fryer.