Tuesday, October 4, 2011

…Triple B Farms Jalapeno Peppers and Salsa

I.  Love.  October.

It is my absolute, no lie, no joke, FAVORITE month of the year.  You would think that I would love July, the one month of the year where there is absolutely NO school, or maybe even May, since the school year is ending.  No.  October.

Remember – I also work at Kennywood.  I don’t get summers “off”. 

October is awesome for so many reasons – Halloween, leaves turning pretty colors, cooler weather, and of course, eating anything pumpkin-flavored is completely acceptable. 

This also means that it’s time to pick a pumpkin at Triple B Farms!

Every year, my mom, brother, and cousin go to Triple B to pick our pumpkins and do the usual Pumpkin Festival activities – corn maze (my least favorite), Boo Barn (my most favorite), Pumpkinland, and shopping for yumminess in their Country Farm Market.

Unfortunately, the weather on October 2nd was absolute crap – rainy and cold – but we were determined to make this our day to get our pumpkins.  We went early – and there were 2 other cars in the parking lot.  Perfect.  No crowd!  

My brother and cousin, carefully choosing apples to pick.

After picking apples for the first time (which was more fun than you ‘d think!) and picking out our pumpkins from the pre-picked area (we always end up getting them there, anyway), it was time to shop in the Country Farm Market. 

Triple B makes their own brands of several items – pasta sauces, marinades, and what I always go for – salsa.

I decided upon the Mad Mango and Blackberry Salsas this year – you know, because I love mangoes – a lot – and I have been on a crazy blackberry kick this year as well.  I had never tried them, but they seemed interesting.

The produce section is always great because local farms tend to have more reasonable prices for produce than Giant Eagle (as was evident in my trip to Stan’s Market in The Strip - $0.89/lb. for jicama as opposed to $3.99/lb. at Giant Eagle?! Unreal!).  I started filling up my basket with my fall recipe staples – butternut squash and spaghetti squash – then threw in a head of cabbage, and then….

Jalapeno peppers.  5 for $1.00.  Awww, yeah!

Now – what to do with them?

Today, I decided to get creative with my jalapenos.  I had seen many recipes lately for stuffed hot peppers, and I love jalapeno poppers, so I wanted to try something along those lines.

I cut my peppers in half – using Ziploc bags as gloves to do so.  I have learned the hard way – especially since I wear contact lenses that must be removed every night - that you must, must, MUST protect your hands and surfaces from the burn of the jalapeno seeds and membranes, as that is where most of the heat in the pepper is concentrated.  

Since I wanted to keep this semi-healthy, I decided upon two different cheeses to add to my peppers – two Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss wedges, and a serving (1/8th of a wheel) of Red Apple Smoked Gouda, my favorite type of cheese.  I divided them up amongst the 10 pepper halves, along with a little Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning for flavor.

Something was missing  - these looked boring.  I remembered reading a recipe for stuffed jalapenos that were wrapped in bacon…mmmm, bacon….but all I keep in my house is turkey bacon.

That’ll do, pig.  That’ll do.

I wrapped each pepper in half of a piece of turkey bacon (so 5 pieces total), and placed them in my ancient 1950’s oven, which I had preheated at 400 degrees, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, I thought there still might be something missing from this recipe…maybe something vegetable-like to add to the pepper taste.

Oh yeah!  I bought those salsas at Triple B, too!

I decided to try each type of salsa on my peppers, leaving two without so that I knew what they tasted like sans-salsa.

The peppers were pretty good without the salsa – I definitely liked the bacon-jalapeno combo, with the smokiness of the gouda and the mildness of the Laughing Cow cheese.  They were pretty delicious with the Mad Mango Salsa as well, since it added some sweetness to those flavors.  However, my favorite was by far the combination with the Blackberry Salsa, which had a much more subtle flavor than the mango, so I could still taste the smokiness of the cheese with the bacon.

My trip to Triple B this year may have been wet, cold, and muddy, but I definitely got more out of this trip than any other.  Usually, I come away with a pumpkin and memories of frustration from the corn maze, but this year was a whole new experience.  I came away with my pumpkin, as usual, but also apples, jalapenos, awesome salsas, a delicious cabbage (which I made into soup), and a new way to combine flavors from a local farm.  I may have to try these types of experiments more often….

Their labels are cute.  I had to include them.

Triple B Farms
823 Berry Lane
Monongahela, PA 15063

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