Cloudy With a Side of Fried Foods

Jay and I love to experiment in the kitchen. We’re always eager to try cooking (and eating) new things. A couple of weeks ago my sister and her husband gave us some fresh jalapeño peppers from their garden to make jalapeño poppers. Jay isn’t fond of spicy food, but he will never turn down something fried. Arancini has been something on our list of foods to make for about a year already so we decided it was the perfect occasion to try and make those too.

First, the arancini:

  1. Cook risotto the night before. Maybe I should have mentioned that this is a two-day recipe. We cooked risotto the night before in preparation for arancini making.
  2. Roll risotto into balls. Jay chose to make our arancini into balls more than an inch in diameter, but you can use whichever size you like as long as you adjust the frying time.
  3. Poke a cube of cheese into the center of each ball. This is a good “as you go” instruction that can be combined with step two. The cheese shouldn’t be too big, but big enough that you’ll notice when you bite into the cooked arancini.
  4. Roll in breadcrumbs. You want to make sure you have a nice coating of breadcrumbs on your arancini. Dip in egg, then cover in the crumbs.
  5. Fry in oil for 7ish minutes. Make sure the arancini can be fully submerged in oil. Fry them until the breadcrumbs turn a nice golden brown color.
  6. Remove from oil. Lay the arancini on layered paper towels to help absorb excess oil. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve. Serve the arancini hot with a side of your favorite marinara sauce. Yum!

Meanwhile, I made the poppers. They took surprisingly long, since you have to batter them a couple of times.

  1. Wash and slice the peppers. I started by rinsing all of the jalapeños. Then I sliced off the stem and cut each pepper in half lengthwise.
  2. De-seed each half. Make sure no seeds or white-ish pepper is still stuck in the middle.
  3. Prepare the filling. I combined some cream cheese and regular shredded cheese together with a little bit of pepper. The ratio wasn’t great, so next time I will definitely have less cream cheese and more cheesy cheese!
  4. Fill the halves. Spoon the filling into each jalapeño half. Once you filled each half, squeeze the matching ones back together to form whole peppers.
  5. Start dipping. Coat the peppers first in egg or milk and then in flour. Let sit and dry for 10ish minutes before repeating the process. Repeat a third time, this time coating in breadcrumbs instead of flour.
  6. Fry ’em up! Gently place peppers in the hot oil for 2-5 minutes at a time.
  7. Remove from oil. Lay the poppers on layered paper towels to help absorb excess oil. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
  8. Serve. Serve the poppers hot with a side of your favorite marinara sauce or eat plain. Yum!

Jay and I agreed that both of these recipes were a success. I need to tweak the filling in my poppers a bit, but they were great for a first time recipe attempt. I had a lot of them leftover so I reheated some in the oven the next day and they were even better than the first day!

Have you made any fried foods or other fun dishes with your SO? Cooking is such a fun activity to do with other people, especially when it’s a new recipe for both of you. I can’t wait to try making these again so we can perfect the recipe!

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