At my local farmers market in downtown Savannah, I bought some of the hottest jalapeño peppers that I have ever eaten. Most of the supermarket ones are just mildly hot, if even that! After some research, I found that the TAM Mild Jalapeño, a heat resistant, bug resistant, glossy green pepper is more than likely what I have been buying in the supermarket. Since my peppers were so-o hot, I imagined they would make perfect candied jalapeños. Originally, I had them earmarked for a garnish on a cocktail using jalapeño infused simple syrup, but it’s time for another Secret Recipe Club post. This month, I was assigned Suzanne’s blog, Thru the Bugs on My Windshield. Although Suzanne has many interesting and delicious recipes, I detect a strong Southwestern theme running through her collection. Having lived in Texas myself, I understand her love of the Southwestern cuisine.
With my candied jalapeños made, I began scouring Suzanne’s blog for recipes in which to use them. I came across her recipes for Tomato Jam and Southwestern Cornbread Muffins. Now I have to say my end result was loosely based on both these recipes, but I felt the Southwestern theme was still pure! The fiery candied jalapeños were tamed somewhat in the muffins and the tomato jam was a perfect spicy sweet foil for the dense double corn muffins. Suzanne, my apologies for deviating from your delicious recipes, but I can’t help messing with my food!
The candied jalapeños and tomato jam can be made several days ahead and in fact, improve after a few days as the flavors meld. Try the jam on your morning toast, as a spread for a sandwich, as a substitute for tomato paste, or slathered on a grilled steak, as Suzanne suggests in her recipe. Try the candied jalapeño on your favorite burger, on a cracker spread with cream cheese and topped with several slices of candied jalapeños or as a garnish for cocktails.
Southwestern Corn Muffins
1-1/2 cups stone ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons chopped candied jalapeño
1/2 cup frozen corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 12 muffin mold. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine egg, buttermilk and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients. Fold in corn and candied jalapeños. Top with a candied jalapeño slice, if desired. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a thin knife inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
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