I just spent the last week eating and hiking with my favorite person in one of my favorite places, Grand Teton National Park. My love for the West runs deep. The same history of grit, exploration, and adventure it was founded on still remain. Much of the West demands you get out of your car, lace up your shoes, and explore on foot. And explore we did.
What's not to like about that view?
Grand Teton National Park marks the fourth national park we have visited this year and it's one of our favorites. In fact, we both ranked it number 2 behind our beloved Rocky Mountain National Park. You could stare at those jagged peaks for hours and each minute feel as wowed by the view as the previous. They rise straight from the ground. They are immense. The hiking is breathtaking. I suggest you all stop working, cleaning the house, or whatever activity you might be doing and go to the Tetons now.
Our routine on trip consisted of hiking all day, cocktail hour, and dinner. For cocktail hour each day, one of us was responsible for making an appetizer and pairing it with a beverage. One night of the trip we made a 3 course meal pairing beer with each course. Course one was these western jalapeno poppers with homemade bread crumbs, which we paired with a maibock. Hoppy beers tend to hold up to spicy foods well and this maibock did the job. The poppers are embarrassingly easy to make but delicious. I'm calling the spices mixed into the cream cheese my western spice mix: onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, and salt. Add some homemade bread crumbs for crunch and you have yourself a delicious appetizer in about 20 minutes.
Western Jalapeno Poppers
1 cup of cubed crusty bread (I did asiago and onion bread)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread crumbs with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Once cooled, pulse in a food processor or blender until coarse bread crumb consistency.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Whisk onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Mix spices with cream cheese and cheddar.
Half jalapenos lengthwise, remove seeds, and spread cream cheese mixture down the center. Dip cream cheese side into bread crumbs and place on a greased baking sheet (cream cheese side up). Bake 10-12 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.