There are certain kinds of foods that can prove more difficult for contact lens wearers to prepare—anything involving jalapeño being at the top of the list. If you’ve experienced the burn as you’ve sliced jalapeños and then put in your contacts or touched your eyes, it’s not something easily forgotten.

This year we have a few tips for cooking with jalapeños, more specifically when preparing jalapeño poppers!

Step 1 – DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYEBALLS EVER. To prevent this, put on at least one pair of goggles (ski, swim, or chemistry are all fine).
Step 2 – SERIOUSLY DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES. Maybe put on some latex gloves just to be safe.
Step 3 – Make your poppers using our in-house-chef-made recipe. (See below for the full recipe.)
Step 4 – Carefully remove all PPE and wash your hands thoroughly. Then wash again because there’s no pain like jalapeño-in-your-eye pain.
Step 5 – Enjoy!

“Street Corn” Jalapeno Poppers (20 pieces) with lime/scallion aioli

We’re super fancy because our recipe includes “aioli.”

10 jalapenos – the longer the better

10 organic mozzarella string cheese

10 slices of thin sliced smoked bacon

1 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper

4 beat eggs

2 cups ground corn flakes

1 oz chili lime salt

Canola oil for frying

1. Slice off the jalapeno stem and cut lengthwise down one side. Unroll the pepper to expose the seeds inside. Cut or scrape out the seeds. (If you like to keep it spicy, you can leave a few seeds behind.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: It’s a good idea to either wear gloves or wash you hands right after you deal with those seeds. Some people forget and touch their eyes with residual pepper juice on their hands and immediately regret it. This is particularly important if you wear contact lenses.

2. Cut the cheese…the same length as the jalapeno and place a piece on top.* Roll the jalapeno up with the cheese inside. Lay out a slice of bacon and give it a gentle tug to stretch it out nice and long. It is key that the bacon is nice and thin. Put one end of the jalapeno down on a slice of bacon and roll it up overlapping ever so slightly. Cut off any excess bacon. Mourn the loss of the excess bacon. Repeat until all the jalapenos are stuffed and rolled. Place them in the refrigerator while you prepare the next step.

3. You will need 3 mixing bowls or casserole dishes and a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In one dish you’ll put the seasoned flour. One will have the well-beaten eggs, and the last dish will hold the ground corn flakes.

4. Here’s how to do it: first, a jalapeno goes into the flour. Cover it completely, but then tap off the excess. Then the jalapeno goes into the egg, make sure it adheres to all sides but let the excess run off. (Protip: use one hand exclusively for the egg process to avoid making a big mess.) Next, the jalapeno goes into the corn flakes. Roll it around! Smile as you wonder to yourself what it feels like to be covered in egg batter and roll around in corn flakes. If someone asks you why you’re smiling, do not tell them you were wondering what it feels like to be covered in egg batter and rolling around in corn flakes. Instead, make up an awkward story so they’ll leave you alone so you can go back to your happy place. Now, the jalapeno should be covered entirely. Place each jalapeno on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. You can bread these a couple days in advance without any issue.

5. On the big day, fry them at 325 degrees until they’re crispy and a nice golden brown. You can also bake them at 325 degrees until they are hot inside and crispy outside (usually 7-10 minutes). Season the outside with a little chili-lime salt and let them cool slightly. Cut in half down the middle to create 2 cylinders.

Serve with Lime-Scallion Aioli (recipe follows).

Scallion-Lime Aioli

What?? Aioli is just mayo?? Ugh. If it didn’t taste so good we’d be really upset right now.

1 cup mayo

1 bunch of minced scallions

4 limes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt

Black pepper

Pop the mayo into a bowl with excessive flair and attitude. Use a Micoplane zester/grater to zest 2 of the limes into the mayo. Juice all 4 limes. Put most of the juice into the mayo and reserve the rest for the last step. Add the scallions and paprika to the bowl. Puree with either an emersion blender or a regular blender (either works fine). Season the aioli with salt, pepper, and lime juice to your desire.

Chili-Lime Salt

This is a thing that you could probably find at the store either with the spices or in the international section. It’s real yummy. But you can also make your own.

1 cup flakey sea salt

Zest of 4 limes

1 teaspoon chili flake

1 teaspoon dark chili powder

Quickly blend all ingredients in a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or even in a food processor. Sprinkle on your poppers right after they’re done cooking.

*Admire the restraint and maturity it took to not make a “cutting the cheese” joke.

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