The tweet came late on Monday afternoon, at a time that, in the World Before, would have been somewhere near the end of the work day; it now arrived in the hazy hours of Blursday the someteenth of whatever the hell month it is. (Marpril?)
PARTY TIP: A whole jalapeño, hollowed out, stuffed with chunky peanut butter, and oven roasted.
— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) April 27, 2020
WHAT IS THIS? Has Andrew W.K., the king of partying hard, been isolated too long?! Has he cracked under the pressures of pandemic life, or is he an unheralded snacking genius?!?!
We at Lifehacker had to know the answers to these questions. And in a stroke of good fortune, I had both fresh jalapeños and chunky peanut butter in the house. WHAT ARE THE PANDEMIC-ADDLED ODDS?!?!?!
And so, I set forth for the kitchen in search of the truth.
Attempt #1: Not enough peanut taste
I pulled out my fresh jalapeños, cut them in half, removed the seeds and slathered them with peanut butter—the all-natural kind—filling each half to overflowing (because I couldn’t figure out how to stuff an intact jalapeño with minimally viscous nut butter). I slid the concoction into an oven heated to 200°C. Eighteen minutes later, long enough for the peppers to have softened, I took them out again.
My initial verdict? They were somewhat underwhelming. The jalapeños had a nice texture and offered a bit of heat, but the flavour of the peanut butter had been rendered bland. This wouldn’t do; if I’m going to eat peanut butter, I want to actually taste peanuts.
Attempt #2: Add soy sauce and brown sugar, finish with lime
At the suggestion of Lifehacker senior food editor Claire Lower—who was just as curious to pluck out this madness at the root, but lacking in fresh jalapeños —I tried again, this time mixing ¼ cup of chunky salted peanut butter with ½ tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of brown sugar.
In the same fashion described above, I then slathered the mixture onto three fresh jalapeños, which I’d again sliced in half to removed the seeds. Another 18 minutes at 200°C in the oven later, I was ready for round 2.
Before eating, I innovated a final, literal twist: a squeeze of lime juice atop each PB’d pepper. This time around, the results were more impressive: The heat from the peppers mingled with the flavours of peanut, brown sugar, soy sauce and lime to create something like an adult-friendly Thai-influenced take on Ants on a Log. As improvised pandemic cuisine goes, I’d rate these babies a success.
Next time around, I might increase the brown sugar by a tad. If you try making it yourself, mixing to taste is probably a good bet; your particular preferences for that salty-sweet peanut flavour may vary. Either way, you’ll be experiencing adventure in flavour at a time when we’re all getting sick of the usual-usual.
So party on, Andrew W.K. Quarantine might be getting to you, but if so, your particular flavour of crazy is a palatable one, and I raise a peanut butter stuffed jalapeño to you in salute.