soda and pepper

Everything appears to be going so well in my kitchen lately that you’d think I should lose the ‘neophyte’ moniker, right? Not so fast. Because my posting frequency took a nosedive during the busy summer months, I’d really only been posting some of my more successful culinary adventures. But now that my assorted activities are winding down and I’m starting to get my life back, I have a little more time to post, and thus, share with you some of the horrible, horrible things that have been happening in my kitchen.

Exhibit A: the Dr. Pepper and jalapeño meatballs.

This was a haphazard adaptation of a Kayotic Kitchen recipe — one that was seemingly much more successful and well executed. Creating a glaze with soda? Brilliant, I thought. Oh hey, I’ve got some extra Dr. Pepper in the fridge. Let’s roll with that! Not so brilliant, I discovered.

Simmering the soda and peppers created some sort of noxious fumes that filled the nostrils, throats and lungs of anyone who dared to pass through the kitchen. I’m not kidding; we were all uncontrollably coughing — spewing up blood, even! Alright, maybe not that last part, but it was rough. It’s important to note here that I only had two peppers, but with all the hardship I endured making the glaze, I figured the end result would have fire pouring out of my ears like you see in the cartoons; on the contrary, it was quite mild on the spice. The glaze created a nice, almost-crunchy coating on the outside that I kind of enjoyed, but it was too sweet for my liking.

♦1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. died parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. Dr. Pepper (or follow the original recipe and use Cherry Coke, or even your own choice!)
3 jalapeño peppers (don’t settle for two or your glaze will severely lack heat!)

Combine spices, ground beef and egg in large bowl. Roll meat into balls (your size preference) and place in glass baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 10. In the meantime, mix sugar and chopped jalapenos in a skillet, add soda and bring to a boil (here’s where your eyes will water!), and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs, brush generously with glaze and cook for 5 more minutes.

Total time? 45ish total?
Cost? $4 ground beef, $1 peppers, 50¢ soda
Overall success relative to expectations? 4 out 10. I was thrilled to try something so different, but the end product fell flat for me. The consistency was akin to meatloaf, which isn’t how I typically make my meatballs, so that was a bit of a turnoff. And like I said, the flavor wasn’t at all what I was expecting, which also makes it difficult to pair this with anything for a meal. I guess they’d be better off as hors d’oeuvres? A little more spice and a little less saccharine might make this a little more successful, so if you’re interested in trying something different, grab a gas mask and give it a go.


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