Backstage Bites

(Basically a cheese biscuit crossed with a jalapeno popper. )

This summer’s Just for Laughs festival was amazing! My comedy husband, Mike Paterson, got to host a typically gonzo show on the outdoor stage: Mike Paterson’s Playhouse. Complete with heavy metal comedy music, care of Iron Ladel, and featuring a ridiculous tiger eagle costume, it was basically everything we could have wanted from our summer.

As it happened, Mike was hosting the English version of this show and our good friend Julien Tremblay was hosting the French version. His show was called: Julien Tremblay’s DE WOR. (Get it? Outside, as in dehors?)

Juste Pour Rire, the French festival, starts a week before Just For Laughs, the English side. Because of this, Mike was a guest on Julien’s show before he had his first Playhouse show.

Now, there were a few things about Julien Tremblay’s DE WOR that caused us some searing pangs of envy. Firstly, his set design included a giant foam wall fashioned after Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which performers could and did crash through at inopportune moments. So cool!

Mike immediately started whining at me about how we didn’t have any cool set stuff like that wall. We didn’t even have a Tiger Eagle costume (yet.) That wall was pretty great.

De wors

The other thing that we were jealous little monsters about was the backstage cheese plate. There was a beautiful cheese plate all ready for the performers to snack on when they got off-stage. It was thoughtful and delicious. Things being as they are, I was pretty sure that we would not get a cheese plate. In fact, we did not. Apparently the festival runs out of cheese plate money by the time the English side rolls around.

As soon as I saw that cheese plate, I knew that we would also have backstage snacks, because they are great and they make everyone feel good. I also knew that that meant I would be making said snacks.

Going with the cheese theme, I decided I would make the cheese jalapeno biscuit bites I had recently created when messing around in the kitchen. They’re ridiculously easy, quick and they’re tasty but also interesting. This turned out great, except for the day that it was way too hot to turn on the oven but I did anyway, and the night that I told a friend of ours who was hanging out backstage to stop eating the shit before the band had a chance to sit down, and subsequently hurt his feelings.

Mainly though, it worked, I was able to bake these up in the very little time we had to get ready every night, without annoying the other person in the house trying to get ready at the same time (comedy husband.) What I didn’t have time for was taking a reasonable picture of the finished product. In any case, they’re awesome, you should try them.

Backstage Bites

You will need:

1 cup of whole wheat flour

1 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp Salt

1/4 cup shortening (or butter, or artisanal lard, whatever)

1 cup grated cheese (sharp  cheddar or whatever you’ve got on hand)

4 Tbsp Water (I guess milk would work too)

A handful of jalapenos

A chunk of Boursin cheese or something similar, cream cheese would go really well here.

Heat up your oven to 425.

Stir your 1 tsp baking powder and your 1 tsp salt into your 1 cup flour in a big ol’ bowl.

Now cut your 1/4 cup shortening into a few cubes and mush it into the flour with a fork until there are no big chunks left. You could accomplish this end much faster with a pastry fork, if you had one. (Don’t worry, I also do not have a pastry fork and I make plenty of pastry.)

Once the shortening is mixed in good, stir in the 1 cup grated cheese.

pastryAfter the cheese is good and mixed, measure in 4 Tablespoons of water and knead the whole thing with your hands until it comes together.

Once the mess has a dough-like consistency, you can roll it out onto a floured surface, to about a half-inch thickness.

rollAfter you have rolled it out to your desired thickness, grab a shot glass and punch out little round circles of dough.

Comedy network shot glass Put all your lovely little circles on a greased or parchment-protected cookie sheet. Squish the remaining dough together and roll out again. Repeat until you’ve got all the dough into bites.

Grab a cutting board and your jalapenos. Slice them all up and shake as many of the seeds out as you can. (I forgot to remove the seeds one night and these bites had too much bite. A lot of beer was required to put out those fires!)

jalapeno!

Place a slice of jalapeno on each of the bites.  (Or most of them)

You got jalapeno'ed

Sort of like that.

Dab a chunk of boursin or cream cheese on top of each jalapeno slice.

poppers

And that’s it, put em in the oven for 10 minutes and you’ve got beautiful backstage bites that your heavy metal band and your tiger eagles will enjoy and appreciate, especially Jocelyn.

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