In our last pain-filled episode the armadillo eggs, meatloaf, and cheeses were left well-wrapped and half prepared in the refrigerator, and blinky-Collie-with-glasses went off to a delicious and thoughtful dinner with her very kind housemates. Moving on!

The next night I strode fearlessly into the kitchen, well prepared and snapping latex gloves onto my hands in the finest style of mad doctors everywhere. I figured if the chilis were going to torture me last night, I could return the favor tonight! Whipping out the various ingredients, I used a wooden shish-kebab skewer to shove blue cheese crumbles firmly into the largest chili. Lather, rinse, repeat with the gorgonzola and the second largest chili. That left the very slender little jalapeño pepper and slices of smoky gouda. After some experimentation, some swearing, and some consideration, I decided a skewer wouldn't hack it. So I sliced the pepper neatly open down one side and shoved in as much cheese as I could.

Next: the meat, which smelled a little funny since it had to sit in the fridge for a day or three — not a smell I usually enjoy, you know? Fortunately it was already mixed up with its required ingredients, so I scooped up a handful and tried to sort of mold it around the jalapeño pepper, to hold the chili closed and keep the cheese inside. As it turns out, however, chilis have very slick, smooth skins, and the ground beef wasn't at all interested in obligingly grabbing on — like it will with bread or egg. I ended up making flat patties with the meat, then wrapping each one around the individual chilis. Having seen the messy (if also delicious) results of cheese oozing out of poorly sealed foods, I was also careful to smoosh the meat to a relatively even thickness surrounding the entirety of each chili. Weirdly, this was harder than it sounds; perseverance and extra meat lumps for the win.

As I was working it occurred to me: a) I'm hungry. Also, b) if it takes the armadillo eggs an hour or so to cook at 150 degrees, which seemed quite low to me… wouldn't they cook faster at a slightly higher temperature? Further, I didn't really care for how the meat smelled, which reminded me that you're supposed to cook beef to about 160 degrees for safety. Hmm… let's go for a c) as well, then: I'll turn the temperature up for safety's sake.

I turned the oven up to 250, using the knuckles of one latex-gloved hand so I don't leave disgusting meat smears everywhere like a too-gleeful serial killer of ground beef, then continue wrapping chilis in ground beef… like a too-gleeful serial killer of meatloaves. Shortly thereafter, going in to the oven we had three disturbingly turd-shaped little meat blobs lying on aluminum foil (for easier cleanup afterwards) on the baking sheet. We also had quite a lot of extra meat, since this was clearly designed for maybe two or three times as many chili peppers, which I shall remember for next time. I neatly tamped the remainder of the meat down into two little meatloaf pans, with the remaining cheeses laid into layers inside the meatloaves — hopefully that would taste good too.

I ended up cooking the loaves for a little longer than the armadillo eggs, and I used the meat thermometer to make sure they all got to a safe temperature. I was also careful to stick the temperature spike into the upside of the armadillo eggs so the cheese didn't come bubbling out, which turned out to be a good thing to do. Amusingly, it still took about an hour to get everything to the temperature it needed to be, even at the higher cooking heat. However, the results were well worth it: both the meatloaves and the armadillo eggs were delicious! We cut each one into enough pieces that we could all have a bit of each to try the flavors.

A few post-nomming thoughts: the first two chilis were delicious, and I think the stronger flavored cheeses like gorgonzola and sharp cheddar work well for this. One housemate suggested mixing the cheeses next time, too, which I thought sounded kind of yummy; he thought the gorgonzola alone was a bit much. He was not so much a fan of the smoky gouda, however — and, honestly, while I liked the cheese, I had to agree that that particular chili wasn't one of the best ones. That was, in fact, one painfully hot little jalapeño pepper for me! Fortunately the other housemates gobbled up the rest of it with great enjoyment. I'm glad I had bread there too, though, to soak up the capescin for me.

The meatloaves were very much enjoyed as well, though interestingly, before I served them I had to pour off the excess melted oils from the cheeses within. I'll have to remember just how delicious a sprinkling of cheese within the meatloaf is. I'm also very pleased that both housemates think the armadillo eggs recipe is a real keeper. One of them speculated that the reason the heat was so low was to keep it from breaking down the capescin in the chilis. Frankly, if that's the case the chilis are all getting cooked at 350 next time! Hopefully that'll make the flavors mingle even more deliciously.

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