Posted November 3, 2007 by Lars in Reviews

Review: The Happy Jalapeno Company – Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish

Happy Jalapeño Company
Happy Hal’s ““ Jalapeño Relish

First impression: There is an old adage or proverb – KISS. This stands for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. And even in this day and age of high technology, sometimes keeping it simple is just what the jalapeño ordered. And that jalapeño happens to have a name, and his name is Hal! No, no! I know that all the Kubrick fans out there are asking themselves if this has anything to do with the HAL-9000 supercomputer known from 2001 A Space Odyssey. Unfortunately no it does not. But you can certainly use Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish to make up some simple and delicious appetizers while you and your friends and family enjoy some movie time. It’s also great as an addition to some of your current favorite recipes. It’s so simple to use this that it has to be illegal! Lol! Although I’m sure Suzie and Joe would have something to say about their relish causing abuses of authority! Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish is the brainchild of Susanne and Joe Spurlock. They are a delightfully nice couple that hails from the wilds of Lancaster, PA. Yes, this is Amish and Mennonite country folks! There are some really great farms and rural locations in Lancaster, PA. And get this, in certain less rural areas Lancaster has a HIGHER crime rate then Philadelphia?!? Go figure! I don’t know what this world is coming to, but the Spurlock’s are trying to make sure that there is a little added love and heat that goes along with any meal that you can dish out. As many pepper heads know, chilies are very healthy as part of a balanced diet. In fact, the Spurlock’s have given us quick links to some of this info on their webpage.

Not only that, but they have also published a neat little cookbook to accompany the Jalapeno relish. This gives you some further ideas on how this relish can be used for cooking or as a condiment.

The relish and the book are sold separately, but I happened to obtain some relish recently and then requested a copy of the cookbook so The Happy Jalapeno Company can be listed among the rest of the small manufacturers in the fiery foods industry. A short while ago you used to be able to purchase the relish off the website, yet now I see that they only list retail locations and no web sales. Hmm, that’s odd. But this link will show some locations where you can purchase Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish.

I believe the cost is $7.00 for a 9 oz. jar.


Ingredients: jalapeño peppers, vinegar

Appearance/Smell/Taste: Well, since there are only jalapeños and vinegar in this relish it pretty much smells like you think it would. It has that kind of ‘green’ smell like a fresh jalapeño. Then there is the slightest whiff of vinegar but it isn’t overpowering in any way. In fact, taking some out of the jar, the japs aren’t dripping with vinegar. The Spurlock’s have used ‘just the right amount’ of vinegar to keep from spoiling and to also not overpower any foods you use this relish for. Putting the spoonful of diced japs to my mouth I found them to be very, very mild. I don’t know if it’s just me or if that is just the way it is, but pickled jalapeños are sweeter than they are hot for me. So on the HSB heat scale, this condiment is about a 2. In trying to keep things ‘simple’. I decide to do a little cheese and cracker hors d’ overs using Happy Hals.

Prepared meal: Organic Toasted Crackers w/Apple and Hardwood Smoked Provolone Cheese Topped with Happy Hals

Even though I have the Happy Hal’s cookbook, Susie suggested that I make a little cracker melt to try out the relish. So I passed on making Hal’s Jalapeño Potato Soup, Julie’s Groovy Tuna Tostadas, and John’s ‘Moldy’ Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Which at a glance were some of the recipes that caught my eye. Slicing the cheese up on the board and assembling like you see here..

Sliced Apple and Hardwood Smoked Provolone

Some crackers of choiceaji_14.jpg

A few table spoons of Happy Hal’s

After assembling the cheese on the cracker and then topping with the relish they were sent to the toaster oven for a few minutes on 375 degrees. Just long enough that the cheese started to melt, but the crackers don’t brown or burn. While they are heating up in the oven you can crack open a bottle of your favorite wine. I’m not really a wine head, but when the time comes for me to drink some wine, I prefer a nice Merlot, Cabernet, or perhaps an Australian Bushvine Shiraz which happens to be one of my favorites. Plus, it would go along nice with these little treats!

Complement to meal: I started to pop these little treats into my mouth. The first flavors that came across my palette was the dryness of the crackers I chose. Trust a company like Keebler to fuck up what coupld be a really good organic cracker! This is a new product for them, and they kind of suck! Almost like a graham cracker without any sweetness, totally dry and gross. It’s not even that I heated them up in the oven! Saving the day of course was Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish and some smoked provolone! The smokiness of the cheese went along quite well with the diced japs. Although the cheese also cut the heat to a 0 on the HSB heat scale, that wouldn’t deter me in using this condiment in any other dish. Perhaps something without any cheese?!? Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish is a quick and easy addition to any meal you prepare. I can see me adding this to some onions and garlic sauteed in a skillet with some vegetables to top off some rice or pasta even! All in all the uses are pretty much endless! Soups, salads, casseroles, drinks, dips, chips, chains and whips! -Lars-

Initial impression: 7/10

Ingredient quality/content: 9/10

Flavor/textue/smell: 6/10

Heat: 2/10

Overall: 6/10

Happy Jalapenos