Pepper Your Summer

 

See the July-August 2013 issue for our “Cooking Fresh” article that’s all about Peppers.

Here are additional great ways for you to enjoy those spicy, versatile peppers from your garden or local farmers’ market. All recipes by Becky Poss.

 

Simple Fresh Civeche with Peppers

Servings: 4

This is a great alternative for cooks who don’t have access to sushi-grade fish. Refreshing and addictive, it’s a perfect appetizer or a lovely lunch entree. Fresh shrimp is ideal, but frozen out of a bag shrimp works well.

1 pound raw shrimp, tails removed

1 ½ cups diced tomatoes – a variety of cherry and roma is nice.

4 jalapenos – seeded and minced (about 3/4 cup)

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 roasted red pepper (optional but nice)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped, no stems

Juice of 3 limes (at least ¾ cup)

1 cup finely sliced and chopped (chiffoniered) fresh spinach leaves

3 chopped cloves garlic

salt to taste

Several dashes Sriracha Chili Sauce (optional but nice)

Add shrimp to a pot of well-salted water and slowly bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit to continue cooking for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, and chop. Combine with all other ingredients in a large glass bowl, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Salt to taste before serving. Great served with tortilla chips and a side of guacamole.

 

Marinated Pepper Salad with Blue Cheese

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a salad

A nice make-ahead dish ready to serve with fresh summer greens

Follow directions for preparing roasted peppers (skinned, seeded, and sliced)

Combine in a glass bowl:

3 roasted red peppers

3 roasted poblano peppers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/3 cup olive or sunflower oil

3 tablespoons each: chopped parsely and basil

Salt to taste

1 seeded finely diced jalapeno pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

Assorted lettuces or arugula

Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or longer in the refrigerator. (This can be made up to a day ahead, but bring back to room temperature before using). Place greens in a large bowl and toss with marinated vegetables and liquid. Add a little additional olive oil to coat all greens. Serve with freshly ground pepper. Also nice with goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. A nice variation: Add about 1 cup of sliced steamed carrots to the marinade.

BrusselsSprouts with Roasted Peppers and Bacon Dressing

Approx. 3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved and cut into strips.

1 tablespoon Canola or Sunflower oil

2 slices hardwood smoked bacon, diced

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped

3 Poblano Peppers – roasted, skinned, seeded and diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Stir until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, lemon juice, Jalapeno, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil for one minute. Add Brussels Sprouts and Poblanos and stir to coat, then contents of skillet onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in hot oven for 5 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature, then pick up the parchment paper and slide all into a serving bowl. Great as a side salad with grilled chicken, or served over greens.

 

Jalapeno Margaritas

Kicking up the heat on a cool summer drink.

4 ounces tequila

2 ounces triple sec

4 limes, juiced

½ Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

Pour all into a cocktail shaker over ice, shake (to Mariachi music if possible) for about 2 minutes until it froths. Strain into prepared salted glasses, and garnish with lime wedges.

 

Cheesy Poblano Pepper Soup

Servings: 4

Soup in the summer? Make it ahead when the kitchen’s cool and heat up a bowl to serve with tortilla chips for an easy spicy lunch or dinner.

2 fresh corn tortillas

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons Ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

½ cup minced onion

¾ cup seeded and minced Poblano chili peppers

2 seeded and diced Jalapeno peppers (one for less heat)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

½ cup fat free half and half

¼ cup low fat cream cheese

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Tear tortillas into small pieces and place into a food processor with flour, chili powder and salt. Process until consistency of cornmeal.

In a large pot over medium heat, combine oil, onion, peppers and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add butter to melt. Add ground tortilla mixture and stir well to form a roux. (don’t let it brown or burn)

Slowly add the chicken stock as you stir. Simmer several minutes, then add half and half and cream cheese and simmer about 8 minutes. Don’t let it boil. If you like it thinner, add more half and half.

Garnish the bowl of soup with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Freshly chopped cilantro is great.

Optional – add 1 cup shredded cooked chicken to heat through before serving.

 

Pollo Poblano

Chicken breasts in Poblano Cream Sauce

Servings: 4 to 6

4 fresh Poblano chilies, seeded and chopped – about 2 cups

½ cup milk

2 TBSP butter

1 TBSP flour

1 cup Mexican crema

2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts, each one sliced into several strips

1 cup grated Manchego or Monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Puree chilies and milk in a blender until smooth (make certain that all seeds have been removed). Melt butter in a skillet, then add flour to brown slightly. Add chili puree, stirring with a spatula or wire whisk until smooth. Lower heat, add cream and stir constantly until the sauce bubbles. Remove from heat, and add salt to taste.

Place chicken strips in a small casserole and smother with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Serve with rice, garnish with freshly chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

Another version of this delicious dish:

Instead of Poblanos, use 2 red peppers and 2 jalapeno peppers. Seed and chop the peppers, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with a little olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Pick up the foil and slide peppers and oil into food processor.

 

Chili Pepper Casserole

Servings: 4 to 6

8 Poblano Peppers, or substitute Red Bell Peppers

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 ½ cups brown rice, prepared

1 can black beans, drained

½ cup Mexican Crema

½ tsp salt

4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute

2 cups milk

2/3 cup flour

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Roast peppers following the method described (see magazine story), but leave the flesh in one long sheet after seeding. Don’t chop it. Spread them in a single layer in a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Combine rice with cheddar cheese, cilantro, crema, and beans.

In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, flour and salt until smooth. Pour over chilies. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Great served with tomato salsa and a salad. Pass the Smokey Chipotle Tabasco sauce.

 

Roasted Summer Vegetable Sauté with Peppers

Servings: 4 to 6

A great vegetarian meal on its own, or ideal side to chicken or fish

Preparation: Set oven to 375 degrees, and line a large cookie sheet with foil. Bring a large nonstick skillet to medium heat on the stove.

In a large bowl, combine vegetables peeled and chopped to bite size pieces.

1 cup of each vegetable, cook’s choice to pick which ones

New Potatoes

Zucchinis

Carrots

Poblano and Jalapeno Peppers (all seeds removed)

Mushrooms

Toss with enough olive oil to coat, sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pour vegetables into hot skillet and quickly brown the vegetables, about 5 minutes, then pour the contents of the skillet onto the prepared sheet and into the hot oven. Roast until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Return to the skillet and add:

4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

2 – 4 chopped cloves garlic (to taste)

3 – 4 diced tomatoes (or ideally 2 cups of halved yellow cherry tomatoes)

Generous handful of any fresh herbs you have on hand. Rosemary, Parsley and/or Basil.

Sauté gently for 5 minutes.

Options:

Serve steaming hot sauté on a bed of finely chopped fresh spinach or kale.

Add halved brussel sprouts, chopped leeks or green onions to vegetable mix.

Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese or feta.

Also lovely served on prepared brown rice.

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