De Ma Cuisine

Appetizers Archive

Friday

16

October 2015

0

COMMENTS

Fig and Goat Cheese Spread – Oh What a Trip

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Cheese, Condiments, Dairy-Free, Fruit, Gluten Free, Quick and Easy, Roasting, Snacks, Thoughts, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian

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My youngest brother, Josh, got married to Karensa in Ontario, Canada last month. So Tim and I, thankful to get some real fall weather, made the journey to my homeland. It was blissfully cool. The leaves were changing color. And, we had two and a half weeks to spend with my family.

It was the best.

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My parents live on a few acres. Since the weather was so nice, we spent plenty of time outdoors.

Notice that I’m wearing a hoodie?! In September?! I miss that.

Notice the wacko trying to sneak up on me? He forgot that taking a selfie with the front camera means you can also see the person sneaking up behind you (ahem, I didn’t notice him until like the third picture).

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Tim spent hours and hours working on Josh and Karensa’s wedding invitation (that’s the original in the frame on the right). He drew their seal on the chalkboard by the entrance to the banquet hall. Flippin’ talented. I can’t believe the things he comes up with. (If you want an invitation or just some hand lettering drawn by Tim, he’s got an Etsy store open now.)

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Josh and Karensa had a private ceremony at my parents’ place. It was sweet and intimate. They did something kinda neat where they asked people to share during the ceremony (instead of speeches at dinner). I cried and high talked though mine.

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I told them that I remembered my dad telling me that I had a baby brother. I’d wanted a sister. But, I’m so glad that I got Josh instead. He’s a sweet, kind, caring, super smart man. And I’m so glad that now as grownups we’re not just siblings, but friends. He’s found a wonderful woman to share his life with, and now I have her (and my other sisters-in-law), many sisters instead of the one I was hoping for so many years ago.

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Since there was plenty of family in from out of town, we had lots of extended family time. It was super fun. Two of my mom’s siblings still live on the West Coast (mom’s a California girl), so they’re not all together often. But when they are… what a hoot!!

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I’m a huge baseball fan, and growing up it was all about the Blue Jays. We drove into Toronto a few times. Once to see a Jays game. I was thrilled to watch them crush the Yankees. My brother Jake and I were talking the other day about how our 10 and 12 year old selves (respectively) are just thrilled that the Jays are in the post season again for the first time since 1993.

If you need me over the next three weeks, I’ll be on the edge of my seat, hoping the Jays can win again.

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Toronto (pron. Tronno). One of my favorite skylines.

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We had a little extra time before meeting some family for dinner, so we hung out on the shores of Lake Ontario.

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Tim and I read books, enjoyed the cool weather, and listened to the waves lap gently at the shore.

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There was a lot going on during our trip. It was busy, but it was so good. In the midst of it, we still had plenty of time to hang out with my immediate family though, and that made it great.

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My parents moved from the house I grew up in right after Tim and I got married. There are things that I still miss about it. Those memories that have been permanently etched in my mind. That squeaky step, the creaky wood floors, the sound of the back door closing in the winter. But, this place makes me smile. I love that there’s a river to sit by, trees to walk through, and an awesome commercial kitchen to play in.

One of the reasons they moved was to have a kitchen that mom could work out of. They worked hard and fixed this place up, and now they have a banquet hall for groups, and a bakery & café where mom showcases her baked goods, and sells soups and lunch items a few days a week. What fun it was to cook with mom in her kitchen!

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Tim got to help out too. He re-did all of their interior signs (and made a couple new ones for along the road), and he made some out of this world strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

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I’ve been making pain au chocolat at home from the recipe I learned when Tim and I were in Paris. So Mom let me play a bit and I made both a regular and a vegan version for the bakery. They both turned out great! Karensa is a vegan, so I was hoping that there’d be some left for her for when they returned from their honeymoon. There were.

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In addition to helping with the bakery & café, I got to spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen because Josh and Karensa asked my brother Jake and I to make the appetizers for the wedding dinner. Over the next month or so I’ll share the remaining recipes, along with a few more photos from the trip.

Some of the appetizers were passed on trays. But, we also had a station set up with toasted bread and crackers, with a few different spreads. The first (and probably my favorite) was a warm fig and goat cheese spread. There were two versions, one with goat cheese, one with coconut yogurt (for the vegans). They were quick and easy to make. It wasn’t fig season in Ontario, so we used dried figs. I’d been planning to roast them, which would have been awesome too. But, to save a bit of time, the dried figs worked great. This was a great appetizer, but I think I could probably just eat it for dinner. Give me a baguette and some honey to drizzle over and I’d be set.

Happy Eating!

Fig and Goat Cheese Spread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 C

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 - 2 C dried figs* (about 20) (8 oz., 227g), chopped
  • 1 pkg (300g) goat cheese, chopped (or 1 C vegan yogurt - Yoso brand was great)
  • 1 T lemon zest, chopped
  • 1-2 T honey
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • to taste salt
  • 1 t lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Scoop into a shallow oven safe dish and warm through (about 20-30 minutes should do) (if making the vegan version, you may want to just serve it at room temperature rather than heating).
  3. Serve with toasted bread, crusty baguettes, or crackers.

Notes

*If using fresh figs, halve and roast (350F for 10-15 minutes or so), then chop.

http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/fig-and-goat-cheese-spread-oh-what-a-trip/

Every time I say “on trays” I hear Basil Fawlty say “On those trays” to Manuel in Fawlty Towers…

Monday

7

September 2015

0

COMMENTS

Tuna Boats

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Eggs, Fennel Pollen, Fish, Fruit, Gluten Free, Herbs, Kid-Friendly, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Quick and Easy, Sides, Snacks, Vegetables

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There are so many things that you can do with tuna. It makes a fabulous sandwich, one of my favorites. It’s a great addition to pasta, one of my comfort foods. And, it’s good in a boat. Specifically a boat made of veggies.

This is one of those awesome recipes that’s great no matter the season. So I will share one of my favorite ways to make it, and then some mix and match options.

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For this recipe, the stars were hard boiled eggs, shallots, and fresh tarragon. Plus the boats: cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumber. It was fabulous.

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I started with the eggs. My method for hard boiling is what my mom taught me: boil water, add 1t white vinegar, add eggs, boil for 15 minutes, cool eggs under cold running water. I like to peel the eggs right away, while they’re still a bit warm. They’re easier to peel.

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After the eggs, the rest came together in no time.

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We loved the cucumber boats, the tomato boats were yummy, but the cabbage boats were our favorite. There was something so perfect about the slightly sweet cabbage that went so well with the tuna and egg mixture.

Since tuna goes with so so many things, it didn’t seem fair to limit the recipe to just a these few ingredients. So here are some mix and match ideas. Mix a little something that you think would taste great together, from each of the five categories, for a quick and easy treat.

Creamy/Liquidy

Mayo, yogurt, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, aioli, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, silken tofu, olive oil, sesame oil.

Herbs

Basil, cilantro, dill, chives, fennel pollen, parsley, Rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon.

Seasonings

Cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt.

Extras

Bacon, arugula, bell pepper, celery, back/white/fava/green beans, capers, chile peppers, hard boiled eggs, garlic, ginger, leeks, lemon zest, red onions, pancetta, scallions, shallots, radishes, tomatoes, salsa, olives.

Serve In

Avocado, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, celery, kale, chard, mixing, lettuce, radicchio, daikon radishes, radishes, fennel, beets, jicama, shiitakes.

Some may be best cooked and scooped out (beets and carrots). They could be served with the veggies at room temperature, or even chilled. Others will just need the seeds or some of the flesh scooped out (any good bits could be mixed with the tuna or saved for later). Those of the leafy variety need just be separated.

And now, here are some combos that I came up with, all of which I can’t wait to try.

French Inspired Tuna, tarragon or basil, hard boiled eggs, and mayo, served in a tomato or cucumber.

Asian Inspired Tuna, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion, chile pepper, and cilantro, served in summer squash, tomato, or cabbage.

Mediterranean Inspired Tuna, olives, olive oil, paprika, lemon zest, parsley, basil, dill, white beans or garbanzo beans, and red onion, served in cucumber, bell pepper, or tomato.

Mexican Inspired Tuna, yogurt, salsa, black beans, cilantro, chile pepper, bell pepper, tomato, and red onion, served in avocado, tomato, or bell pepper.

Italian Inspired Tuna, garlic, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, served in tomato, fennel, bell pepper, or summer squash.

Happy Eating!

Tuna Boats

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2-3

Tuna Boats

Ingredients

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1-2 T mayo
  • 1-2 T plain yogurt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T tarragon or basil, chopped or cut in a chiffonade
  • pinch cayenne
  • to taste salt
  • 1 T shallot or red onion, diced
  • 1-5oz. can tuna
  • cucumber, tomato, or cabbage (halved, center scooped out if applicable), for serving

Instructions

  1. Cook eggs (boil water, add 1t white vinegar, add eggs, boil for 15 minutes, drain, pour cool water over, peel right away).
  2. Combine eggs through tuna. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  3. Scoop tuna mixture into cucumber, tomatoes, and cabbage.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/tuna-boats/

Monday

31

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Thai Basil and Peanut Soup

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, Pasta, Rice, Sides, Soups, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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Soup, how I have missed you!!

I’d kinda forgotten about soup. I don’t know how. It’s one of my favorite things to cook and eat. Ever. Ever. EVER! I’m aware of the weather. It’s been about 97,000 degrees out lately and it’s just going to get hotter. But, I just can’t help myself.

This is my take on a Thai-peanut-kinda-spicy-oh-so-good soup. And yes, I said peanut. Peanut butter, to be exact. Just trust me, it works.

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To start, I raided the veggie drawers in the fridge. Cabbage, green beans, lemongrass, and chile peppers all made the cut (bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and greens could also be added, but you’re not missing out without them).

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Then I went to the pantry. Found some peanut butter, ginger, liquid aminos (gluten-free soy sauce substitute – I ran out of the real stuff yesterday), and onion. Along with some tofu from the freezer, the veggies went into a soup pot with some coconut oil to cook away. A few minutes later, the peanut butter and other goodies went in. This soup came together in no time at all.

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I added some veggie stock. Keeping things vegan today. A 30 minute simmer was all it took. If you’ve got less time, that would work too. Just cook until it tastes great to you.

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In the last few minutes of cooking, I added the noodles to some boiling salted water. You can use whatever kind of noodles you prefer – I used soba, but rice noodles would be great too. You can totally add a little more liquid to the soup and cook the noodles that way. I thought about it, but wasn’t sure if we’d have leftovers and didn’t want to risk soup-logged noodles the second time we’d eat it. Since we’re trying to conserve water in the kitchen, I let the pasta water cool and dumped it on the lawn a few minutes ago (ahem – I have no idea if lawns like pasta water, so try at your own risk).

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There are many things that you could do differently. As noted earlier, you could swap some of the veggies and you could use rice pasta if you want to go gluten-free. You could also use rice instead of pasta. It’d be a different soup, but I think it’d still be great. You could also add some coconut milk. I would have done this, but my grocery shopping was already done when I made up the recipe, so it was a use what I have on hand kinda day. However you make it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. We had it for lunch today and Tim said that it tasted like something you’d find at a fancy restaurant. Well, shucks, honey, that was a nice thing to say. (I agree… I may or may not have licked the bowl.)

Happy Eating!

Thai Basil and Peanut Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 42 minutes

Total Time: 57 minutes

Yield: 2-4

Thai Basil and Peanut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 C tofu, chopped
  • 1 C green beans, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 chiles, ribs and seeds removed (if desired), diced
  • 1 C cabbage, chopped
  • could also add: bell pepper, summer squash, carrot, broccoli, greens
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, use only an inch or so from the bottom, tender inside layers, chopped
  • to taste salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 t ground ginger (or 1/2 to 1 t fresh, diced)
  • 1-2 T liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 4-6 C veggie stock
  • 1/4 lb. soba noodles or rice noodles (or rice, cooked)
  • 1/4 C Thai basil, chopped, some reserved for topping

Instructions

  1. Heat soup pot, add coconut oil. When oil is hot, add tofu through salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic (and if using fresh ginger, add it now), cook for 1 minute. Add dried ginger (if using), soy sauce/liquid aminos, 1/2 T rice vinegar, and peanut butter, cook for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. During the last few minutes of the soup's cooking time, add the pasta to the water. Cook according to package's directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Remove soup from heat. Stir in Thai basil and remaining 1/2 T of rice vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. To serve, pile some noodles in a bowl and pour soup around them. Top with the reserved Thai basil.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/thai-basil-and-peanut-soup/

Thursday

20

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Herbs, Lunch, Main Dishes, One Dish Dinners, Quick and Easy, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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Lettuce is one of those oft neglected veggies. I fall into the trap of thinking that lettuce is meant for sandwiches and salads alone. Never mind the fact that I’ve made it into Caesar Soup, which is at the other end of the spectrum for sure. You know, I think that soup would taste great with a sandwich. Double whammy on the lettuce.

But, if we can get away from tradition, here’s another way to use lettuce. As a wrap. Ok, I know, it’s been done before. In fact, one of our favorite Asian restaurants has the most amazing lettuce wraps. I hadn’t ever tried a lettuce wrap until we tasted them. They were a bit of the inspiration for this recipe. However, the main inspiration was that I need to be more creative with lettuce.

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We normally have red leaf lettuce on hand. It’s a bit more delicate, so I thought that it might be best to double up on the layers. In the end, doubling up was fine, but they were messy no matter what (and I think they’d be messy no matter the variety of lettuce used). So, fair warning: be ready to eat with your hands, and have a big napkin ready to catch falling food and wipe sticky fingers. 😉

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Here’s where things get so simple. This is a quick and easy meal. Perfect for a working lunch break on a busy day, as an appetizer before dinner, as a mid-day snack… Whenever you eat them, they’re a cinch.

I used eggplant, tofu, hot pepper, and onion. But, you could also add: mushrooms, bell pepper, summer squash, and julienned carrots. They’d be fabulous! I wanted to include some fresh herbs, so I used Thai basil and mint. The mint can be added to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. I have some in my garden, which is just outside the door, so I didn’t want to miss out on the freshness that mint adds to a dish.

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I cooked everything in some coconut oil, because coconut lends well to Asian flavors. The chiles added a hint of heat, the tofu got a bit crispy, and the veggies softened and browned just a bit.

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Each wrap was topped with some diced cucumbers for a bit of cool crunch, then I added a splash of rice vinegar and a few flakes of sea salt. I find that a variety of textures is important in wraps, so the cucumber met that need. And the salt and vinegar both help to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.

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I decided to go vegan today and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. But, if you wanted to add meat, some beef, chicken, or pork would be great. However you decide to cook it up, it might pair nicely with a Sweet and Spicy Lemongrass Stir Fry… maybe for dinner tonight?!

Happy Eating!

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 2 lettuce wraps

Tofu and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 small to medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • salt
  • 2 T coconut oil (or olive or canola)
  • 1 C tofu, excess water squeezed out, chopped
  • 1 chile pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/2 C onion or shallot, chopped
  • could also add: mushrooms, bell pepper, summer squash, and julienned carrots
  • to taste salt
  • big pinch ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1 T mint, chopped
  • 1 T Thai basil, chopped
  • 1-2 lettuce leaves per serving (1 if sturdy, 2 if more flimsy)
  • 1/2 C cucumber, diced, for serving
  • rice vinegar, for serving
  • pinch salt, for serving

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 15 to 30 minutes to draw out some of the moisture. Rinse and pat dry. Chop as directed.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add eggplant, tofu, chile, onion/shallot, and salt. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Add ginger, garlic, and soy sauce/liquid aminos and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and toss with herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Take 1-2 lettuce leaves (layering 2 if desired) and lay them flat. Spoon tofu mixture in the center. Top with cucumber, a splash of vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Roll up and serve immediately.
http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/tofu-and-eggplant-lettuce-wraps/

Monday

10

August 2015

0

COMMENTS

Chile Pepper Poppers

Written by , Posted in Appetizers, Cheese, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Gluten Free, Grains, Herbs, Legumes, Lentils, Quinoa, Rice, Roasting, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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Try saying “chile pepper poppers” over and over again. I like how it feels to say it. Kinda like how I like the feel of the word “cake”. I think I like the word “cake” more than I actually like cake itself.

I’m done now.

I’ve seen different varieties of pepper poppers before, but never actually tried to make them. They’re often filled with cheese. Yum! But, I wondered if maybe they could be filled with something a little more nutrient dense. Cheese, I’m down with, but let’s add a little more.

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I opted for green lentils, which I’m totally digging right now, and brown rice.  Along with mint and basil for a cool and fresh taste.

I used jalapeños this time. And to be honest, for me, they were too spicy. But, I used what I had on hand (and then drank a big glass of milk after I ate a whole one and my mouth burned up). Next time, I’d opt for a much milder pepper.

The tricky thing about these is since the pepper is staying almost whole, it’s hard to be sure that all the ribs and seeds are gone. I mean, I did the best I could, but there might have been more heat left in there then if I’d halved it and taken the ribs and seeds out that way.

On the Scoville scale, Chipotle, Fresno peppers, jalapeños, and wax peppers (like the Hungarian wax pepper) are rated at 3,500-10,000 Scoville Heat Units. Milder peppers are: Jalapeños (yes, they appear in two categories), Anaheim peppers, and poblano peppers (or ancho), at 1,000-4,000 SHU. And milder still: banana peppers, peperoncini, and pimentos come in at 100-900. Bell peppers are rated at a 0. The spectrum ranges from a pepper called the Carolina reaper at 2,200,000 SHU to the banana, paprika, Cubanelle, peperoncini, and pimento peppers are 100-900 SHU. (1) That’s a big range.

I use jalapeños all the time, buuuuut I don’t usually (ever) eat a whole one… in one sitting… in a three minute time period. They’re usually diced and added to dips, or Succotash, or Tacos. The heat is dispersed.

Next time I’d probably choose an Anaheim pepper or something even milder. A bell pepper would be nice. Or if you’ve got more tomatoes than you know what to do with, stuff those.

Lesson learned.

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I’m usually ok on my own for these posts. I’ve figured out how to photograph with one hand, while the other works. But today I needed both hands, and I needed a picture of it from above. I did consider trying to hold the camera with my chin and shoulder. I thought better of it and asked Tim, who now does freelance work from home too, for help instead. (Don’t tell him what I was thinking of doing, m’kay? 😉 )

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Once I settled on trying to shove the filling in with the handle of a spoon (after a few failed attempts with other utensils), I got the poppers roasting. I opted for the toaster oven, since it’s one bazillion degrees out right now. And my toaster oven opted to crap out on me, resulting in partially roasted pepper poppers. But, they were done enough, they were hot and bubbly, just not quite as soft as I would have liked (hence the 30-60 minute suggestion in the recipe – that way you can have ’em how you want ’em).

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With the right pepper for you, these are a nice little treat. Appetizer, lunch, side at dinner… There was a lot more filling than I ended up needing. But, I chopped up the leftover peppers, with filling, and added them to some green beans and summer squash that were sautéeing in olive oil. The filling got a little crispy (which makes me happy), the chopped up peppers added just a kick of heat, the lentils were there for protein, the rice to get in some grains. Oh and then I topped it with a fried egg. So, I’d make all the filling, if you’re ok with leftovers*. You can pop it in the freezer if you’re not going to eat it in a few days. Winner winner we just made tomorrow’s dinner.

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Happy Eating!

Chile Pepper Poppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 3-5 (chile peppers) or 2-4 (bell peppers)

Serving Size: 2 chile peppers or 1 bell pepper

Chile Pepper Poppers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C uncooked green lentils (need about 1/2 C cooked)
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 C uncooked brown rice (or quinoa) (need about 1/2 C cooked)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C onion (or shallot), chopped
  • to taste salt
  • pinch ginger
  • 1 T fresh Thai basil (or any variety basil), chopped
  • 1 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 1-2 T feta or extra firm tofu, crumbled
  • 6-10 large hot peppers* (or 2-4 bell peppers), stem sliced off, ribs and seeds removed using a paring knife (do not use fingernails)

Instructions

  1. Cook lentils with water (about 15-20 minutes, or according to package's instructions) (don't overcook). Drain if there is extra water.
  2. Cook rice (according to package's instructions), after about 15 minutes stir in onions. Continue to cook until rice is done (don't overcook).
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  4. Mix lentils and rice with salt through mint. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Mix in feta or tofu. Stuff into peppers using the end of a spoon. Stand in a small ramekin (and place on a baking sheet) or lay flat on a baking sheet (some filling may spill out). Roast for about 30-60 minutes, or until peppers have softened slightly.

Notes

Filling may yield more than needed. Leftovers are great reheated in a skillet with some olive oil, veggies, and topped with a fried egg or piece of crispy tofu. *Use peppers as hot as you would like. On the Scoville scale, Chipotle, Fresno peppers, jalapeños, and wax peppers (like Hungarian wax pepper) are rated at 3,500-10,000 Scoville Heat Units. Milder peppers are: Jalapeños, Anaheim peppers, poblano (or ancho), at 1,000-4,000 SHU. And milder still: banana peppers, peperoncini, and pimentos come in at 100-900. Bell peppers are rated at a 0.

http://www.de-ma-cuisine.com/chile-pepper-poppers/

*To cool leftover rice, here’s what I like to do: Let it cool on the counter for a bit, then put it in the fridge, stirring every once in a while, keeping it fluffy (and not too packed into the container so it will cool properly).

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoville_scale