Junk: Homemade Jalepeno Poppers

While I’ve previously expressed some weakness for greasy cheesy junk food, you also already know about my love for all things spicy. This homemade treat offers both the cheesy and the spicy, but healthier and without all the processed additives. There aren’t many tricks, but it helps to leave the stem on the jalapeno if you can and use it to assist in breading.

Jalapenos, slit from top to bottom on one side.
– gently scoop out the seeds with a sharp tipped spoon
Goat Cheese
– remove from the fridge about 20 min. before using and allow it to soften
Egg or egg white
– beat in a small bowl
Finely ground corn meal
– mix with a generous pinch of salt in a small bowl

I like to take a large pinch of goat cheese and roll it into a “tube” with my fingers, and then tuck it into the jalapeno. Dip the stuffed pepper in the egg, then roll in the cornmeal. Place on a greased cookie sheet and, if you like, spray with oil for extra crunch. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.


Sauteed Mushroom Burritos

I love mushrooms in everything, especially pasta. Some days it just seems so easy to throw some sauteed baby bellas in a good quality pasta with sea salt and grated Parmigiano, that I can get stuck in a rut. While I often combine mushrooms with black beans, I was looking for a lighter dish, so I made this quick, flavorful burrito.

Sauteed Mushroom Burrito
serves 4

1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
one large clove garlic, sliced
one small onion, chopped
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
large pinch cumin

4 whole wheat flour tortillas
red leaf romaine lettuce
chopped tomato
sliced hot peppers
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until slightly brown. Add the sliced mushrooms, turning often, until softened. Add the generous pinch of cumin and raise the heat to medium-high and allow the mushrooms to brown at the edges.

Warm the flour tortillas. Lay the lettuce leaves on the tortillas. Top with the sauteed mushrooms, divided between the four tortillas. Add the tomatoes, peppers, crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

Sorry loves. It been a long long holiday season, with a lot of travel and spotty internet service, but I plan to make it up to you with some tasty comfort food and a heap of foreign foods.

As I mentioned before the holiday, I’ve been slowly working through the easy, healthy and so far, delicious recipes in “Super Natural Cooking.” As the recipe mentions, this dish is incredibly easy of you have extra cooked sweet potatoes hanging around, but it’s tasty enough to make from scratch. For those of you unfamiliar with spoon bread, its very soft, almost a pudding, so don’t be upset if it seems too “jiggly.” And while the recipe tells you to layer the goat cheese under another layer of potato “dough,” you could skip this step and just put the cheese on top of you like your goat cheese on the brown and toasty side. A light lunch or dinner, even a brunch with a good salad, I served mine with some reheated spicy curried sweet potato soup with greens.

Late summer white lasagna

I started out thinking that I would make an easy pasta dinner. But then I realized that I had a jar of sungold tomato sauce, made the week before, that I needed to use. And some cherry tomatoes that needed roasted, and a big handful of collard greens, and a log of goat cheese and a hung of pecorino. AND half a box of lasagna noodles that wanted banishing from my cupboard.

And so I made this late-summer white lasagna. The filling is a mixtures of an easy rice milk bachemel combined with 6 oz. of goat cheese. Sun gold tomatoes lie between the layers, along with a fried collards, garlic, onion and baby portabello mushrooms. Another two onces of goat cheese dot the top, some sliced sundried tomatoes to give a little kick to the mellow sweetness of the dish, fresh basil leaves and a healthy sprinkle of pecorino. And there you go. Not fast, but certainly delicious.

Marinated Eggplant with Mint and fresh goat cheese

Often I miss Gourmet magazine, and sometimes I plan enough in advance to contribute to Gourmet Unbounds’ website celebrating the recipes of the former magazine. I prepared this recipe on hot evening and served it with homemade goat cheese, fresh that day, and some olive oil crustinis. At first I wasn’t so sure about the mint, but I’m telling you it was delicious, and even better as a cold, straight from the fridge snack over the next few days. These marinated eggplant strips would also be delicious in a cold vegetable picnic sandwich, which I’m trying this weekend.

September GRID: Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

The September issue of GRID is hitting the stands today with a special, larger than ever, “Back to School” issue.

Ever conscious of in-season produce (both me and GRID!), I contributed a recipe using September’s still-bountiful crop of bell peppers. The fresh basil and goat cheese ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, pictured above, may seem complicated, but it’s really just all about multi-tasking. If you’re in a big rush, just use wonton wrappers instead of making your own pasta!

I’ll add the full recipe later tonight.

Homemade Jalapeno Poppers

Homemade Jalepeno Poppers
Homemade Jalapeno Poppers

I love jalapeno poppers, but when I suddenly had a surfeit of peppers at home, I just couldn’t bring myself to deep fat fry them. In fact, I can almost never bring myself to deep fat fry anything. But these ended up to be just as delicious, if not more so, because I used fresh, organic jalapenos and quality ingredients. Instead of trying to keep the peppers intact, I just sliced them down the center (the longways) and scraped out the majority of the seeds and vein. In a small bowl I mixed together about 3 ounces of goat cheese, and added to it another ounce of crumbled blue cheese. After dipping the stuffed peppers (carefully) in a beaten egg, I rolled them in breadcrumbs that were almost entirely cornbread, with just a little wheat thrown in. Straight onto a greased cookie sheet and into a 375 degree oven for a half an hour. I even made them in my giant toaster oven, so that I didn’t have the heat up the kitchen! Honestly, delicious.