Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

One of the best things about living in California is the enormous variety and access you have to some of the worlds best and freshest produce. Last weekend we took a trip to the farmers market and were inspired about all of the tons of options available straight from the farm to my fridge.

Ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver (well, I didn't finish the entire book but read enough to get the picture) I am even more inspired to hit up farmers markets whenever I can, not just as a responsible consumer supporting local industry, but the ultimate taste in freshness can never be bought in a supermarket. The exciting treasures I walked home with this week were five jumbo yellow grapefruit - some of the sweetest I have ever tasted; I have them sitting in a bowl on my dining room table and you can smell them before you even walk in the room and they haven't even been cut open yet. Also I picked up a head of fresh romaine lettuce which I made into a fantastic caesar salad last night. Additionally, I picked up a bunch of asparagus to go with our filet mignon supper. And finally, the real treat of the evening was a package of gorgonzola cheese called Oregonzola - gotta support the home state - and also a loaf of fresh baked pumpernickle bread.

When I can't make it to the Farmer's Market, the next best thing is the Produce Mart near my house, locally owned and operated which as you can guess serves fresh produce only with a mixture of a few treats here and there such as dired fruits and nuts. Last night I picked up a few gorgeous red bell peppers and made this awesome recipe which is one of Don's and my favorite grilling sides. We served it alongside some grilled salmon and the ceasar salad I mentioned earlier. Below is the base recipe as I discovered it long ago in my Betty Crocker Quick Grilling Pamphlet from the grocery store checkout stand. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses and herbs. My favorite combination so far was actually the one we used last night: goat cheese, swiss, fresh basil and mint. Since I have enough herbs leftover, I may pick up a couple more peppers and make them a second time this week.

Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

2 medium red, yellow, or orange sweet peppers
1 ounce soft goat cheese
1/4 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Grill: 4 Minutes
Makes 4 servings

In a medium covered sauce pan cook peppers in a small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cut sides down, on paper towels. (I always skip this step.)

Meanwhile, for cheese mixture, in a small bowl combine goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, chives, and basil. Spoon into pepper shells.

Fold a 24x18-inch piece of heavy foil in half to make a 12x18-inch rectangle. Place peppers in center of foil. Bring up 2 opposite edges of foil; seal with a double fold. Fold remaining ends to completely enclose peppers, leaving space for steam to build. (We skip this step too and just grill them open faced.)

Grill peppers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium to medium-hot heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender and cheese is melted.

1 comment:

Camille said...

These were amMAZING! I nearly slapped Matt's hand so I could eat his too... haha