Eat this Now: PEPPERS!

Ah, it's pepper season! This time of year local markets are bumping with all kinds of peppers, from sweet red bells to smoky poblanos. To us, the taste of peppers means summer is still around. Here's a little guide and recipe ideas to help you make the most of the season. You'll be glad you did!

Poblano Peppers

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are a mild variety of chili pepper used in Mexican and Southwestern cooking, perhaps most notably in the classic chile relleño in which the roasted pepper is stuffed with cheese, then coated in egg and then fried. Dried, it called ancho or ancho chile, from the Mexican Spanish name ancho ("wide") While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally they can have significant heat. Poblanos are usually roasted and peeled (which improves removes the waxy skin), before cooking. 

Poblano Chile Pepper Soup

6 poblano peppers

2 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons margarine

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to broil. Place poblano chile peppers on a cookie sheet and place in oven. Allow skin to blacken and blister, turning the chile peppers until all sides are done. (Note: Do not overcook.) When they are done, place them in a paper bag and seal. In about 15 to 20 minutes, take them out of the bag and peel the skin off each one under running water. Remove the stems and seeds.

In a blender, combine the chile peppers, broth, salt and pepper to taste and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and set aside. In another saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine, add the flour and stir well. Add the warmed milk and stir until well blended. Add the chile pepper mixture and mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.


Carmen Peppers

Carmen Peppers

Carmen Peppers are sweet roasting peppers with great flavor and beautiful color. With roasted red peppers, you can add so much flavor to everyday dishes. You can roast peppers at home in minutes!  Put whole Carmen peppers that have been washed and dried in a heavy baking dish about two inches below the heat of a broiler.  Check every few minutes to see how they are doing.  Once one side is pretty well blackened, turn peppers over with tongs and broil the other side. Then place the charred peppers in a covered dish to steam until cooled. The steam from the covered dish will loosen the skin, which you can now  quickly peel. You can keep the roasted peppers in a covered container in the refrigerator about a week. Put roasted pepper on pizza! On salad! On pasta! Make a dip! Oh... we are getting hungry! 



Jalapeño peppers are abundant this month, don't miss out! This medium hot pepper can be added to almost anything for a little heat. Chop jalapeño into salsa or cornbread, or blend a slice into your Margarita (really!) If you've got 'em, use latex gloves while working with jalapeños- they are hot!  De-seed the peppers and remove the white inner membrane to reduce the heat if you wish. 

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

But everybody's favorite thing to do with Jalapenos is...

Jalapeño Poppers

12 fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or less, to taste
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup panko crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cumin, and cayenne.

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. In a shallow dish,  mix the remaining spices and herbs. In another small bowl, combine the panko crumbs and half of the spice mixture. In a third dish, combine the flour and remaining spice mix. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeño half. One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko crumbs, pressing to coat. If necessary, repeat the process. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately with cold beer.