Monday, November 28, 2011

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

These little gems are so easy to make.. and are great for a quick and colorful appetizer!  They are about two bites each of the sweet roasted peppers balanced with tangy goat cheese and bright herbs.  Absolutely hard to resist when they first come out of the oven, but also like molten lava! Hee Hee..
We kept passing by the packs of these in the supermarket, but have been unsure about how to prepare them, or if they were spicy or not.  We finally took the plunge... and we're so glad we did!  These are perfect for those of you who maybe like the flavors and idea of stuffed jalapenos, but have a hard time stomaching (literally) the heat.  These sweet mini peppers are not hot at all, so they are very friendly to a wide variety of ages and palates.
Ingredients:
  • about 9 -10 mini sweet peppers (a mix of red, orange, and yellow)
  • 4 oz semi-soft goat cheese* with herbs
    •  you could substitute cream cheese for goat cheese, but I personally don't think it would be as great.  And you would probably need to add more seasoning.
  • 1/3 cup mix of fresh green onions, tarragon and basil, freshly chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced fine 
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste 
Step-by-step:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees FSlice off a slice from the "top" (concave) side of the peppers, leaving the stem. 
Scoop out the seeds and membrane.
Prep the peppers.
Combine the softened goat cheese with the freshly chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
Chop the garlic, green onions, tarragon, and basil.

 






Take the goat cheese out for a while so that it will soften enough to mix the herbs into it.

Combine the softened goat cheese with the freshly chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
 

Stuff the peppers.

Arrange the peppers on a backing sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Ready for the oven.
Bake for around 15-18 minutes until peppers are softened and cheese is hot and bubbly.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve warm.
Garnish with more fresh basil.  Voila!  Yummo!
    * This recipe adapted out of a 2001 BHandG.

    Method:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
    • Slice off a slice from the "top" (concave) side of the peppers, leaving the stem.  
    • Scoop out the seeds and membrane.
    • Combine the softened goat cheese with the freshly chopped herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
    • Spoon the herbed goat cheese into the peppers.
    • Arrange the peppers on a backing sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
    • Bake for around 15-18 minutes until peppers are softened and cheese is hot and bubbly.
    • Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve warm.
    Looking for more recipes from my blog? Please visit my Recipe Index for more ideas! Here are a few to get you started:

    Parker House Rolls (recipe over 100 years old)
      
     Ham, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyere Quiche
     Cranberry Cherry Chicken Wrap


    Food Nerd Notes:
    Vine sweet mini peppers are a hybrid sweet pepper, small in size and sold in an assorted tri-color pack.  Characteristic traits for this product include its small size, that ranges from 1.5 inches up to 4.0 inches. Each color is grown separately, and consists of three separate variety of seeds that have very similar characteristics in size, flavor, shape and use, allowing it to be marketed as a single item and used the same way in its kitchen use. These peppers look and taste very similar to the bell pepper, but are sweeter and smaller. Interestingly enough, replication of the proprietary seeds by extracting the few seeds that the peppers contain (a desirable trait in the original variety) are usually sterile and infertile, and have proven to leave out desirable traits of the peppers when they do in fact germinate.

    And what about the goat cheese?
    Oh how I love goat cheese.  Yes, it sounds kinda funky (if you've not had it), but it's oh so wonderful!  Just as with cow's milk cheeses, there are a large variety of goat cheeses! They can range in taste from strong and pungent, to delicate and mild. They come in many shapes: cone, disc, wheel, "button," the log-like bûche (say: boosh) and the puck-like crottin (say: cro-TAN). They delight with textures from creamy to crumbly to semi-firm. They are sold fresh, aged or marinated in olive oil or red wine. They may get coated in herbs (such as lavender), black pepper, edible flowers and yes, even chocolate.

    Goats were some of the first domesticated animals, thus the art of making goat cheese has a very long history. It began in the Eastern Mediterranean thousands of years ago, spreading through both mountains and deserts into Spain and France where it was heavily adopted.  Today goat cheese remains a staple of the Mediterranean diet, while North America furthers the tradition by producing an abundance of fabulous goat cheeses of its own. Many come from cherished, small, local producers with unique regional flavors. Others are from renowned cheese makers who have won international awards for their creations.

    Compared to cow's milk products such as cream cheese, goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. It also provides more calcium than cream cheese. Even though goat cheese has fewer calories, it has a full, rich and creamy flavor.  Here are the facts:

    Lower fat and calories - 
    When it comes to fat and calories, goat cheese has the advantage over cheese made from cow's milk. Goat cheese clocks in at eighty calories and six grams of fat per ounce, compared to cow's milk cheese, which generally has around 100 calories and 10 g of fat per ounce. This means goat cheese is 
    the better choice for staying fit and thin.

    Metabolism Booster - 
    Diets higher in calcium have been proven to assist the body's burning of fat after meals. The need for hormone release to maintain calcium levels is banished, which correlates with a higher rate of fat oxidation.

    Higher in Protein -  
    There are five grams of protein in a single ounce of goat cheese! Goat's milk is a good source of low-cost high-quality protein, providing 8.7 grams of protein (17.4% of the daily value for protein) in one cup versus cow's milk, which provides 8.1 grams.

    Higher in Calcium - 
    The amount of calcium in goat cheese can vary from around forty grams in soft cheese up to 240 grams in hard goat cheese. This clocks in slightly higher than cow's milk cheese, which has about 200 grams in the hard version. Lower in calories and higher in the good stuff? What's not to like?! 

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