Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is that a party in your pepper?

It's summer... and it's HOT! There are many days this time of year when I crave something special, but have no desire to turn on the oven. Or even the toaster, for that matter. This simple yet sophisticated dish is a great snack, appetizer, or even side dish. It requires absolutely no cooking, and virtually no time to prepare. This makes it perfect for those impromptu neighborhood gatherings featuring cold beverages, lawn chairs, and snacks! The zesty flavor and freshness of these little guys is surprising... it's like a party in a pepper!

Mini sweet peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese

Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Peppers (Goat Week: Day 2)
  • 1 package of sweet mini peppers (wash and dry)
  • 8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
  • balsamic vinegar (or glaze if you can find it)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • fresh chopped basil or squeeze tube (optional)
  • black pepper
  • pinch of thyme (optional)
Roasted mini peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese
There are two ways to prep the peppers. Either cut the tops off, empty seeds and stuff the whole empty pepper; or, slice in half lengthwise and fill the hollowed center. Sometimes the halved peppers are easier to bite through all the way and don't end up squirting the filling out. It also yields more servings which is helpful if you are entertaining and want to maximize the quantity of bites for the amount of ingredients.
In a bowl mix cheese, salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Drizzle in a touch of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. *If using the balsamic glaze do not add to mix, reserve it to finish the dish. Whip together with a fork, and spoon into peppers.

Now, you have two options here. You can serve them raw, chilled, crisp, and delicious at this point (with balsamic glaze drizzled over top if that is what you are using).
You can put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes and roast the peppers, melting the cheese, to make a hot, savory, mouth-watering bite. Then drizzle with glaze and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Both versions are delectable!

Cherry tomatoes stuffed with herbed goat cheese filling. YUM!
But wait! There's more! You could also use cherry or roma tomatoes for this dish... just scoop out the seeds and fill. AND you could do the cold or roasted version with those as well. So here you have glorious goat cheese done four ways. I know I couldn't ask for more!

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