While we were in Santa Fe for the opera a couple of weeks ago, we were kindly invited for dinner with nearby family of old friends. While we love eating anywhere in Santa Fe, it’s usually a restaurant. We not only saw Santa Fe in a whole new light by breaking bread in a home, but made new friends who then next day took us for a picnic and hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest (do it, do it, do it).
A gorgeous summer meal was prefaced with a slew of Dorothy and Tom’s grilled peppers, which have been part of their cooking repertoire for what sounded like a long time. We had to make them ours! Thanks, guys! Skip the relllenos; ditch the frying pan. Get out the grill while summer and the peppers are still available. You’ll fall in love with this.
Above: Mama deer and fawns strolled in front of our house as I cooked.
Dave and I tried them out earlier in the week for ourselves and then served them to our wine club as an appetizer last night. You can choose whatever kind of peppers you’d like; this will work. Unsure about the heat of those you’ve chosen? Cut off a tiny bit of one and put it on your tongue. You’ll know if you want to eat it or not. Chiles come in many variations and not all poblanos or Anaheims are really hot, but some are! If you’ve a group coming, some will love the heat and dig right in. I chose to also buy a number of regular Sweet, Tiny (bell) peppers that come in a bag at Costco and we grilled those, too, for folks who just can’t do heat. Yum. While it’s nearly a whole meal, I did flesh it out our trial run dinner with a luscious vegan avocado-brown rice salad and some end-of-summer olive oil-grilled Colorado corn.
DOROTHY AND TOM’S GRILLED CHEESE PEPPERS
aka Dorothy’s Chili Thingers
Count on at least 3 per person for appetizers as some are quite small. Leftovers are lovely chopped up and tossed into eggs or with rice or are good right out of the fridge.
- 24 assorted fresh chiles (poblanos, Anaheims, etc) and tiny bell peppers
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups grated Colby-Jack cheese (this mild, meltable cheese is a good foil for the heat or sweetness of the peppers, but use whatever you like)
- Salt and pepper
- Neutral oil
Wash and dry the peppers. Lay each pepper flat and cut out a canoe-shaped piece leaving enough room at the sides for the pepper to sit upright and also to hold the grated cheese. With a tiny spoon or your little finger, scrape out the membranes and seeds; turn over and tap the pepper to remove the last, stuck seeds. Gently fill about 1/2 – 2/3 full loosely with cheese. Push the cheese down lightly. Sprinkle evenly with a tiny bit of salt and pepper.
Brush indoor grill pan or gas grill grates lightly with oil. Heat to medium. Grill peppers with lid down (on outdoor grill) until the peppers are tender, charred to your liking at the bottom, and cheese is melted–perhaps 10 minutes? (Time is dependent on the size of the peppers and the heat of your grill!) Watch carefully to make sure cheese doesn’t overrun and drip down into the grill.
Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold.
AVOCADO-BROWN RICE SALAD with tomatoes and lime
- 4 cups cooked brown rice, warm if possible
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 4 avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped in large pieces
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced and chopped red or sweet onion
- Juice of 2-3 limes or to taste
- Hot sauce to taste, optional
Toss rice with a couple tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Gently stir in avocados, tomatoes, and onions. Squeeze lime juice over all–try 2 limes first– and drizzle with a little olive oil if you’d like more. Stir carefully, taste, and adjust seasonings, adding more lime juice as needed. Add hot sauce if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Only make what you’ll eat in one meal; this doesn’t keep.
Cook a new pepper,
IN MEMORIAM Milton J. McClendon, Jr. (Pete)–a Great Cook and a Fine Baker!