Roasted Poblano Pepper Dipping Sauce

A couple of things I love:

1. Non-boring food

2. Easy to cook food

3. Flying

What do 1 and 2 have in common with 3? Well, not much, except that not-so-recently I was reading United Airlines in-flight magazine on one of our many trips to Oklahoma and I came across a recipe for grilled shrimp and green tomatoes with a roasted poblano pepper sauce and it changed my life.

bearfamilystrong.com | roasted poblano dipping sauce

Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. And admittedly, the shrimp and tomatoes were only so-so, but the roasted poblano pepper dipping sauce was pretty darn awesome…to the point where it has now become a regular occurrence in my weekly meal prep sessions. In keeping with my list theme, I love this sauce for several reasons:

1. It’s super easy to make

2. It’s delicious

3. It makes easy to cook food non-boring

In addition to the original recipe where we served the sauce with shrimp and tomatoes, we’ve also had it with grilled chicken slices, served on burgers, as a dip for sliced vegetables…just to name a few. Plus, with just a couple of tweaks you can make this sauce as mild or as spicy as you’d like. The magazine version calls for poblano peppers and thai chilies – we’ve never used the thai chilies, but making the sauce simply with poblanos gives it a pleasant heat that builds, then dissipates. When we’re feeling something a little spicier we’ve added jalapenos. For an extra little kick that won’t knock your teeth out, we’ve used a mix of beautiful green poblano peppers and bright red fresno chilies. Have fun with it!

bearfamilystrong.com | poblano sauce

I’m including the original version in the picture below, but here is my personal favorite variation:

Roasted Poblano Pepper Dipping Sauce (or Chile Aioli)

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 roasted poblano peppers and 2 red fresno chile peppers, peeled and seeded

salt (I use a couple healthy shakes of pink himalayan)

1 cup mild oil (I prefer avocado)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined. Slowly drizzle in oil until the mixture is emulsified and a thick aioli forms.

recipe

Enjoy!

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Cilantro Walnut Pesto

So remember that pesto I mentioned in last week’s Sunday food prep? Well, here you go!

cilantro and walnut pesto | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I actually didn’t plan on making pesto as part of my weekly food prep. Frankly I didn’t plan on making pesto at all, but I did have a huge bunch of cilantro in my fridge that I needed to use. I couldn’t even remember why I had cilantro in my fridge – I only buy it for specific recipes, and nothing I made that week called for it…so I improvised.

cilantro and walnut pesto | eatwriterunrepeat.com

I originally wanted to make something similar to my dairy free sun dried tomato basil pesto, subbing cilantro for the basil, but as it turned out I also didn’t have any pine nuts on hand. I did, however, have an excessive amount of chopped walnuts in my pantry, so I went with it. I kept the rest of the recipe pretty simple, using chopped garlic, lemon juice, a hint of cayenne pepper, and olive oil. I have to confess I didn’t even realize regular pesto contains cheese, so the few times I’ve made my own I don’t even bother. And even though I’m a complete cheese addict, I think I actually prefer pesto without the cheese. Is that sacrilege?

cilantro and walnut pesto | eatwriterunrepeat.com

Another thing I don’t really like about traditional pesto is that it can be pretty thin, so I used less olive oil to make my pesto a little thicker. This came out close to a paste, which I loved – especially on grilled chicken breasts. Be forewarned: if you’re not a fan of garlic don’t use as much as I did! I adore garlic – I think it’s safe to say I don’t have to worry about a vampire attacking me ever – and fortunately for me my husband likes it as well (albeit not as much as I do) and doesn’t mind when his wife goes to bed smelling like a stinking rose. All joking aside, this pesto turned out surprisingly well and I didn’t think it had an overwhelming cilantro flavor, so if you’re not a fan of cilantro you should try this anyway! It doesn’t have the same flavor as basil pesto but unless you’re planning on eating this straight out of the jar with  spoon, I couldn’t tell a huge difference. Eat up!

Cilantro Walnut Pesto

yields: approximately one cup

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

juice of one half lemon

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 to 1/4 cup olive oil (more or less depending on the consistency you prefer)

cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

Pretty simple. In a food processor or blender, toss in all ingredients except the oil and pulse until combined well. With the processor still running, slowly add the oil, scraping down the sides as necessary, until you have the consistency you want. Done!

cilantro and walnut pesto | eatwriterunrepeat.com

This pairs really well with chicken, but try it on crackers or eggplant rounds, toss it with some pasta or zoodles, or simply eat with sliced veggies. Experiment with it!

Baby Eggplant Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Pesto

I’m writing this post on Thursday morning in an attempt to catch up on blog posts, get back into writing, and find my groove after a hectic two weeks of moving. As I write this, it’s pouring outside – it’s been raining for about 18 hours straight and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. We still haven’t turned our heat on, but the good news is I’m curled up in front of a roaring fire that my husband was nice enough to get going for us once we woke up and came downstairs. Armed with a cup of coffee and my ancient laptop, I’m ready to go!

How about we start off with these baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto? Tres adorable, no?

baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto 3

Ok, so they maybe don’t look as pretty as they did before I baked them in the oven, but trust me – these babies? Might be my new favorite party appetizer! If you get really small eggplant you can even serve them as finger food! Although most of ours were a little too big for that, so I just chopped off the little top and then cut mine with a knife and fork. Still, it’s a different twist on the usual hors d’oeurves, am I right?

baby eggplant

This is what they looked like when I started out – aren’t they just too much? I was talking to a woman at the farmer’s market about them and she told me she loves to roast them and serve them on a sandwich with some basil, tomato and goat cheese. Because Kevin and I don’t eat bread a sandwich was out, but I loved the idea of goat cheese and after making stuffed chicken thighs a few nights prior, I figured why not stuff the baby eggplant as well?

I wanted to do something more than just goat cheese so I rummaged through my refrigerator to see what I had on hand. And to what to my wandering eyes did appear, but some sundried tomato basil pesto! Perfect! I mixed about two tablespoons of my pesto into a 4 oz block of goat cheese and stuffed it into the baby eggplant before slathering them up with olive oil and sticking them in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes.

baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto

Once they came out of them oven they were creamy, dreamy, roasted cheesy balls of goodness. Kevin couldn’t resist eating one directly off of the baking pan and promptly burned both his fingers and his mouth, but announced it completely worth it. After following suit (and yes, I burned my fingers and my mouth as well), I had to agree!

And not only are they delicious but have I mentioned that they are absolutely adorable?

baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto 5

BABY EGGPLANT STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PESTO

prep time: 5 minutes (if you have pesto on hand)

cook time: 30-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

baby eggplant (I used approximately one quart box worth)

4 oz plain goat cheese

2 tbsp sun dried tomato basil pesto

olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a slit in each eggplant, deep enough to fill with goat cheese pesto filling but careful not to slice through the entire eggplant. Toss the eggplant with olive oil. In a bowl, combine goat cheese and pesto. Fill the eggplant with the filling and lay on a baking sheet. Roast in oven 30-40 minutes, until eggplant can be pierced easily with a knife. Serve immediately.

baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto 2