At a loss for provocative food topics for stirring the pot, I’ve been talking about some of the weird choices that I sometimes make as I attempt to feed my wife and myself. Anyone who has cooked with me (RVA FNB?) knows that I often wind up pretty far out on a limb when assembling my list of ingredients. For me, combining flavors that are seemingly at odds is just a matter of hopping a mental barrier into the realm of possibilities. Black pepper and honey, coffee and oatmeal, and now roasted poblanos and brie cheese.
From the get go, this meal wasn’t firing on all cyllanders. I went with the tried and true way to use up leftovers: mash up the proteins with some savory filler and stuff it into bell peppers and bake them. Classic Betty Crocker pseudo cooking from the heartland. This shift to a centrist style must be the political conventions rubbing off on me. Luckily, I can’t resist showing my radical true colors.
Last night’s ancho-flavored cauliflower and zuchinni saute wound up mashed with some steamed tempeh, toasted and crushed cumin and annatto seeds. Mixed with shredded cheddar, it all went into some sweet peppers of mixed color varieties. While it all baked, I had a couple poblanos burning their skins to a crisp on my Rick Bayless pepper roaster. I was hoping to make one of Booby Flay’s spicy crema sauces.
Now, crema is usually some kind of dairy that is whipped until it’s thin and light. Flay’s method is usually to add spicy chilies and that was my goal. However, I couldn’t find any dairy in the fridge. I couldn’t use much half and half, or I’d get in trouble when Karen has her coffee and finds the carton empty. So, I pulled out the only white cheese I could find in the fridge: a half-eaten wedge of brie. That got diced, combined with a splashes of cream and water, diced poblano, and a bit of corn for sweetness.* I heated it all up, pureed it with my immersion blender, and voila: the heaviest crema you ever tasted.
Okay, the corn wasn’t really necessary and probably weighed it down. But the richness of the brie was dynomite with the roasted peppers. As for the stuffed peppers… they didn’t quite get cooked all the way, but the filling was hot and good enough with that sauce on top. On the side, we had some brown rice with corn and tomatoes mixed in.
As Karen and I got caught up on our Dexter episodes on the couch, Jasper was being all fussy and taxing on his primary comforter (mom). I bribed her into watching one more episode by offering to go get some desert from the kitchen. “Ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles” was all she wanted.
In the kitchen, I looked for something to put the dish over the top. And there it was, the tail end of a slice of chocolate coffee pie that we’d picked up from Simply Southern Pies at the Farmers’ Market in Forest Hill Park. Having heard that these pies were fantastic, Karen made a bee line for their table when we got the market (and we’re both glad she did). The Chocolate Java Splendor pie is so powerful that we’ve been nibbling on it since Saturday. And on Tuesday night, I put some little slivers of the pie on top of Karen’s ice cream sundae. ** Since I generally prefer ice cream to pie, this juxtapositioning seemed like an appropriate arrangement of desert components.
*salt and pepper to taste
**it seems that I may have used the same unrinsed knife to cut the pie as I did on the poblano peppers, because Karen says the pie was really spicy. Doh!