Sunday, July 26, 2009

One habenero...

I love to cook. Anyone who knows me will agree to that. Whether I cook well or not is debatable, but I do enjoy trying new things.

My latest cooking experimentations have included peppers. In particular, spicier peppers. I've grilled peppers as a side dish and added them to mango salsa over shrimp. My most recent attempt was an oven roasted pepper dip. I've made this before with only sweet peppers, but I thought a little heat might add some depth.

Photo copyright Melany Richmond 2009

I roast the peppers the night before and let them cool so I can peel the skins off. I treated all the peppers the same, including those 2 innocuous looking little orange peppers. Once I got the peppers and onions into the oven to roast, I cleaned up and washed my hands.

Once I had the peppers roasting, I decided to snack on a pluot we had picked up from the farmers market. About 15 minutes later, I noticed that my lips were burning. It took me a second, and I realized that the residue from the habenero must still be on my hands.

I scrubbed my hands like you would see an actor playing a doctor scrub for surgery and they still burned.

In the future, I will use gloves to handle the peppers.

Roasted pepper dip

1 sweet red pepper
1 sweet yellow pepper
1/4 sweet onion
1 or 2 habanero pepper
1 clove garlic
kosher salt
cooking oil
Cream cheese
Sour cream
juice of half a small lemon

The night before you want your dip, preheat your over to 400 degrees.

Lightly coat a large baking sheet with oil. Clean and cut peppers into quarters, throw out the seeds and veins. Lightly toss in oil. Spread out on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut the onion into rings (1/4 inch thick or so). Add to sheet, coat in oil and add salt and pepper. Place into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove small habenero pepper from pan and continue to roast larger peppers for 20 minutes longer.

Place onions and peppers into a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, peel the skins from the peppers.

Take the garlic clove and crush into a paste with some kosher salt. Add this to the bowl of your food processor. Add the peeled peppers and onions and mix to a coarse paste. Add 1 heaping Tablespoon of cream cheese and sour cream and mix. Add additional Cream cheese and sour cream until desired consistency is reached. Add fresh lemon juice from half of a small lemon.

Serve with chips!

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