Let’s just cut to the chase. I hate green peppers. I don’t recall picking them out of dishes as a kid so I’m thinking one or both parents felt the same way. My ex-husband didn’t like them which was convenient and both of our daughters hate them too. My sister shares the same proclivity. So…nature or nurture I’m wondering??
As a result, for the majority of my life if it was green and called a pepper, it was to be avoided. When I moved to Denver 25 years ago I was introduced to jalapeno peppers in everything it seems and they suffered the same fate. Picked out and discarded (although I think that heat was also a reason…I was used to Midwestern and Southern cooking!). If served at a gathering I would try my best to be discreet; I’ve even eaten dishes with them to avoid embarrassing a host but it was a miserable experience because if you hate them like I do…it is simply ALL you can taste. I’m even a card carrying member of the ‘Green Pepper Haterz’ Club which has a Facebook page where we can lament about the awful pepper if circumstances call for it.
My only lament today? That I just wish I had not presumed that all peppers, green or otherwise, deserved my ire. The change came about quite by accident. I was at a Super Bowl party many years ago and everyone had brought a favorite dish to share. One such dish was labeled Chile Relleno Casserole and was quite obviously a layered cheese offering with a red sauce on top. I cut a section to add to my plate and it was AMAZING so I later sought out the fellow who had brought it to wrangle the recipe from him and was shocked at the ingredients. Poblano peppers? Jalapeno peppers in that tomato sauce? It was the start of a learning process and a love affair. To be honest…even after discovering the difference between green ‘bell’ peppers and others in the green family, I continued to steer clear of red and yellow bell peppers and it’s only in the last couple of years I’ve finally made that transition. Old habits do indeed die hard sometimes don’t they?
This month marks the one year anniversary of Abby Dodge’s #baketogether event. One Year! Hard to believe but it’s true; my first post was this Chocolate Hazelnut Pie last May. Which I now want bad! Our challenge each month is to take Abby’s recipe and ‘switch it up’ with our own take. This month it’s corn muffins and I originally had planned to do a pretty standard version from my kitchen, adding corn and jalapeno but when I saw my friend Carol do those I decided mine needed some additional switching! For some reason I was reminded of that casserole and decided to introduce some of those elements; my own personal ode to the Pepper!
I always put corn into my corn muffins so that was a given, but with these I’ve substituted some of the buttermilk with sour cream and added chopped Poblano pepper, some queso fresco cheese for the cheese element and finished with a garnish of green jalapeno and red grape tomato to represent the red sauce topping from that casserole. They were good with just a dab of butter but they were GREAT with another dab of red jalapeno jelly. I guess in this case I followed the mantra we hear often today, ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ These are truly big on the pepper but oh so good too! As a last note, I doubled Abby’s recipe; I was having friends for dinner…I just knew to not trust 6 muffins. It was a very good call. 🙂
Corn Muffins with Poblano Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese for #baketogether
A savory corn muffin with poblano and jalapeno peppers and cheese.
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup queso fresco cheese, crumbled and divided
- 2/3 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup poblano peppers, chopped
- 12 slices jalapeno pepper
- 6 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk until well blended.
- Combine the buttermilk and sour cream in a small bowl or measuring or a 2 cup glass measure.
- Add the eggs and oil to the milk/sour cream mixture and mix with a table fork until well blended. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and add the poblano pepper, corn kernels and 2/3 cup of the cheese. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended.
- Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (1/4 cup of batter per cup will be about three-quarters of the way full).
- Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/3 cup queso fresco cheese and then finish with a garnish of a jalapeno slice and a halved tomato.
- Bake until the tops are pale golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Move to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set them on a wire rack. Serve immediately or cool completely and stow in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- They are best served warm so please reheat before serving.
Want to join in? It’s easy. Abby does a post the first of the month giving us our inspiration…you can make it as is or run with it. We tweet them using the #baketogether hashtag and add our version via a link and thumbnail to her main post; it’s a great group of people that both inspire and support each other…come on along with us!