test kitchen: mild chili relleno quinoa bites

I can tell how I’m feeling about my life by my desire to cook food as opposed to going out to eat. For the past couple of months my life has been pretty hectic with work, yoga, nutrition stuff, friends leaving the state/country, boyfriend, and my spoiled indoor cat, Flower, who now enjoys a raw diet. Nate (boyfriend) and Flower generally respect each other from afar, but this weekend Flower got bit/stung by some horrible bug and her poor little paw swelled up to look like a Mickey Mouse hand, Nate stepped up to offer some comfort cuddles 🙂 kudos.

What other surprises does Nate hold? He’s actually a pretty good cook and is responsible for me having chilies in the fridge ready for roasting when I came home from work, breathing a sigh of relief, and desperately wanting to create in the kitchen. He also roasted the chilies for me and did the dishes – teamwork.

Nate’s Guide to Roasting Any Chili or Pepper
Ingredients:
Chilies/Peppers of choice
Butter/Earth Balance (or olive oil)
Seasonings of choice

Preperation:
1) preheat oven to 400
2) open and de-seed chilies/peppers
3) on a foiled baking sheet spread chilies and peppers, dab butter on each, sprinkle with seasoning
4) “let those things work, flip them after 15 minutes/once they’re blistering, bam, roasted peppers”
5) I add: put roasted peppers in a brown bag for 15 minutes to steam do the skin is easily removed.

I found this recipe for Chili Relleno Quinoa Bites from Petite Kitchenesse – which I just love because I’m also petite and love the kitchen! I just couldn’t wait to get home to make them. My version turned out quite mild because I used what we had in the fridge/freezer. I actually like the idea of having two offerings – Mild Chili Quinoa Bites as well as spicier Chili Relleno Quinoa Bites and her sauce recipe is DELICIOUS and easy to adjust spice level.

Mild Chili Quinoa Bites
Ingredients:
3 Anaheim peppers (or other mild peppers) – roasted and diced
1 red bell pepper – roasted and diced
1/2 cup quinoa (about a cup of stock to prepare)
1/2 cup polenta (1-2 cups of stock to prepare)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cheese – smoked cheddar would be bomb, I used what was in the fridge – smoked jersey and white cheddar goat cheese (whatever, it’s cheese right?)
Breadcrumbs to fix consistency (I uses 2-3 small handfuls)

Preperation:
1) roast peppers – while that is happening prepare quinoa and polenta
2) combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
3) on your already foiled peppers baking sheet scoop out 1-2 inch balls depending on if this is dinner or an appetizer (hint: I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop – balls every time)
4) bake for 20-30 at 375

Oregano Dipping Sauce
Ingredients:
2 cups tomato purĂ©e – I used a little tomato paste and the rest stewed tomatoes because that’s what I had – it all gets food processed anyway
1 small/medium onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – just quick chop it
1 roasted pepper of choice (I used the red bell pepper but would have loved a jalapeño)
Oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste – I’m thinking if adding cumin next time

Preparation:
1) while the bites bake, sautée onions till translucent, add garlic for a few minutes
2) add everything else, stir, and simmer for ~20, set aside and let cool a bit
3) food process in a processor or blender

Serve bites with sauce and enjoy!!! I had some avocado so I mashed that with lemon, salt, pepper, and green taco sauce – woo hoo!!

Have a cerveza and enjoy!!

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