Cherry bomb shells oranges at the Monterey Jack avocado ranch after a sor(e)-bet is lost to Scoville

So, now that you have been initiated into the realm of degrees of spice intensity, the time has come to expand your ethnic borders beyond India to visit the Mexican and/or Mediterranean version of heat at different levels on the Scoville Chart.

This week’s appetizer will have choices. For the brave of heart, there are the stuffed peppers. Reactions have gone from the “OMG” to “yes, that is a touch piquant”. It really depends on your own personal ability to tolerate the heat. For those who wish to retain their functioning taste buds, I have included some more subtle treats.

Dinners with friends are supposed to be fun. You’re not trying to impress the boss every time you sit down for a meal with a group, so have some fun! Sit in the family room and watch some hockey while having dinner off a tray! You can eat the bowl dinner is in! This is a fun meal, easy to make, not expensive and totally casual! When you make your chilli, once again, you are in the position of power. You can make it with a subtle nip or you can strive for the more ‘blow the top of your head off’ approach. Once again, remember, you can always add but you can’t take away!! There’s always beer to help suppress some of the heat, but don’t be angry if it doesn’t extinguish self inflicted distress.

Then, to put the fire out, I have a fun, unique dessert. You can’t eat the bowl this time, but it is a cute idea, one you will want to use in the summer with kids.

Stuffed Cherry Bomb Pepper Tapas Plate

Make a selection from the listed suggestions. Include Cherry Bombs, 2 each meats and cheeses and 4-5 olives/pickles.

Choices from:

Smoked Chorizo Sausage
Sliced Smoked Ham Rolls
Sliced Salami Rolls
Smoked Turkey Rolls
Choices from:
Cheddar with Candied Ginger
Swiss or Monterey Jack Cheese Cubes
Combination of choices from:
Stuffed Green Olives                            }
Pitted Black Olives                                } or olives/pickles of your choice
Sweet or Sour Pickled Pearl Onions }
Cherry Tomatoes                                  }
Gherkin Pickles                                     }

– Stuffed Cherry Bombs

8-12            sweet red cherry peppers (fresh or pickled) *
1/3    lb       feta cheese, rinsed (150g)
1½    tbsp  real mayonnaise (22.5ml)
3      tbsp   black, pitted olives, minced (45ml)
3      tbsp   green onions, minced (45ml)
to taste      cayenne pepper

Depending on their size, hollow out and rinse an appropriate
number of peppers for the amount of stuffing. Pat to dry. Put

Crumble rinsed feta cheese. Mix with remaining ingredients.

Stuff peppers being careful not to over-fill and burst them. Serve   at room temperature.

Read more:

* Aurora Brand pickled hot cherry peppers are ideal

– Smoked Chorizo Sausage

¼-½  lb smoked Spanish/Portuguese Chorizo Sausage (115-225g)

Slice rings on the diagonal.

– 4 slices smoked ham rolled into tubes
   1 dill pickle, cut into quarters lengthwise
  roll pickle spear with ham
  1 roll per person

– Cheddar chunks with Candied Ginger

½ lb old (white) cheddar cut in 1”x ¼“/2.5cm x 64cm squares (225g)                                      
1/8    lb candied ginger in syrup, cut in ½” (1.25cm) chunks (60g)

A few hours before serving, cut cheese into squares and ginger into chunks. Poke ginger with a toothpick then poke gingered toothpick into cheese. Platter on a plate and cover well with plastic wrap. Put aside to serve at room temperature.

– Olives/pickles

Choose a variety (4-5) of types/colours of olives/pickles.

Shortly before serving, arrange the variety of Tapas items on 4
individual bread and butter sized plate.

Taco Salad Bowl

taco salad bowl Photo: Flickr

 ¾     lb       lean ground beef (115g)
¼     cup   onion, chopped fine (60 ml)
1      clove garlic, minced
1      tbsp  chilli powder (15ml)
1      cup   kidney beans, drained 250ml)
½     cup   salsa, chunky (125ml)
4      cups  mixed salad greens, shredded (1 litre)
½     cup   low fat Monterey Jack cheese (125ml)
¼     cup   low fat cheddar cheese (60ml)
1      cup   tomato, chopped (250ml)
1               ripe avocado, diced                            
¼     cup   low fat ranch style salad dressing (60ml)
2      tbsp  salsa, chunky (30 ml)
4               whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC). Crumple four large foil sheets into 3” (7.6cm) balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet. Drape a tortilla over each of the foil balls that are flattened on top to create a flat bottomed tortilla bowl. Spray each with cooking spray. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the tortillas have lightly browned. Remove from oven and place one tortilla bowl onto a plate (or shallow bowl/plate).

In a large skillet on Medium-High heat cook ground meat, onion and garlic until the meat is evenly browned then drain into a fine mesh sieve. Return to skillet and add the chilli powder, kidney beans and salsa and mix well. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then drain into a fine mesh sieve. Scoop evenly into each of the tortilla bowls.

Top with salsa, shredded greens, tomatoes, avocados and cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

Serves 4

481 Calories, 109 Calories from Fat, 12.4g Total Fat, 5.8g Saturated Fat, 79 mg Cholesterol, 570 mg Sodium, 52.2g Carbohydrates, 11.4g Dietary Fibre, 5.7g Sugars, 41.2g Protein

Orange Sorbet Served in an Orange Shell

This recipe was found online and yields 5 servings. Somehow I don’t anticipate sthat some brave soul will volunteer to fall under it to eat-up, but if nobody does, it will make a spectacular breakfast treat!


10     Oranges
juice from ¾ lemon
⅔ cup plus ½ cup water
1  cup   white sugar
Powdered sugar, as needed

Heat ⅔ cup of the water with the white sugar and the juice from ¼ of the lemon to make a syrup.

Bring the mixture to the boil, simmer it for 2 minutes, and then let it cool down.

Grate the zest from half the oranges and squeeze out the juice.

Cut the rest of the oranges in half and scoop out the flesh.

Press out the juice through a sieve.

You will get about 3 cups of orange juice altogether.

Add the rest of the lemon juice, all but 10 strands of the orange zest and the rest of the water to the orange juice, then add powdered sugar if necessary.

Frozen sorbet requires more sugar to get the flavor across than melted sorbet so make sure it is sweet enough.

If you add too much powdered sugar, you can add a little more lemon juice to sharpen the taste again. Freeze the sorbet in a plastic container.

Scoop out the remaining pulp in the orange shells and chill them.

When the sorbet is firm but not too hard, beat it again and scoop it into the orange shells, packing it down well.

Put the lids on and wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap.

Freeze the sorbets until you want to serve them.

Serve each one garnished with a couple of strands of orange zest.

Yield: 5 servings


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Categories: Dinner for 4 for -$40, Food


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