On Tuesday I was in Carlsbad, California to direct a wonderful group of singers at La Costa Glen Retirement Community. I met up with Mary of California Greek Girl after the rehearsal, at a fun Mexican restaurant called Casa de Bandini. Mary brought me a big bag full of produce from her garden! Our server walked by and gasped when she saw all the beautiful things in the bag…especially the Anaheim chilies. I asked her how she prepares chilies, and with a gleam in her eye she said that these were perfect for stuffing with meat or cheese. I am not a person with much chili experience. I don’t eat chilies very often…we never had them when I was growing up in Vermont. When I see a chili, I think heartburn, but I was assured that these particular chilies would be mild and yummy.
When I got back to the ranch, I showed Mary’s home grown chilies to The Farmer. He mentioned that his dad grew lots of Anaheim chilies just like these when he was farming in Huntington Beach, California in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. You all know about Anaheim, right? That’s where Disneyland is! Not far from Huntington Beach either.
I washed the chilies and cut off the ends. Aren’t the little tops cute? They remind me of little green pumpkins.
I used a thin serrated knife to ream out each chili, removing the seeds and membrane. I shook each one to get the seeds out, and washed the last seeds out with water.
I happened to have some Cotija Cheese left over from the Corn Salad With Lime, Cilantro and Cotija Cheese I made last weekend. (if you missed it, click here) Most recipes call for Monterey Jack or even Feta cheese, but I decided to use up the Cotija cheese in the fridge. I grated it, and gently combined it with some parsley (I keep Gourmet Garden parsley in the freezer) and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Then I used a small spoon to fill each chili with the cheese…tamping it down to squeeze out the air and make room for plenty of cheese!
I plugged the end of each chili with a small piece of bread, so the cheese wouldn’t come out while it was cooking. When all the chilies were stuffed, I put the tops back on each one, and put the dish into the oven for 20 minutes at 390 degrees.
This is what the chilies looked like after they came out of the oven. The Farmer mentioned (later on) that I should have peeled the skin off the chilies at this point. Who knew?
I served a lovely stuffed chili with avocado and salsa to The Farmer for an appetizer! Except for the tough skin, he liked it!
I thought the cheese was a tad salty, but The Farmer enjoyed the saltiness. This morning we had some chilies left over in the fridge, so I removed the tough skin and chopped them up into our scrambled eggs. Now THAT was really good! In fact, I would stuff some chilies just to put into my breakfast eggs again!
Do you grow chilies or buy them at Farmers Markets? Do you have any favorite fresh chili recipes? I must say that these Anaheim chilies from Mary’s garden have changed how I think about chili peppers!
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