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Hot and Healthy Chile Peppers

Kelli Bergthold Chiles and Health Leave a Comment

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Baked Black Beans with Quinoa and Corn

This hearty, spicy dish should be served hot from the casserole dish. It’s great as a main course or as a side.

1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 whole clove, ground in spice mill

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, crushed

1 habanero chile, seeds and stem removed, minced

1 teaspoon tamari sauce

2 to 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup quinoa

2 cups fresh or frozen corn, cooked and drained

1 cup chopped, drained tomatoes

Place the beans in a large, heavy casserole dish and cover with water 2 inches above the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and allow them to boil gently for 1 minute. Cover the beans and remove the pot from the heat. Let stand for 2 hours.

Drain the beans, then place them back into the cleaned casserole dish and cover with cold water. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the beans from the heat, drain, and place back into the cleaned casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, ground clove, thyme, oregano, parsley, black pepper, cumin, habanero chile, and the tamari until the onion is wilted. Add the sauteed mixture to the beans and mix. Add enough of the stock to moisten, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups. Cover and bake until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.

Cook the quinoa in the remaining 1 cup of stock in a covered saucepan for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, cover, and set aside.

When the beans are done, add the cooked quinoa, cooked corn, and tomatoes, mix, and serve.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Heat scale: Medium
Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Chipotle Chile Sauce with Peppered Fettucine

Somehow, having a grilled portobello mushroom seems to satisfy even the most carnivorous diner. Eating this mushroom is akin to eating a steak, and it can take on a multitude of seasonings and flavors.

4 large, fresh portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup safflower oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon imported curry powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces fettucine pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Clean the mushrooms and place them in a shallow glass dish. Mix the vinegar, garlic, and olive oil together and pour the mixture over the mushrooms, then turn the mushrooms to coat. Cover tightly and marinade for 1 hour at room temperature.

While the mushrooms are marinating, make the sauce: Combine the safflower oil, lemon juice, tahini, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, mustard, cheese, curry powder, black pepper, chipotle chiles, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature while the mushrooms are being grilled.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta thoroughly, return it to the pot, add the olive oil and black pepper, toss, and keep warm.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or saute them in a heavy skillet.

Divide the pasta on 4 warmed dinner plates, place a grilled mushroom on top of the pasta, and top each mushroom with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat scale: Mild
Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.

Finadini Birenhenas

We thank Janet Go for this recipe from Guam, which turns eggplant into a hot and spicy accompaniment. We think it would make an exotic sandwich spread!

4 small Japanese eggplants with stems

1 medium onion, chopped

2 lemons, juiced

2 fresh hot chiles, such as jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

Prick the eggplants and, while holding them by the stem, cook directly over a flame until soft (the eggplant will be blackened on the outside). Soak in cold water to cool, and peel.

combine the onion, lemon juice, chiles and salt and mix. Holding the eggplant by the stem, cut it and mash it into the mixture. Add the coconut milk, mix, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat scale: Medium

Sharon Palmer is a registered dietitian and freelance food and nutrition journalist living in Southern California.  She heats up her multicultural kitchen with plenty of chiles.

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