Home Grown Tomatoes: Chili Rellenos (or something like that)
Stuffed and Fried Green Chile Peppers
Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian recipe column written by Giovanina Bucci
So let me just say, Scarlet Lily has been so freaking inspiring with all of her blog buzz surrounding life lists that I have decided to begin creating my very own. Quite frankly, there is A LOT of shit that I want to do and I am inspired by so many daily things, sights, people, etc. As a commitment to growth and actually finishing the things that I set out to do, I have finally realized that a life list is the the perfect solution for pulling in the reigns while simultaneously focusing my energies and dreaming up all kinds of possibilities. Not to mention the pure adrenaline rush I get from physically crossing something off of a list. In my infinite daily list making habits I have definitely written down things that I've already done for the sole satisfaction of being able to cross them off because it feels damn good (and don't pretend like you've never done that!).
I've been able to cross TWO things off my list in the last few days. I ran my first 5K on Saturday morning, even saved that little paper thing you have to safety pin to yourself. I was number 612. I'm pretty sure I was beat by a number of folks who were older than my parents and I also have an awesome collection of bruises/scrapes/scratches. I fell not once, but TWICE. Who does that? The second fall was pretty awesome - it was like surfing on dirt...right in front of the water station mind you. Even ripped my damn leggings, but I'm not going to lie - bruises make me feel pretty cool. I'm just imagining people catching a glimpse of my wounds and being like "whoa, she must be a badass." I mean, wouldn't you think that?
The other cross-off-my-life-list feat was signing up to teach a cooking class! Scary. There is a gourmet kitchen shop here in Flagstaff called the Seasoned Kitchen and they have local folks teach all kinds of classes in this amazing setting that sits 12 people bar-style. I went in and signed myself up last week and sent the owner my official menu - so it's all sorts of real now. Coming up with a menu was so challenging only because I wanted to make everything. Literally everything. I finally focused on fresh seasonal vegetables and creating fun and unique dishes that you don't have to be vegan to appreciate or enjoy. I'll let you in on the menu next week! I'm also open to any tips or advice on how to not suck at teaching:)
And randomly, I've decided that today's recipe is going to be all about stuffed green chile peppers, which I actually made awhile ago and forgot all about. I was inspired by a few different recipes for chili rellenos (which I've never made) for this recipe (or conglomeration of ingredients, rather).
Traditional chili rellenos are pretty straight forward because they're all about the melty cheese in the middle. Unfortunately, vegans do not have the luxury of something cheese-like that actually melts (or so I haven't found, nor can I probably afford it). I also did not roast the peppers first, which I will definitely do next time. I began by cutting the peppers as seen to the right, attempting not to cut through any part, just enough to be able to open them up and clean out the insides. I then made a filling consisting of:
Tofutti cream cheese
The next step consisted of stuffing the peppers with the cream cheese mixture. As I made the batter, I began heating vegetable oil on the stove for frying. For the most part, I used this batter that I use for most anything. In this recipe I chose to use almond milk instead of beer for the batter, just to make it a bit lighter. I battered these little chiles up and fried the bejesus out of 'em. As they were frying I attempted to melt some Follow Your Hear cheddar cheese, which I mixed with some taco sauce - thoughtful concept, not so much a successful execution. Vegan cheese hardens after it "melts" and then it just becomes relatively creepy - so this would be another component I would sans for next time - the stuffing in the pepper is so rich and creamy that it's really unnecessary anyways.
Once the chiles were fried nice and golden, I removed them from the oil and poured my "melted" cheese on top of them and finished them off with a bit of extra taco sauce, fresh cilantro, and served with sliced avocado. There are definitely changes that I would make for next time, but I was pretty pleased with this first attempt and am looking forward to making improvements on this recipe!
I personally think that anything fried is usually pretty damn tasty - my growing ass seems to disagree - but hey, I don't do it that often so it has to be well worth it when it does happen!