Deck the Halls

Here’s one that really lights up the room! Red and gold Peppadews® stuffed with cream cheese are easy to make and the sweet piquante peppers add zing.

Keep these ingredients on hand and put a tray out and watch who shows up!

Easy Stuffed Peppadews®

  • Cream cheese, softened with a little milk
  • Bruchetta seasoning or mixed herbs of your choice
  • Peppadews

Mix cream cheese with seasoning and pipe or spoon into peppadews.

Grazing at HOK

We share the dinner prep here at HOK (House of Kelley). When it’s my turn I have a problem waiting for everyone to get home. I can barely stave off hunger while chopping, slicing and sautéing. I’m a grazer.

Here’s my new hold-me-off-until-dinner graze plate:

Zero fat.
Only 35 measly calories in five of them.

What am I describing?  Peppadews of course!

Prepare yourself a little plate – Peppadews, cucumbers, Feta, and some Peppadew brine lightly sprinkled on top, punctuated with cracked pepper. This also makes a tasty and light appetizer. Keep the ingredients on hand. Maybe pour a glass of wine while you graze and cook? (Just a thought…)

All Veggies, All Summer

Summer is time for the garden’s bounty, so why not put out a platter and enjoy fresh vegetables for dinner? Have them alone or with some grilled meat or fish.

Here I used a variety of fresh vegetables, some I lightly seared in olive oil and seasoned simply with salt and fresh pepper. I added a few deli items such as stuffed Peppadews with artichokes, marinated beans, pickled mushrooms and olives. Lay it all out on leaf lettuce and endive. Add some fresh mozzarella if you like. Pass around some vinaigrette dressing and everyone enjoys a fresh salad.

Fresh vegetables included:

  • Yellow squash
  • Yellow peppers (use any variety)
  • Asparagus, lightly steamed then immersed in cold ice water
  • Tomatoes and basil
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Garden cukes

“Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow”

Peppadew Pepper Baskets

“Parting is such sweet sorrow, ” says Juliet to her love, Romeo, in Scene II in Capulet’s Orchard. But for me, it’s the parting of the sweet piquanté peppers and the good times we had together in the test kitchen.

This is the last recipe in this week-long treatise on Peppadews that began on Super Bowl Sunday. If you’ve been following along, you already know what a Peppadew is and what wonders it brings to a variety of dishes. If not, please take a few minutes to browse the blogs so can you catch up with the rest.

The Pull of Pierre Peppadew: The story of my good fortune to receive a shipment of Peppadews from “Pierre Peppadew” (our endearing name for Pierre Crawley). My friend Melanie joins me in the test kitchen to create new recipes. Recipe #1 was Peppadew Pesto Rolls. (Five Stars)

Peppadew Proliferation: Recipe #2 Mushrooms Stuffed with Peppadew and Sausage. A real winner! (Five Stars)

Stuff It, Peppadew Recipes #3: Shrimp and Feta Stuffed Peppadews taught us something about Peppadews (Three Stars with a caveat.)

Peppadew® Pepper Baskets

Pierre Crawley is from Peppadew® Fresh. The Peppadew Pepper Basket is from their test kitchen where Chef Monica Cipully creates hundreds of Peppadew delights. This recipe is one of hers.

Filo baskets from the oven.

The “basket” is made from filo dough which I love working with. Its delicate, paper-thin sheets never disappoint and it’s always light and buttery. The only thing we did differently was to bake the filo inside the ramekins.

The recipe said to turn the ramekin upside down and use it as a mould. We thought it would be less crumbly (as filo can be) if you didn’t have a ramekin to hold it together while eating. (Am I always this contrary?) I admit, I do want to try it the Chef Monica way next time.

Result: Perfection! The taste of the Peppadew always comes through but we could still taste the other veggies along with a slight sweetness from the puree and the sugar. I will definitely make these again. They would be great as a starter or served at a luncheon with chicken salad. Melanie ate one for breakfast the next day. I’m already thinking of a variation on the filling, with Peppadews as a main ingredient, of course.

Thank you, Pierre, for sending me the Peppadews. I hope that I have contributed to your mission of “educating U.S. consumers, chefs and retailers about the Peppadew® fruit, its story, flavor, and unique applications.”

So with bittersweet regards, I bid adieu to the Peppadew. (For now, anyhow.)

Peppadew® Pepper Baskets From Peppadew® Fresh

  • 1 pack (7 oz) filo pastry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium-size zucchini squash cut into small slices
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 12 chopped Peppadew Sweet Piquanté Peppers
  • 1-2 tbsp Peppadew® Sweet Piquanté Peppers liquid
  • 2 oz melted butter

Take 2 tbsp of liquid from a 14.75 oz jar of Peppadew® Sweet Piquanté Peppers. Gently fry the zucchini squash, mushrooms, garlic, tomato puree and sugar in the olive oil until soft. Add the Peppadews® and their liquid and season to taste.

Put eight upturned Dariole moulds or ramekins on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter. Cut filo pastry sheets in half and layer three pieces over the mould, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown at 400°F. Gently reheat the mixture and pile into the moulds.

Chef Cipully suggests serving serve as a starter (we concur) or snack with either new potatoes, salad or green vegetables.

Stuff It — Peppadew Recipe #3

It was my pure good fortune that Pierre Crawley of Peppadew™ Fresh shipped me jars of Peppadews. What are they? Why am I so excited? Read the full article here.

Melanie and I set out to create original recipes with these sweet piquanté peppers grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Chef Monica Cipully of the Peppadew Fresh test kitchen showed many wonderful recipes on their website, but we were in a creative mood.

Recipe #3 was born out of a look in the fridge and pantry to see what we had. Melanie had some leftover cooked shrimp from Friday’s dinner and some feta cheese. (Wheels spinning.) Here’s what she created.

Shrimp and Feta Stuffed Peppadews

There's a lesson in these Shrimp and Feta Stuffed Peppadews.

  • 1/2 cup cooked diced shrimp
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Peppadews (whole)

Combine shrimp with feta cheese and green onion. Drizzle in a little olive oil, maybe a tablespoon or two, to moisten the mixture. Season with black pepper to taste (not too much, as the Peppadews themselves are spicy). Stuff the Peppadews with the shrimp mixture (it helps to use a baby spoon, if you have one hanging about). Sit the stuffed peppadews upright in a small baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Three-Star Rating: Okay we admit, not as great as the first two recipes. Good, but not great. Why? Melanie analyzes the dish as we sample and sip (wine of course!):

The Peppadews are small and their taste is strong. Feta cheese is also strong and they’re fighting each other. Meanwhile, shrimp is relatively mild. I don’t think crab would do it either. Filling them with hot crab dip might work, but one made with cream cheese, not feta. Now, a green salad with a Peppadew dressing, with shrimp or crab and chopped Peppadews on top would probably be great.”

Melanie is talking about my salad dressing where you substitute the Peppadew brine for vinegar. Never throw that brine away after you eat all the Peppadews.

Why did we include this recipe? We want to show how fun it is to use what you have on hand and experiment. In this case the Peppadews deserve to show up and, with a little tweaking, they could. For a succulent stuffed Peppadew recipe, see Ring in the New with Peppadew.

PS: Even though this only got a three-star rating, there wasn’t one Peppadew with shrimp and feta left of the plate!

See our first two creations: Peppadew Pesto Pinwheels and Mushrooms Stuffed with Peppadew and Sausage

Coming Next: Chef Monica Cipully’s Peppadew Pepper BasketsYou Don’t Want to Miss This!

The Pull of Pierre Peppadew

Mention the word “peppadew” and people say one of two things:

What is that? Or…”I love them!”

Peppadew® is the brand name of sweet piquanté peppers grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa.

My first encounter with Peppadews was at Mark and Melanie’s Christmas Cocktail Party where she served them stuffed with Boursin cheese. Its piquant taste with the coolness of the cheese was the perfect combination. I was so inspired that I wrote Ring in the New with Peppadew.

When I posted the recipe for Peppadew and Boursin, it caught the attention of Pierre Crawley, representative of Peppadew® Fresh — The North America Culinary & Educational Center for Peppedew® Fruit.

Peppedew Fresh Farms, located in scenic Morganville, New Jersey, is licensed by Peppadew® International, South Africa, and was established to educate U.S. consumers, chefs and retailers about the Peppadew® fruit, its story, flavor, and unique applications.

Pierre commented on my blog:

“Thank you very much for your good words about Peppadew. We will be pleased to send you samples including the new Peppadew Gold. Happy New Year to you!”

Thus, the pull of Pierre Peppadew. The thought of receiving Pierre’s Peppadews was all the encouragement I needed to plan a day in the test kitchen. Of course I had to enlist a willing friend and excellent cook, Melanie, who first introduced me to this little wonder. Bring ‘em on, Pierre!

They’re Here!

Pierre’s Peppadews® have a certain je ne sais quoi. The box arrived and their aroma was everywhere — the box, the packing, and the jars. Le juice de Peppadew is a pungent appetizing aroma that until you experience yourself, you’ll never know how wonderful it is.

Hint: Don’t discard the brine after you finish the Peppadews. You will find many uses for it. Instead of vinegar, I used the juice with olive oil for a simple salad dressing for dinner tonight.

When we opened the jars, they were packed securely with a plastic ViscoDisc™ to hold them in place. Upon seeing the meticulous packing, we knew these were no ordinary jarred peppers. They traveled a long, safe journey to get to us.

We decided to open the test kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday. Our husbands were out of town and our kids were running around the neighborhood trying to decide where they would watch the Giants vs. Patriots. Melanie and I were in the test kitchen with Pierre’s Peppadews and we weren’t budging until we mastered them.

Mulling it Over

Melanie said at the outset: “You know, I just can’t think of Peppadews beyond them being stuffed with Boursin…that is just so good! What else could there be?”

But she was willing to go beyond what she knew. We consulted Pierre’s website which has many marvelous recipes created by Chef Monica Cipully. Then we began to think of our own. We made four recipes from two 14 oz. jars. (Pierre did not send the Peppadew® Gold, probably just a faux pas on the part of the shipping department, but we were grateful for the mild red.)

After five hours in the kitchen, feeling accomplished, we plopped down with our forks and a bottle of Pinot Grigio and tasted the fruits of our labor. AWESOME…one bite was as good as the next. When you start with a Peppadew and give it the attention it deserves, it’s a win-win (yes, the peppadews win too).

A toast to Pierre! If it weren’t for him…we would not have had this fun afternoon of cooking, creating, chatting, friend-shipping and, of course, hospitality-ing. (I know, I’m taking the parallel grammar structure to an extreme.)

Peppadew Perfected Recipes

  • Peppadew Pesto Pinwheels (mine)
  • Melanie’s Mushrooms Stuffed with Peppadew and Sausage (Melanie’s, of course)
  • Shrimp and Feta Stuffed Peppadews (Melanie’s)
  • Peppadew Pepper Baskets (from Peppadew Fresh, Chef Monica Cipully)

All our recipes are our creations except the one from Peppadew Fresh. We challenged ourselves to see if we could come up with anything new even though Chef Monica had hundreds she created in the Peppadew Fresh test kitchen. I’ll start with one recipe here and in subsequent blogs, you will have the rest.

Peppadew Pesto Pinwheels by Barbara Kelley

  • 1 loaf frozen bread dough
  • 1-1/2 cup pesto
  • 12 Peppadews, coarsely chopped
  • Asiago cheese, finely grated, about 2 cups

Let dough thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Roll out dough on a floured surface (approx.12” x 12” circle, but not so thin you can see the counter)

Spread pesto over the dough. Sprinkle the chopped Peppadews over the basil and sprinkle with the Asiago cheese.

Roll dough, top with pesto and peppadews.

Roll dough lengthwise jelly-roll style. Slice the rolled-up dough with a serrated knife into one-inch thick slices.

Use a microplane grater for the Asiago cheese.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put rolls in pan, cover with a cloth and let rise for about a half hour. When doubled in size, bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Hint: Make your own pesto but if you don’t have time or inclination, there are a few store-bought brands that are fresh and delicious. I used Kirkland Ciba Naturals™.

Hint: Melanie suggested an alternative would be to use mozzarella cheese, which would give the melting-pulling cheese effect.

Hint: Melanie uses a microplane grater to grate the cheese with ease.

Let the pinwheels rise for one-half hour before baking.

Five-Star Rating! The Peppadew flavor held up with the strong pesto flavor. We thought these would be good served with a salad of any kind. Melanie’s teenage son and his friend popped in the kitchen to finish them off. “Excellent!” they exclaimed and dashed off to watch the Super Bowl with their pizza and nachos!

Coming Next:

Melanie’s Mushrooms Stuffed with Peppadew and Sausage

Ring in the New With Peppadew

Are you looking for something new? I just had these red gems for the first time at Mark and Melanie Poirier’s Christmas Cocktail Party held annually on the Saturday evening before Christmas. These are so easy there is time to make them for New Year’s Eve.

There Nothing Like a Good Old-Fashioned Cocktail Party

Time: 7 p.m.

Dress: our hosts don’t specify but guests come in anything from business casual to black tie.

Outcome: You always see people you know or haven’t seen since the last party. Plus you always meet someone new. It’s just plain civilized-cocktail-party fun…and with two Christmas trees…festive to the max.

Melanie handles the menu, her staff, and welcomes guests along with husband Mark.

Talk about hospitality! Melanie handles the menu which is rich in variety and taste. From sweet to savory, she orchestrates a menu that pairs perfectly with cocktails. Mark sets up a self-serve, full bar but stands by to greet and assist guests with their libation choices. And why hire any serving help when you have five capable children bred with hospitality? With two in college, two in high school, and one in sixth grade, Mark and Melanie have plenty of good help. From answering the door and checking coats to keeping food trays filled and mingling perfectly with guests, this party is well staffed by the fearless five.

The peppadews are only one of the delectables on the menu. Their party is Hospitality from A to Z and really deserves its own blog. Note that for next year. For now, I’ll share the wonders of peppadew with you so you can make them for New Year’s.

Can you find the peppadew on my cocktail party plate?

Peppadew Stuffed with Boursin Cheese

Peppadew is the brand name of sweet piquanté peppers. You can buy these from fresh olive bars in most grocery stores or in jars. This recipe originates with Melanie’s mom who stuffs it with homemade Boursin cheese.

You can stuff with anything you like—cream cheese or store-bought Boursin. But I can attest to this recipe. I ate it, loved it, and am making it for New Year’s Eve. Maybe you will too. Let me know. Buy peppadews and stuff them with Boursin—so easy and so good.

Boursin Cheese

  • 8-oz package of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, put through garlic press
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients (this can be done in a food processor with steel blade) and blend thoroughly. Taste for flavor and seasonings. The cheese may be shaped into a ball and rolled in crushed red pepper or stuffed into a peppadew. Refrigerate overnight before serving. The Boursin cheese balls can also be frozen.

For more from the party…Melanie’s 86 Proof Chocolate Cake