WineCanine

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Cheese, chevre, corn and crab

Here's a recipe my friend Laurel assigned me to make for a recent Gourmet Club dinner. I've served it three different ways now, all to rave reviews.

Cheese, Chèvre, Corn and Crab
filling, dip or cheese ball

Ingredients
2 cups lump crab meat
1 cup fresh (or frozen) corn kernels
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
juice of 2 limes
salt to taste
white pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
(or more as required; use the same ratio)

Method
Using your hands, thoroughly blend first six ingredients in a bowl. Taste, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and blend again.

To use the mixture as a dip, transfer it to a serving bowl. Combine the chili powder and tortilla chips in a food processor and pulse until chips are uniformly crumbled and chili powder is well integrated. Top the dip with the chips and chili powder mixture and serve with sturdy corn or tortilla chips.

You can make a cheese ball by forming the mixture into a ball and covering it with the chips and chili powder (you'll need to at least double the quantity of chips / chili powder). Wrap ball in plastic wrap, place in bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

This also makes an excellent filling for grilled peppers. Just slice the peppers in half, fill with a generous dollop of the mixture, and top with a sprinkling of the chili powder and chips. Grill for a few minutes, until the skin of the peppers starts to blacken and blister. Serve immediately.

I tried this last method with several different types of peppers, and got the best results with habeñeros. Habeñeros are quite hot, but the grilling and the topping tame the heat while allowing their flavor to come through. Jalapeños were the next best choice, and had the advantage of holding a larger volume of filling.

When preparing hot peppers for use, be careful! Use rubber gloves when slicing the peppers and removing the seeds and pith, and work in a well-ventilated area. Take care not to absent-mindedly scratch your nose or rub your eyes. If you use a wooden cutting board, be aware that the next few things you prepare on it will pick up some heat from the capsaicin that soaks into the wood.
M. Zane Grey, 7:48 AM