VEGETARIAN COOKING: Peppers punch up s'moresWhen you eat in a restaurant, the best food may not be the food you are served. It may not be that terrine of leeks and shiitake mushrooms or even the fresh tomato and mozzarella salad with basil.
By: Steve Petusevsky, Fort (Fla.) Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
When you eat in a restaurant, the best food may not be the food you are served. It may not be that terrine of leeks and shiitake mushrooms or even the fresh tomato and mozzarella salad with basil.
Instead, it may be the food prepared by the cooks, dishwashers and other kitchen workers for themselves and others on their shift. Often, people on kitchen staffs come from other countries, and they miss the foods of their homeland.
During a lull, I notice my co-workers are making what look like s’mores complete with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. But that’s where their resemblance to s’mores ends. These also are stuffed with roasted chili peppers and bananas.
I ask what they are making, and it turns out to be an energy-boosting treat from Mexico. They are typically heated over coals and sometimes made with stale bread in place of graham crackers.
In this recipe for Dark Chocolate Poblano S’mores, you can use any type chocolate. But if you are a chocolate freak like me, use a decadent and high-quality product such as Valrhona, the darker the better.
Make sure the banana is not overripe. I use cinnamon graham crackers because I like the combination of the chocolate, banana, spicy chili and cinnamon. Poblano peppers, found in supermarket produce sections, are dark green with a medium spiciness.
Dark Chocolate Poblano S’mores
2 medium-size poblano chili peppers, roasted and skinned (see note)
8 graham cracker sheets
2 ripe (but not overripe) bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise ½-inch thick
1 3.5-ounce dark chocolate bar (or chocolate of choice), separated into squares or broken into pieces
8 marshmallows, sliced in half horizontally
Remove seeds and stems from chilies. Cut each pepper in half lengthwise and set aside on a paper towel to dry.
Place 4 graham crackers on a work surface. Place a half chili on each. Divide banana slices over chilies. Divide chocolate squares over bananas. Divide marshmallow rounds over the chocolate. Top with another graham cracker.
Place on a plate and microwave on high 1½ minutes until chocolate and marshmallows melt.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 294 calories, 30 percent calories from fat, 10 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 51 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams total fiber, 47 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 97 milligrams sodium.
Note: To roast and skin poblano peppers: Preheat oven broiler on high. Place poblano peppers on a baking pan and place in oven 2 inches from broiler element 10 minutes until the skin of the peppers blackens. Turn the peppers and broil another 10 minutes until the other side is blackened. Remove from oven and place on a plate. Invert another plate over the pepper. Let cool. When cool, peel off skin and rinse under cold water to remove all burnt pieces.
Petusevsky is a freelance writer in Coral Springs, Fla. If you have questions for him, write Vegetarian Today, Sun Sentinel, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale FL 33301-2293. Or send an e-mail with your full name, address and telephone number to dhartz@Sunsentinel.com with “Vegetarian Today” in the subject line. Personal replies are not possible.