Tuesday, September 18, 2007

001: Try Something New

Being a consultant for a popular kitchen supply company, I see all sorts of recipes come and go in popularity. One of the new recipes this season was for "Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie," which didn't sound good to me at all. Jalapeño peppers and apricot jelly on cheese? No way! But I decided to try it out, and it was incredibly good. Just goes to show that a new or unusual recipe isn't always going to be what you expect.

Here's a copy of the recipe for anyone who might like to try it themselves:

Tangy Pepper-Pecan Brie

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 4-inch round (8 ounces) Brie cheese with rind, room temperature
1 loaf (16 ounces) French baguette
Vegetable oil or Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coarsely chop pecans and finely chop jalapeño. Combine jalapeño and preserves; mix well.

Cut Brie in half horizontally using a sharp knife. Place one half of Brie, cut side up, onto center of the Large Round Stone (from Pampered Chef, or you can use a cookie sheet). Spread half of the apricot mixture evenly over bottom half of Brie. Top with half of the pecans and remaining half of Brie, cut side up. Spread remaining apricot mixture over Brie; sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Using a bread knife, cut baguette on a bias into twenty-four 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange baguette slices around Brie; spray with oil using the Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer (or use olive oil or butter-flavor cooking spray). Bake 8-10 minutes or until baguette slices are golden brown and Brie begins to soften. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 230, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrate 38 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 400 mg, Fiber 2 g

Remember to always wear plastic gloves when working with jalapeño peppers. The juice from the peppers can create a burning sensation on the skin. Also, you can increase or decrease the "heat" of this recipe by leaving the seeds in the jalapeño or scraping them out before chopping.

For a simple garnish, slice a jalapeño pepper in half lengthwise. Brush cut surface with apricot jam. Place next to Brie before baking.