Life really seems to be in motion right now, both for me and my friends.  I would expect Fall to slow us down, but we seem to race through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.  Maybe it’s the four holidays in about two months that keep us busy or the shortening of the days that remind us the year is coming to a close.

My friends and I go out for happy hour every Friday and we treasure the opportunity to slow down and watch the sun set.  Our favorite spot overlooks a marina; momentarily stopping time.  This Friday we extended happy hour to an art walk and then to enjoy Tapas at The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach.  They have a large selection of Tapas that are served as small portion appetizers.

What I love about Tapas is the many surprises to your taste buds in a small package.  The serving sizes are small, but packed with flavor and kept together with a toothpick.  Conversation flows more freely since the focus is not primarily on eating a meal.

These are fashioned after Piqillo Peppers stuffed with goat cheese and shallots.  I love baby bell peppers in place of traditional bell peppers and Trader Joe’s was featuring the Bavarian Red Triple Cream Cheese.  A warning, don’t ever fall in love with a spotlight cheese from TJ’s because it will disappear as if it never existed.  I’m sure that I could find them at cheese shops, but I love the variety and price of TJ’s.

This cheese takes on the soft-ripened character of Brie with a reddish rind as a result of a paprika wash.  It’s very buttery and great baked.  Brie or Manchego cheese would also be a great option.

After the peppers are stuffed and baked, they are drizzled with honey and a balsamic glaze and accented with chocolate mint.  The tastes are decadent but also a delight to your senses.  Next time I will roast or boil the peppers prior to make them more tender.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 mini bell peppers
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1-2 ounces Bavarian Red Triple Cream Cheese, Brie or Manchego cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze or reduced Balasamic Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Chocolate mint or traditional mint


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.
  2. Remove the seeds from the peppers and stuff with shallots and cheese.
  3. Arrange in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender and cheese is melted.
  5. Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze and honey.
  6. Add mint to taste.