Corn Muffins with Poblano Peppers & Queso Fresco Cheese for #baketogether

Let’s just cut to the chase. I hate green peppers. I don’t recall picking them out of dishes as a kid so I’m thinking one or both parents felt the same way. My ex-husband didn’t like them which was convenient and both of our daughters hate them too. My sister shares the same proclivity. So…nature or nurture I’m wondering??

As a result, for the majority of my life if it was green and called a pepper, it was to be avoided. When I moved to Denver 25 years ago I was introduced to jalapeno peppers in everything it seems and they suffered the same fate. Picked out and discarded (although I think that heat was also a reason…I was used to Midwestern and Southern cooking!). If served at a gathering I would try my best to be discreet; I’ve even eaten dishes with them to avoid embarrassing a host but it was a miserable experience because if you hate them like I do…it is simply ALL you can taste. I’m even a card carrying member of the ‘Green Pepper Haterz’ Club which has a Facebook page where we can lament about the awful pepper if circumstances call for it.

My only lament today? That I just wish I had not presumed that all peppers, green or otherwise, deserved my ire. The change came about quite by accident. I was at a Super Bowl party many years ago and everyone had brought a favorite dish to share. One such dish was labeled Chile Relleno Casserole and was quite obviously a layered cheese offering with a red sauce on top. I cut a section to add to my plate and it was AMAZING so I later sought out the fellow who had brought it to wrangle the recipe from him and was shocked at the ingredients. Poblano peppers? Jalapeno peppers in that tomato sauce? It was the start of a learning process and a love affair. To be honest…even after discovering the difference between green ‘bell’ peppers and others in the green family, I continued to steer clear of red and yellow bell peppers and it’s only in the last couple of years I’ve finally made that transition. Old habits do indeed die hard sometimes don’t they?

This month marks the one year anniversary of Abby Dodge’s #baketogether event. One Year! Hard to believe but it’s true; my first post was this Chocolate Hazelnut Pie last May. Which I now want bad! Our challenge each month is to take Abby’s recipe and ‘switch it up’ with our own take. This month it’s corn muffins and I originally had planned to do a pretty standard version from my kitchen, adding corn and jalapeno but when I saw my friend Carol do those I decided mine needed some additional switching! For some reason I was reminded of that casserole and decided to introduce some of those elements; my own personal ode to the Pepper!

I always put corn into my corn muffins so that was a given, but with these I’ve substituted some of the buttermilk with sour cream and added chopped Poblano pepper, some queso fresco cheese for the cheese element and finished with a garnish of green jalapeno and red grape tomato to represent the red sauce topping from that casserole.  They were good with just a dab of butter but they were GREAT with another dab of red jalapeno jelly. I guess in this case I followed the mantra we hear often today, ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ These are truly big on the pepper but oh so good too! As a last note, I doubled Abby’s recipe; I was having friends for dinner…I just knew to not trust 6 muffins. It was a very good call. 🙂


Want to join in? It’s easy. Abby does a post the first of the month giving us our inspiration…you can make it as is or run with it. We tweet them using the #baketogether hashtag and add our version via a link and thumbnail to her main post; it’s a great group of people that both inspire and support each other…come on along with us!

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  1. I’m with you I hate green peppers, but that’s bell peppers which are hard to digest. The only way I like them is cooked way way down in a chicken braise or gumbo. But, give me jalapeno or poblano peppers any day. Your muffins are beautiful to look at, I’m sure great to taste.

  2. Well you knew I’d be clamoring all over this recipe. Pinned, bookmarked, saved…a must make and soon. Barb, how on earth could you ever think you couldn’t love that luscious little jalapeño!?!? 🙂

    1. Absolutely up your alley isn’t it? You might need multiple jalapenos on top though! 🙂

      I love them now but they were hot for a girl used to Midwestern and Southern food; there is not a lot of heat put into foods there or at least wasn’t when I lived there. I’m going to make the chile Relleno casserole I mentioned soon; you will love it too. Cheese, poblano, jalapeno, tomato…all good-o. 🙂

  3. Uh, yeah, there goes my idea, right down to the queso fresco! I LOVE poblanos. I was going to use candied jalapenos instead of fresh. Back to the drawing board I go. Pretty pictures as always, Barb.

  4. I’m with you on the green pepper thing, Barb.I could live without them. I love spicy peppers but they don’t love me back so much. Your little spicy muffins are wonderful. Love the cheese mixed in batter and sprinkled on top. Perfect for Abby’s #baketogether this month:)

    1. I’ve heard from SO many with the same proclivity…we have a worldwide club Lora! I wish I had a sweet version on hand right now though…just craving one bad for breakfast!

  5. I’m afraid I’m one of those who don’t appreciate the spice and heat of any kind of chillies, too. Although I’m very partial to a sweet red chilli relish which has just a hint of warmth to it. Of course, we don’t have the variety and range of chillies here in Oz as is available in the US, so perhaps I can be converted eventually, too.

    1. It took me years to get where I am today…and I never see myself entering a chile eating contest…some of those suckers are hot, hot, hot! I like a touch of heat, not a mouth burning, what was I thinking? amount. 🙂

  6. You inspired me! I’m going to use my roasted red peppers (with a few other ingredients) for a savory muffin #Baketogether, and now that I’ve seen how adorable yours look, I’m going to decorate mine. We’ll see how festive they look after they come out of the oven 🙂

    1. I love poblanos too; I mean I’m glad I got this far but I’m not and will never be in it for the searing heat that some love…nope, I’m Ok with just a bit of warmth!

  7. Oh girl, a green pepper hater??? Say What??? BUT they are delish!!! Well I am glad to here you like jalapeno peppers at least, you were seriously missing out, LOL:-) Your muffins look fantastic! Love how you topped them with the tomato and pepper, they look adorable:-) Hugs, Terra

    1. Seems nothing creates quite the different reaction in people as green bell peppers…well, maybe cilanto. I love it and others taste soap. Thanks Terra…they were fun to make; my version of a casserole in a muffin!

  8. Ultra Yum, Barb!! it’s like my favorite jalapeno/queso grits in portable form–no fork required. Your photography is so beautiful here. My lips are tingling from the pepper jelly. . .just a lovely, lovely shot with the jalapeno”heart.” A Stunner!

    1. That’s a great way to look at it! And thanks SO much…photography is a newer skill; getting kudos from readers and friends literally MAKES my day!

  9. When you tweeted the other day that you were planning on using peppers in your #baketogether, I was surprised since I remembered having a past conversation about your extreme dislike of green peppers so I couldn’t wait to see what you were up to. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to say “WOW!!!” and again I say “WOW!!” These muffins are simply gorgeous, first of all. Secondly, the poblanos, jalapenos and then the queso fresco (love love love this cheese!), the little tomato on top… I am just adoring these muffins! As always, you’ve outdone yourself again. These muffins are pure perfection and I will definitely be making them. Lovely job!

    1. You’re on to me now…people wonder too if I’ll eventually go the route of the green bell pepper. Um, NO. I can’t even type the words without a grimace!

      And thanks for the sweet compliments; isn’t it such fun to do this and see what everyone else is doing? So many creative minds and such nice people.

  10. What marvelous muffins! The flavors you include are making my mouth water. I, too, hate green bell peppers (the only veggie I dislike) but adore jalapenos and any other spicy ones. Your photos are stunning!

    1. Thanks so much Hannah…my fellow Green Pepper Hater! And thanks for the kind compliment; those are always welcome! Photography is a journey that food blogging pushed me into and I’m still learning, everyday.

  11. Corn muffins with poblanos and queso fresco are one of my family’s favorite treat to dip into chili. You’ve reminded me that I must make another batch! I’m going to check out that Chocolate Hazelnut Pie of yours. That sounds fantastic!

    1. Ooh that would be good too! I made a flank steak salad with a Mexican bent…they were perfect.

  12. These look great, Barb…but I particularly like how you “decorated” them pre-baking, with the tomato and chili slice on top. Beautiful!

    1. It was funny…they looked so pretty pre-baking that I was a bit disappointed after they were done but once I got used to them, I was good with it!

  13. Peppers! I love them. The hotter the better. Your take on the recipe is delicious and I am glad you have turned around and started to like the peppers.

    1. Well, my dear…no matter my growth in the matter; YOU would make me look like a wuss with what you love…I’m not there yet but I’m on the road at least huh? We need to see each other again soon!

    1. Thanks Alison…I really enjoyed the milder peppers in the muffin and the surprise of the one bite with the jalapeno; they were fun to eat!

    1. Aw thanks Kale…I even have to laugh at myself at the change…and have my daughters coming along with me too!

  14. Yum! These look great, love the jalpeno and tomato topping. I don’t think I can get that cheese here, at least I have never seen it what is it most similar to? I can not believe a whole year has gone, I hadn’t realised that was the first #baketogether recipe!

  15. What a great twist on this month’s Bake Together. I’m so proud of you for baking your recipe so “early” in the month. You are on the ball this month Ms. Kiebel.

  16. What a wonderful corn muffin! I’m a lover of all peppers, of whatever color, except for the very hot, so I really like that you’ve used two different ones (and both green in color at that!) in this recipe.

    1. Thank you my friend! Yes, we’re still in the toddler stage and I love the same thing; seeing what everyone does is so much fun.

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