From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
I decided that we’d do stuffed peppers tonight and when I went trolling around the blog, found we’ve done a few variations on them over the years. Tonight’s featured recipe is from my cousin Scott. He mentions in the original post that we’re a family who loves to cook and I couldn’t agree more. On his side of my family, I think everyone has the gift in the kitchen. I have memories of my grandparents’ farm and the great food we’d have there. My Grandma Lois made the best fried eggs in the world that I have never been able to duplicate. They were crisp on the bottom (a treatment my family always called “shoe leather” –though that does not do that crust justice), perfectly medium on top and covered in so much pepper you’d sneezed just looking at them. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to come close to those eggs. I asked my mom a few years ago what I was missing and she replied, “lard”. And I’m sure it was previously used lard at that. Grandma Lois kept a can on the stove. It’s probably why her fried chicken was so amazing, too.
Anyway that story has nothing to do with tonight’s recipes. Stuffed peppers. We have several takes on them:
JeffreyW does a traditional Stuffed Peppers with homemade tomato soup (recipe here).
I have a pretty easy stuffed Red Pepper recipe – though you can use green peppers, no problem (recipe here).
And our featured recipe, below, from my Men Who Cook series, is a vegetarian treat.
How about you, any favorite memories of foods from childhood you can’t recreate? Do you have a different take on stuffed peppers that you like to use? Hit the comments and share.
Now for tonight’s featured recipe:
This comes from my cousin Scott Adams. Scottie follows in the footsteps of many in my family – the love of cooking (click here for the full story). These peppers are practically gourmet!
Scottie’s Stuffed Peppers
1/2 pound short whole wheat pasta
4 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and reserved, seeded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
4 jarred roasted red peppers
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small portobello mushroom caps, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 sprigs rosemary, stems discarded and leaves chopped
One 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cups arugula or baby spinach (a few generous handfuls)
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
1 tablespoon of Oregano
1 teaspoon of Dill
Preheat the oven to 425°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Trim the bottoms of the bell peppers, without cutting a hole, so that they stand. Season inside with salt and black pepper. Turn the peppers bottom side up in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, set the tops alongside and drizzle with EVOO. Roast for 20 minutes.
Using a food processor, puree the roasted red peppers. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the red onion, garlic, mushrooms, crushed red pepper and rosemary and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in the pureed peppers and the fire-roasted tomatoes; season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and toss. Add the arugula and basil and cook until wilted.
Preheat the broiler. Turn the peppers upright; fill with pasta. Top with the cheese and broil until melted, 2 minutes. Cover with the tops and serve with any extra pasta.
Not about stuffed peppers, but about gluten free cookies: Muddy if you’re around, did you get the recipe I posted?
These recipe exchange posts seriously need some fucken pictures of the final product.
@TheMightyTrowel: I don’t know if Muddy did, but I’d like to see the recipe.
@Comradde PhysioProffe: I know, for the price you pay for this service, the least you should get is some decent photos. Amirite?
I do chile relleno’s with Hatch Whole Peppers if I don’t have the time to char fresh chiles. put them in a paper bag until the cool, peel and seed. The I stuff them with cheese, roll em in flour, whipped egg whites back in flour and fry the bad puppies!
Just Some Fuckhead
A coupla years ago when I was growing my own peppers and had ’em coming out of my ears, I’d make stuffed red peppers with Italian sausage.
I am on the side of Nigella Lawson and Giada DiLaurentiis: green peppers have no place in my kitchen. I definitely appreciate a recipe that calls for another colour.
Unrelated: one of the easiest recipes evar: meatballs with grape jelly. 16 oz grape jelly, 12 oz bottle chili sauce, and one large bag of frozen meatballs. Mix together jelly and chili sauce until smooth. Pour over meatballs in large Dutch oven. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour until hot. Fecking delicious!
very, very good idea. No elaborate lighting setups, just what the recipe looked like when you made it. I’m going to start taking a pic when I cook something that turns out great, we all should.
South of I10
My Mom used to stuff bell peppers with rice dressing – so delicious! I may have to recreate that this weekend.
@TaMara (BHF): Lousy picture but the price is right, chile relleno’s and enchilada’s verde!
@Sawgrass Stan: I do all the time, movies too!
This is fortuitous. Ellen just told me, “We have to do something with those beautiful peppers I just bought. I hate seeing them rot in the fridge, over and over.”
@Raven: even better!
@Sawgrass Stan: How bout a shot of the kitchen with the enchilada’s ready for the oven and the chile prep beginning?
@Sawgrass Stan: People here have seen this but here’s a quick flick of blackened redfish.
What? No traditional middle American recipies involving the addition of a whole small jar of concord grape jelly?
As far as stuffed vegs go I prefer them fairly dry and not soupy. Including chunks of tomatoes is ok but a large quantity of tomato sauce is not.
Of course if you want, they can be served on a plate adorned with a few spoons of tomato sauce.
@Yutsano: Friend of mine does that with cocktail wieners every super bowl party.
Oh, right: Lard.
I complimented a member of our Last Generation on her pie crusts. She smiled, inclined her head, and said “the secret is lard!”
I’m 6’3, 170 lbs., and my doctor says I damn well better be on a low-fat diet. The relative mentioned above is severely overweight and most of the men on that side of the family die of heart disease.
Yet lard really does do wonders, if you’re willing to take your life in your hands.
Anybody have any insights about an acceptable substitute that’s still fantastic?
@Raven: Careful, I’ve recruited chefs to the blog for less. Yum.
@Sawgrass Stan: ”
• Lard & schmaltz. The prime example of fats we all thought were bad for us, lard and schmaltz (rendered chicken, pork, or goose fat) may have been wrongly demonized for years. The main fat in lard—oleic acid—is a monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression, says Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet (Rodale, 2010). Those same monounsaturated fats, which make up 45 percent of the fat in lard, are responsible for lowering LDL levels while leaving HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels alone. Lard and schmaltz also tolerate high cooking temperatures—they’re often recommended for frying—and have long shelf lives.”
@Raven: Yeoww!!! That’s some vid! When I did it, I got more smoke and flame, but this guy got RESULTS! Special effects for the table.
I like pie!
@TaMara (BHF): I’ve not been much help in that regard I’m afraid. We just had blackeyed peas with fresh collards and mustard greens right out of the dirt for dinner.
@Raven: If I remember correctly, you got to bring some tuna home, done anything with that yet?
@Sawgrass Stan: I caught a huge one last week and have the filets frozen for the next round.
@TaMara (BHF): The tuna we got I cooked up for the family that night. I had about 5 lbs left and we walked across the street to the beach where some local dudes were throwing down and gave them away. I did make breakfast for the princess on the Lania as well.
The tuna we kept was from the 5 or 6 10 lb skipjacks we caught. The 120 pounder belonged to the boat and they sold it for $1200.
@Raven: WHAT!!!!!!(leap into air) That side of my family (mother’s) has a serious depression legacy, from our great-great grand forbears to the present– 3 suicides in the past 10 years.
So that means we can go back to the hog-slaughterin’ and cracklin’ fryin’ that we put aside in shame???
Does that mean that I can actually tell people about those Chicken Skin Cracklings that I kind of invented by microwaving chicken skin and fat that I cut away when butchering a whole chicken?? (pretty much, I just gave everybody the recipe.)
Seriously, when they had me on Remeron, with the side effects involving appetite, I’d be thinking about the pork cracklings we used to make with the attached fried-up fat, and start salivating. On the Chicago El.
@Sawgrass Stan: Beats me, I do know that there has been some rethinking of a lot of what’s good and bad. I don’t eat any red meat at all and I avoid all that stuff. Chile relleno’s are a rare treat otherwise very little fried. You’re in the El huh, see the pictures of the coyote’s at Wrigley?
@Raven: hey are those granite counter tops?
@honus: The island is. The counters are laminate.
@Sawgrass Stan: There really is no substitute for lard in a pie crust. Also, if you’ve ever had potato chips fried in lard you’ll throw rocks at peanut oil after that. You just have to eat less.
@Raven: Sent to me by friends, I moved back to Fla. in 2001 after 23yrs. But there were coyotes in some of the cemetaries in the ’90s. I had a condo in Wrigleyville a block from the field, that’s a poignant image.
Since moving back here, though, there are now black bears near Lake Okeechobee, killing people’s dogs. Hard to imagine they’d come back this far, this fast.
@Yutsano: Or alternately, cook on low in a crock pot for about 4 hours. Just made ’em last week, and they’re one of those dishes from childhood, in my case mid to late 60’s, that my mother would make for cocktail parties, making the meatballs about 1″ in diameter. Sense memories come free with them. There’s also a mushroom canape made with Cheez Whiz that I remember sneaking with my younger brother during cocktail parties. They were the height of sophistication at the time.
@Yutsano: Man, I’m open-minded as hell about cooking strange stuff, but that sounds really terrible. It’s like pad thai made with ketchup and peanut butter.
Just because you can make it doesn’t mean you should.
I have a much faster way to do stuffed peppers. If someone begs me I’ll post it. Tamara’s recipe is great but time-consuming as well. Excellent for the underemployed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
@Raven: The idea that lard is actually good for you is violently disturbing my whole world view. I feel like next you’ll tell me I should have voted for Romney or that drinking a quart of scotch enhances reasoning powers.
@honus: I’m the piano player. . .Dawg.
@honus: Drinking a quart of scotch doesn’t doesn’t inhance my resining powirs? Guess i better quit doin’ those “lard n’ Glenlivet shooters” (I call ’em “Lard of the Manor”.)
You can use lard. It is all about moderation. If you overdo it, so long.
I have used lard and it is amazing how much better the pie crust tastes.
I do think we have gotten a bit fussy in this country.
If it is healthy food, I don’t want anything to do with it./snark
@TaMara (BHF): Ask and ye shall receive:
Fior di Mandorla (almond blossoms)
400g ground almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
2 egg whites
powdered sugar (=icing sugar)
preheat oven to 150C (ca 300F, gas mark 2)
mix ground almonds, sugar, honey cinnamon and lemon zest together
add only enough egg white to make a soft, firm paste (careful not to make it too wet!)
start kneading the mixture while it’s still dry – like damp sand – the oil in the almond will help hold it together.
shape into little cakes about 5cm in diameter and place on greased foil on a baking tray
bake for ca 20 min and allow to cool
dust with powdered sugar before serving.
@Maude:OK, Maude, but I have to find an acceptable way to make lard look like tofu or something in the fridge, or I’m really going to catch hell from my wife about it. Also: I don’t think they sell it in tin buckets anymore– I’m getting nostalgic.
@Sawgrass Stan: I’m going on a full time lard, scotch and chocolate diet. I expect to be sharp as a tack and never depressed again.
@Raven: That’s good. you can roll out those lard pie crusts on that marble island.
I’m using the same recipe and the same cookbook that Mom used when she used to make this meat loaf. That’s tonight’s dinner about an hour and a half before it goes into the oven. There’s a link to the recipe. It’s delicious and easy.
@Sawgrass Stan: no, it’s in little tubs in the meat case right next to the pork intestine sausage casings, which I hear are really good for you, like double scotches neat.
Hide in a new wrapper in the back of the vegetable bin. You can freeze it, like money wrapped in foil.
A bit doesn’t hurt you. No more buckets, I’d forgotten about that.
I also have used lard in bread. It’s just a smidgen.
Anyone know anything about using dermestid larvae and beetles to clean a skull?
@Yutsano: Sounds disgusting – you’d get a lot of sugarey flavor but maybe the grape becomes an essence. Might be worth experimenting but only just maybe.
@honus: Please, honus– we true Southerners prefer plastic sausage casings, so as not to waste our precious hog intestines (“chitterlings”). If you want to try ’em, be sure they’re ‘hand-slung’ to insure you won’t be eating any more pig shit than you have to.
(My sister and me would eat outside when Mom made chitlins for Daddy. The smell is, uh, ‘distinctive.’)
@Sawgrass Stan: I have a friend who loves tripe. It too has a very distinctive aroma when cooking. My friend’s wife wouldn’t let him cook it when she was home; if she was away on a business trip I would let him cook it (I’d even start it for him) as long as I could then go shopping at the mall and if he didn’t try to make me taste it.
@PurpleGirl: Tripe face boogie now boogie my sneakers away. . .
I don’t dig potato chips
A can’t dig torts
Tripe my guacamole, baby
Tripe my shorts
@Raven: I’ll have to send a link to my friend.
@PurpleGirl: Send em the entire Waiting For Columbus album, one of the great all time jams. Lowell George left way too soon.
I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still, willin’
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice, Dallas Alice
I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’
I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet and I’m still… willin’
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I’m still
And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin
@mainmati: It’s a pretty big leap of faith to try, but believe it or not it balances out. It’s almost like a sweet and sour but a little bit heartier. It was quite the pleasant surprise, plus now I have grape jelly in the house for PB & J sammies!
@TheMightyTrowel: Yes I did, thank you so much!
@Yutsano: Horsecrap. Green peppers sauteed in olive oil with onions and seasoned wIth salt and pepper make a delicious accompaniment to roasted Italian sausages, whether on a plate or on a bun (red sauce optional). And they’re great on pizza too.
@Raven: Skull Taxidermy sells a starter kit.
Not recommending nor dis-recommending, since I have no specific knowledge of this company, nor the quality of their beetles.
I had hoped that Skulls Unlimited http://www.skullsunlimited.com/ and Skull Cleaning (3rd link, but join the two words with no hyphen plus the usual American commercial domain suffix) would have more specific info, but they didn’t.
@Sawgrass Stan: They sell it in bricks the same size as butter in the supermarket, by the crisco etc. My local store has giant lumps that have not been rendered yet too, they look pretty disgusting though.
@Yutsano: Regrets for Saturday night–unfortunately, that’s moving day from Issaquah back to Seattle.
Hope you all have much more fun than I’ll be having!
@Raven: Just when I thought I’d seen everything on this fucking blog…
Here are some stuffed mini peppers I made in July:
I put fresh herbs (parsley, lemon thyme, summer savory, basil) in the food processor with some spinach and walnuts. Stuffed them 2/3 full, put in a thick slice of local smoked mozzarella on top, and then put grated Romano over that. They didn’t take long in the oven as they were small. Also you can pick them up and not have to use cutlery.
@muddy: you’re very welcome – they’re really really addictive. I hope you like!
ETA: your stuffed peppers look YUM.
The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
Yeah, I agree with Ash Can. Ripe bell peppers are just completely insipid and tasteless. Maybe if you’re eating them raw…but in cooking you’ve got to have green peppers, the harsher and bitterer the better—that’s where the flavor comes from. (Of course, we only get the culls as green peppers any more, since they’ve discovered the freakin’ yuppies will pay four times as much if they let them ripen.)
As far as the lard discussion goes, it’s a little known fact that bacon grease has exactly the same balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats as olive oil, the centerpiece of the famous Mediterranean diet (plus being the nectar of the gods), but I guess it’s a hard sell to health food types. (Lard is what’s left when all the lower-melting fractions in bacon grease are rendered out—but unfortunately that means bacon grease is perishable.)
Now, of course, this ignores the whole nitrites/nitrosamine debate. I guess they should leave the nitrites out, but it’s been proven over and over again that people will not buy gray meat, so that’s a public education issue, I guess.
@TheMightyTrowel: I even found the old spritz shooter to make them with! It’s snowing here now, tomorrow will be a great baking day.
Green peppers are just unripe and they really mess with my belly. Raw, cooked, it doesn’t matter, they are made of pain.
@muddy: It’s 35C here (hot and sticky!) I’m contemplating never cooking again.
@TheMightyTrowel: I was in Australia in July 1975, an old lady came up to me in a store, actually poked me with her cane, and asked why I wasn’t in school. I said, in some surprise, that I was on summer vacation. She withdrew from the apparent loonie with alacrity. I grew up overseas and my accent was basically mid Atlantic ocean. A lot of people in Australia thought I was from England. Not as many American tourists back then? People in the US thought I was English, but of course none of the English thought so.
Also was in NZ, I got a big kick out of this old man on an opinion spot after the news, he was bitching that the Kiwis were all getting soft, putting their thermostats *all the way up* to 60*F. Soft, like Americans, he said, in some dudgeon.
I keep the house at 60* myself now, and I often think of him. And bring him up when guests complain it’s cold in here. Hey softie, wear a damned sweater!
You pie’d yourself?! That’s a first for this blog, I think.
@muddy: I have that mid atlantic ocean accent – all my boston family piss themselves when I talk. :) I spent a lot of my childhood in NC so I’m pretty hardy. As long as I have iced tea, I don’t need aircon.
@TheMightyTrowel: I have a friend who emigrated to Adelaide as an adult, but still picked up a lot of accent. She had a Chicago accent before, now it’s half and half. It sounds pretty funny actually, because she uses the extreme forms of both, not a blending.
@muddy: My partner is british and has laughed at my accent for 7 years. I’m hoping the Strine hits him harder than it hits me (but it probably won’t) just so i can point and laugh for once.
Point and laugh anyway, and play like it’s worse than it is. Maybe he will then lose interest. ;-)
@muddy: One can only hope.
Not even the first time today.
I saw that & snatched it but don’t know when I will try them.
Those Wasp Nest cookies I posted last week were also GF, Muddy. I’d also suggest coconut macaroons as they are meringue based & should be GF
Went to bed early last night as I was not doing well so I hope people still see this comment:
I wanted to thank whoever it was that posted about the chocolate molasses cookies. I made a batch of them over the weekend & they are wonderful! Unfortunately I totally spaced on who it was that posted about them.
I just made sausage & peppers for dinner Wed. For a change I didn’t add red sauce I made the sauce with olive oil, garlic and grated Parmesan cheese that melted in quite nicely and served it over radditori.
Love ripe peppers raw but for cooking with other flavors green ones stand up & the ripe ones fade out. Maybe those two ladies don’t like the taste of peppers but I do. YMMV
I make an old family recipe from browned ground beef or turkey, onions, bacon, corn meal mush, shredded cabbage and lots of pepper. The resulting mixture can be stuffed into bell peppers or large cabbage leaves and steamed or baked. Yum!
@Raven: Could I have a cite? I use lard and schmaltz, but I keep them in the refrigerator. My mother kept the can on the back shelf of the stove.
Am I wrong to think that consuming mass quantities of rancid fat is not good for one?