Category Archives: pepper

Not so special dinner

I tried, I did. I wanted to make a special Sunday night dinner, the kind that Jewish grandmothers dream of. I made roasted cornish hens and rice pilaf, enhanced with roasted vegetables and plenty of garlic. It was all fine, but the salad– my basic, beloved salad, that I somehow haven’t blogged about, stole the show.

You see, for a long time, even though I loved veggies, I hated salad. Couldn’t stand it.

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You see, for a long time, I hated salad. Hated it. Loved veggies, hated salad… and then I realized that it wasn’t salad I hated. It was lettuce (I’ve since found varieties I like), croutons, processed cheese, and most salad dressings. So I started making salads with other vegetables as the base, cucumbers being my favorite. The only consistent thing about this salad is large amounts of cucumber, onion (red or sweet), vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I add lemon juice, feta, mozzarella, tomato, basil, dill, small chunks of red pepper, and even raw garlic. Key to know, though, is that this salad needs to sit a few hours at least– the longer, the better. Think refrigerator pickles.

Hope you love this as much as I do.

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Filed under greens, pepper, vegetarian, veggies

Mostly Veg

Fondue, as retro-seventies as it may be, has become a once-a-month staple in our little apartment. Good for guests but also ridiculously easy (and low on dishes), the only downside to this dish is that the kind of cheese you’ll want to use can cost a pretty penny. South Mountain Creamery sent a whole pound of good cheddar– for $5!– last week, though, so we had friends up to share. The fondue was cheddar-beer with a little mustard, but the special part for me is all the fillings…

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Pictured: Apple, pear, broccoli, red onion, potato, and red pepper (capsicum), plus surprise favorite: hot dogs. (Like I said, mostly veg).

Not pictured: toasted french bread, garlic.

Yum!

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Filed under cheese, pear, pepper, Uncategorized, vegetarian, veggies

Meal Planning 2– Plus Recipe!

I seem to be already in the habit of posting well into the week, but I’ll try to get something done earlier into the next cycle. Of course, it would help if I’d thought past tomorrow night before now, but… no one’s perfect, right?

A few months ago I won a fondue cookbook from a Washington Post giveaway. Now, having been born after the 70’s fondue craze, I had never actually had fondue and– shock!– had never seen a real, live fondue pot. Not wanting to take a huge financial risk, I was able to get one off of Freecycle… and was amazed at how easy it was to make. For all its’ fussy reputation, it was quick and required little hands-on time (other than eating.) It encouraged me to eat slowly, and was a lot of fun to do with my beau . If you don’t have a fondue pot, don’t be alarmed; you could easily do this without a fondue pot if you were willing to periodically rewarm the cheese.

Cheese Fondue (serves 4 hungry adults)

For Fondue
2 slices bacon (optional)
3/4 c beer
large pinch salt
8 oz cheddar-type cheese, shredded (I use low-fat when I have it))
1 T flour
4 oz cream cheese (optional, I use low-fat when I have it)

For Dipping
(note: This is what I like to make, but feel free to substitute whatever strikes your fancy, so long as it goes with cheese and can be stabbed with a fork. I roast everything at 350 until it’s crunchy/ soft as appropriate, but use your judgment)
Pearl onions
Baby potatoes
Garlic bread
Hot dog chunks
Broccoli
Steak (the boy’s favorite)
Bell Pepper
Cauliflower
Apple slices

Instructions
If using bacon, cut into small pieces and lay them across the bottom of the pot. Put on medium heat until cooked (however you like your bacon cooked, doesn’t need to be any particular texture.) Spill out a good deal of the grease, but leave a little for flavor.

Add 3/4 cup beer and a generous pinch of salt to the fondue pot. Put on medium heat until it begins to boil, then turn the heat down slightly and add the grated cheese and flour gradually, stirring. Add cream cheese if desired. Stir until smooth. Add a little extra beer if needed– you’re looking for a smooth consistency (no lumps and bumps) that is thin enough for easy dipping but not so thin that it doesn’t stick. Think latex paint.

Move pot to fondue stand with lit fire. Serve with assorted dippings. Be worshiped as befits the god(dess) you are. And, if you have leftover fondue, add some cooked pasta to it and you have grown-up mac-n-cheese for the next day.

As for the menu planning:
11/8
Dinner: Leftovers

11/9
Dinner: Matzo Ball Soup

11/10
Brunch: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Dinner: Boyfriend’s choice (wound up being Chinese Takeout)

11/11
Brunch: Pierogi with onions and hot dog chunks
Dinner: Cheese Fondue! (i.e. I am the coolest girlfriend EVER!)

11/12
Potato-Leek-Bacon Soup

11/13
Baja Fresh- Mystery Shop

11/14
Papa John’s- Mystery Shop

**by the way, I pretty much always have farmers market fruit, whatever’s in season, for breakfast and leftovers for lunch. You can assume that’s the case unless I mark otherwise.

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Filed under alcohol, cheese, pepper

Peppers and Penne and Potatoes, Oh my!

Well, to be fair, only one will be featured in this entry, the other two are more… teasers. However, I made a well-recieved stuffed red pepper dish the other day, and as red peppers are an antioxidant rich food, particularly when combined with the arugula-pear salad I served it with, I’m happy to submit this entry as part of Sweetnicks’ ARF-5 event. Check out the other entries here!

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The peppers were inspired by the mushroom and cheese stuffed pepper tapas my family enjoyed at Jaleo last month. Of course, I used up all my mushrooms making Faerie Pasta, so I had to improvise, but I really think that any vegetable and cheese (or uncheese combination would work using this technique.

I used:

9 mini sweet peppers (red, yellow, and green)
2 oz fresh mozarella
2 oz feta
1/2C cooked couscous (could also use rice, or nothing– the original had no starch, but I’m a carb addict)
1/2 cup textured vegetable protein or meat (also optional, but I try’n sneak in my protein wherever I can.)
3 tbsp. tomato paste (could also use fresh tomato)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4c onions
1/4 c carrot
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2c water or broth/stock
salt/ pepper to taste

First, wash peppers thoroughly and slice the very head off, deseeding as you go. (I tried two ways, “buckets” and “boats”, and found the buckets to be better textured– even though the buckets are arguably prettier).

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Lay pepper buckets on a foil-lined tray and preheat the oven to 350.

Sautee onion and carrot in olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat until you can smell the onions, add the garlic , sautee another 30 seconds, and then add the TVP/ meat. For TVP, sautee another minute and a half, for meat, sautee until cooked all the way through.

Combine TVP/ meat mixture with other ingredients (reserving water/stock and peppers) and pulse in blender until a paste is formed, adding water/stock as necessary. The finished consistency should be that of somewhat loose mashed potatoes.

Spoon the filling into the pepper “buckets”, and bake until the pepper begins to brown/ blacken at the edges, around 20 minutes in my oven.

Serve with a salad, preferably the one I made– arugula, pear, parmesan cheese, and a mustard-vinegar dressing. Yum. I could live off of that salad, at least until I remembered that I’m obsessed with pasta.

As your trivia of the day, in Australia red pepper is called capsicum and arugula is called rocket. In fact, I didn’t know that I’d even had arugula before until I bit into it last night and realized that it was my old, familiar friend.

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Filed under cheese, Food Blogs, greens, pear, pepper, Uncategorized, veggies