Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stuffed Peppers!!
    This is not going to be your average blah blah blah recipe.  Instead let's just have a chat about peppers because they are coming on like gangbusters right now and the time is right for making stuffed peppers.  There are 101 ways to make stuffed peppers but if you are like I am, you may revert the same old, same old recipe you've used for a hundred years.  Let's throw open the pantry door and get creative!

    First there is the pepper itself. 
     Most of us used the plain old green pepper.  This time of year, yellow peppers, red peppers, banana peppers, and a host of pepper varieties are out there at the farmers market.  Pick something new or something you haven't tried stuffing.  Clean it, take the seeds out and either cut the top off to stuff or cut it lengthwise.

    Second let's talk about what to stuff in it.  I usually resort to the somewhat boring combination of ground beef, egg, maybe some finely chopped onion, maybe some cracker crumbs or a dash of milk, salt, pepper, other spices if I have them, parsley, and of course worcestershire sauce and ketchup.  The trick is to add just enough egg and milk to make it so it won't be dry and hard.  You can still use these ingredients, but how about considering the following as add ins:
    -chopped tomatoes

    -any variety of shredded cheese
    -drained black beans
    -feta cheese
    -in addition to ground beef, try ground chicken, turkey, sausage or some combination of meats
    -shredded zucchini
    -chopped mushrooms
    -chopped olives
    -your favorite vegetable finely chopped
    -canned drained corn
    Lastly there is the topping and baking.  You can top with the traditional ketchup that turns into carmelized deliciousness or how about barbecue sauce, hoison sauce, salsa,  sweet and sour sauce, a slice of tomato, or a slice of cheese?  

    The great thing about stuffed peppers is you can freeze them.  Be sure to blanch the cleaned and seed free peppers for at least a minute before stuffing.  This keeps them from being a mushy, slimy mess when you finally bake them.

    Bake your thawed or fresh stuffed  peppers at 350 degrees for about one hour.  Pulling out frozen stuffed peppers to cook in the winter helps recall the wonderful freshness of the summer harvest!  Mix it up and enjoy!

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