Posts Tagged ‘peppers’

Spring in Jerusalem (#KidsCook Ottolenghi)

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A confession: my dinner menu hits quite a rut in the last long, cold stretch of winter. Tired of heavy foods but without fresh spring produce, it’s a struggle to find inspiration in the kitchen. When the weather does finally turn warm (or jumps straight to 90 degrees, as it suddenly was this past week), the produce at the farmers markets still isn’t quite ready. Fortunately, I received some new cookbooks for Christmas that I finally cracked open to plan our recent holiday meals. I’m particularly smitten with Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. (I’m not the only one — the book was just named cookbook of the year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).)

sweet and sour fish ottolenghi

Between the pictures and the background stories I could spend many a evening curled up on the couch reading it — but it wouldn’t be long before I’d feel driven into the kitchen to try a recipe. Not content to try just one, I made two recipes for our Passover/Easter weekend: Saturday night’s seder featured the Marinated Sweet & Sour Fish (pictured above) and for Easter dinner the next day, Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts.

eggs and peppers on toast

The fish recipe starts with a flavorful red and yellow pepper, onion and coriander sauce — and there was far more sauce than needed for the amount of fish I used. (I used hake, which looked fresher than the cod at the supermarket that day. I’d probably try it with cod next time though.) So for lunch the next day, I reheated some of the pepper sauce, spooned it over toasted bread and topped it with sliced hard boiled eggs, olive oil and sea salt. It was so good I’m actually considering making just the pepper part again to keep on hand.

The lamb-stuffed eggplant gave me a new way to prepare lamb on Easter when it was just the family and I didn’t have an excuse to cook a whole leg of lamb. The recipe is definitely company-worthy, though, and not too labor-intensive. The eggplant is roasted first, then topped with ground lamb and pine nuts and baked some more, until it is tender and saturated with the paprika-infused sauce. Delicious.

eggplant stuffed with lamb and pine nuts

As an added endorsement, the colorful pictures also caught the eye of the littlest foodie tot — who likes to flip through the book with me and was eager to help mix the spices to season the eggplant dish.

kids cook ottolenghi

I will definitely be making the eggplant many more times, especially when local eggplant arrives at the markets later this year.

There are so many more recipes I’m eager to try. Do you have Jerusalem yet? Let us know what we should make next. (Or get your kids in the kitchen and let’s cook Jerusalem together! Need more inspiration? Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write recently made the book’s turkey and zucchini burgers — with her middle school boys’ cooking club. Love it!! And OMG! Yummy hosts a monthly “Tasting Jerusalem” cooking event, with a recipe contest going on right now.)

Eat Your Greens on St. Patrick’s Day

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

The boy is having a St. Patrick’s Day party at Pre-K today, and of course everyone was asked to bring in something green. We were brainstorming ideas and the first thing that he came up with was peas. I have to say I was more than a little proud that he thought of naturally green things first, and vegetables at that — though it didn’t take long before he was asking for green cupcakes.

green veggies for st. patrick's day

We celebrated St. Patrick’s at home a little early with an “Irish” fondue party last weekend. I boiled potatoes, blanched broccoli and sliced raw green peppers. I was hoping that the cheese sauce would entice the boy to try the peppers, but no such luck. At any rate, if you’re struggling with green veggies in your house, sometimes a simple dip (hummus or homemade ranch) can make all the difference. And fondue — a warm, cheesy dip — is fun for the whole family.

Irish fondue

Recipe: Irish Fondue

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound Landaff or Caerphilly cheese*
  • 1/4 pound Gruyere
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons Irish ale (like Harp)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 clove garlic

Serve with: vegetables, raw or blanched, boiled potatoes, sliced apples or pears, and cubes of bread.

Instructions: Set up your fondue pot. If you have the kind with a glass pot that sits inside a larger metal pot, add boiling water to the larger pot and light the flame to keep it warm. (If you have an electric fondue pot, you can cook the cheese right in the pot. I don’t, so I started it on the stove.)

Cut your garlic clove in half and rub down the inside of a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan. Pour 1 cup beer into pan and heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk flour into 2 tablespoons beer to make a smooth slurry.

When beer is warm, add shredded cheese, whisking until melted. Slowly whisk in flour/beer slurry, then let cook, stirring frequently, for a couple minutes, until thickened.  Pour into the fondue pot (the inner glass pot, in my case) and set over the flame to keep warm. You’ll want to stir the cheese periodically as you eat to keep it from hardening on the bottom.

*About the cheese: Landaff is a wonderful cheese made in New Hampshire that you may be able to find in Whole Foods. It’s an American version of the traditional Irish Caerphilly. If you can’t find either of those cheeses, try a mild cheddar (Dubliner of course is always good for St. Patrick’s Day).

Tips for Fondue with Kids:

  • Obviously this recipe does have alcohol — most cooks off while cooking. I haven’t tried this yet, but I suspect you may be able to make this recipe with sparkling apple cider if you prefer.
  • It may be easier to spoon some fondue into a small bowl for dipping — to avoid messes and burnt tongues!
  • Ask your kids for suggestions of what to dip — the boy asked for peanuts, so I added a small bowl of them to the spread. (And no, I don’t believe he actually dipped them, he’s just been on a peanut kick lately.)

In the Bag: Baked Ratatouille

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what we’ve been getting in our CSA bag, from Potomac Vegetable Farms. Of course tomatoes were the star over the past month or so, along with lots of beans, onions and garlic. Oddly, we went for three weeks without a zucchini, only to get two small ones last week. And of course now that my own, once-prolific basil succumbed in our last crushing heat wave, we aren’t getting it from the CSA either. As summer winds down, we continue to get peppers and squash (though summer squash is giving way to butternut), and eggplant.

Now I find eggplant quite lovely to look out, but they’ve been piling up in my fridge as I lacked the motivation to make something with them. I finally decided to try a ratatouille and searched the food blogs for inspiration. I came across this one from Smitten Kitchen, inspired by the movie. Well, duh. If a rat could make something delicious out of it, surely I could. Unfortunately the movie endorsement didn’t hold much sway with the boy, who declared that “only rats eat ratatouille!” I happened to find it quite delicious, with the addition of some cherry tomatoes from our garden and freshly-grated parmesan cheese. And aside from slicing the vegetables (which you can do earlier in the day, if you have time), it’s relatively fast as you simply arrange the sliced squash, peppers and eggplant in the baking dish, season, and toss in the oven. Make a side salad while it cooks and voila, a simple meatless supper to savor the waning days of summer. Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Ratatouille
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (unless you have fresh on hand)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more to oil baking dish)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush shallow baking dish with olive oil. Thinly slice the zucchini, eggplant and pepper. In the baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom. Add garlic, and a pinch of salt. Over the sauce, arrange alternating slices of zucchini, pepper and eggplant in rows across the dish. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

Sprinkle oregano over vegetables, then tuck cherry tomato halves in between the rows. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover with a piece of parchment paper, trimmed to fit inside the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Serve warm or cold. Makes 4 servings.


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Local Potluck Tuesday July 6 (and Garlic Scape Chimichurri)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

As we prepared to welcome baby #2, this holiday weekend was an exercise in clearing out our CSA produce from the fridge. We grilled flank steak one evening, and I had chimichurri on the mind but was missing jalapeno peppers. (Chimichurri is a South American pesto-style green sauce, typically made with parsley and peppers. We first tasted it at an Argentinian steakhouse in Puerto Rico, on our honeymoon.) When my dad arrived back in town, imagine my surprise that a garden-fresh care package from my sister-in-law in North Carolina contained … jalapenos! I used the last of our CSA garlic scapes, and parsley from my herb pots. Unfortunately my basil plants have quite overshadowed my parsley, so I didn’t have quite as much as I would have liked. But this turned out delicious just the same. We also roasted beets, zucchini and yellow squash on the grill. Simple and tasty!

Recipe: Garlic Scape Chimichurri
(If you don’t have garlic scapes, substitute fresh garlic cloves.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (leave seeds in if you like it extra hot)
  • 3 garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or garlic cloves, peeled)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/3 – 12 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions: Place peppers, garlic and parsley in food processor and process until finely chopped. Gradually add olive oil until a pesto-like consistency is reached. Stir in salt and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes: I rub a generous amount onto flank steak, place it in a pan and add half a bottle of beer, then marinate it for at least 1 hour before grilling. Then serve extra chimichurri along side the cooked steak. It’s also great tossed with potatoes and/or zucchini before roasting them. Enjoy!

Please join in and share what local foods you’ve enjoyed this past week!

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”

2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in a future post.)

3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.  Of course if you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to share in the comments.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up that’s fresh & local to you!

Pacific NW Snapshots: Portland Market Peppers + Morels

Monday, September 8th, 2008

In my previous wrap-up of our vacation, I mentioned the fabulous North Portland coffee shop Random Order where we had locally-roasted espresso and pies featuring locally-grown ingredients. I have a few more food highlights to share from our trip to the Pacific Northwest, where everything is big and bold, from the mountains to the coffee, the produce and the rain!

We spent a rainy morning at the midweek Portland Farmers Market downtown. Located just a few blocks from my old alma mater, this relatively small market was still a total sensory overload. So much variety and unique items, such as the Picklopolis stand, fresh Columbia River salmon and one of my favorites, Rogue River Creamery cheeses. We only bought a few things for dinner that evening as we were headed to the Coast the next day, so settled on some glorious baby artichokes, padron peppers and morels.

We were also blown away by Hot Lips’ local berry sodas. The label even specifies the farm where the berries were grown. How’s that for knowing where your food comes from?! Hot Lips is a local pizza joint where my classmates and I, after turning in all the soda cans we could round up (Oregon’s refundable cans, the husband couldn’t understand why we had to save all our cans), would fork over our change for delicious pizza. Now they make this awesome soda and in addition to the flavors at market – blackberry, blueberry, marionberry, strawberry, each with just a touch of real cane sugar and carbonated water – they serve a black raspberry from the tap. Sadly, we didn’t make it into the store to try that one.

We also bought some fresh tamales, mine was artichoke and peppers, and devoured them right there in the rain, while the toddler made his way through a pint of blackberries.

That night, we simply steamed the artichokes, sauteed the morels in butter, and fried up the peppers according to the instructions provided by the vendor. Each was remarkably fresh and flavorful and a great compliment to my Dad’s spaghetti.

I’ll post a weekly Pacific NW feature for the rest of the month, so check back every Monday! And on tap for the remainder of this week, a special series on Preserving the Tastes of Summer.