Peppers Archive

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

black bean soup with toasted cumin cream

So, I told you about the brisket. Or, the way we talk about it, thhhuuuuh brisssssket, it’s deliciousness making our syllables stretch out melodramatically. We pulled it into tacos with slaw and pickled onions and it was a great end to a great year. But I bet I know what you’ve been wondering since then, “But no appetizer?” Well, let thie question vex your brain no longer: we had soup. (Jacob, however, got into the margaritas. Again.)

dried black beans
red onions

My friend Jocelyn made a wonderful black bean soup and she topped it with a toasted cumin seed crema and I just about died, the crema was so good. I mean, the soup was delicious but the crema was one of those toppings that was in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamist, smokiest accent to a spicy, hearty soup. Since I’ve been slow cooker obsessed since that very day, I vowed to make a version entirely in my new BFF, and to top it with that toasted cumin seed cream. Frankly, the soup is just an excuse to get to it.

onions, beans, peppers and garlic

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

jalapeño-cheddar scones

jalapeno cheddar scones

I wore heels to the hospital when I showed up for my induction four weeks ago. Heels. And a sundress. Oh, and my mother and I decided to walk there from the doctor’s office, since it was such a nice day (we only made it ten blocks, but still). Heels. Sundress. A stroll on a lovely September day. I say this not to point out how ridiculous I can be — because really, I believe it points itself out — but to outline this thing I do where I get an absurdly ambitious ideal in my head and spend the rest of my time trying to close the gap between the dream and my reality.

jalapenos
white cheddar

Hm, perhaps that didn’t make much sense. Let me put it in food terms. Before I had the baby, I attempted to spend some time baking and stashing, no, not practical things like meals to save us from an endless rotation of diner eggs and takeout pad thai, oh please no. I made things like treats to woo extra-awesome care from labor and delivery nurses and granola bars that our families in the waiting room might enjoy and some date cake we could all enjoy with some fresh baby and coffee the next day. Like I said, absurd. I also imagined that we’d have an influx of visitors in the weeks after we took Jacob home, and realizing I’d have no time to put out my usual spread, decided to ambitiously bake some things we could set out as needed … like banana bread. And lemon cake. And scones. Except I only got to the scones. At least I picked good ones.

mixing the scone dough

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

summer pea and roasted red pepper pasta salad

summer pea and roasted red pepper pasta salad

I’ve spent way too much time this summer trying to dream up a pasta salad that wasn’t boring, or predictable, or well, you know, the kind of familiar pasta salad territory you don’t need me to go over for you. Because I love a good pasta salad, I just don’t find them often. Usually, they’re missing the freshness you’d expect from something you eat in the summer, when the markets are bursting at the seams with peak-season produce. Often the dressing is a throw-away, either a too-plain vinaigrette or heaps of mayonnaise, lending itself to more of a mass than a salad. So I knew what I didn’t want, I just hadn’t figured out what I did.

fresh peas in pods

Not for the first time, the inspiration came from a little French restaurant in our neighborhood, which along with the usual deliciousness — roasted chicken, steak frites, mussels, yes please — always tucks some sort of straight-from-the-market freshness on the specials. It said “Five Bean Salad” but what arrived was a plate, no, platter of al dente shell peas and snow peas and skinny green beans and fat yellow beans and sugar snaps and cranberry beans and favas, tossed in a roasted red pepper sauce with little bits of chevre tucked within. It was like a plate of summer, and even though I am so not the finish-your-plate-even-if-you’re-full-type the thought of letting even one fresh pea go to waste felt even more wrong and so I ate the whole thing and look at that folks! I guess preggo finally has her appetite back. Or was emphatically craving green vegetables.

snow peas

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

mediterranean pepper salad

medi

I have to own up to something: I’ve lost interest in leafy salads. There was a time when we filled out every dinner meal with mixed greens with a light vinaigrette and any plate without them looked sparse. But somewhere along the line, the world of lettuce has been so co-opted by bagged and pre-washed, chlorine-tinged flavorless green leaf-looking structures (what, do I sound like I have a bone to pick with them or something?) that not even fancy restaurants are a reliable source of good leafy salads anymore, and so, for the most part, I’ve bowed out, making only occasional exceptions made for nice greens mix or crunchy, velvety Bibb lettuce at a farmers market.

red onionbell pepperskirby cucumberfeta

Leafy salads are overrated, anyway, especially in the face of the big crunch and longer fridge shelf life of mixtures like this. And well, I know that chasing chocolate snack cakes with such egregious healthfulness will likely encourage nothing but yawns, the truth is, little has changed since I coined myself months ago The Most Boring Pregnant Eater, ever, with my steady diet of grapes, raw broccoli and now sweet red peppers. [Don't worry, I still had ice cream for dinner last night, except it was actually a frozen yogurt shake with a cup of chopped mango blended in -- like I said, boring! ]

quick-pickled red onions

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Friday, November 14, 2008

chickpea salad with roasted red peppers

 chickpea salad with capers and roasted red peppers

I know, chickpea salad? What a letdown, right? Well, what can I say except that there is simply no way to chase cookies with bits of tangy toffee and bitterish walnuts in a cookie that is pure brownie awesomeness in the middle, replete with the shiny crackled lid…

I’m sorry. I just had to get one more. I can stop anytime. (Also, we’ll be out soon, anyway.)

roasted red peppers

But there must still be a place in our hearts and gullets for chickpea salads, lest I wish to be a story on evening network news about the crane that had to come and extract me from our walk-up when Alex could no longer roll me down the stairs. And this one–yet another great find from Deborah Madison–is no bad place to start: fresh roasted pepper strips, capers, a little mint and a little garlic, it was just another salad in a spread that has turned out to be one of my favorite thrown-together dinner parties in ages. Almost everything made in advance, I actually got to (get this) sit down and hang out with my friends! Revolutionary, I tell you.

chickpeas

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