Peppers Archive

Thursday, July 10, 2008

chopped vegetable, watermelon and feta salad

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Wow, just wow. You sure know how to give a girl performance anxiety! I mean, how do I top a wedding cake? Am I going to have to mill my own flour? (Do you “mill” flour? Should getting the lexicon right be the first step?) Should I buy a cow so I can get the milk for free (oh, how I crack myself up…) and make butter and yogurt and mm, creme fraiche? How will a simple salad keep you interested now?

Pondering this the last couple days has gotten me back to a question I started kicking around last fall with the Pie Crust 101 instructional, but I confess got lost in the grind of holidays and the crushing business of work, work work.

chopped salad with watermelon and feta

Yet with my new, slightly-more-flexible schedule, I’m once again itching to ask you this burning question: What are you afraid to cook? I will not judge you. Here, I can start: Rice is not my forte. Oh, I can follow instructions and not-stir, not-stir and it’s manageable, possibly even edible, but I bet you would think that a girl who baked a wedding cake and enough bread to make Atkins roll over in his grave would have something like rice down pat.

But this isn’t about my myriad cooking woes–it’s all about you! No cooking fear is too small. No technique is too simple. Let’s all air this out and what I hope to do is have a sporadic series of posts in which I attempt to make it better. If I’ve posted about that food before, I’ll go back in more detail. If I haven’t, well then it is clearly time. And if I don’t know how to make it either, I might just call another guest into the smittenkitchen, if, like Torrie, they promise not to laugh at the grime we are–yes, still–in an undignified standoff with in front of the counter.

Sound good? Tell Doctor Deb your cooking fears in the comments below.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

pizza with red and yellow peppers

pepper pizza

I hope you’re not pizza-ed out yet–and if you are, can you tell me your secret?–because I’ve got two more coming this week. Wait, why is everyone leaving? Come back!

To the four of you left, if despite all of my pleading and listicled efforts to convince you that you don’t need a pizza stone, pizza paddle, bread machine, dough hook or hours of free time to make awesome pizza at home, I’ve got one more for you: I made one of these with a broken oven. Or a mostly-broken one. Well actually, it was totally broken, but only for a few hours. Nevertheless, it was dramatic, as you can imagine; we’re quite fond of our flimsy, tiny Apartment Standard oven in the smittenkitchen.

prettiest bell peppers

You see, I had bookmarked yet another lovely, simple recipe from what I think we all know by now is my current favorite cookbook, Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables a couple weeks ago, the Pizza with Red and Yellow Peppers. Yet I was concerned that I wouldn’t get the caramelized top I wanted by baking it in my oven–every oven is different, but mine simply does not excel in top-browning. So, I decided it would be time to take my own advice and such, and cook the pizza under the broiler.

color-sorted peppers, because i'm ocd

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

ratatouille tart

ratatouille tart

When I made my version of baked ratatouille back in July, I had intended to follow up with suggestions of other things you could do with leftovers, or leftover ingredients, as I always have leftover components but have not yet found a store that will sell me two-thirds of one zucchini and a half an eggplant. I really hate having a quarter eggplant leftover, because I’m very unlikely to use it and incapable of throwing it away, so what usually happens is I stash it in the fridge where it gets forgotten about, rots, is found a month later as when I scream in horror and throw it away afterall, having flashbacks to that time I lived with three friends and we were cleaning out the fridge and found something completely awful way in the back and Dave said “sorry, that was my kiwi” and I was like, “uh, that’s a lemon.”

monday dinner

I digress. Here are some of the other ways we have used elements of this non-traditional “ratatouille”:

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

couscous and feta-stuffed peppers

couscous and feta-stuffed peppers

I spent six hours on a train yesterday to and from my old stomping grounds, Washington D.C. I lived there for six years and haven’t been back in just as many, so you can imagine how crazy it was to only see twenty minutes of it, from a cab. With every turn, I jumped, remembering how we used to hang out legs out from that window above Dupont Circle over the sign for what used to be a hair salon, or that turn that always unnerved me to make from California to Connecticut and that block on Massachusetts Avenue not far from NPR where a hooker once flashed me everything as I gripped the steering wheel and willed the light to turn green already, PLEASE.

It was like confetti flitting around in a fan, all these pieces I had entirely forgotten about, like sanitized subways and the escalator at the zoo that is no less than a mile long, but others I couldn’t stitch together before we waded through the traffic to the next block. There are people who always remember things badly–high school, that terrible layover where we tried to fix our hangover in an airport bar, some years in a city others couldn’t wait to leave–but its all rose-colored glasses for me. Things are always best the way I remember them, which sometimes comes in handy when I’m in a pissy mood, or you know, trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

smoke-roasted stuffed bell peppers

smoke-roasted stuffed bell peppers

Whoops! I hadn’t meant to abandon you like that, we just didn’t have internet connectivity on our last two days of the trip. It was like 1999 or something. I got the shakes. So, where did we leave off?

After Day One at the wineries and Days Two and Three at the grill, we spent our last day on a barely too brief to mention swing into San Francisco where we wandered the Ferry Market Building and lunched at the Slanted Door with friends before heading up to Berkeley. We had dinner with a gorgeous group of food bloggers that evening at Oliveto in Oakland, and on recommendation from the lovely Shuna, breakfast at Mama’s Royal the next morning. In between these gullet-gutting excursions, we found some time on Monday to wander about the Berkeley campus where we wallowed in nostalgia for our unscheduled college days and once wrinkle-free foreheads (fine, that was just me) before jetting back to the land of late dinners, humidity and the daily grind.

dinerdinerthe gnomes r comingdiner

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