Cooking with Peppers

Fresh Pantry, PeppersTis the season for getting the last of the peppers. Now is a GREAT time to roast and freeze varieties that aren’t available all year – sweet Jimmy Nardellos or fresh and hot cayenne or hungarians. You can also pickle pepper, or make big pots of pepperonata for winter stews and snacking. All of the below recipe ideas are available in my eBook, Fresh Pantry : PEPPERS, which also includes 14 recipes + essays on How To Grow Peppers all Winter Long and an instructional method for making Homemade Red Chile Flakes. For anyone reading this post, I’d love to offer it to you for $.99. Follow this special link to download and purchase. For now, the goal is fresh-eating – enjoy them while you can with these recipe ideas.

BAKED PEPPERS, TOMATOES & EGGS
My perfect breakfast pairs a mass of vegetables with baked or fried eggs. Here, tomatoes and bell peppers are stewed with a generous mix of spices, drawing on the traditional North African dish shakshuka. A raw egg is cracked into the stewlike mixture and poached until just done. The goal is for the yolk to break and bleed into the peppers. You can bake this dish in individual ramekins or crack four eggs into a large sauté pan and cook them all together to serve a crowd.

Peppers, Amy Pennington

SEARED STEAK with QUICK PICKLED PEPPERS
Here, perfectly cooked steak is succulent, seasoned only with salt and pepper. The beauty of this dish lies in the quick-pickled peppers. Choose peppers that have some heat—serrano, jalapeño, or even Hungarian peppers all work; you are only limited by how much heat you prefer. I like serranos for their medium heat and bright red pop of color.

Peppers, Amy Pennington

SEAFOOD BAKE with FENNEL BULB & PEPPERS
I love this recipe for both its effortlessness and promised piquancy. An abundant portion of seafood is paired with a savory, thick pepper and tomato sauce spiked with preserved lemon. Caramelized onions and fennel bulb add yet another layer of flavor. Cut the fish into approximately the same size as the scallops and shrimp so they cook simultaneously. This elegant but quick-cooking meal is sure to impress. Healthy, light, and simple on its own, it can also be served with a bowl of pasta, the sauce spooned over.

Peppers, Amy Pennington

5 for Friday :: Lidia Bastianich

about_lidia-2I have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

Today we feature graceful celebrity, Lidia Bastianich. She needs no introduction for anyone who loves food. Lidia has hosted several cookings shows on PBS, including Lidia’s Italy which is produced by Tavola Productions, an entertainment company she founded and oversees. She owns four restaurants, is a partner at Eataly in NYC, owns a B&B and winery in Friuli (see #3 below) and has authored MANY award-winning books.

Lidia Bastianich is a business powerhouse that should Continue reading

HOW TO :: Quince Recipes

quinceSeveral years ago, I received an email from a friend, who had a friend who was giving away 40 pounds of quince. I didn’t even know what quince was back then, but I figured I could preserve it easily enough. I sent an email to this woman I’d never met. Within hours, I found myself driving to Ballard. I rang her bell, she invited me in, we had some tea and I walked away with over ten pounds of quince. Better still, I made a new friend.

Every year since, Elaine has emailed me to let me know when her father’s quince tree ripens. I drive to her place, chat about food (last year’s topic du jour—kimchi), and walk away heady with a huge bag of fragrant yellow fruit. Quince is beautiful when poached, roasted or baked but it absolutely shines as a Continue reading

Getting Busy With The Fizzy :: Homemade Cocktails with SodaStream Play

sodastreamIn the latter half of the 18th century, carbon dioxide was introduced into water creating soda water or seltzer. (Interesting food fact – the origin of the name seltzer hails from water that had natural effervescence and came from the town of Nieder Selters in Germany.) Today, anyone can make fizzy water at home and can vary the degree of the fizz and the amount of bubbles in each glass. Personalizing soda water may sound a bit bourgeois, but I liken myself to a soda water connoisseur and find most people have a preference. I like a slight, small bubble. My sister’s family prefers big, round bubbles that explode in the mouth. All five of my nieces and nephews are soda water snobs – slightly flat and they turn up their nose.

I’ve been coveting a SodaStream  for years and finally got my hands on my very own machine. Continue reading

Homemade Fruit Leathers :: How To Dehydrate Fruit

_MG_3639Dehydrating fruit is a simple and easy task of little effort, though it does take some inactive time. One of my garden clients has an old and poorly pruned apple tree, resulting in knobby fruit that is not pleasant for eating fresh. Cooked down, however, it made a lovely base for cinnamon & nutmeg scented fruit leathers. I am using a food dehydrator, but you can easily do this project in the oven, finishing to dry at room temp should any moist spots on the leather remain. Here is a photo essay of the process, taken quickly as I was cooking the other day. Six pounds of fruit made about 70 four inch square fruit leathers – perfect for a kids snack or pre-dinner sweet. I split the batch with my friends Ronny & Catherine and their 4-year old daughter, Emerson, LOVED them.

Continue reading

5 for Friday :: Brandon Gillespie

Brandon GillespieI have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

Today we feature Italian-food loving, NYU business school graduate and Capitol Hill resident Brandon Gillespie. I came to know Brandon many moons ago when I was producing the radio show for Tom Douglas. Tom ate at Brandon’s restaurant in West Seattle (the now-closed Beato) and LOVED it. When Tom Douglas loves something, that’s saying a lot! From there, Brandon Continue reading

Fall Planting, Pacific Northwest

blueberriesAutumn is an excellent time to think about adding to your homes landscape. While vegetable gardens are transitioning to fall crop, Autumn is a great time to plant shrubs and perennials – the soil is still warm, while the cool temperatures and rain provide perfect growing conditions that support root growth. Plants will thrive come spring!

I just found out that neighborhood nursery, Swanson’s in Ballard is having an amazing sale on trees, shrubs and perennials just now – 30% off until September 30th. They have a large selection of blueberry bushes and some gorgeous low-growing native flowering plants, like these gorgeous hellebores. And check out this stunning Continue reading

International Food Bloggers Conference 2014

This is first year I will attend, legitimately (as opposed to sneaking in for a session or two here and there) the International Food Bloggers Conference, being hosted by Foodista.com and held in Seattle. This conference is an excellent resource for food lovers (they have SO many brands represented and on display all weekend), food bloggers (a weekend packed with technology sessions and information), media types (unfettered access to active bloggers) and businesses seeking to commiserate with food experts. While the conference is ONE WEEK away, there are a few spots left! Sign up here and let me know you’ll be coming. Continue reading

Preserving Plums

Together, plums and cherries make a happy marriage of texture and flavor: plums break down easily in cooking, and cherries hold their shape. They are both stone fruits, and maintain a slight almond essence that can be highlighted with a splash of brandy or kirsch. Plums are excellent fruits for both sweet and savory preparations. Broken down into a luscious sauce spiked with Asian flavors, they are easily manipulated into a silky condiment. The sauce also comes together quickly and will take little more than an hour to make and jar, resulting in the perfect jar of preserves for gift-giving. Continue reading