Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bell peppers reaching their peak

Mixed peppers

Mixed peppers

July 25, 2007


Random bell pepper fact of the day: They originated in Mexico, and were probably spread to South and Central America by birds.

Now, we can enjoy them in North America, too, and at no time more than right now.

Almost all bell peppers start out green, and some of the sweeter varieties end up turning other colors (such as red, yellow or orange) as they ripen.

Aliza Green, in her book "Field Guide to Produce," offers these suggestions for choosing and storing bell peppers:

¢ Choose fresh, firm peppers that are bright in appearance and have thick flesh with a firm green stem. They should feel heavy for their size.

¢ Avoid peppers that are immature - ones that are soft, pliable, thin-fleshed and pale green in color. Also avoid ones that have wrinkled skins or brown or soft spots.

¢ Bell peppers will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. Since red peppers are riper than green ones, they will spoil faster. Mini-peppers will keep up to two weeks.

¢ Don't wash peppers until you're ready to use them.

Gourmet Stuffed Peppers

  • 4 medium peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Cook peppers, drain on paper towel.

Heat oil in large skillet, add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in cumin and cook for 2 minutes. Add beef, breaking up with a spoon, and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, ketchup, horseradish and salt, cook 6 minutes more and remove from heat.

Stir in cooked rice and cheddar cheese. Spoon into peppers. Top with parsley. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until hot.

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Grilled Garlic Chicken with Bell Peppers

  • 3/4 cup purchased herb or Italian salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
  • Cooked white rice

Whisk dressing, rosemary and garlic to blend in large bowl. Add chicken and all bell peppers and toss to coat. Let stand 1 hour or cover and chill up to 1 day, tossing occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat) or preheat broiler. Drain marinade and discard. Grill or broil chicken and bell pepper until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Mound rice in center of platter. Arrange chicken and peppers decoratively around rice and serve.

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