I picked a half peck of peppers…now what? Simple Pasta with Summer Vegetables and Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa
I was shopping at the market and locally grown bell peppers were on sale for $2.99 for a half peck. The lady behind me in the check out line asked, “What do you plan to do with all of those?” I had to be quick on my feet with a response, but truthfully I thought I’d buy them first, then figure out what to do with them later.
I brought the 25 multicolored bell beauties home with me. I rinsed about half of them, deseeded, sliced and froze for later use. The texture does not hold up when freezing, but they still taste great when added to chili, fajitas, casseroles, etc.
I cut up one for immediate consumption- as a vehicle to my mouth for some zucchini hummus that I experimented making (that recipe will have to be shared at another time). Three more were used in a simple but tasty pasta:
Saute onion (Yellow Wood Farm), and garlic (my backyard garden) in olive oil until softened. Add the chopped bell peppers (Thies Farm) and cook a bit more; add salt, pepper. Serve over cooked Mangia Italiano spaghetti (St. Louis) and top with some shaved Methuselah cheese (Heartland Cremery) and chopped locally grown tomatoes (Zimmermann).
This recipe is simple enough and fine as is, without extra seasoning. But I happened to have a “little something special” from my dear friend that lived in Rome, Italy. When she came to visit, she brought with her white and black truffle pate as a hostess gift (like I said, she is a dear friend!). No, this Italian truffle pate not a local item but what a treat! Just a spoonful added such a nice boost of flavor. Hope she can visit again soon.
I picked a peck of peppers now what (part 2):
The rest of the peppers went into making Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa. I like making quinoa because it cooks fast and is super healthy. To bring out the flavor, I like to toast the dry quinoa in a skillet then cook in vegetable or chicken broth (rather than water).
Saute garlic and chopped onions (Yellow Wood Farm) in olive oil until tender. Meanwhile toast quinoa in dry skillet then add to boiling broth until cooked;
Cook the corn on cob, remove from cob when cooked (or shortcut: use frozen corn); cook any type of dried beans you have on hand (this was the last of my local kidney beans- must acquire more!!) or use rinsed canned beans. Halve bell pepper and discard seeds. Mix the corn, cooked quinoa, garlic, onion and beans with salt, pepper and spoon into halved peppers.
Top with shredded cheese of choice (I had a local Havarti on hand). Bake at 350 until cheese melts.
After mixing all of the ingredients together, I realized there was a LOT of extra quinoa filling so I decided to bring as a side salad for the next day’s “kids are at school, mom’s by the pool” get together. Rather than stuffing into a bell pepper and serving warm, I added chopped bell pepper (yep, still had some of my ½ peck left!) and cubed cheese. I also added a yellow heirloom tomato that I had. My gal pals loved it!