Tag Archives: bell pepper

Braised Bell Peppers

26 Feb

I have a new favorite supermarket, Plaza Loíza.  It’s what the call locally, Cash & Carry, but lately they have awesome produce.  I love that when I do groceries there, I can fill up a few bags of groceries and only spend $30, while at Grande 24hrs I can spend the same amount and only have 1 small little bag with me.  Amazing…

The other day Plaza Loíza had bell peppers on sale.  All bell peppers, regardless of their color – green, red, yellow or orange – all were at $1.99/lb.  If you’re a fan of bell peppers and live in PR, you’d know this is a bargain.  You can find the green ones at this price, but reds, yellow and orange too!!!!  Very difficult to find…

Now that I had these peppers, I wanted to do something special with them.  I found a recipe for braised bell peppers in an old Cooking Light cookbook.  Of course I changed it a bit to make it in a smaller quantity and to make good with what I had in the pantry.  It turned out so delicious I decided to share it with you…

 

BRAISED BELL PEPPERS

About 1 tbs olive oil
2 tsps of sofrito
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 ½ onions, sliced
A pinch of anise seed
1 tbs of tomato paste
1 cup of water
1 tbs ume plum vinegar
1 tbs fresh basil – or you could use freeze-dried too
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. In a skillet with tall sides over medium heat, add the oil, sofrito, pepper and onion strips.  Season with salt.  Sauté for a few minutes for the veggies to start to become soft.  Add a pinch of anise seeds.
  2. After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the tomato paste and mix well with the peppers/onions.  Add the water and mix it all well.  Bring to a boil.  When it does, lower the heat and partially cover.  Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until peppers are soft. 
  3. After peppers are soft, stir in basil and vinegar.  Add pepper.  Turn of the stove and cover.  Let the heat from the pot and stove finish melding the flavors together.

 

I used ume plum vinegar, an Asian-type vinegar and it tasted really delicious.  The vinegar tinge was there, but much subtle.

Roasted Veggie Stock

26 Jul

I always wanted to make my own vegetable stock… but I was inspired when I read about a year ago that someone had made a roasted vegetable stock to give added body to an Onion Soup.   I have wanted to make a vegetarian version of Onion Soup for a long time too. Why a vegetarian version?  It’s onion soup… no?  In case you were not aware, onion soup is made traditionally using beef stock or beef consommé – making it unsuitable for vegetarians.

So based on the idea that if you roast something in the oven it concentrates its flavors we got our hands dirty and made home-made roasted vegetable stock.  It’s simple; it just has a lot of ingredients and takes a little while.

 

 

 

ROASTED VEGETABLE STOCK

2 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 bell peppers, green or red, roughly chopped
1 leek, washed well
1 large shallot, cut in half with skin on
2 garlic heads
A bunch of flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs Herbamare seasoning
1 cup crushed tomatoes
12 cups of water
4 bay leaves
½ cup balsamic vinegar
  1. First we need to roast the vegetables to make the stock…  so pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Place all the cut veggies (carrots thru parsley) in 2 baking sheets.  I tried to fit them all in one, but they were too much for my baking sheets.  Drizzle them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper generously.  Sprinkle the Herbamare too.  Using your clean hands, toss all the veggies until they’re well coated with the oil and seasonings.  Try to add as little oil as possible, because if you add too much oil now, it will make your stock oilier later on.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables once during cooking.  Try for the veggies not to get too dark.
  4. When the vegetables are done roasting, transfer them to the largest, deepest pot you have…  I had to do this in two batches because I do not own large enough pots. 
  5. To the roasted vegetables in the mega large pot you’ll add the water, the tomatoes, bay leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flavors are extracted into the water.
  6. Let the stock cool down a bit so you can safely handle it.  When it is cool enough, strain the stock using a large colander over a very large bowl.  I suggest you strain the stock again using a fine mesh to make the stock as clear as possible.

 

Now you can store the stock in a bowl for use in the very near future or you can transfer to freezer bags and freeze in 1 cup or 2 cup increments to use later when making soups or risottos.

This yielded me about 10 cups of stock.  I used about 9 cups for the French Onion Soup and saved the rest for future use.

Easy to do and the flavor is spectacular.

Roasted Potato and Pumpkin Salad

3 Jul

Tell me honestly… what did you think when you read this is a recipe for a roasted potato and pumpkin salad?  Something like the traditional potato salads drenched in mayo and seasonings?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional potato salad, but this week I was in the mood for something fresher.  To add the roasted potatoes and pumpkins to a fresh green salad and dress with a light vinaigrette…  that’s something more summery!!!  I added the pumpkins because I wanted a little variety and that sweet flavor.  Plus, I had a big piece in the fridge and I didn’t want it to spoil on me. 

This might work perfect for your 4th of July picnic or backyard BBQ.

 

 

ROASTED POTATO AND PUMPKIN SALAD

4-5 baby red skin potatoes, washed well and quartered
1 cup of pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 tsp Herbamare seasoning
Fresh Baby Spinach  – or a mesclun greens mix
Tomatoes, sliced
Sweet Bell Peppers – red, orange and yellow ones, cut into thin strips
Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a roasting pan, toss together the potatoes and pumpkin pieces with the olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbamare seasoning.  Toss together until well coated.  Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the potatoes/pumpkins once, until the skins are golden brown.  Turn off the oven and leave them there for a few minutes. 
  3. In a salad bowl, combine your fresh salad components – spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers.  You can add ANYTHING you want here in your salad.  I’m just giving you what I ate and shows in the picture.  Add the potato and pumpkin pieces and toss with the vinaigrette.

 

 I guess this idea would also work with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet plantains or parsnips too.  A nice twist on the typical salad or potato salad…

Mexican Salsa

17 May

I told you I was in an international mode these days, no?  Well, around the 5 de Mayo days, with all the TV ads about Mexican treats, I wanted some of my own.

I found a  recipe for Home-Made Mexican Salsa.  Please forgive me, but I did not save the address of where I got it from.  It seemed simple enough and I had all the ingredients at hand.  Let’s make some salsa.  I should say that I omitted the canned green chiles and the cilantro… they just do not agree with me.

 

MEXICAN SALSA

1 cup chopped tomatoes – I used Viter brand that comes in a jar, but you can use 2 fresh tomatoes too, finely chopped
½ onion, finely chopped
½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated
The juice of 1 ½ limes
1 tsp of kosher salt, or more to taste
1 tsp garlic salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

 

  1. In a medium sized bowl with a lid, mix together the chopped tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and garlic cloves.   Add the lime juice, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve with corn chips or tortillas.

 

I’ll be honest.  It’s good, but I still need to tweak this recipe to make it taste more like a salsa and less like a gazpacho.  And I am not fond of gazpachos because to me, they taste like a sofrito.

So you might be asking yourselves, why in the world did Madelyn is giving us this recipe if she doesn’t really like it??????  Because it served as a great starter for these Stewed Sweet Peas.   I served the sweet peas over rice mixed with some toasted almonds and as the filling for a Potato and Sweet Pea Pastelon.

This was a tasty exercise in recycling…   try it, and let me know if you have any other “recycling” stories in your cooking repertoire. 

Vegetable Lo Mein for one

13 May

I am in a real international vibe these days…  now I am on an Asian kick.  My mom started it because she’s been craving a tofu stir-fry I make with snow peas and bean sprouts.  The thing is that we have not been able to get together to actually make it. You know how it is with busy schedules…

So, in the meantime, I made for lunch this clean-out-the-fridge stir fry.  It was a completely impromptu dish…  not even planning to share it with you just yet.  But the results were soooo good, I had to take a picture of it. 

This is really a method…  you can change it up as you prefer.  This is what I used this time…

 

 

VEGETABLE LO-MEIN for one

1/8 packet of dry whole grain pasta – spaghetti or bucatini would work well
½ onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
3-4 leaves of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into thin strips and tough stems removed
Handful of bean sprouts, washed and dried
3 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs olive oil
Squirt of honey
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds – for garnish

 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Once water is boiling, add plenty of salt and add the pasta.  Cook according to package directions, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and peppers.  Stir to coat all the pieces with the olive oil.  Add the grated garlic over the onions and peppers.  Sauté for a few minutes.
  3. When the onions start to get a cooked look, but are still crunchy, add the bean sprouts.  Sauté for a minute.  Add most of the lettuce pieces.  Sauté a few minutes more until the lettuce starts to wilt a bit.
  4. Add the cooked noodles to the skillet and toss to combine thoroughly.  Add the teriyaki sauce and toss again.  Add any remaining lettuce.  The noodles will absorb some of the sauce.
  5. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

 

This was a very nice lunch indeed.  Filled with veggies, light, yet very satisfying.  You can definitely serve this for any weekday meal. 

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