Lemony Potatoes and Sweet Peppers

Take advantage of fall (or spring) baby new potatoes, smother them with sweet bell pepper strips and a tangy lemon butter sauce, to make this dish a perfect side for just about anything.

1 lb. baby potatoes- Yukon, red bliss, purple or fingerling

1 sweet bell pepper – red, yellow or orange, seeded and sliced into strips

1 T olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

½ C chicken or vegetable broth

1 T fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 T butter, chilled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 t sea salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the potatoes and reduce heat. Simmer potatoes until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, cool, and halve lengthwise. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock. Add sliced bell peppers. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with more thyme leaves or parsley. Serves 4-6.


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies.

3 large sweet peppers- red, yellow and orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T capers
¼ C black olives, pitted and quartered (preferably Kalamata or Nicoise)
1 t red wine vinegar

1 t lemon zest
¼ C good quality olive oil (extra virgin)
2 T fresh basil and/or oregano, chopped or thinly sliced

Place the peppers directly on the burner of a gas grill or on the rack of a hot charcoal grill. As each section turns puffy and black, turn the peppers with tongs to char evenly. (If you don’t have a grill, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil in the oven, turning as each side becomes charred.) Transfer the roasted peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag, letting them cool down in their own steam. When they are cool enough to handle, halve peppers crosswise and remove stems, ribs and seeds, and remove any charred skin. (This can also be done at the sink, under running water.) Slice the peppers in 1-inch thick strips and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh basil and/or oregano, and toss well. Taste and adjust for salt, perhaps more red wine vinegar if you prefer a more tart flavor. Let salad marinate at room temperature until ready to serve. Garnish with basil just before serving. Serves 4-6.


Black Bean Chili with Citrus

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A lot of chili recipes tend toward darker flavor enhancers — expresso coffee or chocolate, or both, for a mole twist. This one takes a different approach with the addition of orange juice and it makes for a lighter, brighter chili — great as a summer chili, but also a delicious at this time of the year when citrus is abundant. This is vegetarian, but shredded chicken would certainly work well in it if you’re looking for a bit more protein. Have fun with this recipe — add sweet potatoes in the winter, and in the summer, liven it up with fresh chopped tomatoes, corn and crisp zucchini.

4 C dried black beans
2½ quarts (10 cups) water
2-3 fresh sprigs oregano, or 1 T dried
3 bay leaves
6 small or 3 large sage leaves
1 t salt
4 T olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 chopped peppers – bell pepper, Anaheim, or jalapeño (your choice, depending on taste for heat), seeds, stems and ribs discarded
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 T chili powder
1-2 t puréed chipotle in adobo, chipotle Tabasco, or chipotle powder (to taste)
1 T cumin, (crushed whole toasted cumin seed is best, if possible)
1 C orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 T rice wine vinegar
salt to taste

Garnish:

Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges
Avocado wedges

Rinse and sort the beans, discarding any stones or shriveled beans. You can soak the beans overnight in cold water (cover with several inches of water) OR pour enough boiling water over them to cover by a few inches and soak them for an hour OR skip the pre-soaking step. Soaking will speed up the cooking process. Add beans to a large pot with water. Add oregano, bay leaves, sage and salt. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done. The time will vary depending on how large, dry, or old your beans are, and if you have pre-soaked them, from anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

While the beans are cooking, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add chili powder, chili purée, cumin, and garlic. Sauté until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat. When the beans are cooked, fish out and discard the bay leaves, stems of oregano, and sage leaves from the pot. Remove, but reserve, extra cooking liquid until there is about ½ inch of liquid above beans. Add the onion mixture and salt to the pot of beans. Cook another hour or so until thickened. Add reserved liquid if needed. Add half of the orange juice, and simmer. Adjust chili heat at this point – you may or may not want to add more of your chili paste. Just before serving, add remaining orange juice, lime juice, and vinegar. Salt to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with corn tortillas, and/or rice, and garnishes.

 


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

tanis

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies. Read More


Chilled Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup

yellowI would be the first to admit that I cannot leave well enough alone. Take this soup for example. It’s pretty darn great just as it is — a refreshing, even comforting, meld of sweet yellow peppers, a hint of smoke from the roasting, the warm note of rosemary, the sharply pleasant heat from the jalapeno, finished with a bright touch of lime. But when I make it I think about the other yellow pepper soup I’ve made — the one that’s accompanied by an orange pepper soup, which are then slipped side-by-side into a single bowl for an elegant yin and yang effect. I put the question to you — too much? Ridiculously over the top for a weeknight dinner? Or are we having FUN yet? You decide. And while you are mulling, make this lovely soup, which was adapted from Fine Cooking. It made the folks at USBG happy in August 2014. And get to taste the soup. Read More