I have been thinking too much, and it depresses me. The world is a strange and scary place. So many young people have become disaffected. There is no such thing as patriotism among members of certain generations. The United States have become increasingly Balkanized; people no longer identify as Americans, but as members of some other religious or racial or ethnic group just happening to live here.
I don't think it is jingoism to consider this the very best country in the world. There is no place else on earth I would rather be from, or return to. Unfortunately, the old "love or leave it" attitude is causing unforeseen problems as all those misfits leave it, only to join some radical terrorist group bent on our destruction. I still tear up at the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner; I hope the day never comes that my patriotism will label me the misfit.
I wasn't planning on making stuffed peppers, but I saw these baby bell peppers when we were in BJs this past weekend, and had a sudden inspiration. These make a particularly nice presentation for dinner guests. There are around 16 baby bells in a 2 pound bag. They were so adorable I wanted to pinch their little cheeks, but instead I attacked them with a tomato shark. Now, don't report me to Animal Services, just keep reading.
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons bacon fat
1 small onion chopped small
1 carrot, grated
1 tablespoon minced garlic or Gourmet Garden chunky garlic paste
kosher salt, ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 - 8 shots of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons zante currants
1/4 cup Lundberg Jubilee Rice
1 - 12 oz. bottle Heinz chili sauce
1/3 cup wildflower honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cook the rice in almost-boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes, then drain well. Remove the stem and core from each pepper, then shake out seeds, Use your fingers to pull out the white veins (what the seeds are attached to), and set aside.
Prepare the filling: cook the onion, carrot, and garlic in hot bacon fat until softened. Add the beef, and cook while breaking up with a spoon. Add the seasonings, then simmer together for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Don't leave out the Worcestershire.
Stir in the rice and the currants. Refrigerate the filling overnight, or at least for several hours before stuffing the peppers. I like to use a demitasse spoon, or a baby spoon, to fill the peppers. When they are filled, arrange them upright in an ovenproof baking dish or pan. Combine the chili sauce, honey, and lemon juice and whisk together to combine. Pour the sauce around and over the stuffed peppers. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes until peppers are tender and done to your liking. Baste occasionally with the sauce while cooking.