Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Stuff 'em if ya got 'em bell peppers

So now we pick up where we left off, with a toe in need of grafting.

It's called a Kitchener stitch, and when it is done, the toe of the sock will be closed without a hint of a seam. Think of it as weaving. I can never remember how to do it without first looking for the instructions online, and once I finish Kitchenering or whatever the proper verb is, I spend at least 15 minutes just admiring this little fiber-based miracle.

After that, I get to pick out one from my "many" ziplock bags of unfinished socks. You may wonder why I would start work on multiple socks at the same time, only to stop and start a new shawl or scarf, but all I can tell you is that it's a knitting thing. I suspect other crafts like quilting (and I know from personal experience needlepoint and crochet) attract the same sort of people. The joy of starting a new project outweighs any other point in the process. Some people, like my mother-in-law, have the strength of character to finish each and every project before casting on a new one, but when it comes to strength of character, I am sorely lacking.

Yesterday was Bethe's yahrzeit, marking 3 years since we lost her. I was so focused on Cory's birthday dinner that I did not feel the date as I usually do. And yet, she came to me at a low point during the afternoon. And I miss her. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Our dinner at Morimoto's Asia was such fun. We finally got to try the Peking duck and their pork bao and a calamari salad that was unexpectedly fantastic. The boys tasted a "flight" of 4 different sakes (sake is most definitely not my drink) and we talked and admired the beautiful rooms.

Today is a day well-suited to making stuffed peppers as requested by my husband. Jewish stuffed peppers, not southern (given a choice he always chooses the Jewish version) which also happens to be one of the very first "real" recipes I learned to cook while back in college (and that, my little chickadees, is a very long time ago). The sausage and peppers I threw into the crockpot a few days ago is a big bleh, because the sausage itself was annoyingly bland. I won't be buying that again, and I know I won't be eating it (I'm kind of weird that way). I was going to make meatballs with the ground beef, but I couldn't get excited about them, and it turns out Rob already thought I was going to make stuffed peppers when he saw me buy the bag of bell peppers and the ground beef. Listen, I'm no rocket scientist, but I can work stuff like this out, and I will eat a stuffed pepper or two along the way.

I made these with 2 pounds of ground beef and however many peppers I happened to have in the produce drawer. You can see some of the peppers are rather small. Interspersed with a bunch of normals, so prepare to be flexible when it comes to number.

This is the kind of recipe you commit to memory, like eggplant parmigiana or beef brisket, something that's been in your family for so long it is as familiar as Flatbush. Meatloaf. Basically, there is 1/2 cup of rice cooked in 1 cup of boiling water for about 8 minutes, then drained and set aside.

In a couple of tablespoons of olive oil I sautéed a sliced leek, a shredded carrot, and 2 chopped garlic cloves. If you wanted to grate a small onion and leave it raw (instead of the leek) fine. Leave out the carrot. Add some fresh thyme leaves. You get the idea. 

Combine the ground beef with the cooled leek-and-carrots, the cooked rice, 2 eggs, some ketchup or chili sauce (Heinz, not Asian style) and season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, whatever. Stuff the peppers with the filling and set aside while you make the sauce. You can leave the peppers whole or cut them in half before stuffing, the only thing that might change is how long you cook them. The sauce is 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons lemon juice. Break up the tomatoes and heat it up or not. Pour it over and around the stuffed peppers, cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes.  

Enjoy. You will, I know.

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