May 5, 2010

Despite my desperate mental need to get out-out-out of the house tonight, I’m forcing myself to at least stay in for dinner.  One issue I’ve run into while living alone is how wicked (sup, Boston) fast produce goes bad.  I’ve watched what was once a lovely red bell pepper get sort of wilted and sad in my fridge.  Solution? Roast the sucker! 
I don’t always cook with recipes (I call it free style-cooking,) so this isn’t exact.. Just go with the flow, my humble reader.  Let’s call this one:
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
Southwestern-Style Stuffed Peppers
1 large red bell pepper3/4 cup of dry polenta1 can of black beans1/2 onion (I used red), chopped1 cup of water (plus extra)1 limecilantro (if it doesn’t taste like soap to you)1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder1/2 tsp cuminsalt & pepper (to taste)olive oil
(Before I begin, I must disclose that I don’t own an oven.  Sad, I know.  Instead I have a pretty brutal convection oven that cooks everything faster.  For recipes I borrow, follow their directions; for recipes I create, you’re on your own!)
Remove seeds/stems from bell pepper and cut into 5-6 pieces lengthwise halves (I changed my mind after making this – cut in half and stuff them, instead of piling everything on top like I did.)
Coat in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in a metal baking pan.  Throw it in the oven at about 350 degrees.  As you cook everything else the peppers will start to roast/blacken. This is good.
In a small saute pan, heat 1 tbls of olive oil.  Add chopped onion and a bit of salt.  Saute until they start to brown/caramelize.  Remove from heat.
Rinse black beans of their odd can liquid and throw into a small sauce pan.  Squeeze the entire lime on top and mix in cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add in sauteed onion.
In the same pan you used for the onion (no need to rinse), heat water and add chile powder.  Once the water begins to boil, add in polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly.  (Be aware that polenta is super annoying to cook and you will probably have to add water and then it’ll get a little lumpy, but keep stirring and realize that these things happen)
To assemble, scoop black mixture into one side of a half of bell pepper and the polenta into the other half.  Top with cilantro. Serve immediately!
The result is a nice mixture of sweet and smokey with a bit of heat.  The lime in the beans adds a nice tang.
Question! Are there any foods that you’re scared to eat/cook because they seem intimidating? I know there’s a whole world of exotic vegetarian options that I have yet to explore, and I would like to… for your entertainment.