Posts Tagged ‘sweet peppers’

Frankly, I haven’t been able to tell you what day it is for the past week.  I’m so confused!  I was convinced yesterday was Monday well into the evening when I sat down on the couch ready to watch our favorite Monday-night show- Lie To Me.  Sadly, it was not Monday and I was sorely disappointed!  I’ve got so many things running through my brain that I have to keep a constant written list of things I need to do.  Water the plants.  Start laundry.  Buy sister’s birthday present.  Put gas in the car.  Talk to Scott about the bookshelves.  Order cloth diapers….the list goes on and on.  At work, I accidentally say potatoes when I’m talking about carrots.  I accidentally call Ken, “Matt”  And I can’t remember where I set down my order sheet.  And to confuse the issue further, we’ve just moved.  I have to really think to remember where we’re keeping the mixing bowls, where I put the wood-floor cleaner, where we’re keeping the recycling container now, and I still haven’t found my camera (the iphone will have to suffice in the meantime). Alas, I have “baby brain” and it’s only getting worse.  (And something tells me that the post-birth sleep deprivation won’t help much!)

Serenity Now!!!!…….(p-shaw).

However, bliss comes from a simple home-cooked dinner that just hits the spot.  And bacon.  In the week-and-a-half that we’ve lived here, I’ve cooked bacon (ehem) 3 times.  I swear to you, it has brought sanity back to my life.

So last night, it all started with bacon.  We had sandwiches.  With bacon.  And peppers.  And basil.  And tomatoes.  And to be perfectly honest, I believe I found a moment of clarity.  It was fleeting.  There was a voice.  It said, “you’ve lost your mind and you won’t likely find it until that babe in utero has entered her toddler years and begins to sleep through the night”.  Oh well…

So back to the sandwiches.

Open-faced pepper and onion sandwiches with bacon, basil and tomatoes
serves 2 hungry, slightly crazed, soon-to-be- parents

  • four slices of rustic-style bread, cut 1/3-inch thick (I used a whole-wheat sour dough)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 3 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • a pinch of chili flake
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic- one left whole, and the other two minced
  • 1/4 cup plucked basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 8 thin rounds
  • salt to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil

In a large saute pan over low heat, slowly cook the bacon slices until they are crisp.  Remove to a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.  Pour off all but 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat (save it for another meal!)

Turn the burner up to medium and add the peppers and onions.  Sprinkle with salt and chili flake, toss, and cover.  Allow to cook, stirring every-so-often, until the peppers and onions have begun to soften.  Add the minced garlic and continue cooking until the peppers and onions have softened completely.  Add a little water to the pan if necessary to keep the mixture juicy.  When they are fully cooked, stir in the basil, cover, and remove from the heat.

Toast the bread.  Liberally rub the toasted bread with the remaining clove of whole garlic, and drizzle each slice with extra-virgin olive oil.  Place 2 slices of crisped bacon on each slice of toast.  Divide the pepper mixture among all four toasts, and top each one with 2 slices of tomato.  Dust with a sprinkling of salt.

Gasp, sigh, moan, and take pleasure in your moment of clarity!


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I’m not really big on rules.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I’m not really big on rules when it comes to cooking.  There are some rules that I follow steadfastly, like stopping at red lights, not BBQing on smog days, and putting the toilet seat up when I’m done (ha! pshaw!).  But when it comes to cooking, breaking the rules usually turns out well.

Take caponata for instance.  A traditional caponata is a sort of condiment or salad that contains eggplant, onion, tomato, olives, capers, pine nuts, and a few other things.  But I didn’t have all those ingredients at home, so I made caponata with what I did have at home.  I used a similar cooking method and just substituted some other things that I wanted to use up.  And it was delicious!  And who cares that it’s not traditional!

We ate our “caponata” with potatoes that I chunked up, tossed in oil and salt, and roasted til crispy.  Then we topped it with Ventresca tuna (tuna belly).  But you could also eat it along side a steak or on crackers, or stirred into pasta…


  • olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • a pinch of chili flake
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed, mortared
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups diced eggplant, about 1/2″ cubes
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, warm about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onion, celery, chili flake, and a pinch of salt, and cook slowly until they are partially translucent.  Add the garlic, bell pepper, coriander, and another pinch of salt, and continue cooking until the pepper softens.

Scoot the veggies over to one side of the pan, add a little more olive oil to the empty side, and pour in the tomatoes and another pinch of salt.  Now move the pan on the stove so that the flame is directly under the tomatoes and the other veggies are somewhat off the heat.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the tomatoes to begin to soften before stirring them into the other vegetables.  Pour the whole vegetable mixture onto a plate, scraping the pan well with a rubber spatula, and set aside.

Pour another 2 Tablespoons olive oil into the saute pan and place it over medium-high heat.  Add the eggplant, and a sprinkling of salt.  Toss.  Then allow the eggplant to sit, without stirring for a minute or two, until it begins to color.  (Note that eggplant soaks up a lot of oil, but once it softens it releases some of that oil).  Give the eggplant a stir and again, allow it to sit without stirring for a minute or two.  Add a little more oil, judiciously, if it needs it.

When the eggplant has softened and is lightly golden, pour the vegetable mixture back into the saute pan and add the vinegar and mint.  Turn the heat to low.  Give it a good stir and cook slowly, with a lid, for 20-30 minutes, until all the veggies are completely tender.  (You may need to add up to a 1/2 cup of water to keep the veggies from sticking).

Taste for salt and vinegar.  It shouldn’t taste sour, but the vinegar should counteract the richness.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Yum!

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