winter stuff ::::
There are four things that really distress me:
1. Adults who ride adult-size tricycles to the farmers’ markets, complete with large baskets saddled over the back;
2. Able-bodied adults who believe traveling via Segway is an enjoyable and fashionable mode of mobility;
3. Clothing designers who seriously believe that infants’ wardrobes need hoodies
4. People who wax prolific about stuffed peppers, when most of them are soggy messes.
Why a tricycle? As an able-bodied adult? I don’t understand. Isn’t a bicycle enough? Don’t you understand that the size of the tricycle in a tightly crowded farmers’ market just annoys people? Secondly, it looks kinda dumb.
Enter the Segway. Why not just use a child’s motorized scooter? It’s less expensive, less bulky, and just a tad more socially acceptable.
Re: infant hoodies. Imagine yourself lying supine and unable to lift your head. You are fully dressed, hood on your back, trouser pockets (with buttons!) thick on your bottom, causing you to feel as though you are lying on a bed of lumpy, ropey pillows. You are fussy because of the uncomfortable clothing and position in which you are lying, yet all of the adults in the room, hoodless and unpocketed, just try to shush you to sleep.
Since I can’t ban adult-sized tricycles or segways, nor do I have a hand in the children’s fashion business (but if you do, stop the madness!), the only one of these I can truly address with some credibility is the formidable stuffed pepper. Unlike me and my smug attitude over embarrassing modes of transportation and infant fashion, peppers can be somewhat forgiving. But only if you treat them right.
And here, they are treated with a large dose of sausage and a long bake in the oven. Many recipes par-boil the peppers before baking, which I find leads to a soggy finish. Start with the perky, raw peppers, stuff them with the cooked rice mixture, and soothe them with a long, foil-wrapped bake, and you won’t understand why you hadn’t done it this way all along. Eat and I found the smoked fontina cheese to be the key to flavor success in this recipe. Also a definite plus if you don’t own an adult tricycle.
- 6-8 bell peppers (depends on the size of your peppers)
- 1 pound calabrese sausage (or whatever is your preference)
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 cup of uncooked white or brown rice (you will cook this before stuffing it in the peppers)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
- 1 tablespoon basil, dried
- 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1½ cups smoked fontina cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker. Fluff and set aside.
- Meanwhile, using a paring knife, remove calyx and stem from top of each pepper. Remove the seeds and ribs from inside the peppers. Rinse in cold water to remove any hiding seeds, shake out, and set aside.
- In a large pan, cook sausage while breaking into small pieces over medium-high heat until browned. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of grease.
- Over medium heat, add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 3 minutes until onions soften.
- Add tomatoes, cooked rice, basil, oregano, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. (You can also cool and place in fridge to use within 24 hours.)
- When the mixture is cool, add 1 cup of the fontina cheese and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stuff peppers with the rice mixture by filling the peppers firmly but gently, creating a small mound at the top.
- Place the peppers in a baking dish so they stand upright and cover with foil.
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking at 1 hour to ensure peppers are not too soft.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle each pepper with remaining cheese. Return to oven for 15 minutes to melt cheese. Serve hot with a good glass of red wine.