Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fiesta

I accidentally hit "Return" when I first uploaded my pics, so my apologies if anyone happened by and wondered why there was no explanation!

Well, here's your explanation. Our garden is kaput. Dead. Tomatoes are done; neglected, attacked by rabbits, their yield was negligible. There are still several brussels sprouts plants out there, but whether they're worth harvesting I'm not sure. Miss Chef's hot peppers grew as tall as I am (five feet or so) before finally bearing a few fruits, which according to her have no heat whatsoever. the spring, having run out of room for the yellow bell pepper plants I had bought on a whim, I decided to put them in a flower bed right out front, where I hadn't had much luck getting anything to fill in. Isolated from other garden pests and getting full afternoon sun, they've done very well. Many of the peppers have been attacked by bugs, but last week I saw about four that were of good size and ready for harvest.

Plus, we had bought some ground beef at the farmers' market, which needed to be used. Solution?

Stuffed peppers! I'm proud to claim this idea, as I'm more the type to stare into our overflowing pantry and wonder what the heck I can make for dinner. This idea leaped to mind because I know Miss Chef has a tender spot for her mom's stuffed pepper recipe--beef, rice and tomatoes. I, on the other hand, can't stand bell peppers because of their bitterness. But yellow bell peppers are much sweeter; I figured it was a perfect storm of perfect ingredients.

We often have the pleasant surprise of realizing that most of the ingredients we're using are local. Sure, the rice we bought from the grocery store, but we grew the peppers and the herbs, Miss Chef canned the tomatoes (bought from the farmers' market), and the beef, onions and garlic are all local. Hooray!

I did most of the chopping while Miss Chef started browning the beef. I also got distracted by the intriguing beauty of the interior of a green pepper:

Isn't that cool? Miss Chef came out from the bathroom while I was taking this picture, and I figured she would think I was crazy. But she said she loves the way I notice little things like the inside of a pepper. That's good; it's reassuring to know she appreciates my little eccentricities.

So once I was done screwing around, I finished cleaning out the peppers and stood them up in a casserole. Ain't they purdy?

As you can see, we had to supplement with a few green ones (still from the farmers' market, though). We cooked up the filling, Miss Chef stuffed 'em and baked 'em, and out they came:

Um...not so pretty, huh? Those green ones are pretty wrinkly; I was right to stick to the yellow ones. Which, of course, tasted great! Yummo. I took stuffed pepper to work for lunch a couple of days--one pepper may not be very big, but it is very filling. So in spite of their looks, these were a success.

My second culinary adventure this past week was this little fellow:

Huh? Well, remember my fragment several weeks back about Pepsi Throwback? It's the version using sugar instead of corn syrup. I had wished I could try a Coke throwback, since I'm more of a Coke gal. This little bottle is as close as I've gotten. Why? Well, take a closer look.

Yup, Mexican Coke--the legal kind. It's made with sugar down there south of the border; with the growth of stores catering to Hispanic immigrants, Mexican coke (the legal kind) has become a bit of an underground hit. This bottle was a gift from Chef Adam; Miss Chef had seen it in the flyer for our local Restaurant Depot, and mentioned my obsession with non-corn syrup Coke. So the next time he went in he grabbed a six-pack. Wasn't that sweet? (No pun intended!!)

The verdict? Meh. My corn-syrup obsessed work buddy and I tasted it together, and both decided it was kind of boring. Turns out, according to Miss Chef, it has less carbonation, so less of a bite. It did have a nice, round flavor (I know, it's not wine...), but I guess I like my Coke to smack me in the face with a sharp edge. So, I still don't know if it makes a difference to my palate to have sugar vs. corn syrup. The difference in carbonation makes it too hard to really compare.

Now I'm off to enjoy a well-earned break from the routine. My parents are coming to town--due in an hour or so--and I've taken a couple days off from work to spend time with them. Miss Chef has been chomping at the bit to roll up her sleeves and get cooking for an audience, so we'll eat well, I'm sure! Don't know how much documentation I'll get done, but I'm sure I'll have something to write about next week.

Happy weekend, y'all.


  1. Yummy stuffed peppers! I love the pic, too. And love that Miss Chef totally "gets" that side of you.

    You can actually buy Mexican Coke at Costco now. My dad and brothers swear buy it. Personally, if I'm going to have a soda, I like the idea of it not being loaded with HFCS or articial sweeteners. I'm working on dumping soda altogether now and then enjoying sugar only soda (no HFCS) as a sometimes treat!

  2. Little eccentricities are what make us interesting!

    And I think the stuffed peppers look awesome. High fives for growing the sunny beauties. I like green too.

    By the way... Coke Classic is the best. I don't trust Pepsi People. If I could afford the calories, I'd drink a Coke every day. I don't even drink Coke Zero very often, but that's my soda of choice when I do splurge.

    Who am I kidding? It's wine all the way... woot woot!

  3. Talk about throwbacks! Your post took me back to childhood - my Dad loved stuffed peppers and Mom made them the way HIS Mom had. Both parents liked them, but I'm the odd one - do NOT like those things! Mom loved eating raw peppers, too. I can tolerate tiny chopped pieces cooked in something, but that's it. Yours do look good, though.

    And now I must confess my ignorance - I didn't know there was a sugar vs. corn syrup thing about Coke. I'm an unsweetened tea person, but will have an occasional Diet Coke - it just doesn't quench the thirst, though.

    Nancy in Iowa

  4. join the "I don't like green peppers club." They are so strong, they ruin everything. However, love the yellow and red peppers. Want photo's of what Ms Chef whips up while your folks are visiting. Love the green pepper photo.

  5. Oh those stuffed peppers look goooood! I'm going to have to make some soon. I haven't had them in ages. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Wow those peppers look good. How did you grow them so big. Every year I try to grow them and end up with small, pitiful looking peppers. If they are half the size of the ones in the grocery store I am lucky.

    We haven't had stuffed peppers in forever. Might have to make some this weekend. I am a Dr.Pepper fan myself, trying to not drink too much of the stuff but it is good!


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