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Posts Tagged ‘Red Pepper’

As a child, my mom would often open a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup for lunch.  Served with a toasted cheesie, there was nothing quite so quick and appealing for lunch.  While I have long found canned soup to be overly salty, I still often find myself craving a warm bowl of tomato soup.  My dilemma has been finding the right tomato soup – I haven’t been overly impressed by the soups either canned, jarred, or boxed on offer at the grocery store.

My roommate recently shared a secret with me: making homemade tomato soup is easy.  Her secret is using a jar of canned soup to add a touch of sweetness to this super simple yet delicious soup.  Since she shared the recipe, I’ve made it a few times and it’s never taken me more than 20 minutes.   And it’s super easy to build on: for a creamy rendition, simply stir in some cream or to give it a little zing, stir in some pesto.

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper
 
 

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

(serves ~4 large bowls)

 

Ingredients

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 28 oz can of diced or whole tomatoes, drained

1 jar of roasted red peppers

750 mL of chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

(Optional add ins: herbes de provance, cream, pesto, grated cheddar cheese)

 

Directions

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth.  Bring all soup ingredients to a boil, and allow to simmer for ~10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the stove and allow to cool slightly.  Blend with a hand-held food processor or in a blender until smooth.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. It’s great as is, or considering topping of the soup with some of your favourite finishers: handful of chopped fresh herbs, a little cream, some grated cheese, or a piece of toast.
 
Bon appetit!

– Catherine

 

 

 

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I sat daydreaming in front of recipes for several hours today, overwhelmed by the freedom I have gained after completing my exams. What will I cook, I asked myself, unsure of what to do since until recently my cooking was restricted by time and what was in the fridge. I was overwhelmed with the decision of what to cook, yet I yearned to create something.

I came across a few savoury tarts, and made up my mind. Tonight’s meal would be simple, a goat cheese tart with red peppers and a green salad. I could hardly wait to get the ingredients, and get the tart in the oven so that the apartment would be full of delicious aromas when my partner G. came home from class.

Goat Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Ingredients

1 savory shortcrust pastry

2 large shallots, finely sliced

1 Tbsp butter

Pinch salt and pepper

1 small package plain goat cheese

1 egg

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Pinch salt and pepper

2 pieces of prosciutto (optional)

1 red pepper, cored and sliced into thin rounds

1 Tbsp honey

Directions

Prepare the shortcrust pastry and let rest at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice the shallots finely. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat, and sauté the shallots until they become caramelized, stirring occasionally, around 15 minutes. The key is to cook the shallots slowly as it allows them to caramelize without burning. Once ready, season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Wash and core the red pepper and slice it into thin rounds. Set aside.

Whisk together egg and goat cheese until smooth. Add the nutmeg and the salt and pepper. Let stand while you roll out the pastry between two sheets of wax paper, and place in a buttered pie shell or tart pan. Crimp the edges with with your fingers or a fork, and prick the base of the shell with a fork.

Spread the goat cheese mixture over the bottom, then sprinkle half of the caramelized onions. Slice the prosciutto (if you want to make this with meat) and drop the pieces evenly over the goat cheese mixture. Top with the red pepper rounds, and then drizzle the honey over top.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the red peppers cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle the remaining half of the caramelized shallots over before serving. Serve this tart with a large and simple green salad. This tart would be great for a simple weeknight meal (especially if you make pastry in advance and store it in the freezer like I do), or would be a lovely piece to take over to a friend’s potluck dinner party, as it does not require reheating!

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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Last Saturday I took advantage of passing through Kensington Market in Toronto and picked up some fresh whole jackfish. “Do you want me to clean those fish?” the fishmonger asked me. Stunned, I took a second to reply. “Why, of course, that would be really nice” I ended up saying, while I smiled inwardly realizing how I have no problem doing so myself, but enjoyed having someone offer to help. I had sent scales flying on more than one occasion in Gambia, and I’m not squeamish. I’m not going to turn down the help though!

It’s kind of funny and ironic: some of my most common culture-shock has surrounded food (perhaps I should call it food-shock). Although I definitely felt it when I arrived in Gambia (I would have given almost anything for vegetables, fruit and sweets at first, and then it was low-oil cooking,  and finally it became meat and dairy), the real surprise has been feeling reverse food-shock as I readjust to Canadian life. I wake up craving fish, I don’t feel full unless I eat rice, and I eat as if 10 people were competing with me for my food at each meal- meaning I eat a mile a minute. Mind you I am definitely enjoying my veggies again.

This recipe is one I was delighted to discover: its spiciness I couldn’t resist on a hot, hot day, and I was forever grateful for its lack of oil.

For me on a hot steamy day there’s nothing better than a spicy but light at the same time meal.

Ingredients – 4 servings

4 jackfish or other small-ish fish, gutted, cleaned, spines removed, with slashes in their sides (jackfish have spines on the sides also)

1 red onion, finely sliced

1/2 sweet red pepper, minced into tiny pieces

1 tomato, seeds removed, pounded or crushed

2 cloves garlic, germs removed

1 jalapeno, seeds removed (medium hot), or half a scotch-bonnet, seeds removed (extremely hot)

1 cube vegetable bouillon

1 tsp whole peppercorns

salt to taste

1 1/2 cups water approximately

juice from 1/2 lemon

Fresh baguette

Directions

Clean and wash the fish. Slice the onions. Place water in a pan, add the onions, and increase heat to medium-high until it boils. Meanwhile, clean the garlic, and pound the garlic, peppercorns, hot pepper, and bouillon until they are a smooth paste.

When the water boils, dissolve the seasoning mixture into the water, and add salt to taste. Add the red pepper and tomato and stir, letting the mixture simmer, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the fish and lemon juice and poach the fish in the soup, for approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve with fresh baguette in a deep plate. You can sprinkle finely chopped parsley on it if you’re feeling creative!

-Sitelle

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With spring in the air, I am increasingly turning to salads for dinner.  One of my absolute favourites is black bean and corn salad. I love how quickly this salad can be assembled.  The sweet corn is a perfect complement to the wholesome beans, while the red pepper and onion add a flash of colour.  Best of all is the marinade of lime juice and cilantro – it allows the salad to burst with fresh flavour.

This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge, and it makes for delicious leftovers.  Have fun fiddling with the seasoning – depending on my mood, I will often sprinkle some chili or cumin powder over the salad or, for a smooth treat, dice in half an avacado.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 ounces) corn, rinsed and drained (or substitute frozen)

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped

A large handful of cherry tomatoes, slivered

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

Zest and juice from one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

A generous splash of olive oil, to taste

(OPTIONAL: one or more of the following, to your liking: hot sauce, additional cilantro, a few pinches of cumin or chile powder, half an avacadoo)

 

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to deepen.  Toss and serve. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Unsurprisingly, if I have not gone shopping in over a week, my dinner pickings tend to be slim.  Friday evening was one such occasion.  As I eyed my wilting vegetables and containers of leftovers, I wondered whether Thai take-out might be a smarter idea.  After some deliberation, my Scottish frugality won out over my laziness, and I decided to throw together a refrigerator pasta.

This turned out to be a delicious idea.  I was in the mood for something creamy, so I went for a one-pot creamy pasta.  I had some ground beef leftover from tacos earlier this week, which inspired me to give my bechamel a little kick using Worcester sauce and mustard.  And to I threw in a few vegetables that needed eating. Less than half an hour later, I sat down to a bowl of creamy pasta that could have fooled me was leftover-inspired.

Creamy penne with ground beef and vegetables  (aka refrigerator pasta)

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound whole grain penne

Generous handful of peas

2-3 generous handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 red pepper, chopped (or any other veggies in your fridge that need eating – mushrooms and zucchini would be particularly delicious)

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 bay leaf

Splash of Worcester sauce (plus more to taste)

1 teaspoon mustard powder

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1-2 cups of leftover ground beef

Directions:

Bring a large pot of  salted water to a boil and cook penne to package directions.  One minute before you are finished cooking, add the peas and spinach. Drain into a colander.

Saute the garlic and red pepper in the butter.  Whisk in the flour and continue to cook for another minute.  Whisk in the milk, and add the bay leaf, Worcester sauce, mustard powder, and salt and pepper.  Stirring occasionally, bring the bechamel to a gentle simmer.  Allow the sauce to simmer until thickened slightly.  Taste and modify seasoning to your liking.  Toss in the parmesan, ground beef, and pasta.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Ready to be grilled

When I was little, a special treat at the lake was shishkabobs.  My grandmother would marinate the meat after lunch, assembling them right after supper.  When I was really little, I always thought the threaded meat and veggies looked like a necklace with its beautiful gems of cherry tomatoes, red pepper, and mushrooms.  Just before the evening swim, my grandfather would prepare the barbecue.  Not the fancy gas monsters you see in the city, but rather a proper charcoal briquette flame.  Following his pre-dinner swim, he would let the delicious smoke infuse the shishkabobs until beautiful charred.  The meat was always flavourful and tender, and the veggies fun to devour.

My grandparents are opening the cottage for the season, and I am lake-bound to help them open it.  The thought of lazy summer days at the lake inspired me to make shishkabobs when some friends came for supper.  I made up the marinade on the spot, and while it is not quite the same as my grandmother’s, it’s pretty darn good.  Bon appétit!

Shishkabobs

(12 Shishkabobs)

Ingredients:

MARINADE:

3 tablespoons of canola oil

3 tablespoons of soya sauce

1 tablespoon of Worcester Sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt and Pepper

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

½ teaspoon minced ginger

36 cubes of 1 to 1.5 inch cubes (about 3 cm) of beef

VEGETABLES:

3 onions, cut into 8 wedges (like an orange)

12-14 mushrooms, sliced in half

2 red peppers, each cut into 12 chunks

24-28 cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and allow the meat to marinate for at least an hour.

Alternating between vegetables and meat, thread about 3 pieces of meat, 2 onion wedges, 2 mushroom halves, 2 red pepper chunks, and 2-3 tomatoes onto a skewer.

Barbecue until lightly charred: the vegetables should be soft and the beef cooked to your liking, about 10 minutes.  For a quick summer meal, serve with fresh crusty baguette and a toss salad.

–       Catherine

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As an undergrad, our dining hall would sometimes stuff peppers, but they were often inedible with only partially cooked rice, overcooked peppers, and shiny processed cheese.  It never occurred to me that they could be something other than unappetizing.  When I lived in France this summer, I discovered what the real thing tasted like – herbed farce in a perfectly cooked pepper, topped with freshly grated parmesan and Gruyère.  Since then, I’ve been hooked.

My grocery store does not sell pre-made farce like they do in France, so walking through the grocery store for inspiration, I decided to recreate a bulgur infused farce.  The store was sold out of ground pork so I ended up using beef.   The extra lean ground beef worked out just fine, but was not quite as rich as the pork (although no doubt better for the wasteline!).  To add depth of flavour, I threw in some tomato and hot pepper, and to add creaminess, some cheese.  I’ll definitely be eating this beauty again soon!

Stuffed Red Peppers

(6 stuffed peppers, or 2 stuffed peppers and 12 large meatballs)

 

Ingredients:

1 pound extra lean ground beef (or ground pork)

1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur

1 tomato, finely diced

1 hot pepper, seeds removed and finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

3 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried basil

splash of red wine

splash of Worcester sauce, at least a good tablespoon or two

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Salt and pepper

2 to 6 red peppers as desired,  stems and seeds removed

Extra cheese
 
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix all the ingredients together, adjusting any as you see fit (the mixture should smell fragrant).  Spoon the farce gently into the red peppers and top with extra grated cheese.  For any extra farce, roll into 1 to 2 inch balls, and place them on baking sheet with red peppers.

Cook for stuffed peppers for at about 25 minutes, until the peppers are soft and slightly charred, and the farce is cooked through (if you made meatballs, remove them after 15 minutes).  Broil the peppers for 2 minutes, until the cheese is golden.  Enjoy!

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