a pail of peppers

a pail of peppersIt was a lazy afternoon. I’d been skimming through the September issue of Sunset Magazine and noticed a recipe for stuffed peppers. And while Peter Piper picked a pail of pickled peppers, I didn’t. I’m not quite sure how you pick already pickled peppers, but it sure works for the alliteration in the little nursery rhyme, right?

Big fat peppers filled with goodness are worthy in my book any day, and I wanted to try Sunset’s recipe.

Sweet peppers take to being loaded with countless ingredients. Mini peppers with goat cheese and herbs; stubby green bells with rice and summer vegetables smothered with fresh tomato sauce and sharp cheddar to name a few. What caught my attention for Sunset’s mix was lamb.

a pail of peppersI adore lamb. Lamb roast with garlic and red wine, thinly sliced lamb for gyros, ground lamb ragù, lamb tips or kebobs – this kinda sounds like Forrest Gump. So, I simply had to try the peppers which were to be seasoned in a Mediterranean style.

For me, recipes are merely a suggestion, so I made some changes to the original. Thanks for the inspiration, Elaine Johnson and Sunset Magazine, September 2017.

a pail of peppersSweet Peppers Stuffed with Lamb and Mint


  • 4 medium bell peppers – try a mix of colors
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups broccoli rice
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • Olive oil
  •  ½  cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Pull out seeds and membranes from peppers.
  • Set aside 1 teaspoon garlic.
  • Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat, rim with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Put lamb, remaining garlic and onion in the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, until vegetables are soft and lamb is browned.
  • Stir in salt, pepper, allspice and cinnamon. Then add the broccoli rice. Sauté until broccoli rice is soft and bright green.
  • Add tomato paste and stir well to combine.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in mint and parsley.
  • Oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Place peppers in dish.
  • Spoon lamb mixture into peppers, cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes or until browned on top.
  • While the peppers bake, mix the remaining one teaspoon garlic and two tablespoons fresh dill with the yogurt. Season to taste with salt.
  • Serve peppers with the yogurt-dill sauce. Enjoy!

We loved the mix of sweet and savory spices in these peppers, which was enhanced with the yogurt-dill drizzle. And, they packed a big hit vegetables.

Happy eating –







tonight: tomato and olive pizza

tonight tomato and olive pizzaI don’t do raw tomatoes! Sounds weird, right? Roast them, toast them, throw some balsamic or lemon juice and herbs on them and I’m good. Just don’t hand one to me expecting it to be eaten whole and untouched.

Pizza clad with tomatoes is another story. I’m mad about how when dough is topped with fresh slices of vine-ripened Roma’s they get charred, delicately sweet and soft. The flesh seems to give way, melding into the crust, sauce and cheese.

For dinner the other night I wanted to include olives with the tomatoes. The briny flavor enhanced the caramelized tomatoes. Because it was a get-it-on-the-table-now meal, I took advantage of a pre-made ball of dough from Trader Joes. When time affords, Giada’s pizza dough recipe is what I use.

We prefer a really thin, crisp crust, so what would normally be rolled out for one pizza becomes two. If the dough has rested at room temp it will be less sticky and easy to work with.

Tomato and Olive Pizza

Makes 2 pizzas


  • 1 recipe of dough or ball, divided in half
  • 4 to 6 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup olive tapenade
  • 4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 cup cheese blend such as Parmesan, Asiago and Gruyere
  • 1 teaspoon each granulated garlic and salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil and/or oregano


  • Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Roll out dough until thin and measuring approximately 8 x 11. Move crusts to baking sheets or pizza stones.
  • Spread each crust with 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. I like the more concentrated flavor of paste vs sauce.
  • Scatter each pizza with half of the olive tapenade. A little flavor goes a long way.
  • Layer tomatoes on the crust, sprinkle each pizza with half of the garlic, salt and cheese.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crust is brown and crispy and cheese has melted.
  • Top with the fresh herbs and enjoy.

You can always use different tomatoes, in fact, I have a yellow heirloom just waiting to be used. And while fresh herbs are the best, dried will do perfectly well in a pinch. Just remember that the ratio of fresh to dried is different. One tablespoon fresh means one teaspoon dried; more or less.

Happy eating my friends!