Leftover City: Pumpkin-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yet another recipe involving pumpkin from yours truly. What can I say, it’s Thanksgiving time! If you’re wondering what you’re going to do with all that leftover pumpkin puree from your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie recipe, I have one for you. It’s easy, cheap, tasty, and healthy without tasting particularly like a health food. You can serve a couple of these as a main course, or use one as a nice, hearty side with your turkey leftovers. Either way, you’re looking at a complete protein, fiber, veggies, and a little bit of savory indulgence (blue cheeeeeese!) all at once. Win win win.

Pumpkin-Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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When Inauthentic Is Delicious: Weeknight “Gumbo”

Ok, let me preface this by saying that this is not authentic gumbo.  No need to point it out to me.  I am aware.

I set out to make authentic gumbo with the brown roux and what not, but if you know anything about gumbo, it’s pretty labor intensive and time consuming.  That’s not my bag, baby.

I am going to tell you a little anecdote (if you can even call it that) from my week, so you get a feel of how I work in the kitchen.

I went to three different stores looking for fish sauce for this gumbo recipe.  Not sure why.  I read it in a cookbook, so I figured it’s important.  So, 3 stores and nothing.  Then my Dad found it and got it for me (love you, Dad!)  It was such a huge bottle of fish sauce, so I  suppose I was set for many future gumbos.

Except, I couldn’t get it open.  That dang top would not come off.  I guess this would be where an extra set of (not weak old lady) hands would have been beneficial.  Honestly, I probably could have gotten it open, but I have no patience or perseverance for such a task.  Don’t I sound like a fun person?

Long story short: no fish sauce made it into this dish.  So sad.  But true.

Here’s how it all went down.

Weeknight “Gumbo”

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Eyes Before Taste Buds: Panzanella Salad

Sure, it’s great when food tastes good, but any food blogger will tell you that what’s really important is presentation. Colorful, vibrant food is instantly appealing. Looking at a wall of penny candy or a heaping bowl of fruit, you are mesmerized by the abundance of color. If it’s appealing to the eye, it must be appealing to your taste buds, right? We felt this way when we first created this summery, visually enticing side dish. Panzanella salad, a classic Tuscan summer dish, celebrates fresh garden produce.

Classic panzanella incorporates stale, unsalted Tuscan bread. Since we do not keep stale bread on hand (who doesn’t finish bread before it goes stale?) we decided to char a fresh French baguette. The toasted baguette inside the dish absorbs the vinaigrette while maintaining its crunch alongside the fresh cubed vegetables. The married flavors are a kaleidoscope of color and texture.

Panzanella Salad

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And She Ate the Pepper, Raw

I used to work in the basement of a converted townhouse for a political polling firm. My co-worker and friend Ruth used to visit me around 11 am; that’s when she took a snack break. She’d bring a knife, a plate and one green bell pepper.

She’d cut a slice. Eat it raw. One whole green pepper.

That was years ago, right when I started playing around in the kitchen. I never cooked with bell peppers because I would just think of Ruth and that raw, raw pepper. I thought of peppers as a snack. Soon I realized peppers turn into wonderful things once cooked, once broiled, once roasted, once whizzed around in a blender and turned into a sauce.

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Pumpkins, Your Reign Is Over

Here at ES, we like to do things a little differently.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but you at least have to give us points for trying.  So when someone questioned the pumpkin’s dominance as the Halloween carving medium, I saw a potential avenue for exploration.  And let me tell you, now that I’ve been down that road, I may never go back.  Carving a pepper was faster, easier and way less mess than a pumpkin.  Heck, I did most of it while waiting in the car for a friend.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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