Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yin and Yang Stuffed Sweet Peppers - a new recipe for "the Project"

Serendipity... An adequate John Cusack movie, or a melding of seemingly unrelated events to make something special...

Like reading a fun post from a favorite blogger, and finding a rare gem in the produce section AND getting a much anticipated answer to a question I ask 3 or 4 times a week.

So, three stories before I get to the recipe.  Sit back and grab a drink.

First up, you know him, you love him, you can't live without him, Chris from the NIBBLE ME THIS blog does a weekly guest post at the OUR CRAZY KITCHEN blog. This week, he posted a terrific recipe and cooking method for Chicken Cordon Bleu cooked on the grill!  He continues to amaze me with every post.  He started his post with a story.  Short version, he "paced the meat department and produce department a couple of times trying to find something to inspire dinner for me. It was just one of those long days at work, it was hot out, and nothing was capturing my attention."  He has a great punch line to his story that you will have to check out his OKK weekly column to hear.

But the idea of him wandering the aisles uninspired gave me an idea for my own posting.  And I will try to be brief with this story... Get to know your butcher.  Even here in paradise, when I knew I was short time, I met my butcher.  And Chris, here's a question that I got from my local butcher back in Kansas, "What are you proud of today?".  In Kansas, I get a run down of what is freshest.  Here in paradise, I find out what is not frozen and then thawed to go in the case (really).  But, on rare occasions, I hear about what they really are proud of.

My local store makes an amazing Italian sausage.  Not sure what they put in it, but it's sausage.  If you need to know, you probably won't buy it.  But, if you just taste it and don't think too much you will learn to ask for it.  It is good.  Very good!  Sadly, it is not constantly in stock.  In fact, they only make it a couple of times a month.

But, this week, my Mom was visiting.  My schedule was thrown off, and I missed a few days of going to the store.  Back on schedule, I went to the butcher case, and asked... "What are you proud of today?".

With a wink and a nod, my butcher told me that they had made my favorite sausage but that they were out.


Then, with a wink, nod and smile, she (yes, my butcher is a she) slaps the pound of sausage she set back just for me.

I am a local!

And, at least that day, I didn't have to wander the aisles deciding.

But wait, there's more to the story.  The final bit of Serendipity was the produce section.

Again, only occasionally, the bins are stocked with a few unusual items.  Peppers - love em, and love to try new ones.  This day, my sausage day, the produce section was stocked with some wonderful sweet cubanelle peppers...


They had a bin of something called, "Ancient Sweets".  These are two of my very favorite sweet peppers that I have found on the island.  Practically pepper candy, they are that sweet.  They are pricey ($8 a pound), but they are worth every dime (well, dollar)!

So, treated like a regular (local), my favorite sausage in stock, AND my two favorite new pepper finds in stock all on the same day!

It's time to stuff some peppers!

Oh, one more thing about Chirs and the NIBBLE ME THIS blog.  Chris has been working on his video presentations.  He entered A Honeysuckle take on Turkey contest... And he was selected as a finalist!

How cool, and of course, how well deserved.  Now he needs voters.  Here is a steal from his post...

It made my night to find out that I have made the 10 finalists in Honeysuckle White's Take On Turkey contest with my Grilled Thai Turkey Breast video recipe.

What is even better than that, is that three of my food blogger friends also made it into the Top 10 finals. I have respected and learned from these dudes for quite a while. Just being in their company and the other finalists makes me proud.

John of PatioDaddio
Curt of LiveFireOnline
Brian of BBQGuyBlog

Go over the contest site [CLICK HERE! ALL THE COOL KIDS DO] to
1) Pick up some great ideas for grilling turkey
2) See what a dork I am in my video and
3) Vote for the video recipe that you like best.

I'm not asking you to vote for me because you like my blog. This shouldn't be a popularity contest like high school, it should be based on how we do things in real life....

So vote for MY video OR you hate America and the kitten gets it!

Just kidding. Check out the videos and vote for the one you like the best.

Save the kitten and take a second to go vote!  And Chris is that an "Ancient Sweet" you are using for garnish???  Wouldn't that really be Serendipitous?

OK... finally, my favorite stuffed pepper recipe.  It is fairly simple, but gives a flavored sausage a chance to shine!

This recipe would certainly work with a bell pepper.  But the mix of spicy hot sausage and sweet peppers is a nice yin/yang in your mouth.  Worth the hunt to find a new fun pepper.

Ingredients for YIN/YANG Stuffed Peppers

2 large green Sweet Peppers
2 large red Sweet Peppers

1 pound Spicy Sausage
1 cup diced Onions
1/2 cup diced Celery
1/2 cup diced Pepper (actually, I just diced the part of the pepper that I cut out to make the top opening)
1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TBS Cajun Spice mix (click HERE for the recipe I use, but a commercial brand will do in a pinch)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Brown the sausage for @5 minutes
  • Add the onion and celery
  • Find the way the peppers sit best, and cut the tops (sides) off.  Dice the "left over" pepper and add to the pan
  • Continue to sauté until the vegetables get soft
  • Add the spice mix
  • Mix the bread crumbs and the cheese
  • Stuff the peppers with the sausage/veggie mix
  • Top with the cheese/ bread crumb mix
  • Place the peppers in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes
  • I switch to broiler setting for the last three minutes to get the proper color and texture at the end!

A pretty good way to spend another rainy day in paradise.



  1. Great post Dave and beautiful photos. I loved Chris's video and that turkey dish and did indeed vote! As coincidence would have it, I was browsing the meat case yesterday looking for inspiration and my butcher directed me to some ribs that he was really proud of. They were pre-cooked so all I had to do was re-heat, but he was especially fond of the seasonings for this particular batch.

  2. We must have been thinking about each other yesterday....I FINALLY MADE YOUR CRACKERS yesterday while my parents were visiting! I made them a touch too thick (as you warned about in your post) but they were still great and tasted like pretzel crackers a bit. Next time I'll follow your "paper thin" suggestion. Everyone loved them! (Seasonings were kosher salt, bbq rub, and local manchego cheese). A definite must do again!

    Thanks for the very nice write up. Your peppers look amazingly good and stuffed peppers are one of my favorites anyway. Your pictures are getting noticeably clearer, did you get a new camera or are you just adding some supplemental lighting? Either way, looking great.

  3. These peppers look fabulous! Lookin good, cher! Chris is awesome and i will check out his video. Cheers to both of you talented guys!

  4. We only get bell peppers here (somewhat boring). When we lived in Andorra we could get the whole spectrum os Spanish peppers and I stuffed them with anything and everying (Goat cheese and Iberian ham) Congrats on the turkey thingy and being a local!

  5. Okay, you're having wayyy too much fun on this island, Dave! Sounds like a foodie's paradise! Great tip about getting to know your butcher--that's something I've always heard but haven't really followed. I'm going to start making some friendships with them!

    Great pictures of the peppers! I like sweeter peppers, definitely, so I'll have to see if I can find some.

    I'll be a cool kid and click over to Chris. :)

  6. I've stuffed peppers with everything but dirty gym socks. I ADORE stuffed peppers (in fact, I just posted a recipe this morning for stuffed peppers!)

    This looks like a fantastic recipe Dave!