On Your Mark, Get Set: Keep On Peppering On…
by Sarah A. Maine
A few weeks ago on RecipeRelay we had a string of cabbage recipes. It got to the point where Brianna and I were both slightly exhausted by cabbage. Right now we are hitting another little streak, but this time it’s peppers. This is one of the bittersweet perils of seasonal eating. When vegetables are in season they appear to march on your kitchen in a never ending assault, challenging your culinary imagination and pushing your skills to their limits. With items such as peppers and cabbages, which are tasty either cooked or served raw, it is relatively easy to strike a comfortable balance between using them in more labor intensive dishes and then throwing them together in a salad. For me, the end of a favorite vegetable’s growing season elicits complex feelings:
- Relief – at not having to come up with more ways to use it.
- Sadness – from the realization that it will be a while before you encounter each other again.
- Anticipation – already thinking ahead to next season.
Although it’s hard to argue against the deliciousness of cooking with fresh vegetables, there are ways to combat the summer vegetable onslaught which also allow you to keep enjoying summer’s bounty into fall and winter. First: canning and pickling – hot topics in the foodie world these days, both are enjoying a huge comeback attended by numerous books and websites. Although I have yet to venture into the realm of hard core canning (I’ve made several types of refrigerator pickles), I do a fair amount of reading about it in anticipation for when I finally take the plunge. Two of our favorite canning sites here at RecipeRelay are Punk Domestics and Canning Across America.
Next, blanching and freezing is a less equipment heavy method of saving your veggies for later. It takes time but it also saves time – it’s a great feeling after a long day to pull a bag of pre-prepared broccoli florets, chopped carrots, or green beans out of the freezer and pop them into a waiting pan.
Finally, you can make big batches of soup or sauce which you can put up by canning or simply store in the freezer. My recipe this week falls into the last category. Brianna did an amazing job last week of transforming my frittata into a stir-fry, I’m going to keep the peppers going by giving them a completely new form. I have about two pounds of peppers (red, yellow and orange) lurking in the fridge and I am determined to use them all. At this time of year I love making soups so I hit up my mother for her Roasted Pepper Bisque recipe, a longtime favorite of mine which I have always wanted to make. The recipe makes enough for 6-8 people, I can serve half and freeze the rest – it’s like putting a little taste of summer in the bank. See you on Thursday for the conclusion of this leg of the pepper adventure!