Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity…
Am constantly repeating this to myself. Nevertheless, I have a tendency to make life more complicated than it ought to be. Seems as though I always take the long, meandering path, rather than the direct route, from point A to point B. Maybe this stems from the fact that I really don’t know what direction I want to go. I’ve been trying to figure that one out for the past 20 years.
I’ll be forty in a few weeks (4-0, is that possible?) and am still trying to find my niche — that is, a job that will provide meaning, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. I can definitively cross a few things off my list. I do not wish to be a chiropractor, health policy analyst, researcher (a food researcher, yes); been there, done that, not for me. The bigger question remains, where do I fit in? I suppose not knowing is okay, as long as you challenge yourself and learn along the way. I do have a few ideas brewing, but it will take a leap of faith and confidence in my own ability. No better time than the present.
When it comes to cooking, simplicity can be equally challenging. Maybe I should add this or that to the dish…but I’m learning as I go, and now understand that more is not always better.
While these roasted and marinated peppers are delicious on their own, I kept wanting to add something else, something more. In my mind, thinking — oh, how about some fresh mozzarella balls? Oh, maybe I could make some homemade mozzarella? Or maybe some other herbs in addition to the thyme? In the end, decided to prepare the peppers with a minimum of extra ingredients. Simplicity.
I brought a batch of these roasted peppers to a recent potluck (had forgotten about the event and needed something at the last minute), along with some crusty bread for mopping up the marinade. You can prepare the peppers, which abound with flavor, in a pinch. It was a big hit with the crowd.
To prepare the peppers, roast them whole on an open flame (you’ll need a gas range or, alternatively, roast them on the grill), turning every few minutes until they are charred on all sides. This gives the peppers a nice smoky flavor.
Next, place the peppers in a paper bag. This helps to loosen the skins. Then, with a chef’s knife, scrape off the charred skin (don’t worry if a few charred bits remain). Last, seed and slice the peppers into strips, and let marinate for a few hours or overnight.
On a completely different note, this is a bread I’ve made several times. It’s a walnut, sourdough, multigrain boule. Was quite pleased with how the boule came out this time around. It doesn’t always look this good (as bread making can be a bit of trial and error). This was by far my best effort; moreover, the bread paired perfectly with the aforementioned marinated peppers.
You can find the recipe here. The steps may seem a bit daunting at first glance, but it’s all quite manageable, and yields a really nice, hearty bread.
Roasted and Marinated Red Peppers
6 Bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 small cloves of garlic grated
leaves from 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roast the whole peppers on an open flame (i.e., gas range or bbq), turning every few minutes until charred on all sides. Place the peppers in a paper bag for 10-15 minutes to help loosen the skins. With a chef’s knife, scrape the charred skin (don’t worry if a few charred bits stick). Remove the seeds and slice the peppers into roughly 1/2″ to 3/4″ strips. Place the peppers in a non-reactive bowl or glass jar.
Whisk the remaining marinade ingredients together. Pour the marinade over the peppers and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. The longer the peppers marinate, the more flavorful they will be. Bring to room temperature before serving.