Tag Archives: Bell Pepper

Stuffed bell peppers with smoked mozzarella

Real talk: I live in food-delivery central. Thanks to all the tech folks around here, we’ve got a thriving on-demand economy, including multiple services that will bring a restaurant order straight to your door. I don’t even have to step outside my apartment to get my favorite Thai fried rice, delivered warm and spicy and exactly how I like it. And unfortunately, that makes it really easy to fall off the cooking wagon.

Lately, with work ramping up its stress levels and the summer drought-heat sapping my energy, I’ve been spending way too much money on greasy takeout. It’s not like there’s no food in the house; the freezer is stocked with my favorite meal building-blocks, like sweet potato filling and tomato sauce and egg rolls. But it’s the instant gratification that gets me, the siren song of something filling and unhealthy that requires no effort on my part. No chopping, no stirring, no dishes–just a delivery fee and some wasted plastic containers. It’s a terrible habit to fall into, and a terribly easy one too.

This week, I’ve committed to breaking the habit. I’ve been allowing myself to cook stuff on a whim, to run to the grocery store every day if I want to. I’ve also been leaving myself with leftover ingredients, so that I’m forced to find ways to put them to use.

This is my latest leftover use-up, and a really delicious one. It started with some smoked mozzarella, which I bought because it was the cheapest mozzarella option at Trader Joe’s. I snacked on some of it, crumbled some of it onto pizza, and then was left with a nubbin of cheese and no plan for it. I had an unused bell pepper, along with some leftover steamed rice (from, uh, Thai takeout). Mixed up with a few pantry staples and some scallions, the rice and cheese became a rich, smoky, slightly spicy stuffing for the bell peppers. It was indulgent without being greasy, which was exactly what I was craving. Suddenly I had a Sunday night dinner that was fresh, nourishing, and totally impossible to call up through an app.

stuffed pepper smoked mozzarella

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Ah, summer

You know, if I were in a more articulate frame of mind, today would be a great day to exercise my eloquence-muscle and use this little blog o’ mine to sing the praises of seasonal summer cooking.

But today is also a rain-soaked Tuesday, and I’m a working stiff in every sense–sleep-deprived and body-sore and generally about as lucid as an owl full of schnapps. So here’s all the eloquence I can muster right now:

IT’S NECTARINE SEASON. FINALLY.

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The willy-nilly sandwich

I was a Theater major in college (playwright, not actor, don’t go all diva-shaming on me now).  One of the pieces of advice most pressed on us in our lessons on craft was the importance of research.  When you’re creating a character, you have to go as deep as possible into every nook and cranny you can find, and pull together all the context and factual evidence and analysis you can muster.  You have to create this fully-fleshed conception, right down to tattoos and breakfast cereal and all sorts of pieces that the audience may never hear of.

And then when it’s go time, you throw it all away.  You set aside all that exacting work, and leap into the unknown.

It’s not a stretch to say that I live my whole life this way.  I’m about the opposite of spontaneous.  I’m shy and neurotic, and I overthink everything.  I spend days planning what I might say in a phone conversation, and weeks thinking up a single night’s meal.  But more often than not, when the time comes for action, I end up ignoring all my well-laid mental plans and making it up as I go along.

Seems to have served me all right so far.

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