Vegetables

Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

This may sound like a teaser to those of you living in the snowing states, but Los Angeles, my friends, is living an early summer in the winter month of January. It almost sounds unfair. I hope I could send you some sunshine from here.

The heat wave shifted my food cravings. Summer means wanting to eat summery foods, like colorful sweet peppers. I recently bought a big bag of mini bell peppers and roasted them, just I do in the summer, to go with main dishes, such as grilled meats. I jazz the tiny peppers up with garlic and dried thyme and off they go in the oven. Winter or summer, fall or spring, roasted peppers are a big hit. It sort of rhymes!

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

This is one recipe where you basically eyeball the ingredients. Use as many peppers as you baking pan will fit and as many servings you want to get from them. Use as much garlic as you wish  - want a deeper garlicky flavor, add more, and vise versa. The same with thyme but do not overdo with it – we just want a nice subtle thyme flavor. Instead of thyme you can use oregano, or use both at the same time. Follow your palate demands.

Also, if you don’t have mini peppers, you can use large bell peppers of various colors – cut them in half, core, and seed, then arrange on a baking sheet cut side up. Proceed with the rest of the steps as in the recipe below.

Serves about 6

Ingredients:

About 1 pound red, yellow, orange mini bell peppers, washed and pat-dried
3-4 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic pressor
A tablespoon of crushed dried thyme (substitute with oregano or use both)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the peppers on the parchment. Sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with your hands to coat the peppers with the rest of the ingredients. Spread the peppers to form one layer.

Roast until the skin blisters and the flesh is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the roasted peppers to a serving platter. Serve immediately as a side dish.

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Garlic and Thyme

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

My typical simple formula for mashed potatoes is usually: boiled potatoes, butter, and milk – mashed together and that’s it. Recently I’ve been adding another ingredient to it – cheese. It instantly becomes another kind of mashed potatoes – creamy and more flavorful. The cheese is added at the very end and the puree is cooked on the stove until the cheese melts into the potatoes. Yum! I saw this trick once at my friend Aysun’s house, an amazing cook. I made this dish a part of our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Can’t wait to make it again, for another happy occasion.

A few pointers to guide you in your mashed potato making adventure. You’ve probably seen many recipes for mashed potatoes before, most calling for peeling the potatoes then boiling them. This is a no-no for me. I don’t like to do it. Because, first, the skins keep the flavors inside, and second, the skins will prevent the boiling potatoes from absorbing a lot of water thus loosing most of its starch. So I say keep the skin on and peel it later.

About cheese: I use Turkish Kashar cheese (a local Turkish grocery store carries it), which is more known as Greek Kasseri cheese in the US. It is a mild milk cheese with a slightly salty flavor. The closest substitutes would be Provolone or mozzarella cheese. Or a combination of the two. Here’s Kasseri cheese, pictured below.

Kasseri Cheese

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