September 30, 2010 at 9:19 a.m.

The dark purple pepper that never was; and some recipes

The dark purple pepper that never was; and some recipes
The dark purple pepper that never was; and some recipes

It's about peppers today...green, yellow, orange, red, dark purple, large, medium, small, smaller and smallest. I won't touch on all of them but I'll tell you just a bit about the dark purple one I planted. It was a free gift from a "hoop-house" veggie/flower place. If I bought so many dollars worth of veggies or flowers I would get a free pepper plant and the fruit would be a pretty dark purple color. "A nice addition to your garden, when used especially in fresh veggie salads," the lady said. Free? Sure I'll take one. Long story short, I planted it, it grew (sort of), flowered and low and behold there was a little dark bulb coming out of the flower. I nurtured it, used a veggie fertilizer, watering regularly when it was so hot and it got to be just a little bigger than the size of a golf ball. Then it just hung there...not growing larger, not doing anything for a period of about 2-1/2 months. Who knows, maybe that's as big as they grow, but that's not what the picture showed. So, I picked it, cut it in half, sliced off a piece and it tasted terrible! The inside was green, like a normal green pepper but the skin was really tough. Pretty? I s'pose, but it never got to be part of a salad. So Alice, what do you want for nothing...your money back?

SPICY BEEF AND PEPPERS

2 T. cornstarch, divided

4 T. dry sherry or beef broth, divided

4 T. soy sauce, divided (I use "lite" soy sauce)

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/2 to 1 t. crushed dried red pepper flakes

1 lb. top sirloin or venison steak, thinly sliced diagonally*

1/2 c. water

3 T. canola oil, divided

1 each, small sweet red, yellow and green peppers, seeded

Cooked rice or chow mein noodles

Cut peppers into 1/4 by 1-1/2 inch strips; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine 1 T. of the cornstarch with 2 T. sherry or broth, 2 T. soy sauce, garlic and dried red pepper. Add beef and mix to coat; set aside. In a small bowl, combine water with remaining cornstarch, sherry and soy sauce; set aside. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 T. oil on medium-high. Add peppers; stir fry 1 minute. Peppers will be very crisp. If you prefer them softer, fry about 2 more minutes. Remove peppers to a platter. Add rest of oil and half of the beef. Stir fry beef until no longer pink. Remove and stir fry rest of beef. Return peppers and beef to pan. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute. Serve with hot rice or chow mein noodles.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: If you partially freeze the meat, it will be easier to slice thin strips. Also, for 4 servings of rice, use 1-1/4 c. uncooked rice. Cooked, drained but do not rinse.

+++++

CALICO RICE

1 each, medium green pepper and sweet red pepper, diced

2 T. butter or margarine

1/4 t. salt

3 c. hot cooked rice (1 c. uncooked rice, cooked and drained - do not rinse)

In a skillet over medium heat, saute peppers in butter for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with salt; toss with rice.

Makes 6-8 servings.

+++++

SWEET PEPPER RELISH

3-1/2 c. diced sweet red pepper

2-1/2 c. diced green pepper

3 c. diced onion

2 qts. boiling water

1-1/2 c. cider vinegar

1-1/4 c. sugar

1-1/2 t. canning salt

1 t. mustard seed

1/2 t. celery seed

In a large container, combine peppers and onion. Pour water over and let stand for 20 minutes; drain well. In a large kettle, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add pepper mixture; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Pout into hot pint or 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust lids. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Makes about 3 pints or 6-1/2 pints.

+++++

CHICKEN VEGETABLE

MEDLEY

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1-1/2 lbs.,)

4 T. olive or canola oil, divided

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 large green peppers, diced (can use 1 green pepper and 1 sweet red or orange pepper for color)

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 large onion, diced

1-8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 bay leaf

1 t. each, dried oregano and dried basil

1/2 t. each dried marjoram and thyme

1/4 t. pepper

In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, brown chicken in 1 T. of oil; set chicken aside. Add remaining oil to skillet. Saute next 6 ingredients for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

TFD: Kindness is like a cat. When you give it away, it usually comes back.

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