Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

I just can’t get enough of the Cubanelle peppers this time of year. And there’s something about the grill that just makes all vegetables and fruits shine. If you still haven’t fallen in love with the peppers – give this recipe a go. Or search up another variation of stuffed Cubanelles to find one that more closely aligns with your flavor palette. From beef stuff to sweet roasted, the endless varieties are not to be missed.

6 medium Cubanelle peppers
6 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup couscous (Israeli works well but any variety will do)
1 zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup feta, chopped or crumbled
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh torn basil
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill then cut tops off peppers, about 1/2 inch. Remove and discard stem and seeds. Dice tops of peppers and transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside bowl and cored peppers.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tsp oil on medium-high. Add garlic and couscous and stir until garlic is light golden and fragrant. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and steam for 8 to 10 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, grill peppers and zucchini: Grill cored peppers for about 8 minutes, turning occasionally until all sides are lightly charred. Remove peppers from grill and allow to cool at room temperature. Brush zucchini with 1/2 tsp oil and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and tender. Let zucchini cool slightly, dice and add to bowl with diced pepper tops.

Add couscous, beans, chickpeas, feta, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, remaining 4 tsp oil, black pepper and salt, if desired, to pepper-zucchini mixture. Mix well.

Stuff about 3/4 cup pepper-zucchini mixture into each grilled pepper; lightly pack filling throughout entire pepper until filling reaches the top. Wrap each pepper tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or a maximum of overnight. (Alternatively, carefully lay stuffed peppers in a shallow tray or dish, cover and refrigerate.)

Recipe posted in Clean Eating magazine online.

Good, Good Garlic

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

Everyone knows that garlic is good for you. Garlic cures colds, neutralizes bacteria, repels vampires. A tight fistful of knuckles, a package wrapped in the paper in which it has grown, garlic is a vegetable disguised as an herb.

I love raw garlic. I am not afraid of garlic breath. I will crunch a clove or two of garlic when I feel myself getting sick or pop pickled garlic when I’m craving a spicy, sour snack. And although my husband and I both enjoy minced garlic thrown into a meal at the very end of its cooking, I don’t often subject my dinner guests to raw garlic in a meal in fear that they will think me an insufficient cook rather than an eater who enjoys a little edge.

Hummus serves as the perfect shallow end for safely wading into the idea of eating garlic raw. You can add just a little garlic and still get a decent bite or add a lot and seriously step up the fragrance and flavor of what could be considered by some to be a bland bowl of beige to dip your crackers in.

In keeping with the raw veg theme, I added some of the scallions we got from the Coop this week to my hummus. I’ve made hummus with onion before, but it’s easy to overdo raw onion. Scallions are the perfect solution to this because of their more mild flavor.

Here’s what I used and how I did it:

1large 1 lb 13 oz can + 1 regular 15.5 oz can chickpeas *

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk or water

juice of 1 medium to large lemon

2 large cloves garlic

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Put all ingredients except soy milk or water in the food processor, chickpeas first so that the spices and tahini don’t get stuck to the bottom. I don’t bother chopping my garlic but rather let the food processor do the work for me. Blend until the mix begins to get smooth, then add water or soy milk to add creaminess and finish blending.

So easy! To make things even easier, remember to firmly roll your lemon between your palm and work surface to ensure getting the most juice. And always use a strainer to avoid getting pits in your hummus.

* I like to make a lot of hummus at once, but you can easily halve the ingredients. This recipe makes enough to share with guests while still having plenty left over for the family.