Well so much for being able to walk the dog this week! It rained all day and looks like it is going to stay that way for the next few days. In fact, the dog refuses to even go outside. She goes over to the door to be let out and when you open the door, she changes her mind. Sadie must dislike ‘wet dog’ smell as much as I do.
Since it is cool and rainy, I thought stuffed peppers would be good for dinner. They are something I have made many times, and one of Jerry’s favorites. For a new twist I decided to make creamy polenta on the side. I have never made polenta so I was excited to try it.
I usually put ground beef or turkey in the peppers. I used beef for Jerry’s, but I used tempeh for mine.
Tempeh is made from soy beans, but doesn’t really taste like tofu. It has a firm texture and tastes almost nutty. It crumbles well, so it made a good substitute for ground beef.
I had planned on stuffing peppers, but I also had an eggplant and two zucchinis. Why not stuff those, too?
One zucchini and half the eggplant got chopped up and added to the filling. So did the tops of the peppers.
- half an eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2-3 Tblsp olive oil
- 4-6 bell peppers, any color
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (drain if using canned)
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef (or 1 package of tempeh)
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (Romano, parmesan, etc)
- 2 eggs
- ~10 basil leaves, chopped
- 3 Tblsp chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
Saute first four ingredients in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how soft you want your veggies, it could take up to 20 minutes. Then stir in your tomatoes and cook a few more minutes. Brown your ground beef in a separate pan, season with salt and pepper. Let the filling and the meat cool, and then combine them in a bowl. Once cooled slightly, add your breadcrumbs, herbs, grated cheese, and eggs (I used one whole egg and one white) and mix to combine. It is easiest to stuff peppers with your hands. Be sure not to pack down the filling. Bake in a casserole dish at 350 for a minimum of 30 minutes, uncovered. This will result in slightly firm peppers. If you would like the peppers to be more tender, add 10 minutes.
I feel as though I must warn you that I ended up with too much filling. I have made these 6 or 7 times and only once did I end up with the correct amount. I took the leftover filling and filled three 6oz baking ramekins. Then I topped them with the polenta. They will make great leftovers!
For the polenta I loosely followed this recipe by Alton Brown.
As usual, I made a few modifications. I used less salt, 1/2 cup grated cheese, I used 2 cups milk and 2 cups water, and I added 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary to the sauteed onions. I also used less butter. I chose to cook it on top of the stove instead of the oven.
The polenta was so creamy and salty. And I loved the rosemary. It was a great side dish. I would use this recipe instead of mashed potatoes any time.
We had a bottle of 2005 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Syrah with dinner. I forgot how intense Syrahs can be. It looked almost black! This was a very full-bodied wine. It was a little spicy and slightly oaky. I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. I usually stick to “crisp” wines.
Jerry and I finished the bottle while watching The King’s Speech. It was excellent, but I fell asleep! I’ll have to rush home from work on Thursday to finish it. Then we are off to Saranac Thursday. Say a prayer that is doesn’t get rained out!