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Entries in roasted peppers (4)

Wednesday
Sep122012

Fancy Roasted Peppers to Bring Summer into Fall

You may recall that I posted a Roasted Pepper recipe on this website a while back. What you may not have known is that post generated a lot of buzz. Who was I to roast a pepper? What did I know about a roasted pepper? And the, "my roasted peppers are better than yours," argument.

Huh.

Well, I am here to tell you that, YES, someone's roasted peppers are better than mine. 

Now, let's be clear: I roast a mean pepper. This recipe is more about what's done to the little guys AFTER the roasting. And of this process, I heartily approve.

What follows is Vicki Hartmann's recipe for Marinated Roasted Peppers and it's fantastic. 

Vicki is a long time family friend, neighbor and expert pepper-preneur. We had a little shin-dig at the Iaciofano Shore HQ over Labor Day weekend. Vicki brought her peppers. 

I immediately dove in, placing them atop little nuggets of Italian bread like so:

I almost walked away with the whole dish. I was that impressed. 

I harassed her for the recipe, and in true expert fashion, there really isn't one. What I'm presenting to you is "General Guidelines" for Vicki's peppers. As usual with all recipes I post here, approach with caution, safety goggles and open expectations. Here we go:

What You Need:
A red pepper (or two or three....this recipe is for 4-5 large peppers)
A plastic Ziploc bag or paper bag
Garlic powder (amount up to you)
Black Pepper (amount up to you)
Sea Salt (amount up to you)
Balsamic Vinegar (a lot) 
Olive oil (a lot) 

What To Do:
Heat up your oven to 500 degrees.

Rinse your peppers under water, and dry it off. Rub it with a thin coating of olive oil and place it on a cookie sheet on the top most rack of your oven.

Bake. Until black char marks start to appear on the outside and skin gets all wrinkly. This could take about 10 minutes. Or so. You be the judge. 

Put the wrinkly, charred veggies in a Ziploc or paper bag. The steam from the peppers will cause them to wilt. After about 10-15 minutes in the bag, you can get brave and open it up. They should be cool enough to pluck off the green stem and peel off the skin.

Then slice them up into thin strips and discard the seeds, skin and stem.

Place these strips into a large bowl. Douse them with olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup), sprinkle with sea salt (maybe 1 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon) and garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon).

Then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. How much? I wish I could tell you. Let's say 1/8 of a cup to start.

Take a stirring implement and mix it all up. Then repeat the seasoning process. That's right, DO IT AGAIN!

Now what? Let these peppers rest. Let  them think about what they've just been through. They need to regroup and so do you. So put them to the side. For a few hours, for the day...they only get better with time – just like you.

In the meantime, go get some bread. Buy two loaves. Or just polish up your fork as you might as well dig right into the pepper bowl. Do it. I won't tell.

Thank you to Vicki for her peppers and her "general instructions." I had a fantastic summer this year, and though it's not technically over, it feels like fall has arrived. Here are a few fun beach shots to say farewell...

Friday
Dec232011

Iaciofano Family Christmas 2011 – Prep Time!

It's that time of year again, folks! Time for Santa to squeeze his corpulent figure through tiny crevices for the purpose of Easy Bake Oven delivery. Time for Aunt Emily to drink tumbler after tumbler of gin on the rocks while complaining about John's hair and the lack of grandchildren in the family. Time for The Box to don his baby blue bathrobe and distribute gifts to his 30-something children.

Let me tell you this: a good time will be had by all.

In preparation, Marmo has stocked the fridge with all kinds of edible nonsense. Behold!

I've itemized some of the more exciting residents of the fridge:

1. Grapefruit Juice: for making this drink.

2. Orange Crush: The Box's beverage of choice.

3. Truwhip: The all-natural alternative to CoolWhip.

4. Limoncello: For proper Italian digestion. Make your own like this.

5. A Lot of Seafood: Christmas Eve is all about the seven fishes. I believe Marmo has plans to combine all seven of them into one masterful, magnum opus of a seafood salad. Stand by for that.

6. Tomatoes: And a lot of them. I don't know what these are for specifically, but I'm sure we'll put them to good use.

7. Brussels Sprouts: Roast 'em!

8. A Red Pepper: Roast this too!

In addition to an overflowing refrigerator, Iaciofano HQ is also crammed to the gills with cookies. Marmo has taken to hiding them around the house because both The Box and John will find and eat them all before Santa has a chance to get his white-gloved mitts on them.

In fact, The Box has something to say about MARMO AND THE CASE OF THE HIDDEN CHRISTMAS COOKIES:

As Christmas approaches each year, Marmo devotes her considerable talents to the creation of a range of exceptionally edible Christmas cookies.  She packs these cookies always in a selection of tins intending to preserve them from consumption until the holiday actually arrives.  That is where the fun starts!
 
Just as Sherlock had his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, Marmo is bedeviled by John and The Box who, individually and together, do their best to locate each cookie stash and, of course, to eat all cookies found with no thought of preserving any for the holiday.  An appropriate image for the reader to have in their mind would be of two white sharks  cruising the beach of a fat farm.  In years past, total decimation of the cookie population has occurred well in advance of Christmas causing Marmo to have to engage in a fit of re-baking amidst screams, admonitions (and denials).

Over the years, Marmo has become sneakier and sneakier in her efforts to hide cookies in locations that she hopes are immune from discovery.  Sometimes these efforts work, and sometimes they don’t.

As the score sheet has not been filled in for this year, we bring you some of Marmo’s favorite hideouts.  No doubt, John and The Box will be up to their usual tricks. The Box has threatened to employ Toby in the process...

If you are ever at the Iaciofano house at Christmas time, here is where you can find the cookies:

In the laundry room above the dryer, keeping things like bubble wrap and shoe polish company:

In the bottom most drawer under the "catch-all" shelf in the kitchen:

In the cabinets where the "seasonal" and "random" dinnerware is stored:

 John Chimes in: First let me say... J.....   E..... T.....  S....... JETS JETS JETS!  Christmas could start a bit earlier this year in the Iaciofano household if Rex and Gang Green deliver a Christmas Eve, Revis Island smackdown to the stupid a$$ Giants.   Ironically, the spread of the game (last I checked, the Jets giving two and a half poitns) is the same number value assigned to myself and the Box's over/under for cookie tin's cleaned out during the game.  I devour those Christmas tree shortbreads like it's popcorn.

But aside from the Jets. It is our wish that all readers of this blog - and I suppose non-readers too - have the Merriest of Christmases/Holidays/Festivuses.  And while you cannot physically join us at the table, rest assured that you'll be hearing about all of the food, antics, and Aunt Emily sponsored Italian guilt trips in the days that follow.  Happy Holidays. 

Oh, and for those asking the obvious question - "John, aren't you going post your amazingly creative and hilarious 'Twas the Night Before Christmas poem for all to read?"  Why, yes.  It's right here.  Thank you for the compliments.

 

Tuesday
May242011

Pep it Up! More Memorial Day Bruschetta Options

Yes, it's STILL raining in New York. So I need to come up with new and inventive ways to use Roasted Peppers. You may recall me talking about how they help prevent bad hair days due to inclement weather.

It was time to take all these peppers, puddles and poodle hair and do something proactive: like making them party-ready for your Memorial Day festivities.

As an added bonus, this is so dang easy, you will have more time to spend on figuring out how to make your hair party-ready (much more challenging, for me anyway). Here we go:

Roasted Red and Green Pepper Bruschetta:

What You Need:
1 red pepper
1 green pepper (you could use yellow or orange if you like - go for color!)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Chopped fresh rosemary - a few sprigs
Chopped fresh thyme - a few sprigs
Chooped fresh basil 5 large leaves
black pepper - two turns from a mill
1 Italian baguette, sliced
Optional: goat cheese

What To Do:
Roast the peppers according to my previous instructions.

Place all the spices and chopped herbs in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix.

Once your peeled and seeded roasted peppers have cooled, chop them up into tiny bits and place them in a small bowl. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and your spice mix.

Toss with a fork to coat everything evenly.

Heat up your broiler and arrange your baguette slices on a baking sheet. Toast each side of the slices - about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Arrange scoops of pepper topping on your toasts and serve!

For an added punch, spread some goat cheese on your toasts before you place your peppers on there.

Magic, I promise. Have I lied to you yet? Don't answer that...

Wednesday
May112011

The Box Makes Antipasto!

 Today's post is written by our Dad, a.k.a "The Box"... 

As devoted readers of this blog have, no doubt, noticed, Elana has followed in the illustrious footsteps of Marmo and become an accomplished cook and baker…..although Elana’s approach to cooking is occasionally reminiscent of Scipio’s approach to Carthage

Indeed, even John has mastered a reasonably comprehensive cooking skill set which he is not above using to impress the fluttering moths that frequent the light of his flame.

It will probably come as no surprise that, surrounded as I am by these accomplished foodies, I have had little motivation to develop any cooking skills of note with the exception of scrambled eggs and the world’s best fraudulently homemade New England clam chowder. Rather, I have devoted my talents to consumption.

There is, however, one area in which The Box reigns supreme….the preparation of what is easily the WORLD’S BEST ANTIPASTO.

Okay, I admit that making antipasto is not “cooking”. In rebuttal, I would argue that putting together a good antipasto requires the presentational skills of a food stylist and the abilities of a chef to assemble a collection of diverse food items into a complementary tasting presentation that, in most cases, serves to get the juices flowing for a great meal to follow. That is why, in Italian, “antipasto” means “before the meal.”

A brief confession is in order: The Box has been known to create very large antipasti (note the plural), and to heavily indulge in same, leaving little or no room to partake of the “main course.”  This nefarious practice is of particular use when the “main course” consists of an item that I deem unfit for human consumption regardless of how well prepared; i.e., Turkey.

 But enough blather. It’s time to get to it.

What You Need:

The beauty of antipasto is that the choices of ingredients can include almost anything.  Over the years there have been some ingredients that have come and gone in The Box’s antipasto, but over the last few years a reasonably fixed set of ingredients has evolved.

CeCi Beans….marinated in red wine vinegar and olive oil (fuhgedabout your shi-shi balsamic vinegar).

Artichoke Hearts….not too oily.

Roasted red peppers….make them yourself, forget you ever saw a jar. (Elana's note: Since this is No-Cook Week, we can't endorse making your own roasted peppers. Until next week, when we will show you how).

Olives….your choice (go for a little color). But, your choices must include pitted black olives.

Cheeses….you need at least two, preferably a good sharp provolone (try Vanta) and some fresh mozzarella (smoked mozzarella is a good option – try both).

Genoa salami….get the good stuff! If it’s made on this side of the Atlantic give it to your dog.

Soppresata….again, please, the good stuff. Preferably homemade by a good Italian deli or butcher.  Nothing from the deli case in shrink wrap.

Composition & Assembly
This is the whole show people.

First, you need a large platter….round or oval will do. Then follow this assembly formula:

The veggie type things (ceci's, artichokes, roasted peppers, olives) can go in the middle, confined by the fat and salt-free items (salami, soppresata, cheeses). If you wish, you can incorporate a small bowl to hold some items in one place (ceci’s in particular).

Next, go to work on the perimeter.

Roll the Genoa salami into cylinders and stack along the side.

Follow with one of your cheeses. The provolone should be cut in relatively thin rectangles.

Next, go to the soppresata. Try to slice this a bit on the bias so that you get thin oval slices. 

Follow with your second cheese as you continue around the perimeter of your platter. However, if you use the mozzarella balls you will have to get creative and may want to “sprinkle” them around your creation.

Quantity
This is an ITALIAN dish: Figure out how much stuff you need for the number of people coming and multiply by four. If you run out..or even come close..you will be a disgrazia!

The only food article missing in this “recipe” is Uncle Harry’s Chicken Liver.  Chicken liver in an antipasto??  That’s right cupcake! But that’s a story for another day.

MANGIA!!