Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Don't Stand a Roast of a Chance

I've been so focused on tomatoes lately that I've all but forgotten about all the other vegetables languishing in the refrigerator. After all, when the crisper drawer is closed, I can't really see all the work I have to do, and I can lull myself into a state of blithe neglect.

But when I opened that drawer yesterday, I realized I still had loads of red peppers on my hands, waiting to be roasted.

There are a number of ways to preserve peppers, of course. Last year I tried drying strips of red pepper, and that worked very well for flavoring soups. I could also chop the peppers and freeze the bits in clumps, ready for sauteing. I just have a fondness for roasted red peppers, and though they require more work than the other options, they are definitely worth it in the long run.

So what could I do but decide that tonight was pepper night?


Before I started dinner, I halved the peppers and scraped out the seeds, placing them on a greased baking sheet cut side down. I gave them 20 to 30 minutes at 400 F, though it would have taken less time had I reset the rack and used the broiler.

Once they came out of the oven, I pried them off the pan with tongs and tossed them into a plastic bag to "sweat," loosening the skins.


Had I broiled the peppers as I ought, the skins would have blistered and blackened, and they would have been much easier to peel. The results still weren't bad, though, and even with more time and work needed, I still managed to get through all the peppers without screaming with frustration at the little bits of skin sticking to the vegetables.


When I've roasted peppers before, I've usually packed them in oil with garlic and some spices. I read some time ago, though, that it was possible to freeze roasted peppers by layering them with wax paper in a sealed container. So that's what I did this evening, filling a large plastic container and squeezing it into one of the few remaining empty spaces in the icebox.

Along with the peppers, I managed to roast the Fairy Tale eggplant also tucked in the crisper, and I made a sumptuously spicy makhani sauce with the crushed Sun Gold tomatoes sitting n the fridge. Both items combined with whole wheat pita for a satisfying dinner, and I hope to feature the sauce in something else later this week so you can get a look at it. And between these two little projects, I managed to clear more space in the refrigerator, using up more produce before I lost any more.

But I doubt I'll stand a chance of getting any more preserving done until the weekend!

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