Tag Archives: red peppers

How to Char Any Pepper 101 – Really Handy Pantry Item!

Charring peppers is a cinch, and they are so great to have on hand. They are quick and easy to prepare and can be cooked right when a recipe calls for them. Also, make a whole ton when you are so overrun with peppers when they are in season and you don’t want a single one to go to waste.

roast the cayenne peppers too

Charred cayenne peppers from my garden

I roast peppers and keep them in a jar in the fridge with extra-virgin olive oil and they last for weeks. You can get even more adventurous and add things to the oil like fresh herbs to infuse more flavor, but they are so good on their own too.

the spectrum of color

You can do this to jalapeno peppers too!

The oil that the peppers marinate in also takes on a lovely flavor and can be liberally used whether you are using the peppers in a sandwich, a salad or a stew. Sometimes I even drizzle the oil by itself on a piece of toast for a snack: really delicious.

roast the peppers & onions

Any pepper can be roasted and stored

Once you get the hang of charring peppers you will find yourself looking for excuses to use them. The process intensifies the sweetness or heat, depending on the variety, and the smoky flavor is right up front.

georgous roasted red peppers

These peppers were charred on the grill

My friend Tom does the same thing but he loves to use his grill, hail, rain or shine. His pepper choices are on the scary hot side and I’m sure at this point he has burned all of his taste buds!

really hot!

Really hot!

So, no matter what kind you like, I suggest that you start burning peppers and see where it leads you.



Place your oven rack about 4 to 6 inches away from the broiler and turn broiler to high.

1 – Wash and dry whatever peppers you choose to use and place on a baking sheet.

lucious peppers, and lots of 'em!

luscious peppers, and lots of ’em!

2 – Place the tray under the grill and broil peppers on all sides until charred (blackened). You will eventually get use to the timing, but it is important to check every few minutes.

grill peppers until charred

4 – When they have cooled (but still warm – about 15 minutes or so, depending on how many peppers in the bag), remove the charred skin by peeling off with your fingers. Then remove the seeds, stem and veins. DO NOT do this by rinsing under the tap as this will wash away lots of lovely oily flavor.

dice peppers

dice peppers

6 – After that you can cut into strips, dice them or leave whole, depending on what the recipe calls for. Store in a glass jar with some good quality olive oil and store in the fridge for several weeks.

They are great in rice, stir-fry, salads, Quiche, stews, pizza topping, pasta dishes and sandwiches.



Shawn’s Christmas Visit, Penne with Bacon, Peppers, & whole Baby Onions (serves 6)

 This was a very fun and special evening. Our dearest friend Shawn makes a trip to our house every Christmas, and it is much-anticipated. My man Dave and I look forward to the food, and to trying out wines a little more special than the usual nightly offering, and, my kids look forward to sitting with a person who has known them since the day they were born, the man who gives them a sculpture or a drawing for their birthday or Christmas, instead of toys. In short, we love him.

Beautiful bowl filled with Penne, with Bacon, Peppers & Whole Baby Onions

I always want it to be a feast, an event, and this past visit was no different. This recipe was only part of our little feast. We also had appetizers, salmon, chocolate and numerous other delectable treats. 

This pasta dish was amazing on so many levels. I had actually never cooked baby Vidalia onions before, but knew they had to be cooked whole. The entire dish came about to highlight these glorious onions, and I think I did them justice.

Can’t wait for us all to get together again; another excuse for a wonderful dinner.


You will need: 1 lb bacon, 10 to 12 baby Vidalia onions , chop off bulb where the stalk turns green, 3 green Vidalia onion green stalks, thinly sliced, 1 red pepper, cut into thin stripes, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth (or 1 1/2 cups water & bouillon cube), 1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves, 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste, 2 tbs unsalted butter, Fresh Avocado slices (optional), Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, (optional).

1 – Cut bacon into smaller pieces and place in big saute pan on low/medium heat. Cook until starting to get crispy. Drain off most of the fat and add the onion bulbs. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

cook bacon, add onions

2 – Add peppers and chopped Vidalia onion greens. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes (you may have to add some extra-virgin olive oil and/or turn down heat).

add peppers

3 – Add the broth or bouillon cube and water, along with the pepper flakes and rosemary. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Cover with lid and simmer for about 8 minutes.

add pepper flakes and liquid

4 – In the meantime, put the pasta water on and cook penne according to instructions.When draining reserve about 1/2 a cup of pasta water (you may need it to loosen the sauce).

add penne, parsley and butter

5 – Add the drained penne directly into the pan (do not rinse penne with cold water after draining!), along with 2 tbs of butter and the parsley. stir everything together until the butter has melted. Turn off heat. If you think the sauce is too thick, you can loosen it up with the reserved pasta water.

food is ready

I served this in a big warmed bowl and let everyone help themselves. You can also pass some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to anyone who likes it!

I also served this dish with avocado slices, which added a lovely creaminess

Aromatic Roast Chicken with Sumptuous Red Peppers & Spices (serves 4)

There is no shame in putting absolutely no effort into preparing dinner for you and your family.

I did not feel the remotest guilt pulling this stunner of a dinner out of the oven, and accepting all sorts of praise for my culinary talents. There is no harm in your kids thinking you are supermom (one day they will discover you are only human, and as I far as I can remember, it can be quite a blow) for as long as possible.

Sumptuous dinner

I am desperate for everyone to cook dinner for their family as often as they can squeeze it in. It is so important actually, that squeezing it in is more necessary than anything else you could be doing, even if you are tired, grumpy and inept in the kitchen.

I think dinners like this can be prepared by anyone over the age of ten. If the food we serve for the evening meal is always some sort of challenge, you will end up eating fast-type foods more often than you should.

Try making dishes like this one, and you will find out how rewarding it is to sit around the table with the ones you love, eating a meal you prepared. Sappy stuff, but true.


You will need: 1 whole cut-up chicken, (or an assortment of legs, thighs & breasts),  1 red onion, large dice, 1 large red pepper, large dice, 6 cloves garlic, left in skin, 1 full cup cherry tomatoes, 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds, 1 tsp cumin, pinch of ground cloves, 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp sea-salt, freshly cracked black pepper, 1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube, crumbled, 3 cups water (or, 2 cups chicken broth & 1 cup water)

Preheat oven 425*

veggies in bottom of pan

1 – Scatter the tomatoes, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and peppers into the bottom of a pan or roasting dish. Mix the fennel, cumin, thyme and cloves together, and sprinkle over the vegetables, along with the crumbled bouillon cube. Add the water (or broth & water)

place chicken on top

2 – Place the chicken on top in a snug single layer, and sprinkle skin with olive oil, and season with sea-salt and pepper. Place in preheat oven for 35 minutes.

* If you are going to prepare something to go with this, do so at this time.

3 – Take chicken out and baste with juices. Turn heat down to 400 and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin is a golden brown.

chicken done

4 – Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to rest for 5 or so minutes.

We served the chicken with a perfume-y basmati rice

Serve on its own, or, with rice, pasta, bread or salad.