Thursday, May 3, 2012

A peck of pickled peppers

When he was in middle school, my little brother took a cooking class. Until then, as far as I remember, he'd merely enjoyed the products produced from cooking without actually knowing how to make things. He was the youngest of four, after all, and had never really needed to know how to cook. It was always taken care of for him. After the class, of course, he started baking sweet things like cakes a fair amount. But the one actual meal recipe he enjoyed the most, and made as often as our mom would let him, was Pasta Primavera. It's a very simple recipe involving some sausage, sliced peppers, sliced onions, garlic, spaghetti noodles, basil, oregano, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Seriously, that's it. (I don't even do amounts--for the herbs I just shake them over the cooking sausage and veggies until it looks right, and the parmesan goes on "to taste".) So it's super easy (and frugal) and I started making it myself on occasion when I moved up here.
Well. In the Easter box she sent to us, along with the candy, my mom also packed a jar of pickled peppers. (Packed in oil, with garlic.) I've never before eaten pickled peppers and since I'm fairly new to enjoying peppers at all, I was a little wary. But I figured that Pasta Primavera was as good an application for them as any. Turns out, it was better than that. This was the perfect use for those peppers. I can't remember what kind of sausage I bought (chicken sausage with gruyere? something like that) but it all blended so perfectly. The peppers added just a bit of heat, the oil from them coated the noodles well so the cheese stuck to it. Mmmmm!
Shane had told me that he wasn't very hungry, but I was on the phone with a friend so I figured I might as well start dinner. When it was close to done Shane followed his nose into the kitchen and whispered, "It smells so good. Can you bring me a plate when it's ready?" I did. And then he came back for more, which he doesn't usually do right away. (He's more of a grazer--he eats lots of food in small amounts.) As he was getting the second helping he said, "I don't know what you did with this tonight, but it's amazing. I wasn't even hungry until I started smelling it. Whatever you did, keep doing it." Looks like I'll have to find some of those pickled peppers here. Or even learn to make my own.
The snow from the other day didn't stick, and the clouds blew away, but the weather hasn't really warmed up any. It's still chilly, and there's a strong wind blowing from the West. Brr! I turned the heat back on, just until it warms up again.
My poor plants are straining toward the outdoors, but it's just too cold to put them out right now, even for short periods. I'm hoping the cold-ish snap lifts soon so that I can continue hardening off my veggies, at least the hardy ones. The peas are getting so tall and they'll need to be planted outdoors sometime in the next couple of weeks.
The trees are starting to have green on their tips, which makes me hopeful and reminds me that this chilliness won't last forever. Greenup is coming!

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