Peppers

These little lovelies can be difficult to find. I stumbled on these shishito peppers at dean and deluca. Padron peppers could also be used and are almost identical. Both are small delicate peppers that generally are mild in taste although every one in ten you might find a spicy one.

Blistered Peppers 1/2 lb (or any amount) shishito or padron peppers coarse salt olive oil

Wash and dry peppers. Some one told me each pepper should be pricked with a pin before cooking but this seems fussy and I never do it. In a pan heat a drizzle of olive oil and add peppers. Cook until they blister and deflate. Salt to taste. Serve hot. Eat everything but the stem.

Twice Baked Potatoes

no meal is complete without a potato.  This one is dressed up and a fun to make, happiness inducing addition to a holiday or entertaining menu.    They take a bit of time, but most of the work is done by the oven.  These are the sour cream and chive variety but many variations are possible. Who doesn't like a bacon cheddar twice baked potato?

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes (idaho or russet types)

olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

handful of fresh chives, diced about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup milk (i use fat free)

3/4 cup sour cream (full flavor, but you can use low fat)

salt and pepper

Scrub and dry potatoes.  Stab each with fork a couple times to prevent potato explosions in the oven and rub with olive oil.  This will keep the skin from drying out and provide a little extra flavor.  Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for one hour and fifteen minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.

Cut off tops of potatoes to make little boats ( makes 4 portions)  or cut them in half evenly (makes 8 portions).

Scoop out flesh into a bowl.  Mix and mash this with sour cream, milk, butter, chives, salt and pepper.

Fill Potatoes.  (This would be a good time to sprinkle with cheese, bacon or any additions you may have decided on)

Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until hot, 15 minutes.

Spicy Corn Bread

I used a large Jalapeno and drizzled it in a lot of agave syrup after baking because I was craving a sweet and spicy cornbread.  This recipe can be adjusted according to taste.  When dicing the jalapeno, use gloves or make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after.  When cutting the corn kernels from the cob, place a cup or mug upside down in a bowl.  Hold the corn vertically with the bottom resting on the cup.  Slice down and kernels will fall into the bowl.  Easy. Jalapeno Corn Bread

1 corn on the cob (1 cob of corn?) kernels sliced off cob

1/2 or 1 jalapeno, diced

3 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons agave or honey, plus more for drizzling post baking

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup  flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and spread into square baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Drizzle with agave syrup or honey for sweetness.