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Peppers spice up the garden and kitchen


It was a fine year for growing peppers in our garden, which was made even more pleasing by the fact that we had planted 8 different kinds of peppers. Peppers are attractive plants and are relatively easy to grow. They are compact and can be tucked in in between plants or along the edge of a bed. Peppers are in the same family as tomatoes and potatoes, among others, but we’ve found they have fewer insects or other creatures bothering them– especially the hot kinds!

We tend to like food made with hot peppers, and some of us like food made with really hot peppers– the kind where eating becomes of test of strength and will. This year, however, we planted a range of peppers from mild to super hot so there was something for everyone. Since our pepper plants were quite productive, we’ve enjoyed many pepper recipes.

As pictured above, we grew California wonder (at the top of the picture, moving clockwise), Naga Jolokia (ghost pepper), Anaheim chili, Thai hot pepper, lemon drop pepper, jalapeno, ancho, and in the center Purple Beauty. The California wonder grew very big indeed; that’s a 10 ½ inch dinner plate in the picture.

The Purple Beauty peppers were fantastic, in size, number and taste. In spite of their unusual appearance, they were simply a nice mild, sweet bell pepper. We harvested about 30 peppers off of 4 plants, all big enough to stuff. And that’s what we did.

I hadn’t made stuffed peppers in a couple years, perhaps because my last attempt was not stellar. But this time, I got them so right that requests for more stuffed pepper dinners followed. Here’s the easy and delicious recipe I used.

Easy Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups water
6 bell peppers
2 cups homemade tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Put the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. (This partially cooks the brown rice).

3. In a skillet, brown the ground beef.

4. Prepare the peppers by slicing off the tops. Remove the seeds and membrane. (I like to use a melon scoop to clean them out efficiently).

5. Arrange the peppers in a baking dish.

6. In a bowl, mix together the browned meat, the partially cooked rice, 1cup of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and spices. Divide the meat mixture among the peppers.

7. Pour the remaining cup of tomato sauce over the stuffed peppers.

8. Bake for about 1 hour in the preheated oven. Baste with sauce from the bottom of the baking dish. Peppers will be tender when finished.

Posted in • Cooking, • Growing.

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