The Swing of Summer

The more I cook, the more I realize that what I make throughout the year is full of rhythms and patterns.  In the colder months, I plan menus meticulously, searching for the perfect combination of meats, vegetables, and starches for our table.  I check and double check ingredient lists and go to the grocery store with purpose.  I might roast something for hours in a low-temp oven, or stand over the stove and stir for up to an hour in pursuit of a good meal.  In the summer, my menus swing full-circle and I’m much more go-with-the-flow (I know you’ll find that hard to believe if we’ve met).  I take whatever looked good at the store that morning, eat whatever I (Who am I kidding?  My husband,) can grill, adorn the rest of the menu with a sprinkle of herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, and we call it dinner.  It doesn’t take much time to put on the table, and it’s always served best with a cocktail in hand.

I don’t have recipes for my summer drinks, I just pick a juice or two that intrigues me (you’re looking at Trader Joe’s pomegranate lime juice with a splash of OJ) and add vodka and ice.  This formula generally works in my favor 11/10 times.  How’s that math?

*Forgive this phone photo…in a long, not worth it story, I don’t have my trusty old camera with me.

Folks, I’m having a smitten little summer so far.  I’ve probably made about a dozen of Deb’s recipes, and have yet to be disappointed.  When I saw her put her spin on roasted peppers, I knew that was next up.  I have an old Williams Sonoma recipe for roasted peppers and tomatoes that I have yet to share, but I keep on standby anytime I need a shake-up from my regular green veggies.  Deb’s version is similar, but the addition of capers and mozzarella made this one worth a try.

As for its appearance on our table, the peppers were gone faster than you can say summer.  This is such a throw together, come as your are, sure we have room for your cousin/grandma/brother’s friend’s nephew who’s in town, kind of dish.  It can be scaled up by adding pepper after pepper after pepper, until you can feed an army at your next summer gathering.  And it’s summer at it’s finest, showcasing the best that the green earth has to offer.  I tagged it as a “sandwich” too, because if, in a shocking twist of events, you find yourself with leftovers, they’d be wonderful enveloped by some crusty bread.  This is not Deb’s exact recipe, it’s a hybrid of both of ours.

To make enough roasted peppers to feed 4, you will need:

  • 6 bell peppers (if all 3 colors are in stock, I get 2 each of red, orange and yellow)
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar (balsamic if you don’t have it)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (if you like garlic, throw in 2 or 3 cloves)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T capers, drained
  • 8 oz. ball of mozzarella, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  While that’s going on, cut the tops off of the peppers, and cut out the seeds and membranes inside.  Discard these parts.  Slice the peppers into strips or pieces and place them on a baking sheet (if you want to save yourself some cleaning time, line the sheet with heavy duty foil).  Drizzle with olive oil, and roast 45 minutes, opening the oven once, halfway through cooking, to toss things around on the baking sheet.  While the peppers roast, combine the garlic and vinegar to let the flavors get to know each other.  Toss the roasted peppers with the vinegar and garlic, and add salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper if you’re not sure where to go).  Add the capers.  Now you have options.  You can serve this warm, in which case, you’ll want to get your mozzarella slices ready, and serve right away.  Alternatively, you can let this mixture sit for an hour, or overnight (in the refrigerator) to marinate the peppers.  Serve cold, or bring to room temperature first.  Promise me you won’t forget the cheese on top right before serving.
And that’s it.  Lots of room for interpretation, and multiple ways to put your own spin on things.  The best kind of dish.

3 thoughts on “The Swing of Summer

  1. Looks great! And how nice that you are such a “go with the flow” cook! I’m more of an agonizer!

  2. Pingback: Social Networking, or, Embracing Your Inner Hillbilly « a glass of milk

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