Peppers, peppers, peppers...


The farmers markets tables are awash in reds, greens, purples, oranges- shiny bells and crinkly horns, tiny slivers of heat and crispy sweet bites of summer. It is pepper season! When I was a kid my favorite recipe to prepare was Chile Rellenos. Assisted by an adult, of course, I would heat up that oil and dip the jack cheese filled (canned) pepper into a fluffy egg batter then throw my dripping masterpiece into the oil spitting pan and watch that baby brown. Once a sufficient amount sat on a paper towel covered plate, we would sit down to watch the evening news while drowning our dinners in salsa and sour cream, strands of gooey cheese streaming from plate to mouth-bound fork.

I don't cook (much) by submersing my produce and dairy in vats of oil these days, but I still love the combination of peppers, egg, and cheese. Here's my updated version of my childhood fave:

Stuffed peppers with roasted salsa and a fried egg:

8 peppers (the bigger the better- try poblano or pasilla but lots of other peppers will work), 1 cup cherry or small heirloom tomatoes, 1 onion cut into eighths, 2T olive oil, 1 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, 2 eggs, a bunch of cilantro

Preheat your oven to 400'. Toss peppers, tomatoes, and onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking pan and roast for about 30 minutes or until the peppers are soft and slightly browned.

Once the veggies are ready, let cool slightly, and place half the peppers on a broiler safe baking sheet. Peel off papery skin if desired, carefully slit them on one side and remove seeds. Then stuff them with your choice of cheese: My favorite is Monterey Jack, but goat cheese or queso fresco can work too! Place under broiler until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, place tomatoes, onions, and remaining peppers into blender and blend just until large chunks are incorporated. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Add a dash of hot sauce if you like, preferably made from African bird chili peppers like the ones in the photo above!

Heat a frying pan to medium and fry two eggs to your liking. (I prefer over easy with good farm fresh eggs)

Place one or two chile rellenos on each plate. Top with fried egg. Pour warm salsa over top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Approximately 2 servings.


Joe Likes Tomatoes


We're in the heart of tomato season in San Diego: enjoy the last of the year's fresh heirlooms in September and watch this video with Joe Magnanelli of Cucina Urbana for inspiration!

Joe Likes Tomatoes from SFUSD on Vimeo.

Want to make something delicious from your garden's surplus? Try out this Tomato Tart Tatin Recipe from 101 Cookbooks!

Fermenting frenzy in my fridge


I just ordered The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. I can't wait to flip through the tome, mouth watering or nose wrinkling at the various fermented creations to be found within. I admit I'm taking the whole fermenting thing slow. I've experimented with quite a few recipes in Katz' primer, Wild Fermentation, and have jars of yogurt, kimchi, kraut, kombucha, and pickles in my stash. I figure I'll perfect my skills with the basics before moving to stuff like Chicha (read the recipe- I dare you) and whatever else might be awaiting in Katz' new book. But I love my kombucha. Making it yourself is not only much cheaper but you can create the flavors and sweetness that appeal to you! Besides, who can resist the science-experiment-like draw of this mushroom/yeast bevvie? Here's how I make my kombucha (based on the recipe in Wild Fermentation) (I usually double or quadruple the recipe I drink so much!):

Grab a 1 quart mason jar. Steep 2 black tea bags in 1 quart of hot water for at least 20 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add 1/4 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool to the point where you can stick your hand in without it hurting. (Very scientific) About 100 degrees. Add a kombucha mother (get one from a friend or buy at a place like OB People's Co-op), translucent side down, along with some of the kombucha the mother was stored in (or apple cider vinegar in a pinch). Cover mouth of jar with cheesecloth and store in a warm spot (70-85 degrees). Let it hang out for about a week, longer if you want it less sweet, more acidic. Once it tastes good to you, store it covered in the fridge. Start a new batch and add one of the mothers (the mother you used will grow another "skin." Peel this off and use either one.) Enjoy!

If you want to meet Sandor Katz in person and attend a bunch of cool workshops, check out this festival happening up north on September 16th:

Also, go to the San Diego Fermenters Club Facebook page and like 'em to hear about local meetings and events: