Well, I'm just now feeling like I might be over this cold. Usually they don't linger so long, but this one was a doozy.
Haven't felt much like cooking, but now I'm gearing up for my big birthday dinner party on Wednesday. There will be ten of us, which is crazy! I think the biggest group I've ever cooked for is maybe six, and that involved serving super-easy pasta (recipe courtesy of my workout buddy, Ken).
On Wednesday, I'm going to be pulling out a number of project recipes simultaneously, so it's going to be quite a feat. I'm sad that I can't involve more friends, as there are so many people with whom I'd love to celebrate my birthday, but ten really feels like the limit for me, especially with my apartment still in makeshift condition.
I made these peppers today because 1) they could be made in advance, and 2) I HATE PEPPERS! The thought of eating peppers really upsets me. Just smelling them is torturous. But if I'm going to have to make them for this project, at least they should be enjoyed by people who appreciate peppers. So I'm serving them on Wednesday. :-)
Marinated Roasted Red Peppers (p. 315)
Part one of this recipe involves burning (roasting?) the peppers in the flames of the gas burner on the stove. (How would I do this if I had an electric range?) I can't say I was comfortable burning something, even peppers, over the open flames of my stovetop. It seemed dangerous and somewhat out of control. And it took a while! I started doing two at once, letting them sit on the burners, suspended over the flames, and I'd turn them every so often. They'd sputter and spit a little bit, which was disconcerting. Eventually, they were mostly black.
Then, they went in a bowl, which got covered with plastic wrap, where they cooled. Next step involved scraping off the charred skin with paper towels, which didn't go well at all. There were all these burnt pieces that were sticking to my hands or the paper towel or the peppers. And Martha explicitly says not to rinse them in water. So ultimately, I found the best solution was to scrape the char off with a knife, so I could control what happened to the charred bits once they were removed.
See above, where I said they were "mostly black?" Well, if I were following the recipe exactly, they would have been completely black. In the places where the skin wasn't burnt, the skin didn't peel off. Sometimes it was loose enough that I could pull it, but in other places, it was still hanging on, especially the inner creases and the top and bottom. So, if you're doing this recipe, hang in there and burn them until they're black ALL OVER. It will make your life easier later on in the process.
This whole things seemed like it should have been easier than it was....
Finally, I could move on to the slicing part. I was surprised to see that when I opened up the peppers, there was a fair amount of liquid (water?) inside. I removed the seeds and spines, sliced them, and covered them with the oil, balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic and salt and pepper. And I stuck them in the refrigerator.
How do they taste? I have no idea. I'd rather die. I'll ask my friends on Wednesday and let you know. :-)
Until we eat again....