If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again.

Welcome home to me!

We just got home from a trip to Austin, TX – maaaaaaaaaaan, I love that city! And, I miss living there very much. But, I am also glad to be home and able to cook my own food. My stomach revolted against me on Monday – as did my nervous system and my mood. I ate way too much and drank way too much – I went in knowing it would be a health fail, but I was willing to take the hit for Tex-mex. After 4 days of debauchery. I am home, with no Tex-mex in sight and ready to get back down to cooking business.

First on the list – make something out of that god awful tomato, eggplant sauce I made the night before we left. I mean, it was TERRIBLE. You would have thought I diced an eggplant, opened a can of tomatoes and served them both raw. That’s how bad it was. I promise I didn’t do that, my cooking mojo was definitely off that night. But where there is failure, we can find opportunity. My opportunity came when my CSA arrived with a bazillion small peppers. It’s that time of year and the past couple of weeks some of my peppers have gone bad before I have had a chance to use them. I was determined not to lose a single pepper this week. So I decided to roast some peppers, take out the frozen tomatoes sauce from last week and go to town. For roasting, I  just half the peppers and place the inside of the pepper down on the roasting pan. Ignore the small pieces – I was a pepper in with the knife before I decided exactly what I was going to prepare.

What are you preparing, you ask? Roasted Red Pepper stew with grassfed meatballs. Served with a leafy green salad topped with a homemade lemon-radish vinaigrette.  

So, in my CSA I got several varieties of peppers – red, yellow, orange, purple, green. As well as, some hot peppers that looked like peppercini’s, but have the heat of a jalapeno and some actual peppercinis that are more sweet than hot. I also roasted these little  peppers along with the bell peppers.

Drizzled with a little olive oil, place the peppers face down on a roasting pan.

Roast peppers at 450 degrees. Probably no more than 15 minutes. You can also broil them on high for the same effect – or roast them on the grill. The options are almost endless. Before roasting in the oven – be sure to de-seed all the peppers. If you are roasting on the grill it’s easier to leave the big peppers whole and de-seed after cooking. The smaller peppers will need grilling screen so they don’t fall through the cracks.
Keep an eye on the peppers and remove them from the heat once the skin puckers and they begin to brown. This will make most of the skin easy to remove. Set aside and allow to cool. While the peppers are roasting – I began to simmer my tomato sauce (previously made with a large can of diced mier glen tomatoes with basil, cubed eggplant (also roasted and skinned) with fresh minced garlic, oregano, basil, mint, salt & pepper. Aaaaaand, while that is simmering – make your meatballs!
Herb Meatballs

I bought this over the summer from a farmer that said it makes a great salad green and adds a spice to soup that is agreat. He was right, but I can't remember what it is... anyone?

1 lb. ground grassfed beef
1 bunch (about a handful) of fresh basil
1 cupped palm full of oregano
3 leaves of the unknown herb, pictured to the right
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of flower pepper
1 egg (whipped)
1/4 cup of almond meal
2 large cloves of garlic chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan
Mix all the ingredients above the garlic by hand in a large bowl. Form in to bite sized meat balls. In a large sauce pan – add the olive oil, garlic and celery. Place each meatball in the pan – finding a spot to put them directly on the pan in the oil. Flip once using tongs – once the meatballs have browned on each side you can very carefully mix them around with the garlic and celery. I say carefully, so you don’t pull the meatballs apart. Set the meatballs aside out of the pan.  

Placing meatballs like so.

Remember the red peppers? Well take the skin off of those and place in a food processor along with the drippings (garlic and celery included) from the meatball pan – scrape with a spatula to get most of the crispy bits. Since you’re processing the peppers it’s not important to get every last piece of skin off. Just the charred part and move on.
Process until it’s the consistency of a chunky tapanade – which reminds me, if you have some olives, they would be yummy added in with the peppers. Add the pepper (and olive) mixture into the tomato sauce.  I also threw in another palm full of basil and chopped radish leaves. I quickly sautéed them in the meatball pan before adding them to the stew mixture. They add a great flavor and tang!
While stirring – add about a can of coconut milk or if you want a more soup-like texture add half coconut milk and half beef/chicken broth. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30-45 minutes. I taste mine every 15 minutes or so to see what the flavors are doing. Add some sea salt, as needed and fresh ground pepper. If the flavor isn’t where you want it – you can simmer longer. Once you’re about where you want to be with the consistency and flavor – add the meatballs to the top of the stew – cover and let simmer on very low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Give the stew a gentle stir. It’s ready to serve!
I served this stew with a leafy green salad – topped with chopped radishes, carrots and some local goat feta cheese (we’re allowing a little goat dairy to ween ourselves off the queso while we were in Austin). The dressing for the salad was super tasty and easy! I will warn you – it doesn’t smell great. Unless you find the smell of radishes pleasant. I took a rainbow radish (the pinkest one of the bunch for color), rough chopped it, added some basil; the juice of one lemon; a little sea salt; little flower pepper; about 1/3 cup olive oil and a little garlic powder. A couple of quick turns in the processor and you’re done!
I thought the dressing was the star of the show – but Carter swears it was the stew. You pick!

Categories: Cooking Tips, Nutrition, Recipe


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