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We played tourist yesterday. Some of you may think that living in France, or any country other than your native one, is a constant adventure: places to go; things to do; cities and sites to explore.
The first few months we lived in Ireland we did that. At least two days a week we would pack a picnic lunch and head off in a new direction. The type-A personalities still held sway and Ireland was compact: lots to see in a small area. It seemed as if there were castles, gardens or ancient villages around every corner.
It wasn't as convenient after we moved to Andorra. We quickly explored the local area, but, because we were in the mountains, it took us three hours to get down, so to speak, which left day trips overly long. We quickly fell into the local routine of mountain walks and golf.
By the time we moved to France, the type-A personalities were shed and we were in the typical rut: taking care of the garden, house and property with the weekly trip into town to do the shopping and the occasional foray up to Ikea. When we had visitors we would do the tourist bit, taking in the local sites followed by Paris. But they were the same local sites; the same Paris.
We 'd forgotten to live, to get out and enjoy life. We were just plodding along, weeding, cleaning, mowing and cooking, with the weekly bike ride thrown in for fun.
Time for a change. We decided that once a month we would go exploring: get to know a new city, go to an historical site or a museum, have a leisurely lunch, explore the nooks and crannies that visitors, with a limited schedule, really don't care about.
In August we spent the day in Niort. Never heard of it? Not surprised. It's a lovely little city but nothing remarkable. A pretty market, nice donjon, small shopping area; very pleasant….if you live within
Yesterday we went to Tour. It has a lot of old world charm and reminded me a bit of Barcelona, with a long 'Ramblas' -type flower market(above); a lovely old town with half-timbered houses and a pretty park along the river. We'll go back, maybe to stay overnight and explore more leisurely. I'd recommend a visit if you're already in the area and have the time.
Now, on to the food:
Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted this week by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything … at least once.
And don't forget: next weekend Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen, the founder of Weekend Herb Blogging will be hosting the big 2-Year Anniversary Celebration!
And rightly so! To me it is the quintessential fall food. I love stuffing all sorts of vegetables but peppers just lend themselves to it perfectly.
Some people love them; some hate them… In my humble opinion, if you like vegetables and like peppers normally, you will like stuffed peppers, provided you don't cook them into a bitter mush…
All peppers, but particularly the red ones are rich in
vitamins A, C, and K, and antioxidants. They can help reduce inflammation like
that found in arthritis and asthma and are noted for helping to prevent certain
cancers: prostate, bladder, cervix and pancreas.
5 – 6 oz (150gr) ground beef/turkey/sausage
2 bell peppers try to get 4-sided peppers
1 medium onion
1 stalk celery
1 tbs chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
2 tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena)
1 cup cooked brown rice
Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds. Set aside (do not blanch). Peel and chop onion and garlic. Chop celery. Sauté onion, celery and garlic over medium heat in large skillet. Skillet must be large enough to hold all pepper halves, when they are stuffed, in one layer. When onions start to become translucent add ginger, water chestnuts and meat. Break meat up as it cooks. When meat is cooked add 1 tbs soy sauce and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Dissolve 1 tbs cornstarch in 1/4 cup chicken stock. Add to the skillet and stir well, cooking until it thickens. Add rice and mix well. Fill peppers with meat and rice (set on a plate while you work). Once all peppers are filled using all of the beef and rice, put the peppers back into the same pan (filled side up, in one layer). Pour remaining 1 cup of chicken stock around peppers in skillet, cover, return to heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Remove peppers. Dissolve remaining 1 1/2 tbs cornstarch in remaining 1 tbs soy sauce (add 1 tbs water to make it easier). Bring stock left in pan to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir, cooking until thick. Serve peppers with sauce on the side.
And if you want the more traditional style with tomatoes and cheese:
5 oz ground beef (150 gr mince)
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 can tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs red wine
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup cooked quinoa
2/3 cup stock
2 nicely shaped bell peppers
2 – 4 drops hot pepper sauce or more…
Cook quinoa in stock until done. Put a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds. When water is boiling drop peppers in and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove (use tongs) and put into a baking dish that will just hold them (if possible). Finely chop onion, celery and garlic. In nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté chili powder for 1 minute. Add garlic, celery and onion, sauté until tender, 5 – 7 minutes. Add beef and sauté until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Add tomatoes, wine, Worcestershire sauce, basil, hot pepper sauce and quinoa. Remove from heat and spoon mixture into the pepper halves. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400F (200C). Remove foil and sprinkle with shredded cheese, Bake, uncovered until cheese melts. Serve.
Be sure to visit Haalo at Cook (almost) Anything … at least once for the week's round-up!
And eat your peppers…they're good for you…. just don't overcook them!