Stuff This!

No I am not being rude. Just a little dry Yankee wit. I have been inundated with requests for recipes for garden vegetables. Apparently there was a bumper crop and everyone and their mother wants to enjoy them in new ways. More exciting they say! Something the young folk will enjoy! Although I do have a wide repertoire of “with it” recipes, I am drawn hither to the old classics that may have seen their run, but I am still holding out. How about if I give you a couple of recipes that marry the old with the new? The used and worn out, but with new life? After all, tell me none of you, my age or older, never wore your siblings clothes when you were younger, or didn’t have your mother patch up that hole in the knee with the long forgotten patches of old. Heck, I still remember my mother actually sewing the toe or heel of my socks many, many times. A little uncomfortable but did we dare tell Mom or Dad, “Just buy me a new pair!”? I think I made my point, let’s move on.

Gefüllte Paprika Platte
(German Stuffed Bell Peppers)

Having the great pleasure of working so closely with W.A.Bean and Sons, I am constantly going there for every single bit of fresh meat I eat at home and prepare for my blogs, site and videos. especially sausage. My mother’s family is German, so we ate a lot of Kielbasa growing up. Not nearly as good as Beans, but Kielbasa none-the-less. Try this German inspired recipe for bell peppers, I think you will find many levels of flavor, including my New England touch.

2 red, green or yellow bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
4 c. shredded cabbage, divided
2 strips bacon, diced small
1/4 t. caraway seeds
1/2 lb. Bean’s Kielbasa, diced small
1/2 c. real maple syrup
1/4 c. cider vinegar
Black pepper to taste
1/2 t. salt
1 c. fresh bread crumbs*
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
1 t. dried chives
3/4 c. shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Lay halved green peppers on a baking sheet or pan, cut side up; set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the Kielbasa, maple syrup and cider vinegar in the pan. Bring to a slight boil and add 2 c. shredded cabbage. Continue cooking and stirring until cabbage has wilted and is crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, divide equally among the 4 pepper halves.
In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, butter and chives and well mixed. Top each stuffed pepper with wet bread crumbs and evenly layer cheese over each pepper. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until top is bubbly and pepper is just tender.
Meanwhile, over medium heat and in a large skillet,  add the bacon bits and caraway seeds. Saute until bacon has rendered its fat and starting to crisp. Add remainder 2 c. shredded cabbage and continue cooking and stirring until cabbage has reduced and cooked crisp-tender. Remove from heat and center on the serving platter or plate with a mound of the seasoned cabbage mixture. When green peppers are done, arrange attractively around cabbage and serve.

*I find the best way to make your own fresh bread crumbs is by slightly toasting about 4 slices of bread just until the outside is crisp, without discoloring it. Then chop it up and add it to your blender container or processor bowl. Whisk away and it won’t clump on you.

Spicy Crab Broilers

This recipe, as with all baked, stuffed tomato recipes is very delicate when removed from the oven and broiler. Just be careful and use one hand to steady the tomato while lifting with the other.

4 tomatoes
1 lb. crabmeat
4 T. mayonnaise
1 t. roasted green peppers in oil, well-drained and minced
2 T. onion, minced
1 t. dried chipotle pepper
2 t. Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Slice off the top of each tomato, saving the tops. Core the tomatoes leaving about 3/4 inch of tomato all around. Place all the other ingredients except the crabmeat in a large bowl and mix well. Fold the crabmeat in gently as not to break up the lumps. Spoon mixture into the tomatoes filling them a little over the top. Add the reserved tops, off center a bit. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until tomatoes are beginning to soften. Crank the broiler up and finish them at least 3-4 inches from heat source in your broiler for about 5 minutes, or until crisp and staring to blacken on top. Serve with cole slaw and/or crusty, warmed French bread.