This week got off on a good start. Menu planning helps keep my life sane during the week and gives me a chance to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day. I saw another blog post about my favorite enchilada recipe (Veganomicon’s Potato Kale Enchiladas) the other day that really resonated with me. The blogger said her kitchen looked like the Swedish Chef just got through with it before she was even done cooking. Can I get an “Amen?”
When I plan ahead, I like to make lots of batches of rice and freeze them, I plan meals with similar base ingredients, and I prep vegetables well before it’s time to cook. But this magical “when I plan ahead” experience is rare at best. (See my last post for more on this lack of planning.)
Tonight’s meal is one that I’d recommend, but it’s only suitable for a busy weeknight if you take shortcuts. I made the filling for these stuffed peppers with spiced vegetables yesterday when I had time. I also cooked lentils and rice the day before for a more complete meal (read: enough food to feed my hungry husband). BONUS: This meal is not only vegetarian, but it’s also gluten free. (And Bryant, if you’re reading this, you might as well stop now because I broke your cardinal rule to never buy yellow or red peppers. Sorry.)
Spiced Vegetable Stuffed Peppers
4 large, evenly shaped bell peppers (yellow or red)
2 large russet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 small onion
2-in piece of fresh ginger
3-4 garlic cloves
1-2 fresh green chillies (any variety will do, just pick the one that suits your spice level)
4 T canola oil
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of cayenne
salt and black pepper
Directions (Preheat oven to 375 degrees)
1. Cut the tops off the peppers. Then remove and discard the seeds. Cut a thin slice off the base, if necessary, to make them stand upright.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the peppers from the water and drain as soon as they are done pre-cooking.
3. Cook the potatoes in the boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Drain when tender.
4. Put the onion, ginger, garlic cloves, chillies in a blender or food processor. Add a teaspoon of water to blend if the mixture sticks to the walls of the food processor.
5. Heat half the oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan and cook the eggplant until it is evenly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. This takes about 10 minutes if you use medium heat. Remove the eggplant.
6. Add the rest of the oil, and cook the potato as you did with the eggplant. Set the potatoes aside.
7. Add the cumin seeds to the same hot frying pan. Cook briefly until the seeds darken and add the turmeric and coriander. Stir in the onion and garlic puree and cook until the onons begin to brown. This will be pretty quick.
8. Return the potatoes and eggplant to the pan and mix everything together, adding salt and pepper and the pinch of cayenne.
9. Place the peppers on a lightly greased baking sheet and fill them with the vegetable mixture. Cook in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. If the peppers still need more time, you can turn the broiler on at this stage, but monitor them closely.
Serve with lentils and rice and garnish with fresh mint or cilantro.