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stuffed bell peppers

As we mentioned previously in our preparing peppers post, we were quite fortunate with our sweet bell pepper harvest in our Kootenay Spice gardens this summer.

One of our favourite things to do with bell peppers is to stuff them with a rice, onion and pepper mixture. We picked out four of the plumpest peppers of the bunch, as well one of the reddest for a little added colour and flavour.

stuffed pepper peppers

One tasty tip to use when prepping your rice for this recipe is to use chicken stock in place of water. We are in the habit of making large batches of (salt free) stock after coking whole turkeys or chickens and always have some on hand in our freezer for things like rice and marinara sauce.

Keep in mind, our peppers were about 2-3 inches in diameter. If you are using larger, store-bought (typically 3-5 inches in diameter), you will only need one or two for this recipe.

stuffed pepper ingredients

For these stuffed peppers (enough to feed at least two) you will need:

4 small bell peppers
1 small red pepper
1 small red onion
2 cups cooked rice
2-3 strips cooked bacon (optional)
extra virgin olive oil

Set your oven to bake at 350*F.

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First off, remove the tops, ribs and seeds from the four green peppers. This is easiest with a paring knife, curved if you have one. Take care removing the ribs, as they can be tricky to cut out.

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Lightly coat the trimmed green peppers in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet or pan.

Bake at 350*F for about 10 minutes, just enough to soften the pepper shells, but not quite long enough to brown them. Once they are softened, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

While the pepper shells are cooking & cooling, chop up your additional red pepper, red onion and (optional) bacon into small pieces.

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Sauté the pepper and onions in olive oil until the onions begin to turn clear and the peppers are just beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

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Stir the cooked red pepper, onion and bacon pieces into the cooked rice.

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Fill the pepper shells with the rice mixture. You will want to pack it in quite firmly, taking care not to tear the shell.

Depending on the size of your peppers, you may have some leftover stuffing. Don’t worry, it reheats well and makes a great side dish for a take-to-work-lunch!

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Put the stuffed peppers back into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is just starting to get toasty on top.

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Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow them to cool & set for about 5 minutes before serving.

optional: serve with soy sauce, hot sauce and/or butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

fresh pepper prep

bell pepper prep

This year, we grew a few pepper plants in our Kootenay Spice gardens. Mostly sweet green peppers, with a few cayenne plants thrown into the mix.

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A few weeks ago, we harvested a few dozen beauties from our plants and knew we needed to do something soon to keep them from spoiling on us. Our favourite way of keeping the bell peppers tasting fresh over the winter months is blanching and freezing them. We will share another post with you in the near future about how we processed our cayenne peppers.

Blanching is quite an easy process, most of the work is in prepping the peppers before tossing them into the water. This process is best if you intend to cook the peppers in the future. If you prefer your peppers raw, skip the blanching and go straight to the freezing step.

All you need to prep your bell peppers are:

Fresh bell peppers (as many as you would like to prep)
Large pot of boiling water
Large bowl of ice water
Pairing knife (curved if you have one)
Chopping knife

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First, use the pairing knife to carefully cut the stem off of the pepper.

Cut the pepper in half and remove the ribs and seeds. You can cut them into smaller pieces if you prefer, but remember to reduce your blanching time.

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Now it is time for blanching the pepper pieces. Prepare a large bowl of cold water with about a dozen ice cubes & have it ready beside the pot. Once the water is at a rolling boil, carefully place the peppers in the water. Depending on how many peppers you are prepping, you may need to do a few batches of blanching.

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Let the peppers sit in the boiling water for 4 minutes. If you chose to cut your peppers into smaller pieces, only let them sit in the water for 2-3 minutes.

Remove carefully with a strainer and immediately place in the ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit in the ice water for the same amount of time that they were in the boiling water.

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Remove from the cold water and place in a colander and shake off any excess water.

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Lay them out on a tray lined with paper towel and allow them to dry for at least an hour.

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Once the pepper pieces have dried somewhat, transfer them to a cookie sheet (we’ve lined ours with parchment paper), taking care not to let the pieces touch. If they do, they will definitely freeze together.  Let them freeze for 24 hours.

Once the pepper pieces are completely frozen, store them in a freezer bag and enjoy fresh, home grown peppers in your meals throughout the winter!

View of Trail, BC

food bank donations

As fall settles in and the days get cooler, it is hard not to start thinking about Christmas and the holiday season. Unfortunately, that can cause increased stress and anxiety for some people.

At Kootenay Spice, we are happy to have a great relationship with Kate’s Kitchen, our local Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. As we’ve mentioned before in our community post, we contribute a monthly donation and in return are free to use their commercial, industrial kitchen space in their off hours.

In addition to their hot food services, the wonderful people at Kate’s Kitchen also provide monthly food hampers for families in need, as well as specific Christmas hampers over the holidays. As Christmas and the cold weather get closer, the demand for their services grows greater and greater. In 2012, the Salvation Army in Trail alone gave out nearly 10,000 food hampers to individuals and families.

Kootenay Spice has now begun collecting donations for the Salvation Army Food Bank. We will have a jar for cash donations and a box for non-perishable food donations at the markets we attend.

If you cannot make it to a market, contact us and we will do our best to make arrangements to pick up your contribution. We can also accept online donations via PayPal. We will then pass everything we collect on to the Kate’s Kitchen and keep you posted on what and how much is being donated. All donations will be above and beyond our regular contribution to the kitchen.

So, next time you are shopping for groceries or looking through you cupboards, remember to think of those who are in need and consider what you can maybe do to help make life a little more comfortable for a family in need.

pumpkin pie slice

pumpkin pie

Autumn is a beautiful time of year. The temperatures are getting cooler, leaves are changing to beautiful colours and cozy sweaters get pulled out of storage. At this point, we at Kootenay Spice are thinking about pumpkin, turkey dinners and other comfort foods!

We have had a few requests to try our hand at a sweet pumpkin pie and after a few pretty tasty attempts, we have come up with a delicious, sweet-but-not-too-sweet pie that bakes like a cake.

pumpkin pie slice with whip

You can use a 9″ prepared pie shell, or use the oreo crust, which we very much prefer. You can also use your preference of whipped topping. We like to whip our own 35% with a touch of icing sugar and our own, homemade vanilla (recipe included).

For this recipe, you will need:

pumpkin pie ingredients

crust
1 1/4 cup oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter

pie filling
1 can (400ml) pure pumpkin (unseasoned)
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 package Kootenay Spice Pumpkin Pie Seasoning

whipped cream
1 cup 35% whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to bake at 450°F.

crust

Combine oreo crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Once combined and still crumby, firmly press into a 9″ pie pan.

pumpkin pie shell

pie filling

Combine the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, beaten eggs and Kootenay Spice Pumpkin Pie Seasoning in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed with an electric whisk/mixer for 3 minutes.

baking

Pour the pie filling into the pie shell, just to the top of the crust. You will likely have a little too much. You can make a little extra pie shell and cook a few single size dishes in muffin pans.

Bake at 450°F for 7 minutes.

Reduce heat to 325°F and bake another 30 minutes, or until a poked-in toothpick comes out clean.

cooked pumpkin pie

Once cooled and set, slice and serve with whipped cream topping:

whipped cream

Combine 35% whipped cream with vanilla and icing sugar. Whisk (with an electric mixer if you have one) for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Enjoy your pumpkin pie and Happy Fall!

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vodka crantini

crantinis side

Every now and then at Kootenay Spice, we like to mix things up a bit! This post is actually more so shaken, not stirred… We are making vodka crantinis!

When making martinis or crantinis, a main contributor to flavour is quality liquour. For our crantinis, we use Grey Goose vodka. Pure cranberry juice also adds to the flavour. If you can, avoid ‘cocktails’ or ‘blends’, as they tend to contain more sugar & additives.

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This recipe will make 2 drinks (1.5 oz alcohol each) and requires the following:

3 oz vodka
1.5 oz cranberry juice
1 oz sprite/7-up
10 – 20 frozen cranberries
1 – 2 cups ice

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Place the ice into a martini shaker and add the vodka and cranberry juice. Do not add the sprite. Shake well.

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Divide the sprite into two chilled martini glass. Add the frozen cranberries.

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Shake the martini shaker once more and carefully divide into the two martini glasses.

Serve and enjoy responsibly!