First meal, stuffed peppers. Nothing fancy. Confirmed my belief that grass-fed ground beef tastes better than your average corn-fed hamburger/chuck purchased at the grocery store. E-mail me if you want the recipe. Of interest: browning 1 lb. of ground beef yielded very little grease, really didn’t even need to drain it; and, my stepdaughter taught me a good trick to ensure the peppers themselves are properly cooked. Cut the peppers in half to form the bowls, brush with olive oil or spray with canola oil, then bake on a cookie sheet – cut side down – at 350 for 15 minutes before stuffing and continuing to heat. The consistency of the peppers was just right. One pound ground beef – mixed with the rice/cheese/tomato sauce, etc. – produced 8 individual stuffed peppers (4 peppers x 2 halves). This was enough for our dinner, lunches, and 4 pepper halves into the freezer for another meal. I used purple peppers purchased at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market and I think they were sweeter than a standard green bell pepper.
THE WINE. I have worked in the wine business for the past 4 years and before that was a partner in a bar. I also make my own wine. I know wine. A simple meal with tomato sauce – a simple meal like stuffed peppers – calls for a simple red wine. We drank Big House Red – a boxed wine – and it was a great match. The 3-liter box costs $15 on sale, the equivalent of 4 x 750 ml bottles at a cost of $3.75 per bottle. Big House Red is made from about 10 different grapes; some of which you have no doubt heard of, others of which you probably have not. Don’t let anyone tell you boxed wines are lousy; that’s a sure sign that the speaker does not know wine. When I was under-employed/unemployed Linda and I found some 5-liter boxes which were perfectly acceptable and priced at the equivalent of $1.82 per 750 ml bottle. Carlo Rossi Cabernet Sauvignon in a 5 liter box – 84 points Wine Spectator, a solid ‘B’ when I was in school – got us through some long, dark, cold winter nights.
Next Up: pot roast in the crock pot.