08-03-04_beantort.jpgWould you like to eat a fun and easy meal? If so, do try the “Black-Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish,” from the September 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I managed to streamline this recipe even further by microwaving the tortillas, rather than warming them in the oven. Basically, this meal combines two “salads”: the warmed beans-tomatoes-cheese (I skipped the jalapeño in the interest of my toddler) and the cool corn relish. The final dollop of sour cream enforces the tasty individual flavors of this dish. I didn’t dare to wrap my tostada to eat with my hands; serve this one with a knife and fork.

08-03-04_pepper.jpgMy dining audience tends to be “stuffed-pepper-weary,” as in, “Oh. Stuffed peppers again?” But I’ve confirmed the “Stuffed Peppers with Tomato Sauce,” from the February 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times, are indeed totally delicious and are worth the long baking time (more than an hour). These peppers were “halved lengthwise,” and that was a new concept for me. In the past, I had always cut the tops off my peppers in order to then stuff the full cavity. The halved peppers in this recipe provided a more inviting peek at the stuffing.

I halved this recipe, using 2 peppers to make 4 servings. Rather than taking the vegetarian route, I used 2 links of Applegate Farms organic sweet Italian chicken and turkey sausage. For my necessary cooked rice, I used the leftovers from a recent Chinese takeout order (what a great idea!). The amount of stuffing that this recipe called for was the precise amount to fill these peppers. I felt quite accomplished in filling them so aptly. And again, these peppers were very tasty. The textures were perfect.

RECIPES: fun tostadas and impressive peppers
the peppers take time in the oven; the tostadas are super-quick
tostadas highlight the grape tomatoes, avocado, and corn; peppers showcase the rich flavors of tomato and sausage

Next time, I’ll make a chicken dinner. I’ll try “Olive Chicken II,” from Allrecipes.com, along with “Broccoli Rabe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts,” (recipe below), from the January 1999 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Return to my site on Sunday, March 30, to see my results.

Broccoli Rabe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
Serves 4
Using a salad spinner makes easy work of drying the cooled blanched broccoli rabe. This recipe can be turned into a main course pasta dish. Increase the oil to 4 Tbsp. and toss the broccoli rabe with 1 lb. of pasta, cooked al dente. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 14 ounces), washed, bottom 2 inches of stems trimmed and discarded, remainder cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic , minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons pine nuts , toasted
Table salt

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in broccoli rabe and salt and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 1/2 minutes. Drain broccoli rabe and set aside.
Cool empty saucepan by rinsing under cold running water. Fill cooled saucepan with cold water and submerge broccoli rabe to stop the cooking process. Drain again; squeeze well to dry.
Heat oil, garlic, red pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add blanched broccoli rabe and pine nuts, and cook, stirring to coat with oil, until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt; serve immediately.