Yesterday, as I was preparing this salad for our lunch, Kenny was sitting at our kitchen table working. He had just been to a job fair for CPS (Chicago Public Schools) teachers who’s jobs had been affected by budget cuts, and was receiving calls on calls on emails with job offers. Losing a job is hard, though much less so when it is due to a budget crisis and seniority rules; finding that so many people want you on their team makes it all the better. Who knows, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. My intuition tells me I have nothing to be worried about.
So, on this sunny afternoon we were talking about all these schools he saw at the fair, about the people who were emailing him, the prospects he now has. He was excited, and realized he can afford to be choosy because he’s such a stellar candidate. This was day 2 of job hunting, and he had 6 jobs already.
As we are having these conversations, working through this together, my dog was laying on the floor between us, staring with those big brown eyes up at her people, wanting to be touched. Walking towards her, she immediately rolled over on her back as we came near, hoping for (or demanding?) belly scratches. She’s always successful.
Something about this little moment made me feel so happy; this is my family. So much love in this room. I’m so blessed. As I pulled these peppers out of the oven and put the salad together for our lunch, it felt like the perfect afternoon. Great company, great food.
If you buy canned roasted red peppers at the store for a ridiculous price, no more my friend! I discovered a few months ago how easy they are to make at home in a half hour, and ever since then it’s been one of my favorite things. I LOVE roasted red peppers, and now that cost is not an issue, I eat them all the time.
When I saw my favorite roasted red peppers in this amazing recipe from Epicurious, I knew right away I would need to recreate it for the blog. What a cool idea! One big thing I changed was the anchovy and olive content – these are things that I really, really don’t like. I’ve tried and tried again, but I just don’t like them. I think it’s because I have such a sweet tooth, that maybe since my tastes are so inclined in that direction that the other end of the spectrum tastes bad? I don’t know, but it is what it is.
If you like those things, certainly add the olives back in. I opted to make the salad a little more substantial by adding lemony Israeli cous cous (the best kind!), herbs and a balsamic reduction. The whole thing was done in 40 minutes. It’s is now a go-to appetizer when I have company over. Seriously SO good!
Roasted Red Pepper SaladPrint Recipe
- 4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, diced
- 1 lemon, cut into slices
- 8oz fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup Isreali cous cous, dry
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bell peppers, skin side down, in a baking dish. Place the sliced garlic evenly over all peppers, drizzle with olive oil, and salt-and-pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until peppers are slightly charred around edges, but still have their shape. Remove from oven.
While the peppers are roasting, prepare the couscous. Follow the package directions to cook the couscous in boiling water water, rinsing it in cold water once it is fully cooked. Squeeze one or two lemon slices over the couscous and toss to combine. Add chopped tomatoes, parsley, and torn Mozerella bits. Season with salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer over medium high heat. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until reduced about half. Allow to cool.
When the peppers have had a few minutes to cool, fill them with the cous cous mixture. Drizzle balsamic reduction over peppers. Squeeze more lemon over the top before eating.