As the seasons shift, the weather becomes cooler and the late arrivals like zucchini or peppers sometimes ripen all at once.
It was a good year for peppers. At the U District Farmers Market, River Farm sold ristas like this in September. Later, they sold fire roasted peppers. You could inhale the aroma everywhere at the market.
Lots of tables had peppers during August and September, but the price was too high for me to buy more than one or two at a time this season. And with the cool weather, I figured the bargains were gone, so I was shocked when Tonnemakers had organic green, red, orange and gold peppers for $2.00 a pound! I had to get more than one. The grocery store price of peppers this week was $2.00 each. Two peppers weigh about a pound, so $2 each is not a great deal, especially for nonorganic peppers.
This farmers' market bargain rocks!
I got a few green peppers for stuffing. Fall weather makes me feel like stuffing vegetables--cabbage rolls won't be far behind.
That's how this recipe for today's post started.
I checked online for recipes using millet or quinoa as a stuffing. I already had about 4 ounces of tempeh to use, but just in case you've never used tempeh, it has a texture similar to ground beef. I love it, but what it lacks is flavor, so I use tomatoes and garlic. I didn't find exactly the recipe I was thinking about, but I did find this one with millet, celery and carrots, and this one by Rachel Ray with quinoa, tomatoes and vegetables. You can basically create anything you like to stuff vegetables, and I like to use the two grains because it lowers the cost of the dish. Quinoa is pricy these days because it's everybody's darling.
The rising price of quinoa makes the grain less affordable for frugal chefs. A friend of mine has switched to using millet over quinoa. I'm tempted, but I found some bags of quinoa hiding in my freezer to keep me going for awhile.
This recipe would be great with black beans instead of tempeh. And if you have any of the grains leftover, it's easy to use them in soups, roll-up sandwiches and salads.
One season I found tiny red peppers. These would make perfect tiny stuffed peppers--a perfect party appetizer.
Here's the frugal dinner menu plan for the week:
1. Quinoa and Millet Stuffed Peppers, corn on-the-cob, salad, bread
2. Veggie Burgers, coleslaw
3. Tuscan Chickpea Soup topped with Kale and Caramelized Garlic, warm tortillas
4. Deborah Madison's Braised Root Vegetables with Black Lentils (From Local Flavors) , salad
5. Sweet Potato-Black-Bean Pizza, salad
6. Tofu Stir Fry with Cabbage, Mushrooms, Carrots, Greens and Peppers, brown rice
7. Southwest Polenta Cakes, Baked Beans, Kale and Avocado Salad
I should have loaded up a shopping bag full. In case you find a pepper bargain, you can wash, seed, chop and freeze them and have them available all winter.
Enjoy the recipe!
Quinoa and Millet Stuffed Peppers
2 cups water
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup chopped olives
6 green peppers, tops and seeds removed
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
4 ounces tempeh, crumbled
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup choppped mushrooms
1/2 cup diced red peppers
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup diced sweet potatoes or yams (1 small or 1/2 medium sweet potato or yam)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons chopped Mama Lil's (optional)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated cheese (optional, for topping)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional, for topping)
1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse quinoa and millet, then add to boiling water, sundried tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a second boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Blend in chopped olives when done.
2. Bring a large pot (like a pasta pot) of water to a boil. Plunge in peppers, pushing them under the water. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from pot and hold under cool water. Shake dry and set aside in a shallow baking dish.
3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the crumbled tempeh and stir and cook until it begins to brown. Add the onions, mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini. Cook for a few minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add sweet potatoes, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, agave nectar, Mama Lils and a little more water if mixture is too thick to cover and heat for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the quinoa and millet mixture.
4. Preheat oven to 350F. Stuff the peppers, mounding the filling over the top. Add a little water to the baking dish so the peppers steam. Bake peppers for 25 to 30 minutes.
I like to top these peppers with salsa or a marinara sauce. My Cooking Assistant is impressed.