Thank goodness it’s Friday, right? Well, strap yourselves in for a great time because I have a real surprise for you, today. Minnie, from The Lady 8 home, has generously & graciously agreed to share one of her food stories with us. Like me, Minnie is fairly new to food blogging; however, she has come out of the gate swinging and doing a fantastic job. Her blog has a lot of information on recipes, gardening, do-it-yourself tips and how to manage a home. Minnie also recently won our first Food Photo Contest with her picture A blueberry whipped cream cherry twister parfait with ‘Weins wine cellar’ calender from California. Her newest Food Photo entry Exotic Rose Almond Ice Cream Shake is up and ready for voting so please feel free to stop by and help select our next winner. I know you’ll love Minnie’s food story and her blog so stop by soon and visit. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Minnie’s food story …
My very first guest post! Yeah!! Thanks CJ for giving me the opportunity. You rock! I am honored to be guest posting here.
A tiny weeny intro: My name is Minnie – Free-lance writer, Editor, Cosmetologist, Event manager with a public relations background. I blog at thelady8home.com. My portfolio includes being a wife to a fabulous man, who is as famous for wearing his heart on his sleeve for me as he is for losing his temper and finding it minutes later; Mom of two amazing human boys who are the light of my life and two K9s (a boy GS and a girl Rottweiler) who are a part of my heart. My 4 kids keep me busy all day long. I also have 4 fish that I take care of in a koi pond. My son has named them Nemo, Opti, Fishy and Rex, and only he can tell them apart :D
But most of all, I am a big time foodie. I love to eat, cook, feed and eat out. Spinning stories is another of my longtime loves.
In India, where I come from, a girl tends to lead quite a sheltered and pampered life. Leaving her parents’ house unless she is duly married and ‘well settled’ is discouraged. Even more so if she is a student in a local college, or works in the same city as them. If she is residing outside her parents’ city of residence for college or for a job, then she goes to live in a Girls’ hostel, whose rules and regulations are even more fun than an average Indian parent’s (e.g. 6 pm curfew and absolutely no male visitation, never mind that she might be 30 years old and completely independent otherwise).
In both cases, she doesn’t cook much. At home her Mom pampers her (she has more important stuff to do anyway – like study/work, shop, hang out with friends and generally look pretty) and she often has help like cooks and cleaning ladies. At the hostel, she often does not have a place to cook and she must eat at the hostel canteen. If she is lucky, she might get a paying guest accommodation or share a room rent with other girls in a house, but in most cases, kitchen is rarely an option. Then she gets ‘dabba’ from dabbawala’. Translated, she orders lunch and dinner boxes from the local caterers who cater to such individuals. Lucky girl, don’t you think?
Roles change in a flash the moment she gets married. Somehow she is expected to acquire super cooking skills overnight and feed the entire clan delicious dishes, which is then proclaimed with pride, typically by the presiding matriarch of the family, ‘my bahu (bride) has made this with her own hands’. (Well, I don’t know anyone who uses someone else’s hand to make anything, still that’s the way it’s always said).
I wasn’t any different. In due time, as my marriage came near, I started on some crash courses on cooking. I acquired cook books, jotted down notes, watched cooking shows on TV and even enrolled in some cooking classes. However, most of us know that kitchen experience is the best teacher, which, unfortunately didn’t start for me until after I got married. That’s when my cooking disasters started.
One of my earliest disasters was this complete vegetarian dish. It had no name other than being called a ‘stew’. Thanks to a well-wishing relative, I learned that my Father-in-law loved this particular item. I took pains to learn it, only to discover later that no one was impressed with my finished product, including myself. This particular stew must be made in a certain fashion for it to taste just right. And it came from the man himself – my Father-in-law, who himself happens to be an amazing cook and the creator of the said stew in today’s blog post. The day I first tasted it as it is supposed to be made, it totally blew me away.
The combo of bell peppers, black peppercorns and cauliflowers add a fantastic dimension to this stew. Eventually I named it Capsicum Peppercorn Stew.
Capsicum (bell pepper) Stew flavored with Black Peppercorns
Prep time: 2 Min
Cook time: 25 Min
Difficulty level: 2/5
Nutrition: Low in cholesterol; High in: dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C. This stew is also very rich in antioxidants.
- 1 cup Red bell pepper cubed into 1″ pieces
- 1 cup green bell pepper cubes into 1″ pieces
- 2 potatoes halved
- 1 large onion cut into 4 equal pieces
- ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups large cauliflower florets (#1)
- ½ cup carrots
- 2 tomatoes halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper corns ( #2)
- 1’ cinnamon sick
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Few fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- Salt to tatse
- 1 tsp clarified butter (optional) – if you don’t have it, its ok, skip this step. But DO NOT substitute with butter.
- In a deep large pan, heat oil.
- Put all the ingredients in (except for clarified butter), and stir for 30 seconds.
- Fill the pan with water to top the vegetables.
- Bring to a boil.
- Partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Check to see if the vegetables are done (refer to #1 below). If not, continue to simmer till the potatoes are cooked through.
- Add ghee (clarified butter), take it off the flame and serve hot.
Note #1: Half way through, pick out cauliflowers because that can get overcooked. Add them back when the rest of the vegetables are done, simmer for 1 minute and switch off the flame.
Note#2: Whole black peppers can be a nuisance and many people don’t like biting on them. When added in large quantities, they can be impossible to pick. In this dish, they play a very crucial role as they impart the flavor without making it hot. So I use a small metal tea infuser to lock in the whole black peppers and drop it into the simmering soup. Before serving, simply pick it up and discard. You can use it to cook all kinds of whole spices. You can buy these online from Amazon.
This stew can be served by itself or with rice. Personally I love to eat it with rice.