Thursday, April 29, 2010

Capsicum Crisis!

I planted three capsicum (bell pepper) plants last Spring, not expecting all three to survive or produce fruit. However, I have since discovered that capsicums do rather well in this part of the world, so not only did all three plants survive, they are all loaded with fruit and have been for at least the past two months.

It probably comes as no surprise then that we have capsicums galore! I am picking at least 10 every two to three days. It's simply too much! We've had capsicum with out meal almost every night, but I must admit that I cannot think of too many ways in which to cook capsicum apart from the odd salad, in pasta sauce, on pizza, roasted or stuffed. I suspect SJ is starting to tire of them, and I dont blame him. I've also chopped and frozen enough to last the next 6 months at least.

So, now I have a dilemma: What do I do with the rest?

I cant give them away to family as they all grow their own and are probably over-run with capsicums themselves at the moment. I brought a bowl full into work and tried to give them away to my work collegues but no one was interested, so at the end of the day I took the bowl full of capsicums home with me again.

That kind of irked me, actually. You can pay up to $6 per kilo for capsicums in the supermarket and no one wanted even one that was FREE. They are far more fresh and sweet than the capsicums you get from the supermarket too, so I'm a little perplexed. I know for a fact that none of them grow their own produce, so why so uninterested in some free food? Do they not want to be seen accepting free stuff?

So, I'm stuck with a whole bunch of capsicums and I dont know what to do with them. Does anyone out in blog-land have any fun, interesting and tasty VEGETARIAN recipes (or recipes that can be converted to vegetarian) for capsicums? Chutney or pickles, perhaps? Dip? Soup or sauce? A nice stuffed capsicum recipe even, one I havent tried already?

I'd be so grateful for any suggestions, and the recipes I successfully use I will share on this blog with a link back to the person who gave it to me.


  1. Hi there!carly here from peacefully chaotic.
    If I were your co worker I would have taken some of those bell peppers!They are so yummy and can be eaten raw for a crunchy , healthy snack.
    Here are a couple of recipes:
    Summer Vegetable Ratatouille:Serves 6
    2 medium onions, sliced
    3 clove(s) garlic, minced
    1 medium eggplant, cubed
    2 medium zucchini, cubed
    2 medium yellow squash, cubed
    2 green bell peppers, cubed
    1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
    1 red bell pepper, cubed
    4 plum tomatoes, chopped
    120 ml olive oil
    1 bay leaf
    2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
    4 sprig(s) fresh tyme
    salt and pepper, to taste
    Heat some oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.

    In a large skillet, heat some oil and sauté all vegetables in batches. Add more olive oil each time you add a new set of vegetables. When cooked, add to the pot with the onions and garlic.

    Season vegetables with salt and pepper, add the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

    Remove the bay leaf, adjust seasoning and serve.
    Stuffed Green Peppers:
    1 cup uncooked white rice (Or brown rice)
    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    4 green bell peppers
    16 slices Swiss cheese or mozarella shredded
    1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
    1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    2.In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    3.Combine cooked rice with black beans and chili powder. Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the ribs and seeds. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the rice and bean mixture into the bottoms of the peppers. Lay a slice of cheese on top and repeat 3 more times, ending with cheese on top.
    4.Bake in preheated oven until peppers soften, about 45 minutes.
    5.Meanwhile, heat tomato sauce in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Slice peppers in half, top with tomato sauce and serve.

    You can find tons more on line!
    Is there a farmers market maybe you can offer them up for sale?
    I hope they don't go to waste!That would be too bad!
    Let me know how it works out!

  2. Thank you for the recipes, Carly! The ratatouille sounds delicious, so I'm going to make it this weekend. Cant believe I didnt think of that one myself! :)

  3. Man, capsicums are one of my favourite vegetables! If only you lived in Adelaide I would come over and relieve you of as many as possible :D

    We used to have really simple stuffed capsicums as a side to other stuff - just cut in half and filled with halved cherry tomatos, cubed feta, fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil. Mmmm. Otherwise, my favourite meaty dish with capsicums is Beef Goulash and I have been musing recently as to how to do a vegie one...I remember my Hungarian flatmate cooking me a mushroom goulash one time which was delicious. It's best to serve on a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes.

    Have you considered marinating them? I'm sure you could get some recipes off the net and marinated peppers are beautiful in salads and on sandwiches, or as an antipasto.

    Here is a recipe for red pepper soup that I have been wanting to try out for ages, but haven't had the chance:

    4 medium red peppers
    4 medium tomatoes
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 teaspoon mild curry paste
    1 medium red (spanish) onion
    1 medium leek, sliced (white part only)
    250g green cabbage, chopped
    1 litre water
    1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
    salt + pepper

    1. Cut peppers into quarters, remove the seeds and membrane. Grill until skin blackens and blisters. Allow to cool and then peel. Mark a small cross on top of each tomato, place in a bowl and cover w/ boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool, and peel skin off downwards from the cross and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half and gently scoop out the seeds using a small spoon.

    2. Heat oil in a large pan, add herbs, garlic and curry paste. Stir over low heat for 1 min or until aromatic. Add onion & leek and cook for 3 min or until golden. Add cabbage, tomatoes, red peppers and water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    3. Place soup in small batches in food processor, processing for 30 seconds or until smooth. Return soup to a clean pan, stir through chili sauce & season. Reheat gently and serve.

    Sounds tasty, but complicated. Also SJ may hurt you if you keep feeding him peppers :D

    I planted 6 chili plants this year - 2 jalapeno, 2 mild and 2 red hot. 5 are producing fruit and the 6th has flowers. Aaaah! Especially the red hot ones, we are having to freeze them because they just keep coming!

  4. I don't have any specific recipes but pita pockets are yummy and pirpzhki (according to wikipedia it's called that) and you just fill them with whatever you like so some paprika will be great.

    Maybe if you put up a sign by your house, "Pick your own", if people see where they come from they won't be so reluctant to take them?

  5. great!let me know how it turns out.I actually have another recipe for you.I'll come back & post it tomorrow.I have it in my bag as my co-worker found it and I thought of you ,so I made a copy!
    Talk to you soon!

  6. From the top of my head - I used to do this with peppers and my kids loved it.

    Simply de-seed them - cut 'em in strips. Put in a pot on the stove - tightly packed. Fill the pot with Balsamic Vinegar. Bring to the boil and slow cook 'em till soft. Put in a jar in the fridge and have it with fresh bread & mozzarella cheese. Can add a glove or two of garlic if you want.

  7. I hope you tried the ratatouille! It is one of my favourite meals especially with couscous. Yum! And I have made red capsicum soup as well and that was good as well.


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