Monday, August 31, 2009

LIKE: Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Corn

Oh! Sweet readers, I know it’s enormously self-indulgent to list your LIKES on what’s ostensibly a food blog, but then again, it’s kind of enormously self-indulgent to keep a blog in the first place. And I am nothing if not enormously self-indulgent (also: a lapsed Catholic). So … um … here are some LIKES.

LIKE: Tom Waits’ first album, Closing Time.
Holy schmoly. The Husband-Elect and I have been listening to this non-stop for the past week. It’s gorgeous and sad, and Waits’ voice doesn’t yet sound like he swallowed a handful of gin-soaked gravel. Due warning: while lovely, don’t play Closing Time when you’re sad/unemployed/nursing a breakup. It’d be like taking downers after your favorite team loses the Super Bowl. (But seriously, it’s tremendous.)

LIKE: Curtis Sittenfeld’s third novel, American Wife
An imagined biography of a Laura Bush-like figure, this gave me new perspective on the former First Lady. I used to think she was kind of an affable drip. But considering she never really wanted to be in the public eye in the first place, she held up pretty well under the circumstances. Also, Sittenfeld can write like nobody’s business. She makes quiet small-town life as engrossing as the White House.

LIKE: Dooce’s Maytag post
If you’ve ever struggled with an appliance company, read this now. I mean it. It’s epic. (Rated PG-13 for language. But it’s Dooce, so that’s to be expected.)

HALF-LIKE: Julie & Julia
How do you review a movie that’s alternately wonderful and one of the worst films you’ve ever seen? Because Julie & Julia is that. The Meryl Streep/Julia Child half is charming, lovely, and funny. (There’s a scene between Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Jane Lynch where you just wish you were sitting with them.) I’d watch it 27 times. BUT. But. But. But. The Amy Adams/Julie Powell half is TERRIBLE. (Like, even worse than Color of Night.) In the book, Julie comes off as kind of a self-obsessed schmo, but a lovably self-obsessed schmo. In the movie, Amy Adams plays her as a whiny, neurotic, incapable jerk who’s reduced mostly to crying and explaining the Streep/Child part of the story. Very frustrating, and strange to think that both halves were made by the same director.

LIKE: Stuffed Peppers With Black Beans and Corn from Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe
Another triumph by Kimball’s crew, which only further cements my theory that they’re actually a race of detail-obsessed aliens stuck on Earth until each and every human learns to eat well. Of course, if you should make it yourself…

1) The only problem with the recipe was that it made almost twice the amount of stuffing you’d pack into four peppers. This leaves you with two options: buy and cook eight peppers, or use the leftover stuffing as a side dish or burrito filling. Either one is delightful, but, I did my calculations using eight peppers. Due to this, they’re different than they appear in the CI book.

2) Though each serving is a whole meal for $1.57, this is definitely one of the more expensive dishes we’ve featured on the site. It’s largely due to the peppers. (Bad peppers! Why you gotta hurt my bank?) However, the recipe makes sense to cook now, while bells are still in season (OR you can try to get them on sale).

3) If I could make one tiny change to the dish, I would have reserved 1/3 cup of the cheese and sprinkled it on the peppers during the last 10 minutes in the oven. But I like stuff melty, so it’s totes up to y'all.

How about you guys? What do you LIKE lately? The comment section is awaiting you…

Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Corn
Serves 8
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe.

8 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers,, 1/2 –inch trimmed off tops, stemmed, and seeded
1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium jalapeno chile, minced (include seeds and ribs if you want it hotter)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen or fresh corn (if frozen, make sure to thaw)
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside a 9x13 baking dish.

2) Boil 4 quarts water in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon salt and all the bell peppers. Cook 3 minutes. Remove peppers from water and drain them in a colander. Once drained, stand them up on paper towels.

3) When water is boiling again, add rice. Cook 13 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks.. Drain.

4) While rice is cooking, add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno. Cover. Saute 8 or 10 minutes, until onion is translucent and soft. Uncover. Add garlic. Saute until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add black beans, tomatoes, and corn. Cook 2 minutes. Pour everything into rice bowl.

5) To the bowl, add cheese and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.

6) "Carefully and loosely" even distribute filling among the peppers. Place in baking dish. Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the middle of the oven. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
320 calories, 4.7 g fat, 6.6 g fiber, $1.57

Salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.02
8 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, 1/2 –inch trimmed off tops, stemmed, and seeded: 248 calories, 2.9 g fat, 20 g fiber, $6.94
1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked: 675 calories, 1.3 g fat, 2.4 g fiber, $0.33
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.11
1 medium onion, diced: 46 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, $0.29
1 medium jalapeno chile, minced: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.11
3 medium garlic cloves, minced: 13 calories, 0 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, $0.15
1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed: 350 calories, 1.8 g fat, 17.5 g fiber, $0.80
1 15.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained: 82 calories, 0 g fat, 6.5 g fiber, $1.70
1 cup frozen or fresh corn (if frozen, make sure to thaw): 132 calories, 1.8 g fat, 4.2 g fiber, $0.37
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese: 324 calories, 24.3 g fat, 0 g fiber, $1.25
¼ cup cilantro, chopped: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.45
Fresh ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.02
TOTAL: 1920 calories, 37.8 g fat, 52.4 g fiber, $12.54
PER SERVING (TOTAL/8): 320 calories, 4.7 g fat, 6.6 g fiber, $1.57

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