hosting a guest and recipes

Dylan’s good friend from college, Nancy, and her husband Paul are moving from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Nancy came down last week to find an apartment and then Paul and all their stuff are coming down next week. That is right, they are taking this leap with no jobs lined up or housing. Ahhh I am both inspired and horrified at this blind leap. In terms of housing, Nancy found a great townhouse in Chapel Hill and needless to say we are super excited about old friends moving to the area. I, of course, loved hosting a guest last week. Nancy also has Celiac disease and I know it was a comfort knowing she was staying in a “gluten free” kitchen. I do feel all domestic during the Autumn and Winter months so she came at just the right time. I made Southwestern Stuffed Peppers and an Apple and Pear Crisp. I wanted to share the recipes because they were oh so good!! Southwestern Stuffed Pepper Recipe

I make a pot of brown rice first, and assemble the stuffing in a skillet; I add the rice in last, a little at a time, to make just enough stuffing for the size of my peppers. My flavors are closer to Southwestern than Italian here, so if you prefer more traditional flavors, add Italian herbs instead of the smoked chile and cumin (but Dear Reader, the smoky addition of chipotle gives these babies a serious kick in the butt).

Stuffing::

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 can black beans for vegetarian peppers or 2-3 spicy buffalo sausage for some meat … I have made both and really do love the black beans with the pine nuts combination

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup roasted corn kernels (you can pan-toast frozen kernels in a pinch)

2 rounded tablespoons pine nuts or toasted sunflower seeds

2 to 3 cups cooked brown rice

Chipotle powder, to taste [or other favorite chile spice]

1/2 teaspoon cumin, or to taste

1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

To assemble::

3 large bell peppers: 1 orange, 1 yellow, 1 green, halved and seeded
6 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite prepared salsa- spicy or mild

6 slices fresh goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sausages till browned; crumble the sausage into small pieces and return to the skillet. Add a dash more olive oil; heat; add the chopped garlic, onion, corn, and pine nuts; stir and heat through.

Add the cooked brown rice, stir and lightly mix. Add a dash more olive oil, if needed, to moisten. Add chipotle, cumin and paprika. Season with sea salt and pepper. Stir well to combine the flavors.

Remove from heat. Add in the chopped cilantro.

Choose a shallow baking dish that will fit the halved peppers. Stuff the halved peppers with the brown rice mixture, pressing in firmly; use as much stuffing as you can. Place the stuffed peppers in the baking dish.

Top each pepper with a spoonful of salsa, and a slice of goat cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the peppers are fork tender. These colorful stuffed peppers can be served as a main dish. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Apple and Pear Crisp Recipe

Served with vanilla ice cream this was lick your fingers delicious!!

For the fruit filling::

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
2 Yellow Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 large red pear, cored, peeled, sliced thin

4 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice

1 tablespoon agave
syrup
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free Apple Pie Spice
Pinch sea salt

For the crisp::

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix or baking/pancake mix, such as Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Smear a deep 9-inch pie plate with butter.

In a medium to large bowl, toss the apple and pear slices in the apple juice, agave, Apple Pie Spice, and a small pinch of sea salt.

In a separate bowl, stir together the organic brown sugar, gluten-free flour mix, and cinnamon. Add the butter in dabs and rub between your fingers until moist crumbs form a crumble topping mixture.

Sprinkle a handful of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pie plate. Spoon in the apple and pear slices; add all the liquid. Top with the remaining crumble mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F. in the center of the oven, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is fork tender and the filling is bubbling and thickened. The top should be golden brown.

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