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I absolutely love Mexican food and these stuffed peppers are to die for. A healthier option that can actually be adapted to your own taste – the peppers can really be stuffed with anything!
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened. Add in the meat, then the rest of the ingredients, stirring until cooked. Then stuff the peppers with the contents of the pan, sprinkle the cheese on top and put it in the oven for about 45 mins at 180c.
“The secret is to cook the heck out of it!” This was how my my mum’s advice began when I asked her to share one of my favourite childhood recipes. At the time, I was hoping to find meals that were well-suited to batch cooking and cost effective as I was hugely pregnant and freezing mark ahead meals for when I had my baby. “And don’t use a pan you like too much....the burnt bits give it flavour,” she continued. My mum doesn’t love cooking, or food particularly, and I’m still not sure how I became so fascinated with all things gustatory. However, this recipe has stood the test of time from when I was first introduced to it in the (probably) 1980s. The recipe itself may seem a wee bit rudimentary, but there is a certain type of magic that takes place when the sweetness of the ketchup mingles with the bite of the onion and the briny, saltiness of the olives. And as per my mum’s advice: cook it as long as possible to almost caramelize the sugary aspects of the sauce, and to soften the meat or veggie balls and let them soak up the flavours. A perfect combo of sweet, salt and, for me, nostalgia. Delicious over rice :)
Special note: the cooking clips book in the lower left corner and the recipe card were drawn true to form from my mum’s recipe drawer. For me, the cookbooks and recipe cards/clippings are just as memory stirring as the meal!
(FAVE MEMORY) Toasted ravioli was the food of my childhood. A St. Louis tradition, I had no idea it was an unusual food until I traveled outside of Missouri and saw the puzzled look on peoples' faces when I mentioned toasted ravioli. I remember my aunt always serving them for my cousin's birthday parties, cook outs, and other events, and all of my cousins and I gathering around the table to dip them in marinara sauce and greedily eat them. My mother used to heat them in the oven for me when I had a late night and needed a quick dinner, and they would always accompany dinner on homemade pizza night. There are many ways to do toasted ravioli - with beef, cheese, vegetables, or even mushrooms - and they are all special and tasty in their own way. Toasted ravioli will always remind me of my home, St. Louis, and all of its quirky food traditions.
Fave Memory : We traveled to Tuscany in the summer of 2013. During our stay at a rural villa, we celebrated my youngest son's first birthday. My oldest son and I took a cooking class with the owner of the villa. Together, we chopped vegetables, browned beef, and simmered a rich Tuscan ragu sauce with red wine. As the flavors of the simmering sauce wafted up from the stove, our host cracked fresh eggs from her own hens to work into piles of super soft 00 flour. The dough stuck to our fingers as we formed nests of fresh tagliatelle noodles and assembled little pillows of spinach ravioli. We ate our family feast al fresco under the warm Italian sunshine, celebrating our youngest, devouring the rich tomato sauce with hints of sweet carrot and savory celery, twirling and slurping tender al dente noodles, and sipping incredible local red wine. As we neared the end of this amazing meal, our host appeared bearing an enormous homemade cheesecake slathered with strawberry jam. She wanted to contribute to our family celebration, so she baked this cheesecake before even meeting us. That day, we not only made our own Tuscan feast, but we also made a friend. Claudia, we will remember you always!
One of my favorite food memories is the day when my family got together to make bunch of mandu--dumplings!
My mom would prepare enough ingredients to make about one hundred dumplings and it would take us the whole day to make the mandu.
We'd all gather around a table and talk about what happened at school, work--in life.
We still have this tradition to this day and I look forward to visiting my mom to make mandu together with her and the rest of my family :)
Fave Memory - My soul food is Chicken Noodle! Or we call it "mie ayam" in Indonesia. The chicken noodle we eat on the street has a sweet chicken meat and meatballs on it. I usually add more sweet soy sauce and sambal/chilli, since i like it spicy and sweet. "Mie Ayam" always has a special spot in my belly. I always eat it in my high school days,every time I finish my basketball course. Sometimes I eat 2 portion of it if I feel very hungry. This is also my dad's favourite. We used to travel a long way every time we heard there's a good/new "mie ayam" cart in town.
When my sister and I were growing up, my mom was the primary chef in the house but my dad liked to create spur-of-the-moment snacks and meals whenever the opportunity would arise. One of my favorite good memories comes from when my dad was home with us kids while my mom was out for the afternoon and we asked for pizza (delivery pizza was such a special treat for us back in the early 80s) and he did one better and made us pizza toasts from what we had on hand in the house (sandwich bread, spaghetti sauce, ground beef, and American cheese singles). They were tasty and made with so much love. I am especially warmed by this memory since my father recently passed away. He was such a playful and inventive man who was always game to make his daughters happy with the resources he had on hand.
As I was thinking about what I could illustrate for the Fave Memory challenge, one thing kept spilling out onto the sketchbook. My brainstorming was full of things my husband and I have cooked together with our family in the past thirteen years. I decided to play a little bit of a Newlywed Game with Josh, and I texted him to ask what some of his favorite things were to cook together.
Tacos were almost top of the list for both of us so I ran with it! The best part of cooking with my husband is when we crank up the music, and we hang out in the kitchen working together. It's super relaxed, and his wonky work schedule means it's not something that happens all the time so it's pretty special to me. I let him lead, and I answer him with lots of "yes chef!" as he asks for this onion to get chopped or that lettuce to get washed while he cooks up the hamburger meat. And when all the ingredients are ready, taco night feels like a party in our house. We put all the ingredients in small bowls on the table, and our kids have a blast building their perfect tacos!
Fave Memory - Macaroni Casserole, the one dinner dish I remember my Dad making growing up. Quick & simple, and of course - cooked in that lovely green and white pyrex dish from the 70's. I decided to lean into the olive color that dominates my memory of this dish. Home decor has come along way since my childhood!