by Jenah Hensel
I think its really interesting what foods we decide to like or dislike. Maybe its because we live in a country that has such a diverse food history and such a large selection of foods to eat. It seems like food preferences are as varied as the backgrounds and cultures we come out of. One of my friends prefers not to eat chocolate. When I met my husband, he refused to eat tomatoes. (I have since cured him.) My dad will only eat white cheese. I have a friend who won’t go near cilantro. My friend Jen, who is a flexitarian- hates beans. Another friend pretty much won’t eat a thing, and he prefers his sandwiches to have nothing on them, except one piece of plain lunchmeat. My friend Fran is repulsed by mayonnaise, and I could literally eat it on anything.
I have my own food preferences (mostly my preference is to eat the food that is sitting in front of me) but there are a few things I would choose not to eat if could avoid them, and fewer still that I avoid like the Spanish Influenza. Peppers used to be one of them.
I used to hate bell peppers. I thought they were weird and gross. They were on my (very) short list of the things I don’t care for and tried to avoid at all costs (peas, peppers, seafood, eggs.) No matter how hard I tried to mentally overcome this notion of mine, I just couldn’t like them. I avoided any and all recipes that included them. I would read through a recipe and be thinking, yum, yum, yes, good, delish… and come to a bit about peppers, and then completely dismiss the entire dish.
Then one day, I thought to myself, Jenah, this has got to stop. You have to open your mind to the possibility of at least ONE little bell pepper. You are missing out on a lot of good stuff because of this Bell Boycott. So I tried just one recipe with them in it. I was surprised. I pretty much loved them. I don’t think that it is necessarily that I love peppers so much as I love what they add to the recipes they are included in. I really was missing out on a ton of delicious recipes! I am so glad I changed my mind!
Linguine with Sausage & Peppers
Adapted From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine
· 1 pound linguine
· 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
· 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
· 4 yellow (or red) bell peppers, thinly sliced
· 4 tablespoons butter
· 4 tablespoons arugula, torn
· Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning
· Cook linguine. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water; return pasta to pot.
· Meanwhile, cook sausage and 2 tablespoons water in a large covered nonstick skillet over medium until fat renders, 5 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium-high. Brown sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, 7 minutes.
· Add garlic, bell peppers, and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water; cook until peppers soften, 6 minutes. Add 3/4 cup pasta water and butter; swirl to combine.
· Transfer to pot. Add arugula; season with salt and pepper. Toss; add more pasta water as desired. Serve.
From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine
· 10 large eggs
· Coarse salt and ground pepper
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
· 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
· 1 cup shredded white cheddar (4 ounces)
· 1/2 cup store-bought salsa and sour cream, for serving
· In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
· Add eggs, and cook, quickly stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until eggs thicken, about 1 minute. Sprinkle cheese evenly over egg mixture. Cover skillet; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook frittata for 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
· Slide frittata onto a work surface; cut into wedges. Top frittata with salsa and sour cream, and serve with a salad.
*Eggs used to be on the NO list for me, but I had a similar “get over it” moment with them as I had with the peppers. If you are anything like me, you may have a container of eggs that sits in the fridge and sort of stares at you. If you have one of those situations going on, try this frittata recipe. The nice thing about it is that it cooks right on top of the stove! If it still seems a little too warm out to turn the oven on, this is the frittata for you.
From my mom, Lynn Gantner
Watermelon, cubed with seeds removed
6 oz container of frozen lemonade concentrate
1 12 oz container of frozen cranberry/raspberry juice concentrate
Fill your blender full with watermelon cubes. Add the lemonade concentrate. Blend until liquefied. Add the cranberry/raspberry concentrate and blend again. Mix with 10 to 12 oz of Ginger Ale and serve ice cold.
*I also have to sneak one recipe in that includes watermelon- and you thought there was nothing to do with it but slice and eat it! You may not get a chance to serve this at a picnic yet this year, but it would make a refreshing end-of-summer drink nonetheless.
By the way, watermelon has never been on my “do not eat” list.
This column of good eating is brought to you by members and friends of the Winona County
EDA Local Foods Committee and UM Master Gardeners. Questions or comments? Contact