OT: Cooking stuff

We found a pile of multi-colored bell peppers on sale and picked up a large bag of them. Some will sacrifice themselves into a paste of muhammara (a Middle Eastern roasted pepper/walnut dip). The rest became stuffed peppers this evening. I decided not to use either rice or cheese to hold things together and used a decades old recipe I cobbled together - which reminded me why I actually stuck my name on it :slight_smile:


Jeff’s Stuffed Peppers - Riceless

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (can optionally use pine nuts or corn kernels)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 bell peppers, any color (medium-large size)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lbs lean ground beef (optionally lamb or ground turkey)
1 tsp baking soda
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained (or diced fresh tomato)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Instructions Servings: 6

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the meat well with baking soda and a teaspoon of salt and set aside in covered bowl (to make it keep moist).

Meanwhile, slice the tops off the peppers and then remove stems, ribs and seeds. Fill a baking dish large enough to fit peppers with about 1/2-inch of water or chicken stock.
Trim the stems on the tops to level with the flesh. Place peppers upside down on top of their lids in water or chicken stock. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over-medium high heat. Add onion and sauté with spices 3 - 4 minutes. Move onions to one far side of the skillet. Add beef in chunks, season with salt and pepper then let sear until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.

Break up beef and toss with onions and continue to cook 2 minutes, add garlic, walnuts and cook until beef is cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, drain off excess fat.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Turn peppers upright and place beck into the water (or stock), sprinkle inside peppers lightly with salt and fill with beef filling. Spoon some tomato sauce over the stuffed pepper and cover with lid. Cover with foil and continue to bake 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, uncover the baking dish, return to oven and bake uncovered until peppers have reached desired tenderness, about 10 - 20 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired to garnish, and serve warm.


Why do you add baking soda?

The change in PH seems to help keep the meat tender while frying. I started using it when preparing chicken for Chinese stir-fry recipes, but now frequntly use it for other meats.

Found this:

and this:




Spritz the dish with fresh lemon juice right before serving.

Salt and lemon act the same way. On cooked veggies lemon juice puts a dish over the top good.

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And of course baking soda adds sodium. A problem for those on low salt diets. Then again blood is loaded with sodium. Steak eaters must be risk takers.

Lemon juice sounds like a better health choice.


Got that tip from Chef Thomas Keller.

It was not to avoid salt in Keller’s case. The flavor boost he wanted is extremely good.


You can use cornstarch as well. Same tenderizing effect as baking soda.


I had the leftovers tonight and, while lemon juice probably wouldn’t damage the dish, there are enough tastes going around that it really isn’t needed.

For those able to “imagine” tastes, I’ll repost the spices (not including the salt and pepper) below and remind you that the quantities are for 1 pound (450g) of chopped meat:

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)

The filling is not “spicy”, but it sure is tasty


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I roast root vegetables in clarified butter and kosher salt…Thomas Keller’s instructions…excellent but takes another jump in taste with the lemon juice.

It actually can not do any damage.

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Roasted root veggies is one of my favorite dishes! I usually use olive oil, but now I think I will try butter next time.

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The simple method of getting clarified butter, put a stick of butter in a zip lock baggie. Put the baggy over the edge of a pot of water with the lid holding the baggie from dropping in entirely. Bring to a simmer. The butter will melt. Take the baggie out and make a slit mid way up the side of the baggie. Then pour or drizzle the butter without the solids. Rub Kosher salt into your pile of veggies.

Keller roasts the veggies with a chicken at 475 F for 25 minutes and then brings the temperature down to 400 F for the next 35 minutes.

Remember that is with 4 lbs of chicken. The cooking times are less without the chicken.

This might seem counter intuitive by the 25 minutes at 475 F remains. The next 35 minutes might be cut down to 25 or 30 minutes.

Hit with lemon juice.

but note you are not saving on the kosher salt.

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This recipe sounds really delicious and, honestly, I intend to try using baking soda for tenderizing meat. Thank you for sharing, Jeff!

As for the lemon, ever since I started getting familiar with Greek cuisine, I tend to add lemon pretty much everywhere, but I will trust you on this one and won’t add any.



Diplomacy is not lost. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Hey, it was till I found it somewhere in my late 30s :grin: Now it’s safe and sound with me!

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I lost my diplomatic efforts in my late 30s. I am direct to make sure the message is not lost. People ignore things such as reality if left to their own devices. When that is on my time I get even more direct.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Wait for it…note he had just shot a man…


Cheers to that! And to think that it all started with stuffed peppers.

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