So now I have a head cold, but I had to get up and moving. I’m past the contagious stage, so I loaded up my soap dispenser and hit the kitchen, washing my hands before and after I touched anything.

Our green peppers are coming in like gangbusters, and Charlie loves stuffed green peppers, so I said I would make some for supper. Didn’t feel quite up to the whole nine yards, so I did this stripped-down version. He doesn’t eat red meat, so I thought about a vegetarian version, but he said, “Stuff ’em with ham,” so I decided to do that.

I put some olive oil into a small pot and chopped up some ham and some mushrooms and some green peppers. I would have used onions, too, but onions don’t always agree with him so I didn’t put them in. I stirred that all around until the mushrooms started to brown and smell nutty and toasty, then put in a small can of tomato sauce and half a can of water. Here’s where the short-cut came in, and where I made my mistake. Instead of using “real” rice, I used instant rice, which is, I found out when I was researching one of my Culinary Chronicles for World Wide Recipes, an ancient product! Anyway, my mistake was in putting in the same amount of rice as liquid. I had to add more liquid, because the tomato sauce doesn’t work the way broth or water does, so I ended up with WAY more stuffing than I wanted. I also added some ham-flavored bouillon. (Thanks, Mr. Spell-Check. Will I ever learn how to spell that word?)

Meanwhile, I field-dressed two small green peppers, cut them in two, rubbed them with olive oil that has a garlic clove floating around in it and broiled them in the toaster oven until the skins were black and blistered, then took them out and put them in a brown paper bag for about 15 minutes. I didn’t bother to remove the skins, a fiddly process, just left them on.

Then I oiled a small casserole dish, put down a thick layer of stuffing, put the peppers, open side up (duh) on top and filled them. Sprinkled the top with Mexican blend shredded cheese, covered the casserole with non-stick Reynolds wrap and baked it at 350 in the toaster oven for about half an hour.

It was very good.

Charlie ate his green pepper and half of mine. I just like the stuffing stuff, so that’s what I ate. We had enough for leftovers today and, because of my mistake with the liquid/rice ratio, we also have a bunch of the stuffing stuff that didn’t get baked. I have it in mind to make tamales one of these fine days–found the hidden bodega and bought some corn husks–and this stuffing stuff will go great with those and some refried beans.

Life is good, even with a cold.

MA

writing exercise: Suffering under some disadvantage of circumstance or temporary disability, you decide to cook something fancy. It doesn’t go as planned.

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