October is here and so are chilly nights as autumn settles in for the next few weeks. The colors here on the mountain are just starting to change… we are expecting nights dipping down into the 30's next week which will be the magic ingredient to "snap" the color palette of Nature! This dinner is perfect on a chilly night featuring the abundant peppers in the markets with fall harvest. The colors paint a pretty fall palette themselves! Serve with a seasonal greens salad with harvest pears or apples, gorgonzola, toasted hazelnuts and a favorite vinaigrette. This is a vegetarian meal, but if meat is a must, you could serve with grilled chicken, sliced and added to the cooked polenta with the cheese. Bon appetite!
Adapted from recipe from Moosewood Restaurant, NY
Mexican Polenta Stuffed Bell Peppers, Serves 4-5
4-5 large bell peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, or a combination)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkling of salt
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup polenta cornmeal
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 1/2 cups grated Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped Spanish olives
2 cups homemade salsa or 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Preheat the oven to 450°
2. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, but leave the stem ends on so the peppers will hold their shape.
3. Brush the pepper halves with oil, inside and out, and sprinkle lightly with salt.
4. Place cut-side up on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender but still holding their shape, about 15 minutes.
5. While the peppers roast, in a heavy saucepan, bring the water, salt, and red pepper flakes to a boil.
6. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream while whisking; cook on medium heat, stirring often, until thickened.
7. Stir in the corn, oil or butter, 1 cup of the cheese, and the olives; remove from the heat.
8. Fill the roasted pepper halves with the polenta mixture.
9. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese and return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
10. Meanwhile, combine the salsa, black beans, and cilantro in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
11. To serve, spoon some of the black bean salsa on each dinner plate and place two different colored pepper halves on top.