Back before there were a (seemingly) endless number of food blogs on the internet, there were a few I followed pretty religiously. 101 Cookbooks, Sprouted Kitchen, Seven Spoons, and one of my all time favorites: Kimberly Hasselbrink’s The Year in Food.
I was new to the idea of blogs, but suddenly I spent all my time at the office procrastinating instead of working. What I was going to make that night for dinner became far more important to me that any client project I had on my plate.
I was drawn to these blogs not because I needed to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes – I was enamored with their images and how they made me want to try new foods. Instead of going to the store with a recipe (which never really worked for me anyway), I began going to the market to see what looked good that day. I learned to pick up a new vegetable because it was pretty and figure out what to make with it later. By experimenting this way, my cooking not only became more beautiful, it also became more delicious. (More vibrant, if you will).
So naturally, I was through the moon to meet Kimberley a couple of months ago at the Saveur Awards. “When am I getting your book!” was I think the first
question statement I blurted out. Later, when I got home, there it was – Vibrant Food – on my doorstep.
It’s (of course) beautiful and full of so many creative, inspiring, seasonal ideas. Things I would have never thought of: squash blossom tacos, edamame & radish risotto, grilled hallumi with strawberries and mint.
She writes “My hope is that [the book] is equal parts inspiration and accessibility. Even if you can’t find nettles, fresh chickpeas, kumquats, quince or some of the other less common ingredients I’ve grown so fond of, I hope that curiosity will get the better of you. Perhaps you’ll bring a striking vegetable home and mull over it, and then build a colorful dish around that vegetable. That is how I cook.”
I made these little stuffed peppers because they were too cute not to. She topped her peppers with a tomatillo salsa, but I had just come home with these gorgeous green tomatoes so I made a green tomato salsa instead.
Stuffed Peppers Recipe, from Vibrant Food. Green Tomato Salsa adapted from Kimberley’s Tomatillo Salsa recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ¾ cups (uncooked) millet*
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1¼ cups low-sodium veggie broth
- kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn
- 1 cup grated jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, & pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground chili powder
- 16 ounces small sweet peppers
- queso fresco, for serving
- 4-5 small green tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ¼ cup scallions, diced
- ½ of a jalapeño, seeds removed & minced
- juice of 1-2 limes + some zest
- big handful of chopped cilantro
- optional - a few pinches of sugar
- 1 small avocado, diced
- generous pinches of salt
- Make the salsa: Combine the diced green tomatoes, red onion, scallions, jalapeño and cilantro in a medium bowl with lime juice, zest, and a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir, then chill for at least an hour. (The longer the better if your green tomatoes happen to be tart). Before serving, add diced avocado. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and a few pinches of sugar if necessary.
- Optional (but recommended) step: blend salsa in a food processor until smooth but still a little chunky. Chill until ready to use.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the millet and toast until very lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Gently fluff the millet with a fork. Stir in the corn, jack cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, paprika, chili powder and pepper to taste. To stuff peppers, make a slit from stem to tip. Carefully remove the seeds and membrane and stuff each pepper with the filling. Bake the peppers for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to brown.
- Serve peppers with green salsa, queso fresco and extra cilantro on top.
These work great as leftovers - store extra filling (& salsa) in the fridge. Stuff the peppers as you're ready to bake them.