Happy 2016, my friends! I hope everyone is feeling refreshed and energized for the year ahead. What resolutions did you make? In past years I’ve gone overboard with mine, so this year I’m sticking with a broad goal to be more zen. I’m trying not to sweat the small stuff and be let down by things out of my control. I have to say, I’ve already been put to the test here in San Francisco. It’s been raining nonstop for weeks and is supposedly going to rain for the next 11 days straight. It’s not what I signed up for, but so far I think I’ve been pretty good about not letting it bother me. Take that, El Niño!
I’m also hoping to embrace a more laid-back attitude about maintaining my space here on OSK. With a big move last year and a new busy job, I haven’t had much time to devote to the blog lately. Last year I thought that I might have to give the whole thing up, as I had always heard that if you can’t blog frequently and routinely, no one will follow your blog. But one night recently I found myself here, looking for dinner inspiration in my recipe archive. As I looked through all of my old recipes, it hit me that I didn’t want to give up this little space I have worked so hard to create. Forget perfecting the search-engine optimization and the unhealthy obsession with social media (I could write an entire post on this topic!). I’m leaving the self-induced stress behind me. My way forward is to relish the creative recipe development process and share my love of cooking with my readers. I’ll post when I’m inspired and when I find the time, because this should never feel like a chore.
I had a lot of fun coming up with the idea for these couscous stuffed peppers. As a vegetarian, it can be hard to create a meal with a real “centerpiece” to it. I’m especially reminded of this during the holidays or when I have friends over for dinner. Peppers fit that need perfectly, acting as elegant little vessels for your filling of choice.
In my version of stuffed peppers, I’ve created an easy and flavorful couscous mixture that takes mere minutes to whip up. With cumin and paprika to spice things up and olives and feta for a salty punch, the mixture pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the roasted red pepper. It’s then drizzled with tahini to add a wonderful creaminess. The end result is a meal that is completely fuss-free yet still quite special.
- For the couscous:
- ⅓ cup dry couscous
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅓ cup sliced olives
- ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 large red bell peppers (pick peppers that have an even base so that they stand upright)
- About 2 tablespoons tahini
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook the couscous according to package directions.After the couscous has cooked, gently fluff the couscous with a fork and then add all of the remaining ingredients. Stir well and season with additional salt to taste.
- Cut the top of each pepper off and then remove the seeds and white membrane inside.
- Fill each pepper to the top with the couscous mixture. Add the peppers to a baking dish and pour in about ½ cup of water around the peppers (this will prevent the bottoms from burning).
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the peppers become soft.
- Let the peppers cool for five minutes and then drizzle with tahini.