Peppers stuffed with Couscous and Feta

Home alone last night (Debbie is at a Grand Spa which she describes as an elegant 24/7 gym) and wanted to use some feta we got last weekend at the farmers’ market.  I’ve also had a yen for some time to have stuffed peppers (which Debbie hates for some reason; she is not keen on peppers except raw in salads).

Epicurious to the rescue with Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers, an old SELF Magazine where I jacked up the oil to some extent and used fully-leaded chicken stock (in fact I used some kind of “Chicken Garlic Soup” from Whole Foods which looked enough like stock for the Crumster’s purposes.

I’ve always been big on the idea of getting all the ingredients ready before commencing to cook.  I now know (thanks to "Cooking for Geeks") that the French call this mise en scene (as the billboard used to say in Harvard Square when I was young, “Whatever it is it sounds better in French”), so I’ve been practicing proper mise en scene for years without knowing it.


In any case, here’s the mise en scene for the stuffed peppers.  Pepper cases on the left, stuffing parts on the right.


They came out well.  Very tasty.  Although the woman who sold us the feta told us we could wash it in fresh water and make it less salty, I left it pretty salty because I love salt, and it was veggie and salty and crunchy all at once.  Great meal.

Tuscan Casserole

From WeightWatchers (For Men, for some reason) Online, I did the Tuscan Casserole recipe because I had leftover black bean soup and ricotta.  They called for canned cannellini beans, and I tried to talk myself into substituting the black bean soup, finally decided it would taste too gross, and opened a can of kidney beans (closest I had to what they asked).


A not-too-flattering photo of the innards of it (Oh, I put home-made croutons (a CrummyCook regular nowadays as the solution to Terminal Bread Syndrome) on top instead of the torn-up bread pieces they called for.  You get the idea, sort of a diet veggie casserole kind of thing.  Not bad.

Ricotta and Tomato Tart

I bought a giant tub of ricotta ten days ago, and we only used a bit of it last week, so I’ve been looking for recipes that used ricotta that weren’t

  • desserts
  • lasagnas
  • ricotta salata dishes

Finally found one on the WeightWatchers online site (where I’ve been a relatively happy weight-loser for 4 years and 45 lbs): I don’t know if you can read it without being a member, but Ricotta and Tomato Tart takes you there.

Diet food, of course.  The recipe calls for zero-fat ricotta and fat-free egg substitute (whatever that might be).  I used my low-fat ricotta and regular eggs.


Not a flattering picture, but the result was pretty tasty.  I think well of Weight Watchers: they’re doing yeoman’s work trying to get diet food to taste good.

Again, home alone.  Debbie still out of town and Josh not yet home for the weekend.

Onward and upward.

Stuffed Squash

I don’t know why, but I have this yen to make the untasty taste good.  Earlier this year (but before Crummy Cook, I think) I tried to make a decent-tasting kasha dish.  Debbie actually succeeded with this later in the year by the time-honored expedient of using boatloads of butter.

Squash (of the non-zucchini variety) is pretty un-tasty in my book, so as the first winter squashes start to come out I’m going to try various ways to make it taste good.


Here’s the first shot.  Even Epicurious shies away from calling this stuffed squash: Orzo and Cheese baked in Acorn Squash.  I thought I had “white” orzo but only had whole wheat, and the cheddar I got was a Life’s DHA cheddar from Giant which was deeply insipid.  The net result was something pretty much like other stuffed squash I’ve had in the past: not inedible, but nothing that would redeem the stuff-ee.

Fortunately, I was alone.  Debbie was out of town and it was just me.  But I will try again: maybe I should just bite the bullet and poach it in a cup of butter.

Chiles Rellenos

Debbie had bought some poblano peppers with the idea of making chiles rellenos.  When some days (well, ok, weeks) had passed and it looked like her travel schedule was not going to “support” making them, I took over and determined to CrummyCook them last Wednesday.

We have an older Mexican cookbook from Diana Kennedy which Debbie had always “praised with faint damn” by saying it was “too complicated.”  I looked up the chiles rellenos recipe in the book and was intrigued because it stuffed the peppers with picadillo instead of the usual gooey bland cheese, but when I went over it in detail Debbie was right: you had to make the picadillo, you had to roast and peel the peppers, you had to stuff them, and you had to make a sauce for them.

Mark Bittman  to the rescue with a simpler approach.  Still plenty daunting, still roasting/peeling, stuffing, and sauce, but the stuffing itself was straightforward and Mark had a less take-no-prisoners approach to the sauce.

IMG_20100929_170011Unfortunately, my stuffing didn’t go much better with these chiles than my frustrating encounter with the squash blossoms in July.  I think I roasted the chiles too long, and, although they were easy to peel, the chile innards began to fall apart and they resembled Franken-chiles by the time I patched them together with toothpicks and skewers (above).

No matter, the final result was tasty enough, and I will work on less vigorous roasting next time around.