Like the musician that I am, I put my improvising skills to the test last week in the kitchen when I decided to make stuffed peppers based off of Cooking Channel host, Bal Arneson’s stuffed pepper recipe (http://m.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/stuffed-peppers.html)
Instead of following her recipe to the T, I worked with what I had, subbed out some spices, and the brown rice for quinoa, and it came out incredibly!
Here it is:
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups roughly chopped mushrooms sautéed
4 med Yukon gold potatoes boiled then mashed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup spinach chopped
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp cardamom powder
Pinch red chili flakes
1 tsp salt
4 bell peppers bottoms leveled off, tops cut off and seeds scooped out
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In the same pot that you mashed the potatoes in, stir in all the filling ingredients, and stuff the peppers to the brim. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 mins, until skin is wrinkly and tops golden.
You can improvise too!:
Try using any kind of rice, barley, or grain to stuff your peppers
Experiment with different spices
Add fresh herbs!
I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic all morning since listening to Pepper Adams play the baritone saxophone.. It’s made me miss my baby.. Unfortunately this whole time since I’ve been home, my horn’s been in the shop.. so, I can’t wait to get it back tomorrow and get back to it. In the meanwhile, I made something super warm and comforting to go along with an incredibly beautiful melody by Duke Ellington, ♫”Star Crossed Lovers”. Here’s my recipe for ginger spiced hot chocolate and a homemade cinnamon whipped cream.
What you need:
4 cups milk (any type your prefer- I used whole)
1 cup chocolate, chopped from the block (combination of dark and semisweet for me- but use whatever kind you like)
1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or nutmeg powder)
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium stock pot over medium heat, heat milk, stirring occasionally. Once hot, whisk in chocolate. Then, whisk in ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a stand mixer, mix heavy cream and the cinnamon until the whipped cream creates soft to medium peaks. Pour hot chocolate in your favorite mug, top with the whipped cream and enjoy!
Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:
One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: serves 2
What you need:
1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
2 shallots halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.
Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
Try roasting root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base
This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)