Pop Art Stuffed Peppers

The winter here has been a bit bogged with mundane slumps and wretched snowstorms, which I am sure many of you are familiar with. How does one escape from winter? We could say vacation in exotic locales, listening to tropicalia music, or we could even say reading a fantastic book (I Am Not Sidney Poitier, by Percival Everett comes to mind), but I am a firm believer that colorful, exciting food helps as well. Hence, stuffed peppers. But not any stuffed peppers. Pop art. They are boldly colorful and just as flavorful, and in a winter where peppers have been at times 4 dollars/pound and tomatoes are reaching the throes of $6/pint, this warming south western-tinged dish is a breath of fresh air. The dish is even prepared a bit exotically by using a stovetop steaming for the peppers, which is perfect for a weeknite dinner for Frank and myself.  Serve with a contrasting green vegetable and perhaps a dollop of your favorite non-dairy sour cream for extra flair.

Pop-Art Stuffed Peppers

3-4 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (3 if super big, 4 if normal-sized)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1-2 chipotle peppers, depending on your heat tolerance
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup quinoa
24 oz. stewed or canned tomatoes (preferably golden tomatoes for contrast- ours were frozen from our CSA)
1 1/4 c. pinto beans

Directions for peppers: 
Cut peppers in half, either into long boats or into cups. If cutting into cups, leave stem tip in so pepper remains sealed. 
Trim out membrane and seeds, and place facedown in a 12-inch skillet filled with water. Steam over medium heat until crisp-tender, roughly 20-25 minutes.

Directions for quinoa filling:
In a medium sized dutch oven, steam saute onion and garlic until soft. 
Add in spices and chipotle, toasting for 1 minute. 
Stir in quinoa and tomatoes, bring to a boil, and then lower heat to simmer until liquid has been absorbed. The tomato liquid will act as a water substitute in this recipe; if you need more liquid add in water by 1/4 cup until quinoa is soft. When quinoa mixture has finished cooking, stir in beans to heat through.

To serve:
Using tongs, remove pepper halves from pan, and place in a colander to drain of excess water. Move peppers to a cutting board, and spoon filling into each pepper half. Place 2 halves on the most colorful plates you own alongside a green of your choice.


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1:27 PM, April 20, 2010

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