After such an uncharacteristically long, dry, arid summer on the west coast, the weather this weekend snapped us back into reality. Here in Vancouver, the storm that hit was record breaking. I live in a very forested area of Vancouver, tucked away in the mountains, and I have never seen a storm quite like it.
It almost seemed like the beginning of the apocalypse!
The rain and wind warnings that were predicted for the weekend were no joke. The rain came down in sheets, almost sideways from the wind. The trees were so dry from our long, hot summer that they didn’t stand a chance against the wind. So many fallen trees, and so many power outages.
I live in a central city hub, so my power was out for only 6 hours, but in other areas, power was out for a full day or two.
The city looked like a scene from the Walking Dead (sans zombies, I hope). Grey and stormy skies, trees lifted up from their roots and strewn on the streets, garbage blowing everywhere, traffic lights not working, cars stopped in the streets. It was actually really eerie.
It was also a bit of a wake-up call for me. When my electricity went off, I realized I was pretty much powerless. I have a few candles, flashlights and a good amount of camping gear, but I don’t have an emergency preparedness pack. Heck, even my stove is electric, so I couldn’t even boil water.
What would have happened if my power hadn’t come back on? What happens if some natural disaster hits, like the impending earthquake that’s predicted to happen in the next few decades here on the west coast?
Now, I’m not saying I need a full on bomb shelter equipped with enough canned goods and water to last me a few months. I just feel like I should be, well, a bit more prepared.
Anyway. I hope this isn’t too much of a downer post. No, the end is not nigh, the apocalypse isn’t coming. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s very, very easy to take things for granted. Especially living in the city, you become dependant on electricity. It’s nice to take a step back and realize that we’re lucky to have power every day. Being able to charge my smartphone every night is a privilege.
With that all said, even in the darkest times (literally, the times without lights), food is a constant comfort. What did Matt and I do when the power outage hit? When the storm was raging and the trees were falling? We went out for pho. Nothing like a big, spicy bowl of noodles to make you feel all warm and cozy.
Darn. This would have been the perfect post if it was a pho recipe. Oops.
What I’m saying is, food can calm you down or pump you up. It can match your mood or the weather, and it brings people together in a way that nothing else does. This, this, is why I’m a foodie. Food is comfort.
Today’s post may not be a pho recipe, but it is definitely a cozy, inside-warming meal. It’s a recipe that carefully balances between being a light summer meal (the fresh peppers!) and a cozy meal for a blustery day (the spicy, cheesy rice!).
Plus, they’re pretty. Any time you can put food into a bowl made of more food, well, that’s my kind of magic. Kind of like bread bowls. When you can eat the bowl itself, you know it’s going to be good.
First off, we make the filling for these peppers by sautéing some onion with red chili flakes, for a bit of heat. Add in some garlic and crumbled sausage, some warm and textured wild rice, fresh parsley, and lots of cheese.
Then we fill some vibrant bell pepper bowls with this rice mixture, and bake until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft and cooked through.
Roasted peppers are one of my favourite things. There’s something about the texture, warmth, and flavour of a good roasted bell pepper that makes my heart swell.
These stuffed peppers are great to serve to guests! Save time and your sanity by preparing them ahead of time. Simply make the rice mixture, fill the peppers, cover and refrigerate until ready to eat, then simply roast in the oven as directed.
They’re deceivingly filling. My only warning: buy good quality Italian sausages. The sausages you pick will define the flavour, so choose whatever you prefer. Quality sausages make these stuffed peppers amazing.
|Wild Rice & Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers|| |
- 6 large bell peppers
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- ¼ to 1 tsp red chili flakes (customize heat to your taste)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large Italian sausages, casings removed
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping.
- Wash and dry the bell peppers. Slice off the tops of the peppers and remove the pith and seeds. If necessary, run under water to remove all the seeds.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish; set aside and fill the dish with the peppers; set aside.
- Prepare wild rice according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and red chili flakes for 3-5 minutes until softened, stirring often to avoid burning. Add garlic and sausages, breaking up the meat so it crumbles. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until sausages are cooked through. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss together the sausage mixture, cooked rice, and Parmesan. Fill each bell pepper with the mixture and sprinkle the tops with a bit more Parmesan. Add the pepper tops to the casserole dish, if desired (they're pretty and fun to serve with each pepper!).
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes until cheese is melted and peppers are soft to the touch (they should be soft, but not mushy). Serve warm.