by Alison Charbonneau
Some of the best things take time and peppers are no different. Peppers grow slowly, creeping along during the thick summer heat. Finally after a worthy wait, these colourful, sweet and sometimes spicy fruit emerge on the scene, ready to brighten up any meal.
Keep refrigerated and unwashed.
Red peppers can be kept 4-5 days, green up to a week
Sweet Bell peppers are one of the hardest working produce items in my kitchen. They are refreshing and have a subtly sweet flavour. That, combined with their ease in storage and preparation, makes them a perfect match for my family's (kids') culinary preferences. I use them almost daily; tossed into a stir fry, mixed into an omelet, or layered in tacos or fajitas (my kids' favourite). I use them so much that I make sure to freeze bushels of them so I can use them all winter!
When it comes to the Hungarian Hot peppers, I tend to play it safe and stick to the milder yellowy-green ones. I do enjoy a slice or two of their sweet-tangy bite on a sandwich now and again. Hot tip: Make sure to avoid touching your eyes when working with these peppers - trust me. For the more adventurous types, Chef Randy Felker has some great tips on incorporating these spicy fruits into your meals. "You can char the peppers on a hot grill to add some depth in flavour; you can slice them into julienne cuts and add to salads; or you can roast them and then puree into a sauce."
Randy skillfully incorporated a pepper dish into this year's Farm to Table dinner. In between the smoked duck appetizer and the charcoal roasted pork loin main, came a playfully spicy yet refreshing salad of charred Hungarian hot peppers, shaved fennel and an orange infused Greek yogurt dressing (see recipe below). The way Randy wove together this meal from one course to the next, shows the love he has for the food and the care he takes to ensure we all have a great experience through his carefully curated menu.
The love of the great local food is what brings us all together. Where chef Randy dedicates himself to preparing a great meal, there are a number of other's that dedicate themselves to making this a wonderful evening. Margaux Bucher ensures that the word gets out through social media and pretty print materials. "This event is special because of the people from various local businesses who come together for the community...and of course the food!" Cathy Fenton sets the tone through her decorating prowess, "we like to think of the event as formal with a casual feel." Melanie Marshall creates the experience, "the team and I make sure the diners are having a great experience." Jill Schildroth captures the moments. "I get to capture all the details of what makes this night so special." And Laura McInnes oversees the evening. "I get to pick up the unwanted pieces, but it is something that I look forward to year after year."
After it all comes together and the night finally winds down, there is a shared sense of accomplishment and pride that so many small business can come together to put on such a spectacular event and support a community initiative through a common passion for food!
Don't forget, peppers can still be picked up and enjoyed now at Hi-Berry Farm.
Farm to Table
Hungarian Hot Pepper Salad
6 Charred Peppers
2 Roasted Fennel bulbs ( julienne cut )
1 orange segmented
2 tablespoons juice from orange
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
photography by Jill Schildroth Photography
recipe by Chef Randy Felker
Special thanks to the Farm to Table organizers and sponsors: Randy Felker, Margaux Bucher, Cathy Fenton, Melanie Marshall, Jill Schildroth, Laura McInnes, Jeff Carver, Katlyn Brewer, Scott Wark, Charlie Bell, Sunbelt Rentals, Grey-Bruce Outfitters, Offshore Bakery, Cathy's Flowers n Treasures, Rabbit Dash, Jill Schildroth Photography, Margaux Bucher Lettering Art + Design, the Wismer House, and all the other volunteers for making this night truly spectacular.