09 June 2018

Weekend Cooking: Easy Living on the Deck

stuffed peppers from First We EatI know horse racing is a controversial sport, but we watch the big three races every summer. Today is the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown. Whether we're home alone or watching with friends, we always find it fun to make the official drink of the race.

The signature cocktail for the Belmont Stakes has an interesting history. The original drink for the race was called the White Carnation, named after the Belmont's official flower. It's made with vodka, cream, schnapps, and soda (among other ingredients) and was never very popular.

In 2011, the cocktail was changed to the Belmont Jewel. Count me in the crowd that didn't like the White Carnation. The Belmont Jewel, however, is another story! It's really good and really refreshing and really dangerous (as in, it goes down waaaay too easily).

stuffed peppers from First We EatWhen we decided to taste-test the drink earlier this week (hey, don't judge!), I decided to make a summer appetizer from one of the wonderful Abrams Dinner Party cookbooks I received from the publisher.

First We Eat by Eva Kosmas Flores (Abrams, March) is a great seasonal cookbook that I've turned to often. You may recall the spicy pecans I made last March. This week I made the Manchego-Stuffed Petite Peppers--twice! They are so easy and fast to put together and are a healthy, light pre-dinner treat that goes well with wine or a cocktail.

Just so you know, First We Eat is more than appetizers. We've tried a couple main dishes, and I'll share some summer grilling recipes next month. I've also marked a few fruit-forward desserts to try as the season progresses.

Anyway, today's Weekend Cooking is a celebration of summer entertaining: enjoy both the drink and the peppers, even if you never watch horse racing.

The Belmont Jewel
stuffed peppers from First We EatMakes 1 Drink
Readily available on multiple websites

  • 1.5 ounces Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
  • 2 ounces lemonade
  • 1 ounce pomegranate juice
  • Orange zest (no measurement given)
Mix ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist.

Manchego-Stuffed Petite Peppers
Makes about 24
From First We Eat
Note that I made my peppers a little bit differently from the original recipe, which I provide here. First, I used yellow peppers (not that it matters much), and second, I cut the recipe down by about a quarter and made only 6 peppers. The first time I made these, I followed the directions, keeping the caps on the peppers. The second time, I made them as shown here: cut in half and then stuffed. We liked the flavor of the toasted breadcrumbs in the open-face version, but the peppers could cook longer and soften in the original version. You decide.
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 petite red sweet bell peppers
  • 2½ cups Manchego cheese, grated
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Summer Cocktail HourPreheat the oven to 400F.

In a small skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring every minute or so until fragrant and lightly golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Cut the caps off the tops of the peppers, reserving them for later, and remove the seeds. Arrange the peppers in a small roasting pan or casserole dish so that the tops are facing up. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the cheese bread crumbs, rosemary, garlic, and any oil from the pan. Use a small spoon to stuff the filling inside each pepper. Replace the tops.

Roast until the cheese has melted and the peppers have deepened in color and some of them have slight char marks on the top, 25 to 30 minutes.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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rhapsodyinbooks 6/9/18, 6:05 AM  

Oh I love manchego! That recipe looks great!

Mae Travels 6/9/18, 6:08 AM  

Your cocktail is intriguing, but I tend to stick to wine. However, I love anything with peppers!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Beth F 6/9/18, 6:09 AM  

@rhapsodyinbooks: I do too!

Jackie McGuinness 6/9/18, 6:26 AM  

You can make me a Jewel but the White Carnation sounds awful.
I have a love/hate relationship with peppers.

bermudaonion 6/9/18, 7:30 AM  

Count me in for the drink and the peppers. I think both would work well for a book club meeting.

Tina 6/9/18, 7:51 AM  

That’s a brilliant combination ! I like the drink and the appetizers.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 6/9/18, 7:58 AM  

Bourbon is not my thing so I think I would have to pass on the coctail, despite enjoying reading about it's history. The stuffed peppers - they appeal to me.

Deb in Hawaii 6/9/18, 12:04 PM  

I love the both the cocktail and the stuffed peppers. Manchego is one of my favorite cheeses. It looks like a perfect meal for dining on the deck. The cover of that cookbook is gorgeous too--I remember thinking that back when you made the spiced nuts.

Esme 6/10/18, 10:03 AM  

First we Eat-looks gorgeous -the recipes also sound interesting. When you have numerous cookbooks I stay away from the generic ones that have the basic recipes.

Tea 6/10/18, 10:26 AM  

The cocktail looks delicious. The color is very pretty. I've never made a cocktail. I have been to a dance where I drank a Zinger or Tom Collins. Not both in one night. Must have been two separate church dances. The seasonal cookbook must give you many days of nice meals.

Vicki 6/11/18, 1:11 PM  

I like that the drink has pomegranate juice.

Those peppers look so good!

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