Sweet Summer Peppers

I have a penchant for sweet red peppers. Their brilliant, natural color makes them a perfect choice for sauces. It accompanies such dishes as roasted pork, a spicy grilled chicken breast and if you try it with seafood, you'd have a hard time going back to tartar sauce!

Won't be long before we're trotting out to the backyard garden to pluck some of that fresh produce. Have you seen how high the price of red pepper can get out of season? Out of sight at two bucks or more individually. That's why it is so neat just to go grab one from the garden this summer. Or do like we do--scam from the neighbors! We buy them from Michigan's well-known local roadside stands, too. We can a lot of them--so I can use them all winter long. I've just got to have my sweet, mild red peppers! For Red Pepper Sauce, you'll need:

2 ea.              red peppers
1 tsp              chicken base
pinch              each of salt and pepper
dash               tabasco sauce
1 TB               oil
1 tsp              chopped garlic

The skins of the peppers have to be peeled. Some people grill them on the barbecue, then place them in a brown paper back for a few minutes as they cool and then the skins remove very easily. This does give a kind of charred taste though to your pepper. You can also place them in a steamer basket and set in a pot with about half an inch of boiling water below it. Cover and steam them until they are soft and tender--just enough to get the skin off.

You don't have a steamer, you say? Then place them in your spaghetti strainer with aluminum foil on the top and place over the boiling water (but not touching it) for about 15 minutes. You can even set them in the dishwasher and put it on the dry cycle to loosen up those skins! Yes, dishwasher steaming is "in". Fellow outdoor enthusiast, Monty, regularly steams his fish in aluminum foil packets in the dishwasher. Drives his wife nuts, but the taste is great!

Once the skin has been discarded, remove the stem and seeds as well. Take the "meat" of your pepper, chop it up and throw it in the blender with the rest of your ingredients and you have made a great sauce which can also be frozen. Yellow peppers or even green ones work well, too, with much the same taste.....but that green color just doesn't seem to make as nice a presentation. Kind of icky, don't you think? I just love red. And as always, a creative cook is a good cook.