I have no pictures of this salad. I’ll just preface with that. Sometimes I take pictures. Others I keep as a photograph in my memory (key harp solo).
My father-in-law lives in a retirement community. On certain days different stores will bring day-old bread or donate vegetables and the residents get to “shop” the goods, or they get a parcel of goods – I’m not really sure. In any case, my father-in-law (and his mother, who both live there) will relieve the guilt of not using their share (?) by passing on to me the remainder of that parcel. Generally it is delicious and appreciated. Other times it is a parcel of guilt that ends up in my garbage due to my lack of ability to either use immediately or freeze it. Sounds simple enough for a person to do, but not always. My brain is flighty.
Last time it was eggplant. Frank’s grandma had made a wonderful caponatina with as much eggplant as she could use, then handed off the rest to me. I like eggplant. I sliced it, breaded it, and fried it. It was delicious and fully consumed. Well, a few of the eggplants were consumed. There were leftovers. They went to garbage after rotting in my kitchen for well past their prime. I was done frying and couldn’t stand the thought of doing any more. Seems to me no matter what you fry it always smells ends up smelling like fried fish, and it always hangs in the air like bad news for about three days.
Well this time, Joe came over with a bag (Frank’s family has a thing with bags – you can’t visit without leaving with an old plastic grocery bag of something – even if it is an article, one piece of paper – it’s in a plastic grocery bag). So we talk in the driveway for a bit, me leaning over his car, him sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. We talked for a bit, and then he handed me the bag like there were porcelain dolls in it. It was tied at the top. He looked in my eyes. “I think it is eggplants.” My stomach sunk a little at the thought of frying up more eggplants.
Lo and behold, I went inside the house, opened it up and found four jumbo peppers (and tomatoes, but they were immediately ignored for the peppers)! My peppers were green with hints of orangish red, so I knew they were going to turn into beautiful red peppers.
I love red peppers. I love them – have you seen how expensive they are lately? This, my friend, was a bag of delight. I put them in a basket and patiently waited for them to turn. The tomatoes… I made some spaghetti sauce.
Days later and finally my peppers were ready. Almost too ready. Remember my flighty-ness? I wanted to make a pepper salad so they could be the main character, shining in the spotlight. Usually I make an Italian-themed pepper salad, but this time I went for something different:
CHILI LIME PEPPER SALAD
2 large red peppers
1/2 red onion
2 T. olive oil
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
handful of fresh cilantro (or 1/2 T. dried)
1.) Cut peppers into bite-sized strips (about the size of a pinky, a teensy smaller); place in bowl. Peel cucumbers (I slice the ends off, cut it in half then peel), de-seed, and cut into similar sized strips; place in bowl. Cut onion into same-sized strips. Toss gently in the bowl.
2.) Over your pepper/onion/cuke mix, drizzle olive oil. Cut lime and half and squeeze the juice of both halves into bowl. Toss gently. Sprinkle sugar, cumin, chili powder over; add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in chopped cilantro (I only had dried). Toss gently again. If you can, refrigerate for an hour prior to serving. If not… dig in.
I ate the leftovers with a sprinkle of feta cheese over. Yum. I like a kick, so in the future I might add some cayenne to the mix.