Saturday, September 7, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 7 - Roasted & Rustic Red Pepper Sandwiches

First, a rant. Those who have read my posts on Yahoogroups have known for years that the produce where I live sucks. I've tried big chain groceries, small chains, mom and pop stores, ethnic grocers, but it's all the same. Many of the items are rotten right on the store shelves - peppers are liquidy in the bags, potatoes are as neon green as the bananas, onions have black mold between the layers, etc. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with Jeff Novick's SNAP meals - all the produce came from the freezer and was always, 100% of the time, edible, so not a wasted penny!

A few weeks ago, the main grocery store I go to redesigned the produce section. There are more refrigerated cases; delicate and easily bruised fruit and veggies are now in their own baskets; there's a wider variety of produce items; there's a smaller amount of veggies stacked up on top of themselves so the bottom items are less prone to getting crushed, etc. That's one of the main reasons I chose so many Esselstyn recipes for this past week, and when I finally bought everything that was on my list for those meals, I was over-budget, which was a bad thing, especially with hubby home on disability pay right now.

So you can imagine how angry I was when I reached for a potato for lunch yesterday and found not just soft, rotten potatoes, but half the bag of Yukon Golds and most of the bag of fingerlings were liquified, drippy, and smelled so bad if a cadaver dog was around he would have howled, sat, or whatever he was trained to do when a dead body was detected. Out went all my potatoes to the garbage can in the yard immediately. I didn't want that stink in the apartment!

Then today I went to grab the red peppers to start roasting them for today's lunch, and whatever wasn't black-molded was liquifying. Out went 2 bags of red peppers with a dozen peppers total that was supposed to be today's lunch and part of tomorrow's dinner.

I went through the rest of the produce - the carrots grew hairy roots and the remaining celery stalks from the head I used just the day before were yellow. Luckily, I had no onions left. 2 of the remaining apples were full of soft spots and bruises. All this produce was just bought only 5 days before!

The temp in the 2-year old refrigerator is fine; the potatoes were kept in a dark, cool room because I have no more room in the refrigerator. The apples were in the same old fruit bowl in the kitchen where they always are since we moved in here 13 years ago.

And people wonder why I don't even want to think about being a "nutritarian" and prefer to be a "starchivore!"

It was close to lunch time and we had already been to 2 grocery stores earlier, so I just resorted to the jar of roasted red peppers (water packed, only 20 mg sodium) and started the recipe from there. I don't think I'll be doing too many veggie-heavy recipes again in the near future unless they can come from the freezer.

 Roasted and Rustic Sweet Peppers

6 red peppers sliced 1/4 inch thick

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Roast peppers on cookie sheet until blackened then turn until all sides are black. Peel in running water, slice, then combine peppers and all ingredients and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Comments:  Ann uses a teaspoon of all the herbs (rather than a 1/4 tsp). These are fabulous just plain, on toast, in a sandwich, in a salad, or blended into salad dressing. If you save the juice from the peppers as you roast them, it adds a feel of oil in salad dressings.

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

page 180
Caldwell Esselstyn, MD and Ann Crile Esselstyn

Instead of slicing the peppers I left them in the half-pepper size they each came out of the jar in. I out them all into the glass Pyrex storage container, poured in the vinegar, then mixed the herbs and spices in a small bowl and shook some over each layer of peppers, put the lid on, and popped it into the refrigerator, where it sat for about 90 minutes. I took Ann's hint and used a full teaspoon of each spice. I had been playing on the computer and lost track of time, and before I knew it, out walked my husband looking at me with his sad puppy dog eyes asking when will lunch be ready. Oops! It's ready now, sorry.

We used a whole grain seeded bread made without oil from the local grocery store. We each had a layer of peppers and some onions on top, me with steamed ones and he with raw. My husband added mustard to his sandwich, and it looked so good that when I was ready for my second half, I smeared some on mine, too. 

I had enough peppers left over to slice one up to add to the pizza we had for dinner, and the rest will be used for part of  today's lunch (see tomorrow's VeganMoFo post).

If you've never roasted peppers before, here are a few ways to do it:


  1. That's pretty crazy! Have you thought about finding out when they stock/buy their produce and going shopping then? (I'm sure you have - since you've clearly tried everything!)

  2. I've been there when the bring the boxes of produce out of the back room and saw the stock people feel the same anguish *I* do when they see all the bad produce. One of them told me that the manager told them to put it all out, no matter what it looks like, and in a few days they can rewrap it and pop it on the discount shelves, and after that write it off and discard it. One of the mom & pop stores has been known to cut the damaged part out of a few veggies or fruits, put them together, cut side down, on one of those foam trays, then shrink-wrap it and put a full price sticker on. It wasn't until someone called the local newspaper and a story was done on the practice that they stopped. Nothing they did was illegal, just immoral.