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I’ve been in a kitchen rut. hot peppers

I cut down on the “what to make for dinner” dilemma by meal planning (so resistant to doing, so glad I did), but I was getting bored. Last week my friend Lilly hosted a winter recipe jam that got me excited about food again.

I almost said cooking, but really it’s the food. I started reading this book last night and it made a clear distinction between enjoying cooking and enjoying food. I like both, but I’m coming back to the food—the eating, the sharing, the memories, the stories.

For the recipe jam, I pulled a jar of pickled peppers from my cupboard and asked, “What would you do with these?”

The answers came in:

sprinkle on pizza
serve with sausage
toss with greens
add to white chili
use on nachos . . .

None of it was earthshakingly new. I was just in too stuck in what we usually do. I think first of fresh peppers for nachos. I turn to dried for chili. My kids are back on forth on spicy. The little one won’t eat a fried egg sandwich without Tabasco sauce. They’ll both eat our homemade chili. Except on the days they won’t. “Too spicy.” So too often I skip it.

I opened a jar to have with pork dumpling burgers (dumpling filling pressed into burgers). The suggestion to use the hot peppers on pizza with sausage reminded me of stuffed jalapenos (and that I had an overabundance of cream cheese in my fridge.) A few nights later, I sprinkled the rest of the jar  over a corn-meal crusted pizza with spicy sausage, cream cheese, and a Mexican blend cheese.

Definitely not rut material.

pickledpeppers

Hot Pepper & Sausage Cream Cheese Pizza

Crust

3/4 c. warm water
1 tsp yeast
hefty pinch of sugar
1 1/4 c. flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and add the sugar.
  2. Put both flour and the salt in a large bowl and combine.
  3. When the yeast has bubbled up, add it along with the olive oil to the flour.
  4. Stir to combine. Then knead lightly.
  5. Coat the dough in oil. Place back in the bowl and cover with a towel. Set in a warm space to rise. My dough didn’t double, but it expanded.
  6. Preheat oven to 425.
  7. Sprinkle a pizza stone or pan with coarse corn meal. Stretch the dough into a round (or several small rounds).
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until dough starts to set.

Topping

1 8-oz package of cream cheese softened
cooked spicy sausage
1 4-oz jar pickled hot peppers (or chopped fresh jalapenos)
shredded cheddar, Mexican blend or similar cheese
fresh salsa or pico de gallo

  1. Spread the cream cheese on the partially baked crust.
  2. Sprinkle the sausage and peppers evenly over the pizza.
  3. Top with the shredded cheese.
  4. Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges of the crust are just turning golden.
  5. Serve with fresh salsa.