Gas stove, how I've missed you.

Gas stove, how I've missed you.

Well! It’s been a couple months.

I’ve been traveling. I was in Tunisia for a couple of weeks (with a surprise bonus day in Malta!), and then I went visiting friends in Minneapolis and Portland (Oregon) to let them convince me I should move to each of their cities. It was an awfully difficult decision, but in the end, Portland won out. The food scene there is really incredible, and with all the amazing mountains and ocean views within two hours’ drive… I couldn’t say no. So I’ll give it a year, and if the rain and west-coast hippies wear me out, then I’ll go to Minneapolis with the snow and midwestern hippies.

Aw, I love midwestern hippies.

guess what? pepper butt.

guess what? pepper butt.

I’d love to post all kinds of pictures from my travels, but I’m in Asheville now, at my parents’ house, and their computer is vastly confusing to me, so we’re just going to cross our fingers that at least these pepper pictures make it up with no problems.

Yes, it’s a little weird being back in America, but it’s going much better than it did the last time I came back from a Peace Corps assignment. I still have a moment now and again where I’m in the megamart and I can’t remember how to get out again (today I stared, dumbfounded, at half an aisle full of Cool Whip), but I feel like I know how to deal with it, and I know I’ll be moving to a city soon where I won’t be out of the loop for not having a car. Asheville is a great place to have grown up in and it has many wonderful qualities, but public transportation is not one of them, and I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to burn any more fossil fuels than I have to. I’ve become instantly enamored of services like Zipcar, and I’m very excited about getting a bike and a bus pass.

But I digress. Food! That’s why I’m writing. I’m camped out at my parents’ house for the month and made this out of what I rummaged in the fridge. Fancy name, roasted pepper roulade with fig compote. Real name, pepper garlic yummins. I added the compote to keep the garlic from overpowering. You could drizzle some dark honey on, if you’re not around an eastern European grocery that would have fig compote, or you could mush up a fresh fig or two to put in the cheese mixture. (Or you could just make your own danged fig compote.)Ā  Can you tell I already miss sirene? Feta’s good, but it’s not the same.

With goat cheese and figs, how can you go wrong?

With goat cheese and figs, how can you go wrong?

Roasted Pepper Roulades with Fig Compote
serves 4

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon plain whole milk yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced very finely or grated
1 tablespoon grated onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
fig compote or dark honey

Roast bell peppers, either over a flame or under the broiler, turning often, until peppers are mostly black. Remove to a bowl or saucepan, and cover tightly. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, then remove lid. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off most of the black bits with your fingers. They’ll look like this.

Just look at that lump of peppery goodness.

Just look at that lump of peppery goodness.

Slice off the top and bottom of each pepper, taking as little of the flesh as possible, then make a slit up one side and open the pepper so that you can roll it out flat on the cutting surface. Remove and discard the seeds and any large ribs.

In a small bowl mix together cheese and yogurt. Add garlic, onion, and parsley and combine well. Take about a tablespoon of filling and spread it evenly along one of the roasted peppers, leaving a little room around the edges. Roll up the pepper and slice it in half. Do this with the remaining peppers and arrange on each of 4 small plates, with half of a green pepper and half of a red pepper on each plate. Drizzle with the syrup from the fig compote and serve.

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