Friday, June 14, 2013

Grilled Bell Peppers - Video Recipe

Fire up the backyard grill and let's get cooking with The 99 Cent Chef. My summertime stop motion animated video series features a kaleidoscopic selection of grilled veggie recipes. With fresh summer produce stacked in roadside fruit and vegetable stands, local farmers markets and regular grocery stores, this Frugal Forager is buying canvas bags full -- and cheaply too.

Some of the veggie recipes that will be featured in my warm weather grilling video series are: Curry Carrots, Italian Squash with Fresh Herbs, and Spicy California Chile Peppers. So do keep checking back all summer!

I'm starting off simply with Grilled Bell Peppers. It's my favorite way to cook them. First slice in half and take out the seeds, then just rub or brush on some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. And finally cook them 5 - 10 minutes on your backyard grill. This sweetens them considerably.


I have a cheap gas grill, so it's easy to keep track of how long it takes to cook veggies thoroughly. If you have a charcoal or wood burning grill the cooking time will vary according to how intense the fire is, and you will have to watch things closely. What you are looking for is a medium brown, to black, blistered char and for the Bell Peppers to soften.


The Grilled Bell Peppers will continue to steam and soften after removal from the fire. And you can easily peel off the most blackened skin parts, if you like. Me, I like some of that charred flavor.

You can adapt this recipe for indoor cooking. I like to broil them in the oven, too. Just check on them every minute or so. You lose some of the smokiness, but the sweetness still comes through. You could even roast the Bell Peppers in the oven, especially if you are baking a chicken; it takes about the same amount of time -- just pull them out after they collapse and start to blacken.


And be sure to cook plenty. Grilled Bell Peppers make a low calorie side dish and can easily be reheated anytime. Pull them out of storage from the refrigerator and zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so - they add warm heft to your favorite salad.

When I'm grilling protein, bell peppers are a nice lighter contrast to typical heavy sides like potato salad or french fries.


In my stop motion recipe video I go overboard with the olive oil, but that's just for show -- you can lightly brush on a minimal amount or use your favorite oil spray. I've even grilled them with only a pinch salt and pepper. (Start grilling them, and as they soften, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.)

My Grilled Bell Peppers recipe works with almost any  crisp veggies like: ears of corn, thick slices of cauliflower and eggplant, broccoli florets, whole carrots, halved yellow neck squash, onion slices (or whole green onions,) and spears of asparagus. If you've never put vegetables alongside that summertime barbequing burger, hot dog or chicken leg, now is the time to start. And you can't do better, or easier, than the Green Thumbed Chef's Grilled Bell Peppers.

Grilled Bell Peppers - VIDEO
 Play it here, video runs 2 minutes, 12 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here

Ingredients (serves about 2-3)
  • 2-4 Bell Peppers - any color on sale, including: green, red, yellow or orange.
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil - or your favorite cooking spray. Use as little as you want. It's okay to brush (or rub) on oil for a light coating, on the outside of the bell pepper.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


Directions
If you are using a charcoal or wood burning outdoor grill then get it going first.

Slice Bell Peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove white membranes and seeds. You can chop off the stem (I usually just leave it on -- it becomes a handle to grab.)


Lightly coat the shiny outer Bell Pepper halves with oil. You can just spray with oil or brush it on, or even use your fingers and rub on the oil.


Finally, lightly sprinkle the Bell Peppers with salt and pepper to taste.


Now time to grill the Bell Peppers. I have a cheap patio gas grill. I like to use a low/medium heat to control the charring. I usually cook the inside of the Bell Pepper first for 3-5 minutes until the edges blacken.


Next I turn them over and finish the grilling until the oiled skin starts to blister and blacken. It's up to you how much blackening you want. There will be some burnt spots, but they rub off easy enough once the Bell Peppers are removed from the grill and have set for a couple of minutes. (They will keep cooking and steaming, softening considerably.)


If you have a charcoal grill then keep the Bell Peppers closer to the outer edge of the fire for more control. You will have to babysit the veggies to keep them from becoming totally burnt. And remember, burnt spots actually have flavor.

Ready to eat right off the grill.


Hindsight
Simply coating a crunchy vegetable with olive oil, salt and pepper is a good way to practice backyard grilling. Once you've done it a few times, my grilling technique may become your default recipe.

Shucked corn, whole carrots, yellow neck or Italian squash, and thick slices of cauliflower and eggplant work well with this recipe.

For an indoor version, you can broil the Bell Peppers in the oven. Don't set the oven rack up against the heating element, it's too easy to smoke up the kitchen. It almost takes the same amount of time as a patio gas grill to cook the Bell Peppers.

You could just simply roast the Bell Peppers in a 375 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes. Bake with the shiny outside skin up. When I roast a chicken I always like to fill up the other oven racks with a metal pan of foil-wrapped sweet or regular potatoes (may take an hour to cook through,) carrots and bell peppers.

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