Imagine our surprise – we’re grandmothers! Well, not quite yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The days are long and the years are short, after all. Our grandmothers taught us to measure ingredients in the palms of our hands. They taught us to use our noses to know when nuts were perfectly toasted. They taught us to cut up a whole chicken and use every part, to add a little vinegar to milk when the recipe called for buttermilk and there was none, to handle pastry with our fingertips to keep our pie crust extra flaky, and to use the shell to separate eggs. It took awhile to learn all this, constantly practicing until their hands conveyed knowledge to ours effortlessly. By the time we could pull a chair up to the counter to help, they were ready, because they’d been doing it for years. We made biscuits and pies and gumbo, and we made culture and memories. And now it’s our turn – we have some teaching to do. We’ll pass on all we learned, plus more: how to cook pasta perfectly, how to make rich chicken stock in 20 minutes, how to fix a broken Hollandaise, and how to roast peppers. We’ll learn by doing it, and we’ll revel in our time in the kitchen making memories and cooking up stories and history – and we’ll start getting ready tonight.
Roasted Pepper Salad on Garlic Crostini
4 sweet or medium-hot peppers
1 T capers
1 small red onion, slivered
4 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
4 T chopped herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano, or any combination)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 slices sourdough or levain per person
2 garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise (not peeled)
2 oz. Wateroak Farms chevre or Full Quiver cheese spread per person
Preheat the broiler. Rinse the peppers and place them on their sides on a baking sheet. Place directly under the broiler and watch closely. As the skins blacken, turn the peppers until all sides are blistered and blackened, then remove them to a container with a lid or a zip-top bag. Let them cool and steam, then remove the peppers and peel off the blackened skins (you’ll be tempted, but try not to rinse them under running water). Scrape out the seeds and inner membranes, chop into 2″ pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Add capers, red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and herbs. Stir gently, then taste and season as needed with salt and pepper (if the capers are salty, you might not need to add any additional salt). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400. Place sliced bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and bake until lightly golden and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately rub with cut side of garlic cloves. Spread warm toast with cheese and top with generous spoonfuls of pepper salad.