Grilled Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Three days after Tess was born, I brought her home from the hospital, a perfect, round, pink baby, with a tuft of orange chick fluff on her head.  It had never occurred to me that I could create something so perfect, so beautiful, a being filled with sunshine and light from the moment she came into this world.  I thought it would take me time to love her, to know her, but there she was from the very beginning.  She lay sleeping in my grandfather’s wooden crib next to my bed and I sat for hours looking at her clear brow, her sweetly balled up fists, her perfect little mouth.  Suddenly I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  A voice of darkness whispered in my ear, “Someday, she’s going to leave.”  What a dirty, dirty trick.  I am a planner, an organizer, a strategist, and I had not accounted for this, this giant love that was bigger than me, that would forever be beyond my control.  I would love her so much my heart ached with joy, and if I did everything right, she would leave me.  To stop the panic I convinced myself in that moment that it would be a really long time before that happened–ages, really.  Yet here I am, almost twelve years later, and all I did was blink.

In that moment looking down upon my sleeping baby, the strategist in me wondered what I could do to forever tie us together without binding too tightly.  What would we do to weave the too-short years into a tapestry of love and warmth and light and connection?  Food would work that magic, just as it had for me and my parents and their parents and their parents. Together we have laughed and cried and yelled and wondered and shared over plates of pasta, warm bowls of soup, stacks of pancakes, and the scents and tastes have become us, our family, our memories.  And when we do the practice leaving that all good parents must, it is food that sees us through it.  What did we talk about at dinner the night before we dropped baby girl at camp for two weeks?  What we would have the night she got back, of course.  “But I don’t want to go out to dinner.  I want you to cook,” she said.  “Promise?”  Yes, I promise.

Grilled Stuffed Sweet Peppers

adapted from The Homesick Texan via Robb Walsh

1/2 pound breakfast sausage meat
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Cayenne pepper
3 small sweet peppers

Yield: 6 small pepper halves

Combine the sausage, ground beef, rice, eggs, parsley and spices together in a bowl.  Cut the peppers in half through the stem and removed seeds and membranes. Fill each half pepper with meat mixture. Mound the meat no more than a 1⁄2 inch over the top edge of each pepper. The stuffed peppers can be made in advance to this point and stored covered in the refrigerator for several days.

Build a medium hot fire off to one side in the grill. Cook pepper side down over the cooler side for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pepper is charred and soft. Turn the stuffed peppers over and cook on the hotter side of the grill for about 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Test for doneness and serve.

Posted in Main Dishes

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17 thoughts on “Grilled Stuffed Sweet Peppers

  1. such a lovely lovely daughter-mom story, very touching.

    this dish looks like the most perfect gathering food, served with maybe some rice and eaten surrounded by friends & family, or a returning daughter from camp. 🙂

  2. Dana Wesson on said:

    Elizabeth–there is no greater compliment than that your child wants your food more than anyone else’s … Loved this story–know and feel it in spades!

  3. I love this, Elizabeth, although I thought my insanity was progressing at a faster pace than normal when I first started reading this. Then I got to the recipe and saw that you had adapted this from Lisa’s Homesick Texan recipe last summer. A delicious way to welcome your little girl home.

    Thanks as always for your beautiful post.

  4. Sara Weber on said:

    I read this over and over again. It speaks to my daily emotional experience with my son (3 yrs old, soon to be 18 and heading to college) and the food/cooking we share.

  5. I am really inspired by your blog, it has a really lovely atmosphere created by the stunning pictures and props (I have serious prop envy) and your honest & beautiful writing. Thanks for giving me some inspiration!

  6. Oh your story made me …dunno…not sad exactly. I am a mum of 5, my youngest 17 and this will be her last year at home with us…NOW I feel sad! …I never had any ‘moments’ like you had way back on that first day would’ve been hard. I’m at the time of life where I realise I never really planned life beyond my children being home with me…it’s tough I tell you! But like you said…they leave cos you did it right 😉 And they become amazing young men and women forging their own path in life…and with a bit of luck (!) you get to walk down that path from time to time…well,lotsa times hopefully!
    Enjoy life bringing up your family…and thanks for sharing your wonderful food and photos…stumbled across you on pinterest…so glad I did!
    have a blessed week 🙂
    from a new follower, downunder
    ciao bella…jessie, nelson, new zealand

  7. I just popped across to…and now I see why your photos are SO amazing!! YOU are amazing! beautiful food pics…specially including people around love love!
    ciao bella

  8. Thanks Jody…but…I’m a kiwi, not an aussie ;)…(you know New Zealand is a country all on it’s own, hey? lol ;))… Close to Australia…3 hr plane trip…but not Australia 😉 …
    we all claim to be ‘downunder’ , down here!
    ciao bella!

  9. Hi Jessie–it’s Elizabeth. So sorry, of course I know that–that’s what happens when I try to think too early in the morning! One of my dearest frinends is there in Aukland. His name is Grant Headifen–they just moved back to NZ from Austin a year or so ago & we miss them like crazy!

  10. oopsie..well now it’s my bad…looked at first comment only, saw ‘Jody’…then saw the under pics…and assumed you were Jody…now I read further and see that is not the case…SORRY!! Elizabeth 🙂
    thanks for commenting back…
    jessie 🙂

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