This recipe is a real blast from the past for us. A standby from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (the original recipe is called Szechwan Tofu Triangles in Triple Pepper Sauce), Jon used to cook this for me when we were going out in college. We stopped making it for a long time, then suddenly felt the urge to try it again. It may not be very authentic, but it’s really pretty tasty. The “triple pepper” refers to the inclusion of bell pepper, hot red pepper, and black pepper, although in our latest version we added a fourth – Sichuan pepper. It adds that peculiar mouth-numbing quality that some of us go for in our stir-fries.
Any sort of sweet pepper will do here, but if you have a mix of colors it makes it particularly pretty.
Here’s a lovely sauce to make you feel like it’s summer again, even though it may be more than a little snowy outside. Oven-roasted tomatoes and peppers, pureed with chipotles and spices, then simmered with onion until thick, make for a spicy rich sauce redolent of the flavors of late summer. Using the sauce to braise country-style pork ribs makes for some fabulous winter tacos.
We’ve just started to get into the half pig we bought recently. The chops we started with were fantastic, pan-seared and coated with a cider reduction. More recently I tried braising some blade steaks in a sauce of vinegar, mustard and beer, which was eye-rollingly good but one of the ugliest plates I’ve ever produced (the braised green cabbage on the side didn’t help matters). These ribs came somewhere in between, and while I didn’t get any pictures of the shredded pork tacos, trust me that they were extremely successful as well. However, don’t feel that you need to use this sauce with pork – it would be great used for enchiladas, or on eggs, or stirred into a pot of beans, or anywhere that could use a shot of spicy tomato goodness.
For the last six months or so there has been a recipe (a clipping from Bon Appetit or some such publication) stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. I guess I somehow thought that if it was out in plain sight I would actually make it – sort of a triumph of optimism over experience. Turns out that staring at something every day doesn’t necessarily inspire you to do something about it…
I did make it, finally, for a middle-eastern themed dinner party we gave recently. Sort of a miracle, really. The recipe was for muhammara, a Syrian puree of roasted red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses, and it seemed so completely up my alley that I can’t believe how long I waited to try it. I’m usually such a sucker for anything with pomegranate molasses. Continue reading