A Diva Needs Brother Husbands

It’s a new year and I’m determined to be more productive than last year.  There were so many things I wanted to accomplish last year, but didn’t.  I just didn’t have the physical or mental energy to get it all done.  So perhaps I need to come up with a better plan.

After watching an episode of Sister Wives, I had an idea.  Why aren’t there any Brother Husbands?  You know, a bunch of husbands that serve a Wife?  Think about it.

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Jesse Metcalfe could cut the lawn, plant the annual flowers and clean the pool.  Oh wait, I don’t have a pool.  Whatever.

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Ryan Scott could heat things up in the kitchen.  I’d even let him use my new bronze Kitchenaid mixer.

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Scott McGillivray could put up the Christmas lights and do whatever needs fixing in and around the house!  He can start with building me a new garden room and then figure out how to retrofit one of the kitchen cabinet hinges which broke months ago.

Seems I’m not the only Diva that thinks like this.  Just think of the possibilities!  I’d have endless hours to craft and shop!

Now first let me say, I do love my Mr. Diva™…he’s a great guy.  He lets me be ME.  He doesn’t put any restrictions of any of my craziness.  And he puts up with all my quirks (like how I have to separate all my food on my dinner plate, no red in the house, etc.).  However, Mr. Diva™ doesn’t help with much around the house.  He doesn’t do yard work, can’t fix things and would never think of doing housework.  In his defense, he doesn’t insist that I do it either and he is more than willing to pay someone else to do it.

Guess I’ll keep him.  Anyway, what if all my husbands were sports fans who rooted for opposing teams?  And could you imagine the piles of laundry and the dishes?

Happy New Year!

lisasiggie

Christmas Sugar Cookie FAIL Times Two

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Because I don’t have enough hobbies, I bought myself an early Christmas gift from Mr. Diva.  And yes, it is BRONZE to match my kitchen.  Determined to justify this purchase, I proceeded to make some sugar cookies.

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The first Sugar Cookie recipe I used was from the Kitchenaid Mixer booklet that came with the mixer.  Conclusion:  Rock hard bland cookies.  Total FAIL!

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Next up, I mixed up at batch from a recipe at Allrecipes.com which received great reviews.  These cookies were at least edible, but not yummy like I had hoped.  Another FAIL!

I’m going to try this recipe from Moms Who Think which uses half-n-half and this recipe from The Kitchn which adds lemon zest, almond extract and cream cheese.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.  Do you have a great Sugar Cookie recipe?

On a brighter note, I made homemade mashed potatoes for the first time in my life.  The mixer whipped them up effortlessly!  They were delicious!

What do you make in your mixer?  I need ideas so my mixer doesn’t become a heavy paperweight (like my crock pot) on my kitchen countertop.

With friendship,

Lisasig

NYC Style Italian Sausage and Peppers

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Nothing is better than some Italian Sausage and Peppers on a cold New York City Fall weekend!  I’ve had so much going on in my life, but I desperately needed to get back to my kitchen and share another one of my favorite recipes with you.  Thanks for pushing me!

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First let’s talk about ingredients. It’s real simple—everything will taste better if you use FRESH ingredients.  Fresh pork sausage from your local butcher will ALWAYS taste better than some frozen sausage crap from the supermarket.  Peppers you roast yourself have a much better taste than those you get in a jar marinated in vinegar (yuk!).  Same goes for fresh herbs.  Now granted, I might not have fresh oregano on hand at all times, but I try to use fresh whenever possible…and you should, too.  Don’t be a loser.

Oh and on a side note…many Sausage and Pepper recipes use Tomatoes of some type (sauce, chopped, peeled, etc.).  I prefer mine without tomatoes.  The choice is yours.

Prep and Cooking Time:  35 minutes

Feeds about 6 Hungry People.

Ingredients:

  • 8 – 12 Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 4 – 8 Bell Peppers (Red, Orange and/or Yellow—NO GREEN)
  • 1 Large Onion (I prefer the White Spanish variety)
  • 3 cloves of Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Basil (5 leaves)
  • Fresh Parsley (10 leaves)
  • Fresh Oregano (pinch)
  • White Wine (big splash)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • Olive Oil (big splash)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Hot Red Pepper Flakes to taste (optional)

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Fire up your outdoor BBQ, indoor broiler or stovetop and burn the heck out of your peppers.  Don’t worry…you really can’t overcook them.

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Once burnt, put them in a bowl of cold water to loosen their skins.  Remove the skins and seeds from the peppers.  Rinse.  Tear peppers into strips.  Set aside in a bowl.  (Note:  you can prepare your Roasted Peppers a day or two before to save time  Just keep them in the fridge until you are ready to use them.)

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Brown your Sausage in a big frying pan with some Olive Oil over a medium to high flame.  Remove sausage and set aside.  DO NOT CLEAN FRYING PAN.

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Add Butter to your frying pan and loosen up all of the brown caramelized gunk sausage fat in the pan.  Slice your Garlic and Onions.  Chop up your Parsley and Basil leaves.  Throw it all in the same frying pan you used to fry the Sausage.  Sautee until transparent.

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Add roasted peppers, oregano, salt and pepper.

Stir in some White Wine.  And have yourself a glass or two while you’re at it.  You deserve it.

Cook until everything is tender.

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Cut browned Sausages on the diagonal and add to frying pan.

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Make sure Sausage is fully cooked.

Serve with fresh Italian Semolina Bread!  Enjoy!

P.S. – Yes, you can double this recipe and freeze it if you’d like.  However, It doesn’t matter how much I make…there is NEVER enough left to freeze…LOL!

With friendship,

Lisasig

Deep Fryer Fun

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I know…fried foods are bad for you.  But so is sugar, salt and a bunch of other things I love.

Ever since I got my Deep Fryer this year, I’ve been making Fried Shrimp, Fried Chicken, Biscuit Donuts and my favorite, French Fries.

French Fries in the deep fryer beat store-bought frozen French Fries hands down.  And they’re really easy to make.  Serves 4.

French Fries

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 3 Russet Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil for Deep Fryer
  • Salt

Directions

In a big bowl, dissolve Sugar in Warm Water.

Peel Potatoes and slice into thin 1/4 inch strips. (Note:  I prefer NOT to peel them…the choice is yours.)

Soak sliced Potatoes in water mixture for 15 minutes.  Drain and dry potato strips. (Hint:  The better you dry the potato strips, the less steam you will have.)

Heat Vegetable Oil to 375 degrees.

Place in Deep Fryer Basket.  Fry for 1 minute.  Remove from oil.  Drain in deep fryer basket.  (This helps retain the moisture in the French Fries.)

Right before you’re ready to serve them, put them back in the Vegetable Oil and fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towel.

Salt French Fries to taste.  Your family will think you’re the BOMB!

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Buttermilk Biscuit Donuts

While I was at it, I also made some Glazed and Jelly Donuts.  These are so simple, yet delicious!  Just get a can of Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits, cut out the center to make a hole and put in the Deep Fryer at 375 degrees.  Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Mix ingredients for your Glaze.  Dip your donuts and serve.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar (Confectioner’s Sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon Melted Butter
  • 3 teaspoons Milk

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 teaspoons Milk

To make the Jelly Donuts, do the same as above (but don’t cut out the center).  After frying, use the end of a spoon to hollow out the inside.  Use a Ziploc bag with the bottom tip cut off to fill donuts with your favorite fruit preserves or jelly.  You could even fill them with Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding if you want to be fancy.  Sprinkle Sugar on them and serve.

Bust My Stash Photo Challenge

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Now since I’ve shared my Deep Fryer recipes with you, the least you could is VOTE for me in the AccuQuilt Contest.  Just scroll down to PAGE 7, and I’m the 4th photo (black metal cabinets).  You can vote once a day!  Thanks!

lisa

Sew Tuned In

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I must have been living under a rock.  Two new sewing shows?  Oh yeah!

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First up is It’s Sew Easy!  The scheduled initial air date was Thursday, June 30, 2011.  It replaces America Sews with Sue Hausmann.  Here’s some info I found on their website:  

It’s Sew Easy offers a new concept to Public Television viewers. The program does not feature a main host, but is based on designers and education that revolves around the experts. The focus is on contemporary style, not age. The goal is not to stress perfection, but rather concentrate on easy ways to accomplish a great project. Projects will be easy enough for beginners but creatively challenging, combined with interesting style elements to pique the interest of all sewing enthusiasts.

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Special guest designers appearing include: Valerie Mayen and Suede (both of Project Runway fame), Bobbie Bullard, Colbey Decker, Shannon Dennis, Stephanie Kimura, Nancy Odom, Eileen Roche, Peggy Sagers, my beautiful Sheree Schattenmann, Angela Wolf, Linda Augsburg, Pamela Damour, Tricia Waddell, Londa Rohlfing, Janet Pray, Cindy Losekamp, Gina Moorehead, Rebecca Cornell, Christy Howden, and Trish Preston.

The format will include two main projects per week and one shorter technique segment. Shows will be themed. Each project will include project instructions and a pattern with a link to the instructions found on the It’s Sew Easy website, plus additional related projects and patterns.

Show themes include: Apparel Details and Embellishments, Simple Sewing-Easy Tricks, Dress Up Ready Made Home Décor, Garment Construction Tips, Surface Embellishment, Restyling, Fun Fabrics, T-shirt Surgery, Gifts, and more.

It’s Sew Easy taped in March, 2011. It will be available to all Public Television stations across the country. The shows are shot and posted at EDR Media’s Beachwood Studios Production Center in Beachwood, Ohio.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my TV lineup.  I do, however, get Sue Hausmann’s show, so maybe I’ll get it soon.  Fingers crossed.

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Next up is Sew It All TV!  Use the TV station finder to see if it’s available in your broadcasting area.  If not, write your local TV station and request it!  And no, I also don’t have this show in my broadcast area.  FML.

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Ok…with all this talk about sewing shows, I have to tell you…I have only TWO things on my Bucket List.  Yep.  Just two.  The first is to visit Tahiti.  I’ve been many places, but never Tahiti.  I’ve spent hours and hours surfing the web learning everything I can about Tahiti, checking airline prices, swooning over beautiful little huts in the water.  Mr. Diva said he won’t go, so in the next few years, I’ve decided I’ll just go myself.  Maybe I won’t come back.

Thirty years ago, I had plane tickets to Tahiti with this guy.  I was only 19 years old and my older brother wouldn’t let me go (fearing I would become a missing person).  He was probably right considering that guy ended up stalking me for two years until someone went and had “a talk” with him.

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And that brings me to the second thing on my Bucket List—my own TV show.  Don’t laugh, but for years I’ve dreamed about having my own TV show.  No, not like Oprah or Martha.  More like Diva.  Yes, there would be sewing, decorating, cooking and organizing.  But it would be different, because I have no desire to make my own laundry detergent (nor of folding fitted sheets properly).

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My show would have to be on a cable television network, because I curse.  A lot.

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Oh crap.  There is already a Diva TV over in the UK!  But I’m not going to let that stop me.  I just have to figure out how to pull it off.  Any suggestions?

So tell me…What’s on YOUR BUCKET LIST?  Because I need some ideas.  Having just two things on my bucket list is sad, right?

With friendship,

Lisa

DIVABROADWAY

Cake Push Up Pops and a Prom

CAKE PUSH UP POPS

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Had to get together a quick dessert for the Pre-Prom party.  Quick like as in within an hour.  I had ordered some disposable plastic push-up pop containers a month ago and figured it was time to test them out.

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Here’s a list of places to find them in larger quantities.  However, head on over to Etsy.com or Ebay.com if you just need a dozen or two.

JB Prince

Laguana Wholesale

Culinary Direct (I think they have the best prices)

Martellatousa

Cake Deco via Amazon

Push Pop Containers

Pastry Chef Central

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Now you can bake little cupcakes in mini muffin pans, but I took whatever shortcut I could.  I went into my local supermarket’s Bakery department and asked them to give me a small vanilla sheet cake without frosting.  I also picked up Jell-O Vanilla and Chocolate Pudding, some fresh Strawberries and a few cans of Whipped Cream.

Brought it all home and used my cake leveler thingy to slice the cake in half.  I then used the round part of the plunger of the push-up pop as my template to cut out small circles from the sheet cakes (got the idea from Kathy).  Worked like a charm!

I was about to put the pudding in a Ziploc bag and cut a hole at the end to fill the push-up pops.  But then I remembered I had a nifty Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator in my arsenal.  Yeah me!  You could also just use a disposable pastry bag.

I alternated layers of cake, pudding and strawberries.  Then I put them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Right before I was walking out the door to the party, I added a little whipped cream on the top and some sprinkles.  Done!

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Here’s some ideas for your Push-Up Pops:

Triple Rainbow Push-Up Cakes

Gourmet Mom on the Go Fireworks

Sugar Bee’s Frozen Yogurt Pops

More Gourmet Mom on the Go

Firefly Confection’s Watermelon Pops

Party Animal’s Rainbow Jello

Party Animal’s Hot Fudge Brownies

Cupcake Project Cupcakes

Cupcake Project’s Key Lime

Love From the Oven Peeps

Brandy K’s Rainbow Push Cakes

Laguna’s Recipes

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Now you could buy expensive push-up pop holders like these:

JB Prince

Culinary Direct

Pastry Chef Central

But unless you are really fancy, there just no need!  You can have your handy husband drill some holes halfway into a piece of wood.  Or if you don’t have a handy husband, just get a piece of Styrofoam and poke holes in it with a screwdriver (like I did).

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you could easily cover the Styrofoam with either shredded paper grass or wrapping paper.

The cake push-up pops were a hit!  Next time I will make cute decals for them with my Silhouette Electronic Cutting Machine and even tie some pretty bows on them.

Oh and in case you didn’t know, these push up pop containers are WASHABLE and REUSABLE.  But how do you stop guests from NOT throwing them in the trash?

PROM PRINCESS

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Grabbed a few quick pics of Marielle leaving for her HS Prom.  The dress fit like a glove.  So glad it all went smoothly.  Between her arguing with friends and dumping her boyfriend two weeks before the prom, I didn’t think it was going to happen.  But luckily, everything worked out and she’s having a blast down the NJ Shore over the next few days.

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Between the dress, hair, make-up application, jewelry, prom tickets, limo costs, tanning, waxing, new teeth, NYC party, NJ shore party money and eyelash extensions, it’s lucky I didn’t go broke.

When I graduated high school, it wasn’t cool to go to the Prom.  My friends and I chipped in for a keg of beer and partied down at the beach.  How times how changed!

lisasiggie

Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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I’ve been putting off making my first batch of crab cakes, because the price of Jumbo Lump Crabmeat here in NYC is about $30 a pound.  Crazy.  And I was paralyzed by fear…thinking what the heck if I BURNED THEM?!  Well, I did it.  No.  I didn’t burn them…LOL.  I mean, I made awesome crab cakes with my first attempt.  And I’m going to show you how you can, too!  Thanks to my big Sister, Linda for sharing her recipe!

CRAB CAKES

makes approximately 10 patties

Ingredients

1 pound of Jumbo Lump Crabmeat (fresh or canned)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 cup Mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 Onion finely chopped

1/2 Red Pepper finely chopped

1/2 cup Saltine Crackers crumbled

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Fresh Parsley

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Mix all ingredients well except Crabmeat.

Break up lumps of Crabmeat and gently incorporate into other ingredients.

Form patties and refrigerate for at least one hour.  If you don’t do this, the patties will completely fall apart when you fry them.  I was running a little late, so I put them in the freezer for 30 minutes.  It worked!

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Heat up some Olive Oil and Butter.

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Brown both sides for about 4 or 5 minutes or until crispy brown.

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I went a little overboard by doubling the above recipe and made 21 Crab Cakes.  I have a tendency to do that with everything.  Whatever.  I’m sure they’ll all be gone within an hour.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Ingredients

1 large Roasted Red Pepper (just burn the skin off)

Parsley

1 clove of Fresh Garlic

Sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning

1/2 stalk of Celery

1/2 Onion

Dash of White Pepper

Dash of Sea Salt

1/2 cup Dijon Mustard

1 cup Mayonnaise

Puree all ingredients except Dijon Mustard and Mayonnaise in a food processor or blender.  I used my nifty little Ninja chopper/blender thingy.  Love that thing!

Mix puree with Dijon Mustard and Mayonnaise.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Drizzle on Crab Cakes.

Enjoy!

lisasiggie

Baking Organization and Some Creativity

GOT TUPPERWARE?

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I really wanted to join A Bowl Full of Lemons’ 21 Day Challenge, but I’m such a slacker.  I’m only 3 weeks behind everyone else.  Really…I have an excuse.

Marielle was in the hospital for 5 days.  She had some type of virus or something.  Thankfully, she’s all better now.  So, this past weekend, I emptied out my Spice cabinet and baking cabinets…

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Actually, I had the housekeeper empty them out, wash down the shelves and wipe down all my treasured Pink Tupperware.  Whatever.  I did, however, organize it all back into the cabinets.

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Can we say Tupperwhore™?  Seriously.  It’s taken me 20 years to collect.  That’s a lot of Tupperware parties!  And this is only one-third of my pink Tupperware collection.  Yes, I know I have a sickness.

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Organizing the main spice cabinet was easy with the Tupperware Spice Carousel and Modular Mates.

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Then onto the upper Lazy Susan cabinet which holds bulk spices, bread crumbs and seasonings.

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Finally, the lower Lazy Susan cabinet now holds all my baking ingredients.

A WANNABEE BAKER

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I spent the month of January baking like June Cleaver.  I baked some Paula Deen cupcakes and some Ghiradelli Brownies.

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I even found my candy thermometer…

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so I make a batch of vanilla caramels for the first time ever.  Don’t make this recipe unless you have a full hour to stir it CONTINIOUSLY over the hot stove.

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Talk about a project!  Just cutting the little wax paper squares is enough to send the most sane person over the edge.  Considering all those joints I rolled in High School, you’d think I’d be better at wrapping the homemade caramels. Regardless, they taste awesome!

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And then I baked some more cupcakes…

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and some more brownies.

 CRAFTINESS

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My best buddy, Diana Bagels™, bought the fugliest baby carriage I’ve ever seen.  Diana’s sister picked it out—Diana has much better taste.  It’s vomit green, gray and black…and it’s for her sister’s new baby girl.  WTH?  She asked me to frou-frou it up with bows and tulle…and this my friends, is still way too ugly for a beautiful princess.  Just saying. (Don’t bother telling me you love the color and have the same one…it’s still ugly).

WON’T YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

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My older sister got me these adorable “DIVA” Sweethearts.  I thought she had them made especially for me.  No such luck…all my friends told me they are available at their local dollar stores across the U.S.

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Speaking of special…every February I put out my creations to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  And every year, the same people are offered some of my “special” homemade chocolates.  Only one problem…they’re FAKE ceramic…you cannot remove them.  They fall for it every year.

lisasiggie2

Roasted Peppers Siciliano Diva Style

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There are few things I have mastered in the kitchen.  And when I do, I just have to share them with you!  I first had Roasted Peppers Sicilian at a little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, NY.  The chef was kind enough to share the recipe with me 20 years ago.  I changed it a bit over the years, so I could call it my own…LOL.

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Ingredients Needed

1 Dozen Peppers (Yellow, Orange and Red…no Green)

Olive Oil for frying

5 Fresh Garlic Cloves

2 Teaspoons of Capers

2 Handfuls of Kalamata Olives

2 Handfuls of Sicilian Cracked Olives

Fresh Basil Leaves

Fresh Parsley Leaves

2 cups Seasoned Breadcrumbs

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Clean and dry peppers.  Put them in a skillet on a high flame.

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Now without any oil, BURN the crap out the them.

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Rotate them until all sides and bottom are burnt to a crisp.

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Now put the burnt peppers in a big bowl of ice cold water and let them sit for a few minutes (this helps loosen their skins).

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Now peel off the burnt skins from the peppers.  Make sure there are no seeds, stems or skins on the peppers.

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Tear the peppers into strips.  Drain, if necessary.

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Now take your garlic cloves and cut the hard ends off.

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If you don’t own one of these handy dandy Pampered Chef™ garlic slicer, you MUST get one.

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Otherwise, you have to hand slice the garlic into thin slivers with a knife.  See, now you are wishing you had one of these garlic slicers.  Admit it.

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In a large frying pan, sauté garlic in some olive oil over a medium flame.

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Grab a few leaves of fresh basil

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and some fresh parsley.

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Chop the basil and parsley.  Add it to the pan.

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Chop up some Kalamata and Sicilian Cracked Olives.  This is where my Pampered Chef™ Chopper really comes in handy.  (Note:  I prefer to purchase my olives from my local salumeria aka Italian deli.  If you can’t find the olives locally, you could always order them online.)

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Add chopped olives to the pan along with the capers.  Sauté them for a minute or two.

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Now add the peppers.

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And a heaping of bread crumbs.

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Mix it all up and let it cook for 5 minutes.

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Now put it all in a baking pan.  Cover it with bread crumbs once again.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Delicious served as an appetizer or over a nice, juicy piece of Filet Mignon.  Enjoy!

lisasiggie2

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