Cooking With Nicole! Cooking Tip: Bell Peppers

This semester, I’m teaching a class that involves, amongst other things, creating author platforms. In other words, how to market your self as a “brand.” Which is hilarious, on a number of levels, but especially because everything I’ve learned has been the hard way. I had no idea what to expect when I sold Tempest Rising. I’d not planned on being an author, and hadn’t spent years talking to people at cons, or befriending other writers, or reading books on the Craft or the Business. What I did was randomly write a book from my little corner of the Ivory Tower, and when it sold, I was dropped right into the soup.

So I am learning as much from this class and from my students as, hopefully, my students are learning from my (mis)adventures as a newbie author. And one of the things we’re talking about in the class is sustainability, or how you can actually do what you say you’re going to do. My bug bear is, and always has been, blogging. Unless I’m traveling, going to a con, or randomly hit by inspiration, I have no idea what to blog about. In other words, it’s hard for me to sustain my blogging. One of the things we’ve talked about in the class is having thematic subjects regularly to blog about, or blogging about your interests, or challenging yourself to a new hobby that you can then blog about, in terms of your engagement, success, etcetera.

And that was my a-ha! moment. I decided to do a combination of the above, with cooking. I’m a good cook (my parents were caterers on the side when I was growing up), and I love cooking, but I never do it anymore. I’m always “too busy,” “in a rush,” whatever. So one of the things I wanted to do this year was get back into cooking. And then I realized that was a great opportunity for blogging: It’s a passion of mine, it’s something I want to do for me and I like to share, so why not blog about what I love?

So I’m going to start a new blog series, here, called Cooking With Nicole. It’s not going to be a regularly scheduled thing, but I’ll do it as I have time and inspiration.

What do you think?

To give you a taste, I thought I’d start the series with a cooking tip on how to make perfect bell pepper strips, for either fancy dipping or chopping, like you might want for a mango salsa recipe or any other recipes where the pepper will clearly be seen.

Start by cutting the top and bottom off the bell pepper. You can either eat these, throw them away, or chop them up on their own depending on what you’re serving and why.

Next, make an incision vertically down the red pepper. Then, run your knife along the inside of the pepper, like so:

This cleanly removes the guts of the pepper and any of the bitter, white connective tissues holding them in place. After which, you should be left with a clean pepper smile:

…that you can easily slice into perfect, aesthetically pleasing, admittedly a little OCD strips of bell pepper:

These are also very easy to chop, and they make a nice, clean, even and proportional diced pepper for raw salsas, dips, and other recipes where your bell pepper won’t get stewed and mushy. That said, this is also a really easy method for chopping that actually saves you a lot of time, once you get used to it.

And I always eat the ends . . . so it doubles as snack time. 🙂

Next time on Cooking With Nicole, I’ll be sharing my favorite Cuban black beans recipe . . . Sofrito here we come!

Posted by Nicole Peeler

Author, Professor, Lover, Fighter

27 thoughts on “Cooking With Nicole! Cooking Tip: Bell Peppers”

  1. Awesome. I've never been able to make nice fancy pepper strips. I usually end up pulverizing them into little diced-like pieces and hide them under the other ingredients. I will give this a go and let you know if it worked!

  2. Brilliant idea!! I love cooking too so I will be happy to read about your culinary adventures! Excellent pepper demo, too!

  3. @NicolePeeler Then I could make things and read and cook, all while drunk. Just like Sandra Lee!

  4. @NicolePeeler I love your new Cooking with Nicole feature! I noticed that cool knife, maybe you could do a post on cutlery, too?

  5. Natalie: It really does work a treat! And it's fast, too, once you get used to doing it this way. You don't have to fuss on the tail end with lots of oddly chopped bits.

    Thanks, Jann! The recipe coming up is stellar, if you enjoy your beans. Mmmmm. Beans.

    Jenny: Gourmet swingers!!! YAY! Miss you, lovely!

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