The weekend in food prep; plus, an engagement

Beans getting ready for a pot of meaty, spicy chili. I slow-cook my chili; it takes a minimum of 30-something hours to be complete, and I generally make enough to eat for a week, and give some away. If you're local and you'd like some, feel free to leave a comment, and we'll figure out how to get you a serving or so.

Amy and Dwayne are getting married(!). They held a house-warming yesterday, and Dwayne proposed not long after Amy's parents arrived.

They really are an interesting couple. In addition to being a real racial mix – he is the son of a black man from the U.S. and a white woman from Poland, she is the Korean-born adopted daughter of a white couple – they are very different people with tastes that overlap in the right places.

When Amy invited me to the house-warming, she asked me to make stuffed jalapeño peppers.

Here is what they looked like before they went into the oven:

The steps are easy to remember; the preparation is not simple. They are stuffed only with cream cheese.

To do this, soften the cream cheese (I just leave it out of the refrigerator for a while), take the seeds out of the peppers, and put the cream cheese in the peppers.

I then put them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Seeding and stuffing the peppers is something that takes some practice. I wore gloves this time, because usually when I make them, I deal with some level of pain for a few days, with oils from the pepper invading tiny open wounds, like dry skin or paper cuts.

Wearing gloves also gave me the idea that I could just stick my fingers in the cream cheese and fill the jalapeños that way. It turned out to be much easier than the spoon or knife methods I'd previously experimented with.

I went about half-and-half fancying the peppers up; I like them as they are, so I left them that way. Others I laid on a piece of roasted red pepper, added a Manzanillo olive (stuffed with pimiento) and a Buffalo-flavored cheese curd, for this result:

It went over fine, but I think I'm going to stick to just the peppers in the future.

I'll try to remember to get a photo of a bowl of chili up when it's finally ready to eat. Be warned, though: No, you can't have the recipe.

Tuesday night dinner

The lack of saturation on the cell phone photo doesn't do dinner justice.

Andrea's garden had quite the yield this season, and I was the happy recipient of some of the late-summer variety: red and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, squash, beans, a few peas (and also some recently canned peaches, not included in dinner).

The tomatoes, beans and peas were cooked in: (roughly) 2:2:1 butter:brandy:Southern Comfort, with mustard seed, celery salt and chili paste to taste. Cucumbers and squash were simmered separately in a little bit of olive oil with mustard seed and celery salt.

All veggies were combined and served over steamed white rice.

Eaten with a glass of Just Peachy by Swedish Hill.

Yum, as it were.