Wonderful Life: Amanda Harnocz
Stuffed peppers stuff my heart with joy during the holidays.
Wonderful Life is a series of essays from Patch contributors on what the holidays mean to them. We welcome your thoughts on the holiday season, your family's traditions and how you celebrate.
My holiday story may not be as sentimental as others, but I guarantee it will warm you up.
Christmas, like many holidays, is all about the food. When I reflect on Christmas' past, I think about standing in the kitchen watching my mom cook or helping her. I was a sous chef of sorts for all of those years, until this year. It is the first Christmas in my own home.
Every year, my mom and I would make hot cherry peppers stuffed with ham and cheese.
Usually when I walk into my family's house I hear, "Did you bring the peppers?" before I hear "Merry Christmas." And I don't mind. I love knowing that my family looks forward to something I make every year ... that's more of a Merry Christmas greeting than just the words.
So I started to make the peppers this year in my kitchen on my own. With every cut into a pepper or slice of ham or cheese, I thought of those in my family who were going to enjoy these firey appetizers on Christmas. I also thought of how proud my mom was going to be because I made them just like she taught me all those years.
When I walk in with my dish, I'm glad I'm going to bring smiles (and probably sweat or tears because of the heat of the pepper) to the faces of my family members. Happiness, family and satisfied tastebuds is all I can ask for on any Christmas. Happy cooking!
Just in case you burn the meal, or forget to pick up the whipped topping for the pie, look at the stores open in Stow on Christmas.
RECIPE: These peppers are easy to make because no actual cooking is involved, they just need to be assembled. Plus, they are great for the holidays because they are red and green and can be made a few days in advance.
- 1 jar of cherry peppers (about 16 peppers)
- ½ pound of Bavarian ham, thinly sliced
- 1 package of mozzarella cheese cut in cubes
- Italian dressing
- Drain the peppers.
- Cut the tops and stems of the peppers off. Discard and remove seeds and inside of pepper with a spoon. Keep a grocery bag near by for trash, it's my free version of Rachael Ray's garbage bowls.
- Cut the cheese in cubes in different sizes because the peppers vary in size.
- Slice the ham into long strips.
- Wrap the ham around a piece of cheese and stuff into the pepper in a florette shape.
After all of the peppers are stuffed, put a few dashes of dressing on top and serve.