I’m sitting next to the editor of a weekly entertainment tabloid, who has learned I’m not just a mom.

I used to be a journalist. In a good-sized Florida market.

Suddenly, I’m worth his attention at this neighborhood dinner party.

“Oh!” he says, shifting his position from angling away to angling inward. “You’re interesting!”

I have to laugh. This is an attitude I’ve encountered ever since I quit working to stay home with my children. I went from wooed to wallflower almost overnight.

It’s too bad. Think of all we miss when we unequivocally categorize something as “uninteresting.”

Like yesterday.

“Is that for dinner?” the family asked. “It isn’t very interesting.”

peppers stewingOn the surface, they had a point. Wanting a vegetarian dinner, I’d decided to roast multicolored peppers and plum tomatoes, then toss them in a marinade. My idea was to spoon the mixture on lightly toasted ciabatta rolls spread with an herb-y, garlicky cheese.

But don’t assume! This was a marinade from Yotam Ottolenghi, guru of all things garden-grown. Spiked with balsamic, garlic and a medley of herbs, it turned the jammy peppers and plum tomatoes into a complex, sweet-and-savory compote.

The dish was a little reticent. A little pointed. And a total surprise.

Sort of like a dinner guest some editor out there knows.

peppers2

Interesting Marinated Peppers (Adapted from “Plenty”)

  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 1 medium yellow pepper
  • 1 medium orange pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into fourths
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the peppers into big chunks, then toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, some salt and pepper.

Place on a greased baking sheet. Roast the peppers for 20 minutes. Stir, then add the tomatoes and roast for another 15 minutes.

peppers stewing

Place the peppers and tomatoes in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, the water and the sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the thyme leaves, garlic, parsley and basil.

Pour the mixture over the peppers and tomatoes and toss well. Serve as is, or spoon over split and toasted ciabatta rolls.

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