Monday, July 13, 2009

Planting Out Peppers and a Recipe for Chicken Santa Cruz with Fresh Peppers

pepper plant gardening
pepper plant gardening

The Renee’s Garden office staff got their hands dirty planting pepper plants into our trial garden’s prepared beds a couple weeks ago.
harvesting spinach
Harvesting spinach

We’ve been learning the growing process for tomatoes and peppers this season and the pepper seeds that we sowed in March had grown into plants big enough to transplant into the ground. Plus our weather is now nice and warm – perfect for growing lots of delicious peppers.

pepper gardeningpepper gardening

We’ll be back in a month or so to start harvesting our bounty!

Here's a recipe making good use of peppers from one of Renee's cookbooks, Recipes From a Kitchen Garden.

Chicken Santa Cruz (Printable Recipe Click Here)

chicken santa cruz recipeThe aromatic, subtle flavors of this dish have drawn more raves than many other entrees we've prepared. Slow sauteing brings out the sweetness of the spices, herbs and onions and the rich mellow flavor of the ripe peppers. Please do try it. Don't forget crusty French bread. By the way, leftovers make great sandwiches.

4 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned and cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 large fresh bell peppers -- use red, yellow, or deep green peppers (or any combination)
4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, finely sliced
2 teaspoons whole cumin seed or 1 teaspoon ground
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon ground
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot chile pepper or 1 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or chopped cilantro
Sprinkle chicken strips with lemon juice and set aside. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. Cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add garlic and cook one minute on moderate heat. Add the pepper strips, sliced onion, cumin, oregano and chile pepper. Stir the vegetables to coat evenly with oil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover pan, stir mixture, add chicken strips and stir to distribute them evenly in the vegetable mixture.
Cover skillet again and cook gently for 10 more minutes. Uncover; chicken should be cooked through and vegetable mixture should be tender and very aromatic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.


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