Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roasted Red Peppers and Friendship

Isn't it funny how some foods connect us with people from our past?

Whenver I eat smoky, sweet roasted  red peppers, a former neighbor comes into my mind and heart.  She was an Italian lady named Nicolina.  She was a widow who never had children of her own.

I was a young mother with two small children. We lived in a very poor neighborhood in a big city. Because it was a choice to remain at home with the kids, we lived on the tightest budget you could imagine.

Nicolina lived across the street from us in a light green house. I learned so much from her. Always willing to help out and give advice, she became a dear friend. 

She taught me how to roast red peppers.

       "It's easy," she told me. Pick a few big red peppers and wash and dry them. Put them under a broiler. You can use a big oven or toaster oven.  Let one side of the peppers turn black. Carefully flip them over and let the other sides turn black.  When the entire peppers are nice and charred, take then out of the oven  and cover them.

Let them cool. Then, remove all the black skin of the peppers as well as the seeds. This is the messy part.

Once the peppers are peeled and deseeded, store them in a closed container in the refridgerator. Mmm mmm mmm They are sure good in a sandwich. And they are not too fattening!

Today I roasted red peppers. As always, they tasted delicious and they made me think of Nicolina.

Sadly, she was unable to continue living at home and died in a nursing home. There were no children to help her out. I went to a yard sale in her house, after she moved out. Looking at all her pretty things made me incredibly sad.

She has gone to the other side of life, now, and for sure, she's probably cooking up a storm. 

As for roasted red peppers, Nicolina taught me well.

Thanks, dear Nicolina!



Martha's Favorites said...

Hi Susan: I am so glad to hear from you. You have to let me know how you are doing. Love the peppers. Hugs, Martha

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Such a sweet story, and the peppers look so good.

diane stetson said...

Ya, I made delicious beet soup this weekend and it made me think of my Mom and Grandma...boy was it good. I like roasted red peppers too but they DO NOT like me...oy yoi oy...

Anonymous said...

I make roasted red peppers a lot....but I just use the barbeque. They are a staple here at our house. Nicolina sounds like someone I would have liked to have known....but I actually feel like I already do. The Italian culture is so very strong, once you've known one, you pretty much know them all! Being Italian myself, I can say that!

Thanks for sharing such a 'sweet pepper' memory with us.
I'm seriously getting hungry, and it's 2:05 in the morning....yikes!

Ciao Bella..or should I say buona notte-good night.

Creative Carmelina

Susan Roux said...

My sister just showed me how to roast red peppers. She said she was taught by an Italian friend. lol Seems like a small world.

Chatty Crone said...

Not totally gone - she lives in you! sandie

Dianne said...

Absolutely! Milk gravey, sliced tomatoes, fried creamed corn and fried cornbread take me back to eating my mom's cooking... yum!

Anonymous said...

Hi...crowder peas, okra and tomatoes, and creamed corn bring back wonderful memories of the simple but delicious meals my mom cooked for us....
Just like smelling a lemon scented dish washing detergent always brings back memories of me at nineteen, living in Navy Housing in San Francisco with my small baby, while my husband was at sea!!
By the way, given a choice, I would go for Italian food first!! My favorite!!
Thanks for sharing!! Francy

T's Daily Treasures said...

Nicolina sounds like a wonderful lady. I hope she was not all alone at the end. My Aunt Dot made the best homemade biscuits and gravy as well as broiled butter toast and hot chocolate on the stove. Aunt Betty was renowned for her potato salad. My Mammaw made the best ever fig preserves and divinity. And my mom always made delicious lemon meringue pie. Yum-yum-yum! I'm hungry now. Hope your day is great. Tammy

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