Archive | October, 2011

Pickled Sauerkraut Stuffed Banana Peppers

14 Oct

Pickled. Sauerkraut. Stuffed. Banana Peppers.

I’d like to let that soak in for a minute.

When I first saw this idea/recipe I was left stammering, speechless…

I admit, I’m still a little verklempt just trying to write about this.  There is so much to love in that one little description. It’s so evocative of old world traditions, not to mention a whole host of family ones as well.

Still, my second thought, once I regained the ability for coherent thought was that these could go either way. They could be other worldly good, or they could be overwhelming and off putting.

But the idea at least was like an idea worm. It bored into my subconsciousness and stayed there to the point that I was dreaming about making these. So to deal with the continuing glut of banana peppers I set out to make these a few weeks ago.

Now, the original recipe I saw was made with shredded cabbage, so you’d be pickling the cabbage at the same time as the peppers.  A thrill passes through me just thinking about it! But I’m afraid fall is getting the better of me and I decided to compromise and make it with sauerkraut–even realizing that it will sort of get double pickled, if that is even possible.

Also, I feel that using mass produced sauerkraut is a compromise, but again, I’m kind of lucky I found any time to make them, so compromise I did.

These were actually super easy. You simply cut off the tops of the peppers and deseed them…

Stuff the prepared peppers full of sauerkraut (if I didn’t cheat, I’d still be shredding cabbage at this point)

Then put in jars with some garlic and pickle.


Here’s where I ran into trouble. The recipe I had just didn’t look right. At all.  I used this one, but you can see the pickling liquid isn’t enough to fill the jars and it is all vinegar. I’ve never seen a recipe that’s ALL vinegar. I don’t know if I’ve just been lucky or what.  Also, I’m finding conflicted information on canning something with oil in it.  So I called an audible at this point and went back to my favorite blogger’s recipe for un fancy pickled peppers. I KNOW this recipe is safe and there is nothing to say you can’t jazz it up by putting pickling spices of some sort into the jars, which is sort of what I ended up doing.  So basically I took the recipe above, took out the oil and used the unfancy pickling liquid.

Now for the real question…how do they taste?

I don’t know! I just made them few weeks ago and by the time they were ready I was totally in the weeds at work. This weekend I’m thinking about smoking a pork shoulder and making pulled pork sandwiches with thick slices of pickled sauerkraut stuffed peppers. Doesn’t that sound good? I’ll let you know how it turns out when I do!


Food, Wine, and a Good Cause

5 Oct

If you didn’t know, I love Best Buddies.

Teresa Plunkett a member of the Duquesne University chapter paired with Chef Ola Mandley, has been involved for over 4 years and lives in Allison Park

Kids with down syndrome, autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have less chance to form one-on-one friendships outside of their families than their non-disabled peers. This follows them into adulthood, where it can lead to a life of loneliness and isolation.

This makes me sad. If you know anyone with IDD you know that they are often some of the most genuine people you ever meet. Thinking about anyone lonely hurts my heart, but somehow the plight of children and adults with IDD really moves me. There is no “It get’s better” for a lot of these people.

That’s why I love Best Buddies. Best Buddies advocates for social inclusion for people with  intellectual and developmental disabilities with one-to-one friendship and leadership development programs in middle and high schools and colleges in Western PA. College buddies are often paired with adults at any age, providing an opportunity for socialization and friendship sorely needed.

What does this have to do with two other things I love, food and wine?  Glad you asked!

Best Buddies is bringing its premier event, the Life is Sweet Chef’s Showcase to Pittsburgh!  Yessssssss!

What: This event pairs a local chef with a buddy (an individual with IDD). Together they create a signature dish which will be featured, along with several other selections by the chef, at the Life is Sweet event.

 Thursday, October 20, 2011 at the
Society for Contemporary Craft in the historical Strip District
VIP hour from 6pm-7pm
Event 7pm-10pm.

Andrew Schnepp, paired with Chef Chaz Smith attends Pine Richland High School, lives in Gibsonia

So there is amazing food, created by buddies and chefs, wine and beer and….can you believe there is more…. works of art created by pairing local artists with buddies!

LOCAL ARTISTS Robert Huckestein, Laurie Trok,  the Milestone center and Linda Van Gehuchten all  paired with buddies to create works of art that will be auctioned off at the event.  I want one. Art is wonderful, but art with a story is even better and this is a story that really moves me!


If you attend the VIP Hour reception you get:

  • Linda Van Gehuchten and her buddy will be doing a wood turning demonstration
  • Special wine and cheese pairing donated by local sommelier Kevin Slane from Wine 101
  • A VIP Goody bag including a bowl turned by Van Gehuchten

Auction items include a Booze Wagon sponsored in part by Clique Vodka, signed Steelers’ memorabilia, and great dinner date packages.  Whirl Magazine will be photographing the event!

Wait…a BOOZE WAGON??? Yes, a booze wagon. Step off. I’m winning that.

Participating Chefs Include:

  • Chef Chaz Smith, The Culinary Artists Gourmet Catering Group
  • Chef Steve Hughes,  Bistro to Go
  • Olafemi Mandley, Ola Appetit Catering
  • Laurie Harris, Independent Pastry Chef representing First National Bank

There will also be cupcakes created by the Best Buddies Chapter that creates the best cupcake in the Best Buddies Cup Cake Wars!

Are you coming??  I’ll be there!  I’ll be at the VIP Hour, because you know I’m not missing a wine and cheese pairing.  And look, if you buy two, IT’S A DEAL. You know I’m not passing up a deal.

JD Keller paired with Pastry Chef Laurie Harris, a member of the University of Pittsburgh chapter and has been their Buddy Director for 4 years! Buddy Directors are individuals with IDD who is part of the chapter leadership team


Individual Ticket $60.00
VIP Ticket $75.00
(VIP hour includes a live artist demonstration, VIP gift bag, and an exclusive wine and cheese pairings)
Couple (2 tickets) $100
VIP Couple $130
“Virtual Table” 10 ticket $500
VIP “Virtual Table” 10 tickets $650
Dress Code: Business Attire

Reserve your tickets on the best buddies website here

Sponsorship Opportunities Available
For more information contact: Mahogany Thaxton
E | P | 412.432.5913
Best Buddies can can create sponsorship packages to meet your corporate giving needs.