Just in time for the holiday season, the editor-and-chief and co-founder of the magazine, Jo Packer, has written and released “Where Women Cook Celebrate! Extraordinary Women and Their Signature Recipes.” (Sterling, $24.95)
From food blogger and restaurateur Molly Wizenberg of New York City to Farm Chick Serena Thompson of Spokane, Wash., the cookbook dips into women’s lives and serves up interesting ideas for off-beat parties, complete with 60 recipes, fun photos and charming graphics.
One of my favorite menus is the Green Baby Shower with Ashley English, a food writer who lives on a 12-acre farm in North Carolina. Her homey dishes – Butternut Squash and Gorgonzola Pasta, Grit Cakes (think polenta) and Sugared Molasses Crinkle cookies – would make for a fabulous, fall soiree, with or without a baby on the way.
Because the crunchy, sweet peppers of fall are here, a recipe from the book for pickled peppers caught my eye.
“This recipe will work for almost any kind of sweet or mild pepper,” Molly Wizenberg writes. “I don’t recommend full-sized bell peppers because the flesh isn’t as dense and crunchy as the flesh of smaller peppers, which are more flavorful.”
Pickled Peppers with Shallots and Thyme
Makes 1 quart
1 pound small sweet or mild peppers, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch thick rounds, seeded
1 medium shallots, thinly sliced, separated into rings
2 cups white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
½ cup sugar
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
Generous pinch of kosher salt
Put the peppers and shallots in a medium bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Place over medium heat, and slowly bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture boils, remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot brine over the peppers and shallots. Cover the bowl with a lid and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes, allowing the peppers to steam and soften slightly.
Remove the lid and let the mixture cool completely to room temperature. Transfer to a quart-size jar and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Peppers taste best after a day or more of brining. Serve them on pizza or on an antipasto plate with cured meats. They’re also delicious with sharp, white cheddar and crusty bread or in a grilled cheese sandwich.