from page to palette

As much as I love reading food blogs and perusing the internet for innovative recipes, to me there is nothing quite as satisfying as leafing through the pages of cookbooks and food magazines. My love for printed food media comes as no surprise. At home we have a bookcase that towers six shelves high and is jam-packed exclusively with cookbooks ranging from my great-grandmother’s worn-out Cuban cooking bible to our most recent acquisition, Best of Food & Wine 2012. Then, there’s the smaller four-shelf magazine cart that houses the best issues of Bon Appetit and Gourmet that have been delivered to our house over the past fifteen years. In short, there is no shortage of good food reads.

I didn’t fully appreciate the incredible volume of food publications I had at my fingertips until I left for college. Without the comfort of glossy photos and chocolate-stained pages to dive into when I needed a break from school books, I felt a void that surfing the internet for recipes just couldn’t fill. I found my therapy at our campus bookstore. It became a little ritual of mine to sit among the magazine shelves on Friday afternoons, rewarding myself for making it to the end of week by indulging in an hour of leafing through the pages of my favorite food magazines. I was well aware that making three-layer cakes and succulent roasts was completely out of my dorm kitchen reach, but soaking up the images and words on the pages was enough to keep me sated.

When I come home, one of the first things I do is peruse through the Bon Appetit issues that I’ve missed, which are always reliably stacked in the back corner of our kitchen counter. This trip I set out exploring the travel issue, which had an enticing section about Greek food. A roasted pepper and nectarine salad immediately caught my eye. I took it as inspiration to create my own twist, using peaches instead of nectarines and adding basil and pistachios. It was a delicious accompaniment to grilled shrimp, and I could also see it becoming a meal on its own if mixed with a grain like orzo or cous cous.

Bon Appetit!

Roasted Pepper, Peach, and Pistachio Salad (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 bell peppers, sliced in 1 inch wide pieces (I used red & yellow; the magazine recipe used green)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Dash of sugar
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1 large peach or nectarine, thinly sliced in wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 400. Toss peppers in olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, coriander, and cumin. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast peppers for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until peppers are softened and slightly browned on edges. While peppers are roasting, place peach or nectarine slices and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. When peppers are done roasting, place them in the large bowl and allow them to sit on top of the fruit and tomatoes for 5 minutes so that the heat from the peppers warms them and draws out their juices. Add the basil, pistachios, lemon juice, and additional salt and pepper to taste.

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