By Elizabeth Gracen:
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The days are counting down to the finish line of my summer kitchen renovation. We are ever-so-close to completion and inspection, and I’m itching to get in there. The temporary kitchen adventure has been interesting—pretty easy for the most part due to my husband’s ability to build a functional kitchen sink in the driveway. We’ve utilized our camping stove, gas BBQ grill and side burner, and a kick-ass toaster oven during the whole process. The cooking has been relatively easy to pull off, but the sink has sprung numerous leaks, and I’ve washed with no hot water for a month and a half. Seriously though . . . I’m not complaining.
I’m grateful to see the light at the end of the renovation tunnel, and we’ve survived my husband’s horrific mountain bike accident that resulted in a broken-in-seven-places collar bone and the two operations it took to fix it. My kid is in school and thriving in volleyball. We are all vaccinated and masked and healthy. So, like I said . . . no complaints, just counting blessings.
In these last days of “hillbilly kitchen” mode, I’m going to try a few more of my favorite dishes. This week, I’m preparing a go-to recipe from It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow—Shishito Peppers with Cheat's Aioli.
The cookbook is gorgeous—the photography, the author, the “life-style”—it’s all so picturesque and perfect (because, you know . . . it’s all easy) and a little annoying in that life-envy sort of way, but the recipes are really delicious and easy to make.
Shishito peppers—yum. I order them on almost every menu I see when we go out (but, we never go out anymore!), and I love the smell and taste. I even love the gamble of biting into that 1 in 10 super-hot pepper possibility that comes along with picking up on of those little devils from the dish. You can find Shishitos in many grocery stores and supermarkets these days, so when I spot a bag, I usually pick it up.
My recipe alteration has to do with the “Cheat’s Aioli” that Ms. Paltrow recommends. One of my great friend’s is a functional nutritionist and has steered me well away from any product that contains seed oils (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil), so I’ve tried several substitutes for the Vegenaise used in the cookbook's aioli recipe because it contains safflower oil. This time, I will use Classic Vegan Mayo made with pure avocado oil from Chosen Foods.
Time to fire up the cast iron griddle and cook some Shishito Peppers!
Shishito Peppers with Avocado Oil Aioli
1 bag Shishito Peppers
Avacado Oil Aioli (recipe below)
Heat a cast iron griddle or skillet over high heat. Pour a thin, even layer of olive oil onto the surface. Let it get hot, but don’t let it smoke (start over if it smokes).
Add the peppers and cook, turning them often so that they are blistered and soft all around; this should take anywhere from 5–10 minutes.
When they are ready, season with a good pinch of sea salt.
Put a nice dollop of the aioli in the center of a plate (either a serving plate or individual plates) and sort of smear it into a larger circle. Circle the peppers around the plate on top of the aioli edges.
Serve hot! However, it’s good as they cool down, too—it’s just good no matter how you serve it from this point on.
½ cup Vegan Mayo (non seed oil)
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice (have more standing by if you like it lemony)
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
Pinch of salt
Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl until it well blended. Set aside until your peppers are ready to be plated.
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