I bought some nice bell peppers yesterday. Had a lovely bell pepper and tomato sandwich for lunch. Knew that I should cook peppers for supper but the idea of making stuffed peppers seemed unexciting. Then a memory popped into my head: my mother used to make wonderful sweet and sour pork. Great way to use up peppers.....but I'm a vegetarian. The only meat in the house is in cat food cans.
Still, it's possible to do a good sweet and sour sans pork so I marched myself off to the kitchen and scoured the bookshelves for clues. Good old Betty Crocker had a simple sauce recipe. Then I hit the pantry, and discovered most of the ingredients.
No corn starch but flour would do instead. Soy Sauce.....yeah, there was an unopened bottle but it looked prehistoric, probably okay but I didn't feel brave enough to give it a shot. Can of pineapple--out of date and dodgy looking; not going there. Frustrating but, not one to give up, I forged ahead. And while I did, I remembered my mother also making Copper Pennies. And I had half a tomato in the fridge leftover from lunch.
Light bulb moment!
I could make a combination of Sweet & Sour and Copper Pennies!
But there was no tomato soup (basic stuff for Copper Pennies); just tomato puree.....then I remembered that my neighbor gave me some cans of V8. The extra flavor in the V8 would make up for the lack of Soy Sauce. A can of mandarin oranges would stand in for the pineapple. It was time to cook! (Keeping in mind that I had already started the rice cooker.)
Whisk together on medium heat, stirring constantly:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup syrup from canned oranges
Add 1 medium-sized diced carrot
1 medium-sized bell pepper cut in small chunks
1/2 large tomato cut into chunks
about 1 cup of V8--add more as necessary so that the sauce doesn't over-thicken
Keep stirring constantly, and cook for about a minute or two.
Just before serving, add the mandarin oranges, folding them in gently so they don't break apart.
Less than 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish (and that includes the big idea and the pantry search). Very nice stuff. Veggies were crisp tender. The flavor was full, not too sweet or tart.
I'm sure it could probably be adjusted with some spice or other but I didn't--in fact, I probably would have added Tiger Sauce or Worcestershire but there was none in the house. It was fine without. I would have liked to add some thinly sliced onion but I thought of that too late.
Yeah, I know I need to go shopping and fill the pantry but, hey, sometimes it's fun to invent with whatever there is. And sometimes the results are really kinda good.
~ Life is an adventure. Enjoy the journey! ~