Southern Italy Meets The South (USA): Peperonata and Cornbread

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My co-worker is from the southern region of Apulia in Italy (the heel part of the boot) and recently she has been telling me all about the wonderful, fresh and simple food they have down along her native sun-drenched coastline. Apulia is said to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, in fact they are said to rival those of the Carribbean, and they draw tourists from all over the world. They also have this amazingly cute town with white round houses and thatched roofs, that look a bit like one of the seven dwarfs should come skipping out. This gem of sunny beaches and beautiful coastlines is said to have locals that are eaqually warm and welcoming as its golden rays.

Pepepronata is a typical summer dish from this region. Its beauty lies in its simplicity just like the place it is from and the people who have created it. simple dish It is made with a variety of peppers, which are typically grown in that area, that have been cooked at length with onions and tomato sauce and is then eaten with some good toasted bread. In this case I opted for something that felt a bit more like home to me, cornbread. I love cornbread, it always reminds me of home, of warm summer nights, fireflies dancing through the pitch dark night sky of my backyard and my dad barbecuing on the deck and yelling for me to come and eat. What foods remind you of home? Which ones have you veganized?

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Peperonata
Ingredients
3-4 medium peppers (the variety is up to you)
1 large onion
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce or pulp
salt to taste
optional: capers (this is a classic variation)

Directions
1. Roughly dice the onion and sauteè it with a bit of olive oil (about 1-2 Tbs.)
2. While the onion is cooking cut the peppers into strips. Once the onion is transparent, add in the onions. Cook until soft on medium heat (about 20 mins).
3. Add in the can of tomatoes and cook until the majority of the wateryness has dried up – it should not be liquidy when it’s done (about 20 mins).

Cornbread
Ingredients
1 1/2 c. cornflour
1/2 c. white flour
1 1/2 tsp leveaning agent (baking soda)
1 tsp salt
1 can corn
1 1/3 c. non-dairy milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Directions
1. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add in the can of corn and with a hand blender, blend part of it – leave it as chunky or smooth as you like.
2. Add in the milk and mix well.
3. You can make it in the oven or on the stove top. I tried making it in a cast-iorn pan on the stove top, which gave it a really nice crusty bottom, but flipping it was a mess and it turned out a little ugly, but still really good. For this version, spread it out in the pan and cook covered on a low flame. Flip it with a plate when you see that a crust has formed on the bottom. If you go for the easier option – in the oven, bake at 350 for about 20 mins. If anyone has any secret technique on how to make on the stove top in a cast-iron pan without making a mess, please share!

Buon Appetito!
Enjoy!
AS

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