I’ve been thinking lately about what constitutes a good day. After coming home from work, my husband and I will typically ask each other the common question. I usually know, for the most part, how my day went by the time I get home. But the other day, I found myself hesitating with my response: “It was…hm. I think it was good? Yeah, I guess it was good.” I realized that I rarely truly check in with myself when I reflect on my day – did I have a good day because good things happened, or did I have a good day because shitty things happened, as they do, but I handled them well? I have found I need to remind myself that, although I can’t control what happens throughout any given day, I can decide how I am going to respond to things, and what meaning I will assign to behaviors, actions, and words.
I had dinner with an old friend from graduate school last week, and he told me about an old flame who reentered his life in a very dramatic way recently. After he told me the story, he said, “I wonder why this happened now, and what this means.” I don’t remember if I said this to my friend, but I used to be someone who believed that everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe that anymore. I think things happen outside of us, completely randomly, and we have to decide how we are going to respond. I think how we respond conveys our values. And that is the human struggle – learning to navigate the good and the bad things that happen in life.
I love roasted red peppers, and I will often times pair them with tangy goat cheese. I wanted to change it up, so I found this recipe that paired them with garlic bread crumbs. You can definitely add goat cheese (or any other cheese) to the mix here, but it’s not necessary. It’s a nice side dish, or eat a larger serving as a main dish.
Roasted Red Peppers with Garlicky Breadcrumbs
Adapted from Food & Wine
8 red bell peppers (3 1/2 lbs.)
3 oz. day-old country bread, crusts cut off and bread cubed
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1. Roast the peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the bread until it is finely chopped. Add the garlic and pulse until breadcrumbs form; you should have about 1 1/2 cups.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Wipe out the skillet.
5. Peel and seed the peppers, then cut them into 1/2-inch strips. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Add the peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl or platter. Serve the breadcrumb topping on the side, for sprinkling.