Last Thursday was Corpus Christi Day. I'm still unsure exactly why the entire country had the day free from work, but who's complaining? I went with it. It's an excuse to have people over and relax.
Friends, wine/Presidente, and the Tuna Stuffed Red Bell Peppers that you see here were on the menu. These Tuna Stuffed Red Peppers were out of this world. My friend, Juanddy Noel, is a professional photographer, and he took these outrageously amazing photos. The pictures turned out so beautifully. I've been waiting to post them until I was inspired to write something that could be paired with such talent - but I couldn't wait any longer! Mil veces, thank you.
There has been so much laughing in my house recently. The fiance and I have been dosed with fits of giggles over the most nonsensical things - which is one of the reasons we are so good together.
Lately, the extra laughter has really been good for my soul. Because, sometimes living in a foreign country is great, but sometimes it is exhausting. I remember in my first month in the Dominican Republic, two years ago. The school I worked for made the foreigners attend a culture shock workshop. It talked about the stages of culture shock, and how after a certain period of time, you start to get frustrated. It's hard to believe that after two years, I'm having those feelings for the first time. Things move slower here. Men will gawk and cat call at anything that just might be female, especially if you have light skin. It is really hard to find a good job. The education is not comparable to that of the U.S. A few months ago, I'm not sure if I would have so openly admitted these things like I am now, afraid of sounding ethnocentric. But, mama's tired, and I'm mama.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think of good ole U.S. of A. as the shining example of perfection by any means. I'm content living here for the time being, and geographically it is the most beautiful and diverse country I have ever travelled to - but I'm equally ready to see my friends and family for a couple of weeks.
So, really, I have the best of both worlds - I have the option to take a break from each of my countries and visit the other when I'm plain jarta. I've got my bags packed with laundry and gifts of Dominican rum, coffee, and mango marmalade (that I made! what up! you'll see a post about this shortly) to pass around to my loved ones. Unfortunately, the fiance has to hold down the fort here until we can settle our visa business. We are blindly shooting for Christmas as our goal, but the reality is it could be another year before he can make the big flight to High Point, N.C. Time will only tell.
My next post will be from North Carolina - so farewell Santo Domingo! See you shortly.
Tuna Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
1 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cups rice, uncooked
4 cups water
1 bell or cubanelle pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of corn, drained
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 6 oz. can of light tuna in water
4 medium sized bell peppers (red are the sweetest)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella)
salt to taste
1. Make the Tuna Rice with Vegetables
Begin with the rice with vegetables. First, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. I use a cast iron pot here in the D.R., and now I won't make rice in anything else! Pour your rice in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, and corn. Add a good amount of salt now - your water should taste like the ocean.
Bring the water to a boil, and keep the heat on medium-high. Let the rice cook for about 15-20 minutes, checking on it around this time to see how it's coming. Once all the water has evaporated and the rice is dry, lower the heat to low. Take a large spoon and scrape the rice from the sides so it is in a big pile in the middle of the pot. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of olive oil on top, and cover with a top that fits perfectly. Let it cook for another 15 minutes.
Now, taste your rice. If it is still a little bit hard, add a couple splashes of water and cover again for another 3-5 minutes. You finished! Drain the tuna and mix it in to your sticky, delicious rice with vegetables. Set the rice aside.
2. Stuff and Bake the Peppers
The hard part is over. Cut off the tops of your peppers and remove the tops and seeds. Cook peppers in boiling water with salt for around 8 minutes. Remove, and place them so that they are standing in a baking dish that has 1/2 cup of water poured into the bottom of it. Fill each of the peppers with the tuna rice and vegetables.
The final step is to mix the breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Sprinkle generously on top of each of your peppers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
a buen tiempo!