My favorite new Sunday hobby is becoming an old lady. I kid! It's chopping up vegetables for the week ahead. I'm the type of person who responds very well to repetitive tasks where literally the only requirement is to pay just enough attention to avoid cutting off a finger. I like thinking about nothing while listening to "West Wing " podcasts over the 8,000-decibel hum of the air conditioner. It's soothing. The fact that healthy roughage and vital antioxidants are involved is just a lucky throw of the dice.
Anyway, here's an easy way I learned to slice a bell pepper in one of my Sur la Table classes (session 1 of "Confident Cooking" starts on Monday, so look out, cats! A confident hot dog is a dangerous hot dog). The true benefit of this method is that it virtually eliminates the residual nightmare that is chasing pepper seeds across the countertop and floorboards. If you perform this maneuver correctly, you may never have to chase another pepper seed again in your whole lifetime. Imagine all the free space that's going to open up in your schedule, the hours upon hours you had previously devoted to fruitless pepper seed chasing. No need to send money; you can thank me in diamonds.
- Select any bell pepper that is not a green pepper. I won't even discuss green peppers here. Green peppers are the devil's potato (???).
- Slice off both ends.
- Make one slice lengthwise between two ribs.
- Carefully trace your knife along the inside perimeter to separate the core from each rib.
- Chuck the core and seeds, unroll the clean pepper, and voila! (Or "wallah," as a former colleague once wrote to me in an email. I think she was later canned, albeit for unrelated reasons.)