Of Puppies, Peppers and Potatoes

I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement about my first steps into puppyhood. I think Chef Mimi is the one that best described what I was about to go through. She said “You are about to experience the worst times in your life, as well as the best times in your life“. She was absolutely right! Only, in my opinion, the worst times outnumber the best times by far!!! 

Let’s not talk about Sofia’s bathroom accidents or the every hour or so that we have to walk her out in this freezing cold weather or the sleep deprivation because she doesn’t sleep through the night. Let’s talk about the chewing and the nipping instead. Just a few descriptive adjectives: constant, unstoppable, devastating. My once lovely and perfect kitchen is a total mess and my once beautiful and spotless hardwood floors are always dirty. Sofia is a bundle of energy that needs constant supervision and training. Every evening, after a seemingly endless day, when she finally falls asleep and I use my last drops of strength to vaguely tidy up my once perfectly organized house, I can’t help but notice a new “gift” left by Sofia’s sharp baby teeth on a piece of furniture. Needless to say, most of the times, it is a piece of furniture that I am particularly attached to because either it is fairly expensive or it took me forever to find. So I go to bed every night with this physical pain in my chest, in a kind of mourning for my cabinet or a chair’s leg, as the case may be, repeating to myself “try not to think about it because Sofia will be up in the blink of an eye”. 

Potato and Pepper Side

When I got pregnant with Her Majesty, I did not read any books about babies and/or motherhood nor did I attend any preparatory class. I entered that hospital labor room thoughtless and clueless. Same thing with Sofia. That sneaky husband of mine did all the puppy reading and disclosed to me only 10% of what he had learned, knowing that, had I been well informed, I would most likely have changed my mind again.

So if I may, let me give a word of advice to anyone of you that is considering getting a puppy: make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Beside the workload that is required of you which, believe me, is humongous, I have come to the conclusion that your heart must have a special disposition to sacrifice yourself, your time and your things for the sake of the happiness of your puppy. Does my heart have it? The jury is still out on that! ;-)

Potato and Pepper SideI guess by now and with the above being said, you have started realizing that cooking has not been one of my priorities lately. I simply cannot afford to devote more than 30 minutes to make a dish. Like this peppers and potatoes side dish. As you may notice, it is a pretty basic one, with only few ingredients. When I want to spice it up, I add some tomatoes and harissa, but I cannot do it when my mom is around because my family recipe does not call for them and my mom does not like when I… “tamper” with her recipes. Once again, the quality of the ingredients is paramount in this dish as there is no seasoning other than salt. 

Ingredients:

1 cup, extravirgin olive oil
5 potatoes
5 peppers
8/9 cherry tomatoes (optional)
1 Tsp, harissa (optional)
Salt 

Directions:

Peel the potatoes and slice them (about 1/4 thick). Cut the peppers into halves and slice them as you would with an apple.

In a large skillet, pour the olive oil, add the potato slices, the pepper slices and some salt (to taste). Cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10/15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the harissa and keep cooking for another 10/15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Et voila! Ready by the time of one of Sofia’s naps! 

I wish you all a super fun and relaxing Super Bowl weekend! 

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About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at www.florastable.com :-)
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20 Responses to Of Puppies, Peppers and Potatoes

  1. She looks so sweet it must make it easier to forgive :) It does sound a bit of a nightmare but I’m sure all will be so much better soon. And at least you can train dogs … cats are a whole different species when it comes to training. I once had 2 cats who were incredibly destruction and almost destroyed a wooden kitchen table. Fortunately the latest cat has a preference for live meat rather than wood!!

  2. I wish you much patience and much patience. Colorful, beautiful dish! :D

  3. Oh Francesca, you are such a saint! I can only imagine the difficulty dealing with a little puppy. You make me wonder whether Matt and I are truly ready for the commitment! I love quick and easy meals such as yours. On a weeknight, something like this is exactly what I would love to make :)

  4. Oh boy do I know whereof you speak, long ago I gave up on fretting about the floors they are constantly dirty, it will get better as Sophia gets older, she will be able to go longer and longer in between bathroom breaks and she will sleep through the night. I have been through this multiple times. I am going through what you are for the last few years because it happens all over when they get old. You will fall in love with her completely, I just know it. How could you not, look at that face. I love peppers and potatoes, especially those thin light green Italian peppers, one of my favorite meals with eggs. Yum!

  5. Mary says:

    Oh my and I’ve wanted to get a puppy for the longest – you bring a touch of reality to the dream. Cute and . . .

  6. Fig & Quince says:

    Oh my poor Francesca! I wish you much patience and may the jury come back with just the right verdict! ;) Love can spring unexpectedly … Meanwhile, the dish sounds and looks delicious. Compliments to the chef and the photographer both!

  7. If by any chance you have a treadmill in the house, you can exercise her on that. We were able to walk our puppy 2.5 miles a day, twice a day, and even then had to call the neighbor sometimes to see if her dog could wear our dog out. It’s much like parenthood, definitely not for everyone. Hang in there! :)

    • Francesca says:

      Wow! The treadmill is such a great idea! I wish I had one!!! :-)
      You are right! Not for everyone. Let’s hope I don’t belong to that category! ;-)

      • It might help to read Cesar’s Way, by Cesar Millan. It explains how they think and does offer some suggestions. Or you could just mourn the loss of your clean floors, which is totally understandable. :)

  8. chef mimi says:

    It will get better! Just hide all of your favorite shoes!!! Beautiful pepper dish.

  9. I am sorry but I had to laugh at the last comment because as I was reading your post my mind wandered to a picture you had posted of some beautiful (blue?) shoes! They are terrible when they chew but it will pass. No doubt your daughter and Stefano know what angst you are going through so that they can have her and will love you all the more for it. Just remember you are the Mistress, so make the rules and Sophia will soon learn. As to your lovely dish, its a beautifully quick one and one I will use. Especially in the spring, I can think of so many dishes it can go with.

  10. Wow! I never knew there’s a lot of work bringing a cute puppy at home :) . I like your simple, easy dish, great for weeknights.

  11. Francesca, I suspect that you are fonder of this puppy than you care to admit. They have a way of working their way into your heart, don’t they? BTW where do you buy harissa?

  12. Francesca, Sophia looks so cute, but it sounds like she is a whirlwind of devastation what with accidents, chewing, and nipping. I hope that it gets better soon like a few people have indicated it will in the comments. I have thought, only occasionally, that I would like to have a dog – a small one, and maybe one day I will, but for now I am holding back.

    I hope you have had good week (excluding all Sophia related trials and enjoy the rest of the weekend. ;)

    B xx

  13. hhmomma says:

    I live this post! I crave another dog, but they really are high maintaince and hairy! I love dogs, but it’s hard to commit.

  14. Dina says:

    Well, well, you have got me thinking real hard now, Francesca…
    Bringing up a lively puppy can be a strain on your nerves, you never know just how much whirlwind you get! Gosh, she looks so adorable with the “me???…it was not me, I swear!” expression on her beautiful face. Those eyes!! :-)
    I hope the trials will soon be over, Sofia will learn slowly, little by little and the hopefully the four of you can return to normality. I think you are brave! And I’m sure your patience will be rewarded. In many ways, just wait. ;-)
    It’s such a pity that we don’t live in the same neighbourhood, though. I’d love to help out, I’m a great dogsitter. And that would also save my friend, the no-dog-person ;-) a lot of nerves, as well.

    Anyway, the dish looks great as well as the lovely images!

    Big hug
    Dina xxoo

  15. Snapfairy says:

    The puppy is just a cutie and the recipe seems scrumptious!

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