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Tasty Tuesday Banana Pepper Gratin

Summer is so over... so very over. Temperature dipped to the twenties; leaves are brilliant red, orange with faded yellow edges; sunshine hours have slipped to dark morning and evenings. Autumn is here.. no doubt.

The gleaner in me came out this weekend when I heard of the temperature forecast. Dale and I picked anything living out there that could be touched by a freeze. Whoa, I already have packed a peck of pickled peppers into the pressure cooker. My imagination has been running overtime as to how to use plant after plant that over produced this year. Yeah for that... but I can't let them die on the plant.

Then I tried a new recipe (that I cut out of the Grand Rapids Press years ago and did not try) substituted summer squash out and put in some banana peppers. This has crunch, cheese and is such a pretty dish. A new favorite and reason for more of these plants next year!

Banana Pepper Gratin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Serves 6
1/2 c olive oil, divided and used at different times
1 and 1/2 stale bagel; multigrain, seseme seed or plain -cut into crouton sized cubes
1 large sweet onion, chopped to same size as pepper pieces
2 cups sweet banana peppers, seeded and sliced
1 T minced jalapeno (OPTIONAL)
Large pinch of dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano and dried thyme
Small pinch of dried rosemary
2 garlic cloves minced
Ground pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
2 T Parmesan cheese
Chopped walnuts for garnish

Grease a large baking dish.
Slit all peppers, remove seeds tops and bottom. Use gloves when cleaning the jalapenos if you decide to add these to your dish. Slice peppers.
In a small mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream and Parmesan cheese; beat until well blended. Set aside
In a skillet heat 3 T olive oil to hot, but not smoking, add bagel cubes, brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Place in greased baking dish.
Wipe pan with a paper towel so that any remaining crumbs do not give it a burnt flavor. Add 2 to 3 more T of olive oil. On medium high heat saute onions and peppers, jalapenos too if you like a touch of heat. Saute for 5 minutes or until they just start to brown. Add herbs and garlic and enjoy the aromas! Add some freshly ground pepper. Make a well in the center of the skillet, by pushing everything up the sides. Pour eggs into cleared area, shake the pan a bit so that they spread out. Turn heat off at this point. Stir all of the pan ingredients together at this time.
Pour this mixture over the bread crumbs.
Distribute small spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture over the pepper mixture. Garnish with chopped walnuts.
Cover tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes so that the eggs will set and not dry out. Uncover and continue to bake for 20 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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