Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at If you’re interested in sponsoring this column in the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News, call (530) 842-5777 or (530) 926-5214.

Italian sweet chile peppers are delicious raw or cooked. These long skinny curly peppers are one of the mildest of the pepper family. Even milder than a green bell pepper. I was gifted a bag full of these sweet peppers and I knew I wasn’t going to be eating them right away so I grabbed my grill pan.

I got a nice char the peppers by grilling them on medium high heat on the stove with the fan turned on. Let them cool before removing the core, stem and seeds. Slice them and place in a clean jar with one bay leaf, four smashed cloves of garlic, six whole peppercorns. Cover the peppers with a really good quality olive oil. They will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months. The longer they marinate the more flavors will be infused into the oil. Any leftover oil can be used in a salad dressing, drizzled over pasta or a dipping oil for a crusty French bread.

No need to drain the peppers when you chop them into a tuna salad. Add a slice or two of Italian sweet peppers on a slice pizza, to fresh green salads and anti-pasta platters. Peppers add a sweet bright green garnish to stews, soups and sauces. Placing a slice on a cracker with cheese not only looks appetizing, but tastes good.

If you want to use fresh peppers, they can be refrigerated for one weeks in a plastic bag, whole and unwashed. Fresh sweet peppers can be added to sauces, and salsas. For a crispy texture add chopped or sliced peppers to salads, bruschetta or layered onto sandwiches. Whole Italian sweet chile peppers can be served as a fried side dish by frying in oil then add salt and pepper or a sprinkle of parmesan. Stuffed them as an appetizer using a blend of cheese and herbs; feta and parsley or basil and mozzarella; oregano, Romano, rice, and sausage. Cook in an oven set at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese melts and the peppers have softened.