A few years ago, when my in-laws were visiting from Turkey, we were invited to the 4th of July block party organized on our street. We were told that there would be a bake-off contest and a potluck. So the cooking members of the family, which included my mother-in-law and me only, split the duties—I was in charge of something sweet, while mother-in-law set out to make something savory, which she is exceptionally good at.
Remember my zebra cake picture? That picture was taken randomly at that very party as we waited for the bakeoff to take off and I, in particular, to selfishly grab the winning title. Alas, my zebra cake won a silver medal. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, was crowned as the unofficial winner (as there was no cook-off contest) of the potluck! She stole the show with her olive oil-cooked stuffed mini sweet bell peppers. Cute as buttons and extremely addictive. Everybody loved them!
So, meet the winning recipe – zeytinyagli biber dolmasi, one of the many dolma varieties the Turkish cuisine proudly boasts. Here, the bell peppers are stuffed with delicious mint-flavored rice filling cooked in olive oil. Typically, large bell peppers are used to make this particular dolma, but my mother-in-law makes them with mini peppers too, whenever she finds them. These stuffed cuties make a perfect prelude to a hearty meal. Try and see for yourself. You’ll love them.