photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yields: 6 servings.

6 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Broil the peppers, turning them frequently until the skin is blackened on all sides. Remove the peppers, and place them in a sealed container to cool. Peel the skin off the peppers under cold running water, and cut the peppers into ½-inch strips. Place the peppers in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, and gently toss; let marinate 30 minutes before serving. Pepper salad goes well with meat sandwiches or served as an antipasto with crusty bread. 

People in Willow Springs remember Mary Truelove, the daughter of Italian immigrants, for introducing them to Sicilian cuisine when she retired to the area in 1975. Mary never followed recipes; she taught her daughter, Nanette, to cook the same creative way.

Last year, Nanette’s daughter and son-in-law opened DJ’s Berry Patch in Apex, and what began as a way to chronicle the family’s Sicilian recipes turned into Strawberry, Fruit, and Vegetables Recipes.

The Italians believe there is a pasta recipe to go along with everything, Nanette says, and the book includes fresh ideas on incorporating such items as cabbage, spring onions, eggplant, and broccoli into easy family meals.

Copies are available at DJ’s Berry Patch, 1223 Salem Church Road, Apex, or to order a copy, contact Nanette at (919) 552-3180 or

This story was published on

For several years, Our State featured recipes from the pages of community and church cookbooks from around North Carolina. These dishes continue to be among some of our most popular and enjoyed.