In a heavy pot large enough to hold everything, saute onions and peppers over medium heat, approximately 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables, black pepper, and thyme, and cook for about 5 more minutes.
In a separate dish, combine rice with tomato paste and add to pot.
Continue to simmer, adding water sparingly to avoid burning. When vegetables are tender, it's ready to serve.
You can add chicken/fish/shrimp, for a heartier non-vegetarian alternative?a kind of an African "paella". The meal wouldn't be complete without sauteed plaintain - slice very ripe plaintains on diagonal and sauted in vegetable oil over medium flame for about 2 minutes on both sides.
A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Cynthia Gardner-Smith