Tag Archives: sausage

Listen to The Witch!

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In my pantry today:

  • 5-6 c mixed greens (collards, turnip, mustard, kale)
  • 7 oz kielbasa, diced
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 c chicken/bone broth
  • 1/4 c minced garlic
  • 1/3 c minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash asafoetida
  • salt to taste

Not only did I have a taste for greens this week, having that craving deposited in my peripheral conscious a continual loop of the Witch’s “Beans Rap” from Into the Woods:

My wife was recently The Witch in a production of Into the Woods, and is the reason I have been so sorely Sondheimed.

Greens, greens, and nothing but greens:
Parsley, peppers, cabbages and celery,
Asparagus and watercress and
Fiddleferns and lettuce–!

Luckily, this is an easy craving to fix. Start with your sausage (or preferred meat) in a cold stock pot heating to M. You can cut this up however you like to have it go into your mouth; I cut mine into 1/2″ chunks.

As the pan and its contents heat, scrape the pan periodically to keep the brown flavors free. Once the outsides of your [chunks, bits, balls, or logs] are brown, remove into a bowl and set aside. Making sure you’ve locked in some of the flavor and texture  here is key — you want what’s in there to keep seeping flavor once it goes back into the pot.

Untitled-2Turn heat to ML and add your oil, garlic, and onions. Add turmeric as they begin to succumb to the heat, then Paprika to cheer everyone back up.

Start folding in your greens so that everything gets coated in oil. If it’s a messy prospect, start adding your broth slowly to even the playing field. Turn heat back up to M, make sure all the broth is in there then cover the pot.

mealAfter 5 minutes, check and stir. Repeat this process until everything is wilted but remains green. Add sausage back, stir in asafoetida, reduce heat to L and walk away. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets. It was great yesterday, and even better as lunch this afternoon. Serve with rice if’n you need something to sop up the broth.

What I did wrong:

  • Kielbasa is straight up processed food and I could’ve chosen better which animals to invite to this party.

What I did right:

  • Greens!
  • Remembered the fart powder this time (asafoetida: the friend of every married couple at bedtime)

I’d be remiss not to close with this stunning photo of my beautiful wife as the sinister witch. You’re welcome honey!

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Photo by Kara DeFelice Pound

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Le Polpette Più Straordinaria (Or, “Meatballs!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c crock pot marinara from freezer
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

It’s a new year and the freezer is full of meat. Well, not full but still housing a little more than I’d like to have on hand and I would really like to free up space in both my freezer and capillaries so tonight’s dinner was meatballs. Using the freezer marinara also helped — plus, who wants to make homemade meatballs and use anyone else’s sauce in which to bathe them? I mean, that would just be wrong… right? So start this journey by ensuring everything is thawed and at the ready: your sausages have been removed from their casings, your garlic is minced and your oven is preheated to 350°.

meatballs1Heat the marinara over ML heat until it is hot but don’t let it get to boil; it can just sit patiently. All of the other ingredients can go into a mixing bowl and have your hands either lovingly or angrily (how was your day?) mash everything into a thick paste. Roll into balls 1-1.5″ in diameter and space them on a baking pan with raised sides to catch any runoff. What I had in the freezer was 93% fat free ground chuck so there was little in the way of grease, so I can sate my guilty conscience there. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then pick each hot little ball off the pan and plop it into your sauce. Cook on L until dinnertime. I love little nuggets of garlic in my meatballs, knowing they are shrouded in Parmesan and coated with meat then again smothered with homemade marinara… 5 spoons.

 

 

Lasagna, ft. Sausage, Kale and Cheese Trifecta

In my pantry today:

  • The butt-ends of two boxes of lasagna noodles
  • 1 freezer bag crock pot marinara (approx 3 c)
  • 1 freezer bag cooked ground Italian sausage (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3 medium leaves kale
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash salt

lasagnaThaw then marry your marinara and sausage in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Also start a large, oiled pot of water with an accompanying dash of salt. When your water begins to show signs of a boil, hold each leaf of kale by its stem and dip into the water for a count of 12. Wrap them in a clean towel and gently squeeze out all the water. Move them to the cutting board, remove stems and mince; set aside. Your pasta can go in now and cook until it’s a little too al dente to be al dente, then drain it and rinse with cold water until everything is chilled to room temperature.

Shred asiago cheese, set aside with mozzarella. Mix egg with ricotta cheese and dash salt. Rub a little olive oil inside a 6×6″ baking pan and begin layering by laying the most whole of your noodles along the bottom of the pan. Pour on 1/4 your sauce, scatter in half your kale bits, sprinkle 1/3 the asiago on, drop in dollops of ricotta and spread gently across the breadth of the pan, then add as complete a layer as you can with the noodle amputations and do this all again. Add a final layer of noodles, then add the rest of your sauce and top with the rest of your asiago and all of your mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake foil-covered pan in 350° oven for 45m, then take foil off and cook another 10-20m until optimum browning has occurred. Though next time I’d use more kale and sausage, this was still pretty good and worth all 4 spoons!

 

Cabbage Come a-Knockin (Or, “Pastabilities from Vegetable Grief”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 medium head red cabbage
  • 1 turkey kielbasa
  • 2 c cooked bowtie pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 c broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • Parmesan cheese (topping)

I just began absentmindedly cooking the cabbage in a figurative wail of disappointment over the head of broccoli I had planned on using showing unexpected rot this morning. Isn’t that the normal reaction to vegetable grief? When reality brought itself back, I was left standing before a half-sauteed head of cabbage with onion in a small pool of butter. I looked at it like a sudden, unwelcome visitor then broke away to scan the freezer. I had in all earnesty planned on another vegetarian dinner tonight, but in the back of the ice box — covered in ice itself, but not burnt — was half a turkey kielbasa. I fell back into an old recipe for safety, but modified it just enough to prove to myself that I still had it.

So there’s there’s the head of cabbage, there. Toss in 1/4 c broth and cover it so it can steam on M where it’s been. Oh, and throw in all those seasonings (especially the asafoetida — this much cabbage definitely calls for “fart powder”). Next, brown medium-thin slices of kielbasa in the pot you’re about to boil pasta in. When the bottom of the pot (on M) starts to brown before those slices of turkeybits, scrape it up and toss the slices in those not-quite-burnt bits. Keep it together on M for another minute or two then add it to the cabbage. Bring 1/2 c of stock to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to L. Let it all simmer while you rinse out that sausage pot and ready the pasta. Cook according to instructions but make sure it’s al dente when you take it off the heat because it’s going in with the cabbage/kielbasa mix and will continue cooking. If you prefer mushier pasta (I know who some of you are, stop shielding your faces) go ahead and cook it to your preferred point. Mix everything together and top with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!

Miracles in Quick Marinaras (or, “OregaNO YOU DIDN’T)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package refrigerated cheese ravioli
  • 8 oz ground sausage
  • 16ish oz canned tomato puree
  • 1 10 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp hot red chili/cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 drop doTerra® oregano essential oil

So a roll of ground sausage was going to thaw and go to waste were it not cooked. Don’t you judge me.

That being said, I actually drained off a little more of the grease than I meant to and left my diced up onion and garlic a bit dry in the pan. I kinda stir-fried in the turmeric, Italian seasoning, red chili powder and asafoetida, letting things simmer  in what little fat they could until the pan started developing liver spots. At that point, tomato reinforcements were called in to cool things down.

This was an acceptable sauce to go over what were most likely adequate store-bought ravioli. It was a meal, and I was tired. My wife* (the yoga instructor) brought into the kitchen her new set of essential oils; more importantly here, oregano oil. And boy, it was

I’m part of the mint family.

pungent past principle in proving its paternity.  Now I’m Italian enough, but never had I ever known of oregano as something with medicinal properties. She suggested and I was happy to agree to try a drop in the pan to see if it was terribly strong for its dual cooking application and how it might taste.

Stir it in. Wait for it. One drop, really. Just one. Wait! Feel that? It was a Tuscan breeze passing through your kitchen window. I still can’t really reconcile how one drop of anything can take a saucepan full of emo-mato sauce from 3 spoons to a celebratory 5 spoons. The force is so very with it, and I hope to one day try the force of other kinds (cilantro, clove, lemon, lime, peppermint, rosemary, wild orange). Holiday baking season will soon be upon us, and regular extracts can go sit and spin!

 

*omg I have one of those and one of those has me.

Meatless v. Meatloaded

In my pantry two days ago:

  • 1/5 c black beans
  • 1 ear corn, kernals removed
  • 1/2 c Rotel® tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

This sounds a lot more complicated than it is — just mince your onion and garlic, saute on ML for a 10-20m then turn heat up to M and when the pan gets there, add a dash of vinegar and honey. Reduce heat to L and let sit for another 5m or so before you begin adding in beans and tomatoes. Mix seasonings with broth and corn starch, add to pan with corn and turn heat to M until a first few bubbles  pop. Turn heat to L and let rest for 10-15m before serving over (you guessed it!) rice with a little cheese on top for good measure (to remove the  vegan option on this already hearty meatless number). 4 spoons!

*It is of importance to me that on this day I also purposefully overcooked beans so that there are two more portions in the freezer for easy later use.

 In my pantry today:

  • a roll of pork sausage

So dinner the other night was excellent and meatless. Today — blame the steroids, because I’m not above doing that — I wanted to smell a big, cheap-ass tunnel of pork browning on my stove. After I met the odor quota, some was bagged for freezing, some grease reserved and then this:

  • 3/4 c browned ground sausage
  • 1 c leftovers from above (sans rice)
  • 2 c penne pasta

Toss all that together. NOM. 5 spoons!

*Also of note this week was the blanching, chopping and subsequent freezing of 10 giant tomatoes.

 

Jiffy® Rellenos!

In my pantry today:

  • 4-6 m-l poblano peppers
  • 1/2 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 box Jiffy® cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 c shredded jack cheese
  • 1 tsp chili powder

When we came into a recent bounty of poblano peppers, one thought entered my mindsphere immediately as an easy use: chile relleno! And I actually looked into how they were made with authenticity, then took a step back into a comfort zone.  I was already cautious at the prospect of roasting peppers for the first time, but harken and take heart: the hardest part will be waiting for the broiler to preheat. Place your peppers on a baking sheet and put under the broiler on the rack closest it. Roast about ten minutes, then flip and roast another ten. Once they come out, let them cool enough to not torch your phalanges then gently roll the skin off their bodies. Remove stems and seeds, split the skins in half.

Stuff the peppers however you’d like. For this recipe, I used a 2:1 ratio of ground sirloin and Italian sausage seasoned with a little chili powder. Make cornbread batter, mix in 3/4 c cheese, and pour into greased pan. Lay rolled peppers in the batter and drizzle a little batter over them. Top the pan wit the other 1/4 c shredded cheese, then bake according to Jiffy’s instructions.  This will only get 3 spoons until I can figure out how to make cornbread not dry.

Photo Recap of the Weekish

In my pantry today:

  • Photographs of food I’ve been making but not writing about and I’m not going to make having taken them a complete moot point in this often otherwise cruel world.

These wontons began beautifully but ended badly. And that’s a damn shame, because fun ingredients like fresh garlic and sushi ginger began their filling. And then something happened which would then ruin the subsequently beautiful soup I’d made for them.  An unwittingly pureed bean paste teaches me to fold in a whisked egg rather than use the food processor for this step. I was heartily saddened upon the dinning time; these wontons can go to… well, I’ll just positively chalk them up to a learning experience. The soup itself was a delight. And an excellent appetizer for the take out Chinese I immediately offered to purchase in apology.

Because I felt a failure at rocking a delicious vegetarian concept, I thawed a roll of ground sausage. Because you can’t fail with ground sausage. Except this time. To be fair, it was less of an abject failure and more of a “this would be great if it wasn’t missing something” issue.It was still great, and beget the beans for additional recipes.

And then I looked at the tiny container garden on my back porch and did a spit take at the jalapeno plant. I picked a dozen peppers, left plenty behind and then stared at the pile for a few minutes.

I do not like pickled jalapenos. In fact, I really have never cared for most peppers. Cooking them before wasting away inside on the counter was a must. Several ideas arose, but for the moment I boldly went a little TGI Fridays with some leftover sausage-n-corn dip and made poppers. The remaining ten or so peppers were halved, the seeds removed and roasted with a little olive oil, garam masala, turmeric and Greek seasoning. After that they were diced and used in a very spicylicious curry (not pictured, but which utilized those above mentioned white beans and became two days worth of meals).

I’m almost caught up now. Next post is being written — and this forthcoming one’ll get it’s very own at 5 spoons!

Tonight’s Lentils (ft. Cameo by Sausage Grease)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c lentils
  • 1/2 c kale, chopped
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed
  • 1 small carrot, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp reserved sausage grease
  • 1.25 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
  • 1.5 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Let me just be upfront with what’ll go into your mouth: it is made. of. win.

This will be worth the effort, guys. Start off by hammering out the prep work: slice, mince or chop everything at your desire. I sliced everything thin and chopped everything kinda small… not really small like maybe an actual chef might, just small enough to be small without risking a digit. Start your grease melting on L, and when melted add in the onions, garlic and mustard seeds. Turn heat to M and toss everything to coat. Let cook about 3m at full heat, then add in kale. Stir and let cook for another 3-5m. Next, add in the carrots and corn. Toss everything together, stir in seasonings and cook another minute or so before adding in lentil, broth and corn starch. Turn stove to MH to bring everything to a boil, then reduce back to ML and cover. Let cook for 20-30m, or until lentils are tender and most of the liquid has boiled out. Serve over Basmati rice, then thank me. 5 spoons!

Sausage Curry (or, “No, Fergie’s Not Coming”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/3 c ground sausage
  • 1/2 c red Russian kale
  • 1 c arugula
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 c black eyed peas
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tbsp hot curry powder

Start your sausage in a pan on ML and slowly increase the heat as it begins to cook; stab it with the spatula until the meat is as crumbly as you like. Drain all grease from the meat and set that crumbled goodness aside. Leave grease to cook your diced onion.

When the onion begins to blush translucence, add the kale and arugula and use it as a dishrag to sop up whatever grease is left. Toss in your tomato for good measure and sprinkle 1 tsp of garlic powder. Once everything is well acquainted, pour the mess into a food processor and puree until only tiny flecks of color remain. When you pause to scrape the sides of the processor add the rest of your seasonings. You will be rewarded with a fine rainbowish mush, so pour it all back into the pan and add the can of tomatoes. Stir in the beans and crumbled sausage, slowly adding the broth (I had vegetable on hand, but please feel free to use the juice of any animal or plant you like here). Let simmer on L for at least an hour, then serve over rice or with penne pasta or… well, you’ve probably got it from here, right? 4 spoons!