Thursday, July 31, 2008

Honey Herb Vinegar

honey herb vinegar


Guess what happens tomorrow??? I start back to school!!!! TOMORROW! Do you believe it? August 1st! There is still July in this week, it's still summer! But because I do start back tomorrow, I've switched into fall mode. The idea of putting back my herbs to use this winter has begun. One of the things I plan to do with my cooking this fall and winter is to cook more simply. The idea of little meat, fish, or poultry, some grains, some veggies, a little seasoning, dinner. Beautiful. Not so much recipes as much as cooking, does that make sense? I get so inspired by watching Jamie Oliver in his Cooking at Home show. His recipes are almost just ideas, concepts, fresh ingredients, with some lovely herbs a toss of olive oil, salt and pepper. I love it. So, anyway, to make a long story short (I know, too late), I wanted to make some herbal vinegars. Vinegars to be used to simply drizzle over cooked meats or veggies.

red wine vinegar


One of my favorite preserving books is The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round. What I love about this book is that it is indeed small-batch. This is important because I am not one to sit in the kitchen canning 20 pounds of tomatoes. I did that once, and it's probably not ever going to happen again. Plus this book has good ideas for vinegars and oils and syrups and other useful condiments. One of the vinegars that sounded intriguing to me was the Honey Herb Vinegar. This sounded interesting, plus I had all the ingredients all ready, which is always a plus!

thyme


Honey Herb Vinegar
Makes 2 cups

2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup fresh thyme or basil (I used thyme)

Bring the vinegar to a boil and stir in the honey, until it dissolves.

Crush or bruise the herbs (I used a muddler, such fun). Place herbs in a clean jar, and pour the vinegar over them. Cover and steep for 2 weeks or longer, tasting every so often. (She says in a sunny location, but I decided to just store it in my pantry).

When the flavor is how you want it, strain vinegar and pour into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Store the vinegar in the refrigerator.


WHB


Now, this has only been steeping a week, so I can't give a complete review of the finished product. But I have to say the little taste that I had today was really good. I imagine that you could use this similar to how you would use a good balsamic vinegar. This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn's Kitchen , and hosted this week by Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eat More Salads

salad bowl


You want to know the secret to getting yourself to eat more salads? It's simple. Buy a pretty new salad bowl with cute tosser thingys.

Monday, July 28, 2008

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup


For the past couple of weeks now I have received onions in my weekly CSA. For some odd reason, I haven't been using a lot of onions. I think I use onions more in the winter for soups and stews and casseroles. So these little baskets of onions have been piling up in my basement, and what to do when you have oodles of onions??? Why make French onion soup of course. I began making French onion soup in college in my crockpot. Yes, I had a crockpot in college. I was incredibly domestic. Others made fun of me for being so boring, but hey, guess who's apartment they always showed up for when I was making a pot roast or that ubiquitous pork chops in cream of mushroom soup??? Yeah, they weren't making fun of me while they were scarfing down homecooked meals.

The recipe that I use is still the one from the cookbook I had in college: Mable Hoffman's Crockery Cookery, Revised Edition. Now, actually that one on Amazon is a newer version! My book was published in 1975 and has a lovely burnt orange crockpot on the front (back when they were called crockpots and not the new hipper "slow cooker." My book is falling apart (kind of like me, we are both old, people), but it has served me well. I could go find a fancier schmancier recipe, but when the classics work, might as well stick with them, though I do change it up a bit, using stock instead of bouillon cubes and Gruyere cheese instead of Parmesan. Also, I love the name Mable, I think it needs to make a comeback.

French Onion Soup
Serves 4

3 large onions, thinly sliced (or a whole mess of small ones)
1/2 cup butter
6 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices toasted French bread
1/4 cup (or more, lots more) Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (or both)

In a large cast iron skillet cook onions in butter until lightly browned (I did for about 45 minutes). In slow cooker, combine onions, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, or longer if need be. Preheat broiler. Ladle out soup into bowls, place a slice of toasted bread on top, sprinkle with cheese and broil until melted.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Oregano Oil

Salmon


What was I thinking? I've mentioned several times that I am a lazy cook. I am. My idea of cooking is mixing some ingredients, pouring it over something, popping that in the oven, and then sitting on the couch and flipping through a magazine. Then when a family member walks by and raises their eyebrow at my sitting on the couch, I respond indignantly, "What??? I'm cooking!" Really, that's my favorite way to cook. I should have known when I found this recipe that it was probably not for me. There are 12 words in the title alone!!! My recipes usually don't even have 12 ingredients, much less 12 words in the title.

But, it grabbed me. Words like..salmon, slow-roasted tomatoes, and lemon oregano oil. Words that should have grabbed me...3 1/4 hours start to finish. Sometimes those words are okay, if they are immediately followed with "largely unattended." And really, I guess you could say that this recipe was sort of largely unattended, but it didn't feel that way. I kept thinking I was finished with a step, but then I wasn't. It was basically like this: cut up tomatoes and put in roasting dish, go outside and cut and wash fresh oregano and basil (fret for a few minutes about what size leaves they are talking about), heat up oil in skillet for garlic and herbs, cook for 1-2 minutes (heating up a skillet to be used for just 1-2 minutes is not my idea of fun), pour over tomatoes, roast for 2 1/2 hours, think that the tomatoes are done, but no, you have strain the oil, chop some more oregano, zest and juice a lemon. Now the tomatoes are done, and yes they are good, but you get about 3-4 tablespoons of oil, for all of this work!!! Put tomatoes in fridge and lay down, you deserve it. Get up. Start to make couscous your normal way, realize that they want you to toast the couscous first. Toast couscous and prepare. Get salmon ready to roast. Roast salmon. It's not very attractive with all that fat oozing out, but plan on strategically covering it with tomatoes. Start to plate and realize that you still have to mince some black olives, realize that this recipe will probably never end.

Bookmarked


I know I've complained a lot, and you are probably wondering why I'm posting it. Well, one..it's pretty. And it was good. Not good enough to make it worth all the work, but still good. I know some of you don't mind work, and can probably take this recipe to levels that I can only dream about. And two..I had it bookmarked, which makes it a prime candidate for Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Ruth at Ruth's Kitchen Experiments. Oh, and I'm not typing in the recipe, as you can imagine it's long. It would take me as long to type it in as it took to make it. You can find it here: Wild Salmon with Pearl Couscous, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, and Lemon Oregano Oil at Epicurious. Yeah, I didn't have pearl couscous, so I used regular.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Moment to Marvel

Beets


Sometimes you just have to pause and admire the beauty.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peanut Noodles with Grilled Asian Chicken

peanut noodles


When I saw this recipe in Cuisine at Home's Weeknight Menus, I knew that I had to try it, because I can not pass up an Asian Peanuty sauced noodle recipe. I just can't. But I have to admit, I fudged a little with the title of this recipe. The magazine calls it, Grilled Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce. No where in the title of this recipe does it mention noodles. No where. So, I had to put noodles in the title. One..because that is what drew me to the recipe, and two...because I wanted to enter this in Presto Pasta Nights!!

Chicken


The recipe called for grilling the chicken. I have a love/hate relationship with my grill. Kind of like the relationship I have with my hair and my thighs. Though, after being off of school for the summer (and exercising every day), I kind of have an I-like-you-but-I'm-not-in-love-with-you relationship with my thighs right now. But anyway, my grilling skills are too iffy. Sometimes it's perfect and sometimes it's prefectly horrid. For those of you that can grill perfectly every time, feel free to smile smugly right now. You've earned the right.

Peanut Noodles with Grilled Asian Chicken
aka Grilled Asian Chicken with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4

For the chicken:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the peanuty noodles:
8 oz dry spaghetti (or your favorite asian noodles)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

Garnish with:
Cucumber Sambal (recipe follows)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat your grill to medium-high (or if you're a wimp like me, heat up some oil in your skillet); bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Combine the ingredients listed for the chicken in a medium bowl and toss with the chicken. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or saute in a skillet until cooked through. I browned mine for 2 minutes on one side over high heat, flipped the chicken, reduced the heat to medium, covered it and cooked it for 6-8 more minutes. Remove chicken and tent with a foil to keep warm.

Cook pasta according to past directions. Meanwhile, combine rest of pasta ingredients (except cilantro) in a pan over medium heat, whisking to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook 1-2 minutes. Add pasta to sauce and fresh cilantro, toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with the pasta and sambal; garnish with peanuts.

Cucumber Sambal
Makes 1 3/4 cups

1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


PPN


Toss all ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to serve. I didn't have scallions or red bell peppers. So I substituted chives and roasted red peppers.

This will be my entry for Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by one of my favorite bloggers, Katie at Thyme for Cooking.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

Pancakes


I had one last little harvest from my blueberry bushes. I needed to make something that didn't need a lot of blueberries, but still gave me a good blueberry ooomph! I thought about blueberry muffins or pancakes. Muffins would last longer and drag the blueberry reward over several days, but the pancakes were calling to me. My go-to pancake man is Bittman from How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. Normally, I make his basic pancakes, only I make the buttermilk version. Because..well...really...do I have to explain why buttermilk + pancakes = good? But this time I didn't have any buttermilk, so I had to make the regular basic pancakes. They were sooooo good! Of course, the blueberries helped. But really, I think I like the batter better and I think the pancakes came out fluffier than usual. Sorry, no dripping butter food porn shot, I could barely get a final shot before digging in!

Blueberry Pancakes


Basic Pancakes (Plus blueberries)
Makes 4 - 6 servings (unless you're us, in which case it made 3)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (Bittman says optional, I say it's a must)
plus unmelted butter for cooking
1 cup blueberries

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat while you make the batter.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs into 1 1/2 cups of milk (I just whisked), then stir in the the two tablespoons of melted butter. Gently stir this into the dry ingredients. Mix only enough to moisten the flour, don't worry about lumps. Add a little more milk if it seems really to dry. Fold in the blueberries.

If you're using a cast iron griddle like I was, you probably want to melt a little butter on it. If you're using nonstick, you don't have to, but you probably want to anyway! Ladle the pancakes into the size you want. You want to brown the bottoms for about 2 to 4 minutes. I always watch for bubbles to appear. Flip when the pancakes are browned on the bottom and brown the other side. Serve or hold in a 200F oven for about 15 minutes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea


If you don't have one of these in your garden, you just don'w know what you're missing! This one is actually a baby that we transplanted from the base of our original plant. We now have about five of these scattered around our yard, all from the original, huge shrub! Besides being a lazy cook, I am also a lazy gardener. I look for plants that give me the most reward with the least amount of work, and these really fit the bill! They have something to offer every season. In the spring the new leaves are a bright vibrant green, with a soft, downy white fuzz. Then in the summer, these full cone-shaped heads of flowers open up for several weeks of blooms. In the fall, the big oak-shaped leaves turn shades of deep crimson and magenta. The curling bark and the dried flower heads are beautiful in the winter garden.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Slow Cooked Pork Butt

Pork


A while back I bought a pork roast. I think it was a butt, but it could have been a shoulder, which could be the same thing, I don't know, I find the whole butt/shoulder thing confusing. So anyway, I bought it with the purpose of slow smoking it and using it for pulled pork. But it has languished in my freezer because I am too lazy to smoke it. And to understand how lazy I am, you have to understand that I have an electric smoker. I have to plug it in. Yep, I'm too lazy to plug it in. But really, even with just a plug, there is some work. I have to drag the smoker out onto a corner of the porch, I have to soak some chips, and fill up a little bowl with water, and plug it in. But then I have to watch it and see if I need more chips, and then there is all that clean up at the end. What I wanted was some lovely tender pork to use in some tacos, and maybe an enchilada or a quesadilla, without much work.

I offer you people some of the best pork ever! It totally fits my requirement of little effort, but big results. You end up with wonderfully flavored pork to use in whichever way you choose. I served it first with tacos and then the next day in a quesadilla, and I put a bag of it cooked and shredded back in my freezer for later. What I like about this is that the pork is just plain good! It's full of porky goodness, but not overspiced so you can really use it however you want. I have only one recommendation, after you put this in the slow cooker, leave. Leave your house. Do not hang around all day like I did. At about the four hour mark it starts smelling really good, at six hours it's unbelievable and at about the 8 hour mark you are ready to gnaw off your own arm.

Slow Cooked Pork Butt (or shoulder)(whatever)

4 lb (or so) pork butt
1 bottle of beer
3 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/2 - 1 cup of cilantro
kohser salt and fresh ground black pepper

Place pork in slow cooker. Add garlic (I didn't mince it, just sort of smushed it with the back of my knife), jalapeno pepper, cilantro (I just left it whole, didn't even chop it), and pour a beer over it all. Generously salt and pepper the pork. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours.

After cooking, remove meat from slow cooker, cook and shred. Use in your favorite recipe calling for cooked pork. You can strain and defat the sauce left in the slow cooker - it's just as amazing as the pork!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Insalata Caprese

Insalata Caprese


Insalata Caprese. Those two words make me sigh in a wonderful, contented manner. I don't even know what they mean, though a quick trip around the net, tells me know that they mean, salad in the style of Capri. Oh, Capri, I've never been, but I obviously love you.

This salad should be in everyone's summer repertoire. I don't measure anything, I just use however many tomatoes it takes to create a nice layer in my pretty tart dish. Then I slice some fresh mozzarella and insert it between the tomatoes and wedge in some basil leaves. I always hem and haw over the order...tomato, basil, mozzarella, or tomato, mozzarella, basil. I know it's silly, but it does give me a momentary pause. Then I drizzle with the best extra virgin olive oil that I can afford and liberally salt and pepper. Everyone loves this. Everyone. And it couldn't be any easier.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Orange and Thyme Grilled Shrimp

Orange and Thyme Grilled Shrimp


I have never had luck with growing thyme until this year. I finally read somewhere that the secret to growing it is to use it a lot. Keep it trimmed back and it rewards you with a lovely bushy, spreading little plant. Mine always used to get very woody and have a lot of die off in the winter. But now, the only hard part of growing thyme is using it! And gee..since thyme lends itself to just about every dish you could make, that shouldn't be too difficult, should it?

Hey, guess what??? I haven't bought a magazine in at least a week!! But I did preorder Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life. This is the first cookbook I've ever preordered and I have to say that it feels really good. It brings me a little bit of pleasure to know that in September, a new cookbook is coming my way! It's kind of like my own little present to myself. Where was I going with this...oh yeah, I haven't bought a magazine, so I've been looking through my latest Everyday Food, and one of the recipes I had marked to try was the Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp. I love this recipe! It's so simple and it really allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine through. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except that I didn't use light mayonnaise.

Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp
Serves 4

1 pound large shrimp (about 24), peeled and deveined, tails on
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grates
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup light mayonnaise

In a shallow dish, combine shrimp, 1 teaspoon zest, 1/4 cup juice, garlic, oil, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 8 hours). Soak eight 8-inch wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before cooking. I marinated in a ziplock bag, but it does look prettier marinating in a shallow dish!

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, remaining 1/2 teaspoon zest, remaining 1/4 cup juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme; season dipping sauce with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates. Thread shrimp onto skewers, and grill, turning once, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve shrimp with dipping sauce.


WHB


Pretty simple, huh? It's really very good and fresh tasting. This will be my entry this week for Weekend Herb Blogging created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. It is hosted this week by Archana of Archana's Kitchen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hot and Sticky Roast Quail

Quail


Okay people, stop, and say, "thank you, Pam." Did you stop? Did you say it? You are thanking me because I am sharing with you the most amazing flavored glaze ever! The last time I made quail, I overcooked it on the grill. I overcook a lot of things on the grill, it's a skill I've quite perfected. So, I knew I wanted to roast these, the oven is my friend. I searched my cookbooks, and then turned to my trusty friend, the internet. I found a recipe for Hot and Sticky Roast Quail by Nigel Slater. I have never made a Nigel Slater recipe before, but I will now do whatever this man tells me to do.

The glaze is unbelievably amazing. Staggeringly amazing. As I was making it (which I doubled so that I would have leftovers), I kept thinking the proportions seemed off. Too much cayenne pepper. Too much mustard. Shows how much I know! Don't question it, just do it. This was so good, that as I was wrapping up the leftovers, I actually was dragging my fingers through the glaze left in the pan and just slurping it up. I really could have licked the pan clean.

If you don't have quail, Nigel (don't you like how quickly I became on a first name basis with him) says that you can use chicken thighs. I think what is important here is the ratio of meat to glaze. You want lots of glaze, not so much meat. So, I'm thinking thighs or even wings. Oh, and see those roasted potatoes next to it. They are roasted in duck fat. OMG! Now, I understand what all the fuss is about. I could have made a meal of those potatoes. Seriously this whole meal was amazing and took about 10 minutes of prep. If I ever kill someone and go on death row, this is going to be my last meal, followed by something chocolate.

Nigel Slater's Hot and Sticky Roast Quail
Serves 2 (I recommend doubling or tripling, you're going to want lots of this)

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp groundnut oil (I used canola)
1 tsp ground cayenne
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tsp grainy mustard
4 oven-ready quail

Preheat the oven to 425F. Peel and crush the garlic, then mix with the oil, cayenne, lemon juice, soy, salt and mustard. Place the quail in a small roasting tin - they should not touch. Pour over the basting mixture so that the birds are soaked in it and some of it drizzles into the pan.

Roast the quail for twenty to twenty-five minutes, basting once (I didn't baste). Serve with pan glaze spooned over.


Bookmarked


As I had this bookmarked for several weeks, this will be my entry for Bookmarked Recipes hosted by Ruth at Ruth's Kitchen Experiments.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt


I have 3 blueberry bushes in my backyard. Let's just say that they are not the most prolific bushes in the world. We rarely get more than enough berries to toss on our morning granola for a couple of breakfasts. But this year is their best year yet. It's still not all that great, but I did get enough to try David Lebovitz's Blueberry Frozen Yogurt. A few days ago, I mentioned that I was working my way through Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments, I was only sort of halfway kidding. Really. I love this book! Though I am too lazy to make any of the unbelievably fantastic sounding recipes that involve tempering egg yolks and making a custard, I do have every single easy recipe marked. The blueberry frozen yogurt was one of those that I had bookmarked.

You know what I love about making my own (or David's, I should say) frozen yogurt?? It's the list of ingredients: yogurt, sugar, blueberries, kirsch,and lemon juice. Nothing mysterious, nothing that I can't pronounce. And look at that color! You can't get gorgeous color like that from some dye. Well, maybe you can, but why would you want to. And the flavor! While eating it, I told my husband, "this is the most blueberry-ish tasting blueberry thing I've ever eaten." Yeah, I have a way with words.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon kirsch
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, sugar, and blueberries. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds. (Note, I didn't even realize blueberries had seeds, and I was going to skip this step. But, wow, mine had a lot of seeds, and I'm glad I did strain it). Stir in the kirsch and the lemon juice and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Freeze in your favorite ice cream maker per their instructions. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lovage!

Bouquet Garni


Once upon a time, I asked my husband to pick up some herbs for me, while he was doing his usual Saturday run to the home improvement store. The only herbs that I replant each year are basil and dill, since my rosemary, fennel, thyme, tarragon, and oregano come back every year. He returns with basil, but they didn't have any dill, so he gets lovage. He's all happy with himself for getting the lovage. I think he's crazy, I've never even heard of lovage. I completely ignored it, it grew nice and tall, flowered, and comes back every year. It's a pretty herb, but as not a single recipe of mine has ever called for it, it sits pretty much unappreciated in my herb garden. Well, since this is my official summer of the herbs, I did a little research on lovage. It smells and tastes almost exactly like celery and it turns out that what we usually think of as celery seed is actually lovage seeds!

I was making a pot of beans the other day to store in containers in the freezer. I went out the herb garden to pick some herbs for my bouquet garni, and finally remembered to try some of the lovage. It was wonderful! It added a subtle, really nice depth of flavor to the beans. Also included in this bouquet garni are parsley, sage, thyme (the whole time I was singing..."parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme")(and if you know the song I'm talking about, what are you, old like me?) (and I so wanted to use the rosemary, just because of the song, but I was afraid it would add too strong of a flavor). So, what are you waiting on people, grow some lovage! And if you've been using this herb forever, and have a lot of great ideas, please post them in the comments! Oh, and p.s., the lovage is the herb with the bigger leaves, in the above picture.

WHB


This will be my entry this week for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Simona from Briciole.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SpicyThai Sausage and Cabbage Pasta

Thai Sausage Pasta


One of the challenges of belonging to a CSA is trying to decide what to do with the vegetables. Eating locally and in season, most likely, means eating the same things for several weeks in a row. We have been getting adorable little cabbages and I've used it every way imaginable. Truth be told, I was getting a little tired of the cabbages, I had all ready made larb, twice, and slaw at least a billion times. My go-to dish is always pasta. Really is there anything so malleable as pasta?

I had some spicy thai chicken sausage in my freezer. And for those of you who came here hoping that I was going to show you how to make spicy thai chicken sausage, I'm afraid, that it was purchased. But when it tastes as good as this sausage, I really can't be bothered to make it myself. Though I do have the handy dandy sausage attachment for my mixer and have cranked out a homemade sausage or two in the past.

This dish is so similar to my other pasta dishes it's embarrassing, but yet it came out totally different, since I took it in sort of an Asian slant. To add a little extra something at the end, I topped it with toasted sesame seeds. I have to say that I think they made a huge difference, kind of like a little fresh salsa or pesto really perks up a dish, the toasted sesame seeds added a lot of flavor. I have got to remember to add these final touches, sometimes they really make a dish.

Spicy Thai Sausage and Cabbage Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 pound linguine (or whatever you have in the pantry)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb spicy thai chicken sausage (or your favorite kind of sausage)
3-4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (a mix of purple and green is pretty)
1/4 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling salted water, per package directions.

In a large skillet brown the sausage, breaking it up as it browns over medium high heat. Remove to a bowl. Add onion and garlic to pan in the reserved sausage grease (if needed add a little canola oil, I didn't need to). Saute for about 3 minutes until onion starts to soften. Add cabbage to pan. Saute for about 2 minutes until cabbage becomes glossy, add chicken stock, cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes until cabbage is crisp tender. Remove lid (be careful of the steam!) and add the sausage back in. Stir to combine.

While the flavors are blending, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium high heat, until they turn golden. Add drained pasta to skillet (I like to just scoop it out, so that a little pasta water clings to it, and kind of thickens the sauce). Toss pasta with the cabbage sausage mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds.


Presto Pasta Nights


This was pretty taste and really quick and easy. The sausage is really well flavored so I didn't even have to add any extra seasonings, other than the garlic. This will be my entry for the weeks Presto Pasta Nights , hosted this week by Gay at A Scientist in the Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Adam, David, and Mike's Cherry Frozen Yogurt

Cherry Frozen Yogurt


Mike posted this entry for Cherry Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Stracciatella on June 24th. The date on my picture of my cherry frozen yogurt is June 25th! After one look at his pictures, I'm telling you, I made sure this frozen yogurt appeared in my house! This was probably one of the most intelligent decisions of my life, because let me tell you, this was the best frozen yogurt, best frozen anything, that I've ever eaten! It was amazing! I can't begin to say enough good things about it. I kind of took Mike's recipe, which came from David, which really began with Adam (I think I have that clear, but I could be totally confused).

Sour Cherry Frozen Yogurt
Makes about 3 cups

3 cups sour cherries (unpitted), I just used Bing, because that's all I could find
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 drops almond extract
1 T Kirsch (cherry brandy, my modification)
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate

Stem and pit the cherries. Note...see picture below. Put them in a medium, non reactive pot with the sugar. Cover them and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring to really get the cherry juices flowing. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. (I used an ice bath).

Puree the cherries and their juices in the blender with the yogurt, almond extract, and Kirsch until smooth. Chill for 2 hours.

Place in your ice cream maker and begin processing according to your manufacturers instructions. While this is cranking away, begin melting your chocolate using your favorite chocolate melting method. (I use the microwave, because I am lazy). A couple of minutes before your frozen yogurt is done, drizzle in the chocolate so that it forms tiny streams of chocolate (sort of like egg drop soup). Don't do what I did, which is drop most of it against the side of the freezer bowl, where it immediately hardens. Still, if you do, just scrape it off and mix it in the yogurt, believe me, no one will care if it is not perfect!


Note: This is messy. Mike used a cutting board, and said that using a cherry pitter would have been easier. I'm not sure. Cherry juice was everywhere! I even tried holding the it way down in my sink. I think next time (and there will be a next time), I will just wear something old and go outside and do it.

Mess


I am seriously working my way through Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it!

Scoop


And guess what, this is my entry (better late than never!) for Mike at Mike's Table event You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend Herb Blogging Round Up #140

WHB


I am so delighted to be this week's host for Weekend Herb Blogging! I hope everyone (in the US) had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Don't you love when holidays fall on, or really near, a weekend? So much better than a Wednesday or Tuesday! Anyway, without further ado, let's begin the round up shall we?

First up is Gwen from Intoxicated Zodiac. To help Gemini's recover from their birthday month, she posts the most fabulous cleansing cocktail called a Celery Sipper. It's made with gin, and limoncello, and celery, and parsley, and all kinds of good stuff, you really must check it out!

Celery Sipper


Have you ever used watermelon in a savory dish? I haven't, but the following submission definitely makes me want to try it! It is Watermelon Curry with Cucumber. Wait till you see the size of the watermelon! This is brought to us by TS and JS from (eatingclub)Vancouver.

Watermelon curry


Is there anyone nicer than Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi? I don't think so! Their Fundraiser for Briana has been a wonderful and heartwarming success, but then we knew food bloggers were nice, didn't we? Their Baby Carrots and Homegrown Roasted Veggies is such wonderfully simple way to enjoy the goodness of baby veggies.

Roasted Baby Veggies


Did you know that Willie Nelson had a famous recipe for chocolate banana bread? I didn't. Nora at Life's Smorgasbord, brings us this absolutely to-die-for bread, or is it a cake, you decide.

Chocolate Banana Bread


You know that I have to love Virginie from Absolutely Green. Why do I love her, you might ask? Well, she used my very favorite herb, cilantro, and not just one way, but two ways!!! Her Tarinade verte aux deux coriandres or Green Spread with Two Corianders is so simple and sounds so fabulous! Really, I love her.

Tarinade verte aux deux coriandres


I love learning something new, don't you? So, when I received an entry from Maria at Organically Cooked entitled Vlita Pita with Homemade Pastry, I was intrigued. I mean I know what a pita is, and I know what pastry is, and I know what homemade means, but what the heck is vlita? Follow the link, and read and learn and admire her precious daughter!

Vlita Pita


When I saw that Srivalli from Cooking 4 All Seasons had a link to cluster beans, in her post titled, Cluster Beans with Tur Dal Medium Saute, I followed the link. I have never heard of cluster beans, but it turns out they are used to make guar gum! It says that it is mostly grown in India, I wonder if I can find it anywhere around here.

Cluster Beans


Dani from The Kitchen Playground brings us a Brussel Sprout Quiche that will make even people who aren't too sure about Brussel Sprouts (like me) sit up and take notice!

Brussel Sprout Quiche


The Chocolate Lady (my very favorite name ever) from Mol Araan offers a post cleverly titled Peas de Resistance with a recipe for Peas with Pistachio and Parsley Sauce. I'm not really a pea person, but I love the alliteration in the title of the recipe (I know I'm easily amused by such things), and the combination of peas and pistachios sounds really good!

Peas with Pistchio and Parsley Sauce


With everyone trying to eat healthier these days, this next entry could not be more perfect. Mansi from Fun and Food tells us how to make a gloriously healthy snack Handvo-Vegetable Cornmeal Cake. It is loaded with healthy vegetables!

Handvo-Healthy Vegetable Cornmeal Cake


Syrie from Taste Buddies is addicted to this Raw Broccoli Salad. After a read through of the recipe, I can see why! Isn't it pretty?

Raw Broccoli Salad


Sometimes all I have to read is a word or two in the title of a recipe and I know it's for me. Arfi from HomeMadeS, had me at Gruyere and Gratin with this Donna's Silver Beet and Pumpkin Gruyere Gratin .

Silver Beet and Pumpkin Gruyere Gratin


I am so pleased to bring you our next entry from Stickyfingers at Deep Dish Dreams! This is her first time entering Weekend Herb Blogging! Please go and look at her fabulous Likin' Daikon - Char Kway Kak and give her a warm WHB welcome!

Char Kway Kak


You know how sometimes you just have to have something cheesy and creamy? Well, the lovely and talented creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen has just the thing for you with her entry. She calls it Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill, I call it must have some soon.

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill


I all ready love Chris from Melle Cotte, so she didn't have to go an use my favorite herb, cilantro. But she did, boy did she, with Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho!

Gazpacho


Sue at Coffee & Cornbread has an informative and yummy looking entry all about Texas Tarragon. Her Crustless Zucchini Quiche would probably even sway my zucchini-hating-but-cheese-loving daughter!

Tarragon Crustless Zucchini Quiche


Sra from When My Soup Came Alive really wows me with the most beautiful vegetable curry ever, Mixed Vegetable Curry. If you can tear your eyes away from the gorgeous curry, be sure and read the entertaining introduction!

Mixed Vegetable Curry


I just recently discovered Wandering Chopsticks and within just a few minutes of browsing, quickly added it to me reader feeds. Just look at the wonderfully simple and unbelievably beautiful Chinese Steamed Oysters with Black Bean and Scallion Sauce.

Chinese Steamed Oysters with Black Bean and Scallion Sauce


Sherra from Our Taste of Life showcases a healthy steamed dish using tilapia and sayote tops. I've never tried sayote tops, but this sounds good, Steamed Tilapia Fillet on Sayote Tops Ensalada.

Steamed Tilapia Fillet on Sayote Tops Ensalada


I have always been curious about miso, and purchased some from my local grocery store. I wanted something simple and Ning from Heart and Hearth has the perfect recipe for me to try, her Fish with Miso Glaze sounds absolutely great for my first foray!

Fish with Miso Glaze


Anna from Morsels & Musings has posted an entire week of blueberry recipes! She uses them in a lovely sounding Venison with Juniper, Blueberries and Thyme from Jamie Oliver.

Venison with Juniper, Blueberries, and Thyme


Zora from Kochtopf features an eggplant recipe Crumbed and Grilled Eggplant, that is just drop-dead fantastic looking! Lucky Zora gets to harvest her own fresh eggplants every two or three days!

Crumbed and Grilled Eggplant


I am so jealous of Haalo at Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once!! You have got to check out her meyer lemons! I have never even had a meyer lemon, and I am positively eaten up with envy! She showcases these incredible lemons in her Meyer Marmalade.

Meyer Marmalade


Katie from Thyme for Cooking gives us a healthy recipe using garlic chives (which if you don't grow them, you really should, they grow abundantly, and as Katie points out, are actually really, really good for us), Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Hummus Dressing.

Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Hummus Dressing


I love the name of Natasha's blog, Living in the Kitchen with Puppies! Doesn't that make you want to sit down with a nice cup of tea and read through every single post? Natasha plays matchmaker this week with Strawberries and Basil. The pasta looks great, but I'm telling you that cocktail is really calling to me!

Strawberry and Basil Summer Cocktail


Magpie at je le vous diraiscalls her
Roasted Mei Quin Choy (Baby Bok Choy) a non-recipe! But I call it just-the-kind-of-recipe-that-I-love! Simple and tasty!

Roasted Mie Quin Choy (Baby Bok Choy)


Pam (gotta love that name) from The Backyard Pizzeria has really wowed me with her, fresh from the backyard, fennel and she puts it to fabulous use in her Fish and Fresh Fennel Tagine.

Fish Fresh and Fennel Tagine


I have had some interesting strawberry recipes this week and Jerry at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants comes through with a Strawberry and Cream Cheesecake . What's so unusual about a strawberry and cream cheesecake, you might ask, well as Jerry explains, these strawberries are roasted! The roasting really concentrates the flavor!

Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake


Sher at What Did You Eat? is trying to stay positive while coping with anemia. She should feel pretty positive about her lovely Lentil and Spinach Patties!

Lentil and Spinach Patties


Windy from Windy's Food Corner hasn't been blogging for a while, but she comes back with the prettiest rustic Rhubarb Pie. I love it when crust is all folded over like that!

Rhubarb Pie


If, like me, you love growing lavender, then you must go see Chriesi at Almond Corner. She tells all about lavender and it's many uses, including lavender sugar, lavender vinegar, and lavender syrup.

Lavender Sugar


Christine at Kits Chow explains two different ways to make her Ginger Scallion Sauce, the dangerous way and the not dangerous way! I have only two things to say: one - I'm making this the not dangerous way and two - why have I never made this before???

Ginger Scallion Sauce


Oh my gosh, you're not going to believe this! On second thought, regrettably this is probably very believable. Last night while I was taking my shower, feeling all pleased with myself for getting this all finished and ready to post bright and early Monday morning, I realized I hadn't done my own entry! How funny would that have been if I hadn't included myself! My entry for this week was a Buttermilk and Herb Chicken. Keep it simple, that's my motto!

Buttermilk and Herb Chicken


And that's all folks! Wasn't this an amazing roundup! Everyone is so talented and it all looks, and sounds, so good! If you'd like to join Weekend Herb Blogging, and my goodness, you know you do, please read the New Rules. With these new rules, Kalyn, the lovely and talented author of Kalyn's Kitchen and creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, is helping us stay focused on using herbs and unusual plant ingredients. Next week, Simona from Briciole will be hosting.