I have to tell you that I never thought I would be writing about sausage. I know guys love it, so maybe I’ll have more manly men reading my post this week :0). My mother might say that it’s vulgar, but I just have to tell you about my new fascination with FRESH sausage (I know that sounds funny, keep adult commentary to yourselves).
Back to the kitchen…it’s easy to get very bored when you’re first learning how to cook, so I’m always looking to try new things – something other than chicken breast, you know? Last month, I was cruising the meats section of my supermarket and noticed some fresh Italian sausage on sale, next to fresh andouille and fresh chorizo. I grabbed a couple packs and headed home to experiment. After an easy 12-minute boil for the Italian sausage, I threw it into Deborah Dal Fovo’s spaghetti al pomodoro recipe. The next night, we made German-Style grilled sausage and mashed potatoes! SO DELICIOUS! The andouille was used in an awesome egg scramble for brunch and the chorizo, home-style burritos. Now, we make a sausage meal about once a week. Really easy, since the sausages come wonderfully seasoned and it’s great to buy them fresh (less preservatives and all that stuff)!
Here’s a favorite savory sausage recipe variation from a Kiwi cookbook I bought while traveling in New Zealand a few years ago:
- 6 pork sausages
- 1 large onion
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 ounce malt vinegar (30 ml)
- 1 cooking apple
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 ounce Worcester sauce (15 ml)
- 5 ounces water (150 ml)
Coarsely chop apple, onion and place in casserole dish. Mix in other ingredients and submerge sausage in the mixture. Cover and slow cook at 250 degrees F for 2 hours. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and green beans or peas.
You’re on a mission. You want to cook more. You want to eat more fresh food. Everybody is telling you it’s better for you – the media, your yoga teacher, and the little voice inside your head! So, you finally get to the grocery store or Farmer’s Market and everyone seems to know what they’re doing in the fresh produce aisle – except you. The veggies look pretty and sound familiar – parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, kale, beetroots, fennel – but you’re not used to seeing them in their true state and you don’t know what to do with them. What to do?
I’ll tell you what really worked for me. For a while I heard about Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) or Farmer Co-ops, where fresh and in-season fruits, veggies and other organic foods (eggs/meats in some cases) are delivered to your doorstep. For those of us who use “not having enough time” as an excuse to not cook, this is a great option for you! I signed up with a local CSA, http://www.eatwiththeseasons.com/ and it is awesome. I get to choose from a weekly menu of in-season goodies and they get delivered right to my doorstep. If you want to get into the rhythm of cooking and eating more veggies, this is a great way to get yourself to learn about, and enjoy new foods – without excuses. Give it a try! Here are some tips to get you going:
- Think small. Pick the smallest bundle/box for starters. It’s usually more than enough for 2 people.
- Eat up. Make it a goal to get through all your goodies in one week.
- Follow the leader. Most farmers offer recipes with your produce. Try them.
- Show off. Invite friends over and make something yummy using fresh produce. Tell them about where the food comes from over a nice glass of wine. You’ll impress yourself ;0).
- Enjoy. You’ll feel like you’re part of a new community, and you are. So, enjoy the process and your veggies!
How do you find a local CSA? Enter your zip code and voila.
So we have about a month of pumpkin recipes to go before they seem “so last season.” I, personally never get tired of everything pumpkin this time of year, especially pumpkin-spiced recipes. Maybe it’s because I LOVE the Fall – even if “Fall” seems to be the shortest season these days.
Here’s a good one I came up with while in search of inspiration for a new week’s worth of home cooking. As I was flipping through a stack of food magazines (more fun than searching for recipes online), a pumpkin whipped cream recipe in Food & Wine caught my eye and led me to crave a Spiked Pumpkin Coffee! Try this adult beverage for some fall-inspired fun:
Tuaca & Pumpkin Cream:
- 2 1/2 oz hot coffee
- 1 1/2 oz Tuaca
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 oz pumpkin cream
Pumpkin Whipped Cream: Beat together 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin puree until soft peaks form (thanks Food & Wine Magazine).
As for technique: Pour your hot coffee into a pre-heated coffee glass or mug (al la Buena Vista). Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Add Tuaca and top with your homemade pumpkin cream. Voila.
Inspiration works in mysterious ways. Yummy!
Roots of a Clueless Cook
I want to hear from all my fellow clueless friends out there. Is your kitchen the least used room in your house or apartment? Are you finally getting tired of eating out or microwaving dinner almost every night? Are you feeling the pinch of eating out but the idea of cooking a meal exhausts you because you just don’t get the kitchen?
Tell me your story. I want to know why you don’t cook. Here’s mine:
I was raised by my grandmas, who are still amazing cooks. Problem is, they spoiled me and thought they were doing me a favor by serving me delicious food, cleaning up after me and not letting me in the kitchen. Mom was proud to admit that she burned popcorn. Working all the time – cooking was something she didn’t “do.” With this background and living near NYC, I became obsessed with restaurants in my teens – a restauranteur Greek boyfriend may have helped that passion along. Quickly growing into NYC-bred work-aholism, eating out became the norm. Flash-forward 15 years and I’m in my 30’s, newlywed, who knows about all the great restaurants – but exhausted of eating out and burning food at home. I am on a mission to help put a dent in this epidemic!
My theory is that people like me, who don’t cook, don’t do “it” because we don’t know where to begin, don’t know “how” to do “it.” I bet if we knew the basics, like basic French or Spanish, per se, we’d speak and cook a little more often – maybe travel more.
Anyway – not to get off track: Are You Clueless in The Kitchen? Please tell me about it and examine the root.