Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sausage, Kale, and Barley Stew

I made a few changes to the recipe card that was in my veg box, which included a large bunch of cavolo nero, and this is what we ended up with.  A delicious and heartily filling stew that everyone loved.

oil for frying
6-8 sausages (I used a mild Italian, but an apple variety or a traditional English banger would be nice)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup barley
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock (start with four and use more as needed as the barley cooks)
salt and pepper to taste
large bunch cavolo nero or other kale, leaves stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large pan.  Add the sausages and fry, turning now and then, until nicely browned all over.  Remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and let it heat up.  Add onion and carrots and fry on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until softened.  Add the barley, stir for a minute, then add the rosemary and stock.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, partially covered.  Return the sausages to the pan and simmer for another 20 minutes, partially covered.  Add chopped kale and simmer until wilted, 5-10 minutes, uncovered.  Add more stock a little bit at a time if the pan is getting too dry.  Check seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed, and serve hot with a crusty loaf.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Curried Carrot, Lentil and Coriander Soup

Making soup for my family is hit and miss.  Even if I place an enticingly warm baguette on the table, I never know how my little gingersnaps will respond.  Thankfully, this nutritious and tasty soup went over great and was a big hit!  The recipe came in our veg box, along with bright orange carrots and potent onions that went straight to the pot!  Personally, I prefer a bit of texture in my soup instead of blitzing the entire batch in my Vitamix before serving.  But it seemed to work with this one so I'll just go with it next time.  Make sure you use a good quality stock and season well.

2 Tbsp oil
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1 Tbsp curry powder
4-5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
15oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
handful fresh coriander (or cilantro), chopped
plain yogurt to serve, optional

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the onion and gently fry for 7-8 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and carrots and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes and bay leaf.  Season.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the carrots are tender.  Add the coriander then blitz in a blender.  Check the seasoning and serve with a dollop of greek yogurt.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Overnight Egg Sandwiches

I'm all about make-ahead breakfast recipes.  I saw this in a Penzeys magazine and knew it would be a hit.  Similar to a breakfast casserole or soufflĂ©, you can cater the "filling" to your family's taste.  This recipe makes a full 9x13 pan, but the leftovers were good again the second day with a little help from the toaster oven.  

10-12 slices sandwich bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups shredded cheese - your choice
10 large eggs
2 1/2 - 3 cups milk (the amount of milk should be roughly equal to the volume of eggs)
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp seasoning of your choice (I used Italian)

Optional Ingredients - pick and choose to suit those at your table:
1/2 lb. cooked, cumbled bacon
1/2 lb. cooked, crumbled sausage
1 small onion, minced
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup diced cooked vegetables like bell pepper, broccoli, leek, corn

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Butter one side of the bread slices.  Cover the bottom of the dish with the bread butter-side-up.  Put the cheese and other fillings on top of the bread.  Add another layer of buttered bread.  Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and seasonings together thoroughly.  Pour over the bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Take the baking dish out of the fridge and place in a COLD oven.  Set the temperature for 350F and bake uncovered of ragout 1 hour.  It'll get golden brown and puffy, kind of like a soufflĂ©.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Dip

I had a photo to go with this, but who knows when I'll get around to actually downloading and getting it on here.  And I'd hate for you to have to wait any longer to try out this festive dip.  Yum!

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
dash of cloves
caramel sauce to drizzle on top (optional)
graham crackers of gingersnap cookies for dipping

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on low speed, blend together cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined, then increase mixer to medium and beat for 1 minute until smooth and fluffy.  Add in pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and mix until well blended and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.  Drizzle with caramel sauce, if using, and serve with crackers or cookies.  Store in refrigerator in an airtight container (if there's any left!).

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