Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sausage Memories

When I was in High School, there was a little restaurant down the street from my school that served the best breakfast sausage I have ever had. They were big, thin patties and lots of paprika and pepper in them. They were a little orangish from all the spice. To this day I have yet to find any that rivaled theirs. The place was called Clown Galley and it was creepy as fuck with all the clown paintings and statues and shit but, hands down, best breakfast in town. Just dont go in stoned (ah, high school days). HA HA! The place is long gone and is now a chinese restaurant but I still long for that breakfast sausage. I have been using a spice blend from Penzey's for the past few years and it is good but today I decided to try making my own. Here is my mix:

Basic Breakfast Sausage
 
2 pounds ground pork
1/4 C (loose) brown sugar
1Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp bells poultry seasoning
2 tsp hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground sage

Mix well and fry. I did a quick test by nuking a little bit of the mix. I totally overcooked it but it tasted pretty good. I am sure I will be tweaking this the more I use it but it's nice to have a base recipe to work with!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Sausage, Cheese, and Mushrooms

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. Ours was nice albeit smaller than in years past. Everybody seemed to be broke as hell this year. Let's hope things start looking up this new year. One of the new recipes I tried this year was a sausage stuffed mushroom recipe. As usual, I had way more filling than I could fit in the caps so I came up with this recipe as a means to use up all the leftover filling. I have to say it came our great. Both hubby and I really enjoyed the end product served with rice and leftover Christmas vegetables (I had green beans and he had corn).

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Sausage Mushrooms and Cheese
 
 NOTE: The filling recipe was used to stuff 2 packages of mini portabella mushroon caps (Fill caps and bake at 350F for 20 minutes) with the leftover filling sufficient to stuff 2 chicken breasts.

For the Filling
2/3 brick cream cheese
1/2 pound sausage (I used Jone's Brand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 Cup portabella mushroom stems, chopped
1/4 Cup white wine
2-3 dashes worcestershire sauce
1/4 Cup romano cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp black pepper

Brown sausage in a skillet, breaking into small pieces, until cooked through. Drain and place sausage in a bowl to cool.
Return skillet to stove and saute mushrooms, leeks and garlic over low heat until soft. Add worcestershire sauce
Deglaze with white wine and let wine cook away
When wine has evaporated, transfer vegetables to bowl with sausage and let cool.
Once cooled, stir in cheeses, egg, and black pepper until fully incorporated.

For the Chicken
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
1 rasher of sliced bacon

Butterfly each chicken breast and pound until a uniform 1/4 inch thickness
Spread filling mixture on chicken breasts leaving 1/4 inch allowance along one edge.
Roll chicken breasts towards the edge with the allowance to keep filling from squishing out
Carefully wrap the rolled breast with strips of bacon to keep them from unrolling. Secure with toothpick where needed

Place bacon wrapped chicken breasts on a rack in a roasting pan and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.
When chicken is almost done, turn on broiler and broil until bacon is crisp. Turn bundles over and continue to broil the underside until bacon is crisp. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016

This year started full of hope and anticipation and it is leaving like the bastard motherfucker it turned out to be. I know this year has been a hell of a lot worse for many than it was for us but I still am happy to see it end. It seems this year just threw every curve ball in its arsenal at us and isn't going to stop until the very end. Office closings, new car payments (because BOTH vehicles died), shitty or nonexistent  pay raises, looming surgeries and on and on and on. GAH! I would say 2017 can't possibly be worse, but we all know that isn't true and I don't want to jinx myself. BUT on the plus side, we all survived the holidays. We have a roof over our heads, food in our pantry's and are in relatively good health so we will keep counting those blessings and hope for a prosperous 2017. Oh and check out my epic Christmas cheese plate.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Humble Pie

So, I FINALLY got a service technician out here to look at my oven. Turns out the idiots who installed it didn't do the LP conversion properly. Not only did they do it wrong the first time but they also couldn't figure out they did it wrong when I called them to check it. MORONS! The service tech who came today took all of 5 minutes to figure out the problem. Now I feel bad for screaming at all those telephone operators at LG. Their customer service really is horrible but after a week and a half of jumping through their hoops, my oven appears to be OK. It did take about 2 hours of scrubbing to get the soot off the inside of it. There is still some but I got 95% of it off. I am exhausted now.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Life is NOT Good with LG

So, my brand new LG oven got red tagged by the gas company this week. The convection oven was producing soot and carbon monoxide. The gas company checked the installation and deemed it a manufacturing defect. It is still under warranty so I called Sears since they sold it to me, who then said I had to call LG directly. LG is the WORST appliance company to deal with regards to service. I had to call them 3 times for authorized service providers to repair it and none will travel to where I live. So, now They are supposed to take 3-5 business days to find somebody to fix it. If that doesn't work then I don't know what will happen. They will likely stall me until the warranty runs out in February. I should have listened to that sales kid and bought American! Next time I will! FUCK YOU LG!

I should mention that the oven is a double oven and I can still use the top oven BUT the ham I bought for Christmas dinner won't fit in it. Thankfully I have wonderful neighbors who will let me use theirs if I need to. Still, FUCK YOU LG!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Simple and Delicious

So, my work has been crazy lately. Lots of travel and hurry up and wait going on. It is exhausting. So last night I managed to crank out a really nice dinner for myself (hubs was on the road) without too much effort AND while simultaneously assisting co-workers with report edits. Sometimes I amaze myself with my multi-tasking prowess. It all started with a steak that I had marinating in the fridge. I intended to cook it Sunday but that didn't happen so it was ready for cooking yesterday. The marinade was a store brand balsamic vinaigrette - Wishbone I think.  I seared both sides in a cast iron pan and threw it in a preheated 350F oven. After a couple minutes my phone starting ringing with work stuff and I knew I would not be able to keep an eye on the steak so I turned the oven off and address the work stuff. The steak was fairly thick and it needed a tad more time than most steaks so I wasn't too concerned about neglecting it for a bit as long as the oven was off. I then transferred the left over marinade to a frying pan and cooked it with a tsp of garlic powder and half a container of cherry tomatoes. I let that cook over medium heat until the tomatoes were soft. I then squished the tomatoes with a spatula to get them to give up their juices. Another five minutes or so and they were done. I then sliced the steak thinly and served it over a plate of fresh hot polenta (cooked with water, milk and chicken base) and poured the tomato mixture over. After a 2 day bath, the steak really had picked up the flavors of the marinade quite nicely and those flavors carried over to the tomatoes. It was so good I went back for seconds.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Flavor of the Season

I am not one to buy into fads. Here in New England in the Fall it is pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! I like pumpkin. I don't LOOOVE it.  I am not a big fan of it in pie and certainly don't want it in my coffee. Pumpkin muffins and cakes on the other hand.....YUM! Today I baked and pureed my first pumpkin. I got it from my CSA and, after reading that the canned stuff isn't really pumpkin at all, I decided to try and make my own pumpkin puree from scratch. Turns out it is super easy AND the resulting baked goods turned out delicious. This recipe certainly doesn't require freshly roasted pumpkin but if you have one on hand use it! You won't be disappointed.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopee Pie with Maple Whiskey Cream Filling



1/2 C butter
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs Cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs heavy cream

Pre heat oven to 350F

In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugars, add pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add eggs vanilla and cream to mixer. Gradually add dry ingredients until incorporated. Spoon batter onto cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes until a toothpick come out clean. Let cool and fill cookies with 1/2 recipe of Maple whiskey cream filling (Click here for recipe). Makes about 1 dozen whoopee pies.