Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trying New Things

Last week I stumbled on a recipe blog that I REALLY like. It is called "The Cozy Apron". The recipes all sound SO good and are worth scrolling through the long narratives to get to them. Thankfully you can go right to a recipe index and zoom in on the things that really sound good to you.  I saw two that really spoke to me because I had nearly all of the ingredients on hand and begging to be used. I HIGHLY recommend these recipes. They are delicious, fairly easy to prepare and perfect for the Fall and Thanksgiving season. Click on the recipe titles to be magically transported to the full recipes! The first recipe I tried was Autumn Lasagna with Creamy Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic sauce with Sage Seasoned Ground Turkey, Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese. It's a mouthful I know but so delicious!

Actually, now that I think about it, I may have forgotten to add the sage. Oh well, it was still really good. The squash sauce was so good I ate the extra the next day like a really thick soup. MMMMM! husband, true to form and fearing that which is not familiar, poo-pooed it at first but was quickly converted to a lover of this dish in one bite. My only disappointment was that the fresh lasagna sheets that I bought during my last trip to NYC had molded so I had to use the dried boxed stuff for this preparation. Never fear for I shall return to Little Italy and make this again with the good fresh stuff. I

The second Recipe I tried was Golden Torn Bread Dressing with Four Cheeses and Spicy Italian Sausage. I was planning on roasting a chicken so it seemed like the perfect time to try it. Look how yummy this looks!

I pretty much stuck to the recipe as is but I did add a small finely chopped carrot to the vegetable mix. I like carrots. I also did not make the cream gravy, opting to make a simple pan gravy since, by than time, I had already been cooking for half of the day, LOL! WOW, it was good! So good that I have decided to make it again for Thanksgiving instead of the traditional boxed stuff that everyone loves so much. This recipe makes quite a lot so be sure to invite friends and family over to partake in it! Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cabbages Cabbages YUM, YUM, YUM; Cabbages Cabbages GIMMIE SOME!

So, my final CSA share came with a HUMONGOUS cabbage in it. I LOVE cabbage although nobody else in my house does. Well, I aim to change that! First I made soup, oh lord did I make soup! About 2 or so gallons to be exact and I STILL had cabbage left! Then I made some Caramelized Cabbage with Speck over Cheesy Polenta and I STILL have cabbage left! That last bit i indent to use to make the polenta again because it was just that good! Comfort food at it's finest and perfect for a chilly Fall afternoon. I think you should try them both!

Erika's Fall Cabbage Soup for a Crowd

2-3 Tbs oil (vegetable, olive, whatever)
2-3 lbs Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
4 large cloves garlic
4 large celery stalks, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
3 large cans tomato puree
1 bottle apple juice (medium sized)
1 head cabbage chopped
1 pound carrots, sliced thin
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
Salt to taste

Saute sausage, onion, garlic, celery and pepper until sausage is cooked and vegetables are soft. Add tomato puree and apple juice and bring to a simmer. Add cabbage, carrots and Italian seasoning and allow to simmer, covered, until cabbage is soft. Salt to taste.

This tastes even better the second day!

Caramelized Cabbage with Speck over Cheesy Polenta

2 Tbs oil
4-5 slices speck, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch dried rosemary
2 Cups chopped cabbage
2 Tbs white wine
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 C polenta
2 Tbs butter
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup half and half
2-3 oz cheese (I used cheddar and Gruyere), grated
Salt to taste

For the Cabbage

Heat the oil in a wide, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the speck, garlic and rosemary and saute until the speck is crispy and the garlic is soft. Add the cabbage, and wine and toss to coat thoroughly. Continue sauteing until cabbage begins to caramelize, adding a little more white wine whenever the cabbage seems too dry. Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl over polenta.
For the Polenta

Add butter and chicken broth to a stock pot and heat to a boil. Add polenta and half and half and reduce heat to a simmer stirring constantly until polenta it soft. Stir in cheese(s). Salt to taste