Tag Archives: Italian

Sausage and Kale with Spaghetti Squash

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I write to you as a serious grown up, sitting here in my apartment, roommate less for another week, reflecting on life and shifting all the much-loved time with my roommate to some really productive things. I’ve taken to actually watering my one plant, cleaning my room, paying bills and running errands that most people take care of within a few days of needing something but usually take me months.

There’ve been some important conversations and revelations with my friends. To my dismay, I found out that one of my closest friends prefers the cardboard flavored animal cracker to the quite conveniently transportable AND fashionable AND delicious barnum & bailey animal cracker box which we’ve decided are really “animal cookies.” While I find her opinions to be wrong, I’m glad we can be honest about these things.

On the positive side, Jason DeRulo has two new songs out, I’m going to the lake this weekend and this spaghetti squash with kale and sausage was delicious. Though I will miss Christine dearly, we have decided to have a roomie food challenge from Atlanta to Boston. Since we used to cook together, we want to facetime while we are making our favorite recipes so I can help her know JUST WHEN to stop stirring her muffin batter and she can share her attempts at our laundry list of recipe ideas. If you can master any of them first and send to us, we’ll be amazed….the list includes Basic girl dip (goat cheese, kale, dried cranberries, candied pecans and whatever other basic things you can think of), more vegan peanut butter pies, granola recipes, the best tahini dressings, tahini baked goods ,anything with kimchi, and mediterranean seven layer dip take 2. OH and anything that involves slow-cooked short ribs or stewed tomatoes.

On to this recipe. I made this a few months back with my friend Ed whom you’ve met in earlier posts. I like stuffing vegetables with meat and garlic and I also love the kale/sausage combo. This was ideal for a cold day, but could still be a good spring recipe with the amount of greens you could substitute right now.

Speaking of greens, who has ever heard of green garlic?? I went to this farmer’s market a few weeks ago and tried to buy green onions at literally three different farm stands only to be stopped by the soft spoken vendors who noted, “ah, no, see the flat stems, ah yes, that’s green GARLIC.” So apparently green garlic is a green onion with a flat stem. Who would’ve thought. (I’m gonna get to the recipe I promise). I HAVE to tell you guys about the ricotta fritters first though. My friend Justin and I walked around tryna be all skinny minny, looking at the bread table and not sampling anything until wafts of *FRIED SOMETHING WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE” floated from this Italian restaurant’s table.

What I came to find is that ricotta donut holes are the most heavenly start to a weekend you could ever experience. Forget long-winded brunches with your closest friends, sipping your coffee quietly while listening to indie brunch music while the birds chirp, sleeping til the afternoon – no, in order for you to start the weekend off right, you really need to pop out of bed, get over to the farmer’s market and demand one of these fritters. Ok now that you’ve decided what you’re doing this weekend….recipe!!

Sausage and Kale stuffed spaghetti squash (really this is a capsized spaghetti squash boat we ate it bowls)

adapted from Paleo grubs, serves enough for two Jason deRulo and Ariana Grande fans + leftovers

2 medium sized spaghetti squash

1.5 lbs Italian sausage – we used a mix of sweet and hot

4 cloves, minced garlic

1 small onion, diced

1 bunch sliced kale (I used half of one of those big bags from Kroger)

a few tablespoons of olive oil

salt n pepper

parmesan cheese, to top

1. Start by turning your oven on to 400-450. Slice the squash lengthwise and scoop out the inside pumpkin-y stuff until it’s smooth. This can be confusing because I know you think that the stringy part is the spaghetti but in fact, it’s not. Rub olive oil over the inside of the cavity and sprinkle with salt n pepp. Place squash halves down in a baking dish and place under the oven for 35-50 minutes, turning throughout. I always roast them cut side down but this recipe said cut side up so we rotated….

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2. Heat a cast iron skillet or other wide skillet to medium high head and saute your onion for 5-6 minutes until they start to look translucent. Add garlic for 2 minutes more, then add in sausage, breaking it up after taking the sausages out of their casing. Cook the sausage for 10-12 minutes until brown and cooked through.

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3. At this point you can fold in your kale – you want to remove as many of the tough stems as you can. If you get the bank of kale you can just rip it off, if you’re using a more sturdy kale you can cut ribbons off the stem. Wilt the kale in for another 3-5 minutes until soft.

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4. Back to the squash….when the insides are fully cooked you can poke through them easily with a fork. Take them out of the oven and scrape out the insides with a fork, shredding the “spaghetti”. Mix in with the sausage kale mixture and you can either put the mixture back in the squash boat or in a bowl.

5. Serve with parmesan cheese and wine! Yummmm

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Italian Sausage, Spinach, Tortellini Soup

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This recipe comes from my dear friend Edward’s mom and is your go-to recipe for cooking with men (boys). For our cooking date, I was gently steered towards not picking “any of that vegan stuff.” I must say it was a great choice for a cold night.

I especially appreciate cooking with people who find garlic to be as necessary of an influence on dishes as I do. While I wouldn’t suggest a high garlic factor recipe for a real date, in this case it was absolutely appropo. This recipe is great for a quick meal and involves little complication (you can’t mess it up that easily 🙂 )

Italian Sausage, Spinach, Tortellini Soup

serves 1 tall slightly Italian 20 something and 1 food blogger or 4 average eaters generously

2 (9 oz) packages of refrigerated cheese tortellini

3/4 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage

1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth (low sodium)

4 cups water

1 (10 oz) bag of frozen spinach, unthawed

1 (28 oz) can of Italian peeled tomatoes (can be chopped or whole)

1 can Ro-tel tomatoes

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBS italian seasoning (we used a combo of dried basil and oregano)

1. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil and heat pan to medium. Break the sausages out of their casing and brown the sausage meat until slightly brown, breaking up the sausage with the back of your spoon.

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2. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.

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IMG 3187 from thereshegoes35 on Vimeo.

Look at that stirring form, what a natural chef. We had a pump up playlist for this soup, naturally. Actually I think we just replayed the song in the vid over and over again. Oldie but a GOODIE.

3. Add spinach, seasonings, garlic, and both kinds of tomatoes, then bring to a boil for another 10 minutes.

4. Add in your tortellini and cook until pasta is cooked, about another 10-12 minutes.

5. Serve with parmesan if you have it and some vino.

Eggplant Porcini Mushroom meatballs with crusty bread and basil

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I am embarassingly late reporting back to you with the findings on my meatless meatballs adventure, friends and family. I made this dish about two months ago and have been holding it from you. I’m sure some of you have seen it on Amelia Morris’ bonappetempt blog where I found it and were perplexed by the meatless meatball.

Even if you’re not into the meatless meatball (how many times can you read that phrase without laughing??), the sauce alone is to die for. Here’s how I know: My roommate is a marinara sauce aficionado and she loved it PLUS a friend was over and along with eating my avocado cupcakes essentially licked the tupper ware clean. The magic that is slow-cooked tomato+garlic+olive oil+porcini mushroom flavored liquid was that much more special just because it was served at a Sunday night dinner.

I had an old friend and new friend over for dinner at my parents’ house when my grandmother was in town and wanted to get back to this kind of evening I used to have often. The first year out of college I thought that cooking was a way of guaranteeing the success of the evening – and I think many people see food this way. If I can crack the recipe, I can be sure something’s going right today.

My recent meatless mushroom meatball dinner gave me another view of what was really going on during most of my dinners. My old friend who attended has been a comrade in my adventures exploring adult life in Atlanta and my new friend reminded me of those sentiments of starting out in a new place. As we figured out which bars people go to in summer versus winter and how to not get lost parking at the Braves game (yes I am a native Atlantan and barely can figure that out), we always had Sundays every month or so at my parents’ house to remind us that the road is long and the bumps smooth out.

I realized that although the constant questioning of my life might not be there as much any more, Sunday night dinner will always be a peacemaker for somebody’s soul that night. My parents have always been a comforter and steadfast for me – I started thinking, maybe being an adult means that I am going to start being THEIR comforter on Sunday nights.

All of this is to say that I’m thankful for old friends who want to continue discussing politics (I always need a refresher), will taste my food, will sit and take a deep breath before starting the week, and never, ever, skimp on Sunday night dessert.

I hope you enjoy this!

(I doubled the recipe so don’t worry if yours doesn’t look like this much!)

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 pounds)

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
Boiling water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
Two 28-ounce cans imported whole Italian tomatoes, seeded and pureed with their juices ( I didn’t actually seed them before I pureed them – get the Cento kind they are really good!!
2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus leaves for garnish
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups fresh bread crumbs (from 6 ounces crustless country bread)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 ounces PArmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
All-purpose flour, for coating

Crusty bread

1, Roast the eggplant after pricking it all over with a fork, at 350 for about 45 mins to an hour until it gets really soft.I’d wait a few minutes to scrape out the insides – but yes, you’ll want to get rid of as much of the skin as possible

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2. While the eggplant is roasting, boil 1.5 cups water and pour over the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl. After 30 minutes strain but reserve the liquid. Rub the mushrooms of any grit and chop coarsely.

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3. While you’ve got the eggplant in the oven and mushrooms soaking, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add onion and half the garlic until fragrant, careful not to burn the garlic. Puree your tomatoes at this point if you havent already. Add the tomatoes and mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for about an hour, honestly the longer the better. I think mine went for about 1.5 hours. Then add half the basil towards the end and taste test with salt and pepper.

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4. Here’s where things get weird. Fold together the mushrooms, breadcrumbs, insides of the eggplant, rest of the garlic, rest of the basil, parsley, and cheese. It says 2 ounces of cheese – I did one batch with cheese and one without and both were delicious. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Fold your mixture into small golf ball sized balls, dust with flour and refrigerate on a baking sheet for 20 mins.

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5. When ready, heat a skillet to moderately high heat with a sheet of vegetable oil. Sear the meatballs until browned all over. After browning, drain them off on paper towels and add to your magical tomato sauce. It says simmer for 5 mins, I’d give it ten. Serve with crusty bread, torn basil and chocolate cake for dessert!!2014-09-28 18.34.37

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Bon appetit

So whose coming for dinner next Sunday?

Plenty’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Tomato Sauce

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Having one of those moments where I’m still fawning over last night’s dinner. Per usual, Cessie and I sat around, sipping on white wine (how young 20s girls night can we get?!) and listening to country music while cooking in my kitchen and dreaming of our “future” lives. But I’m already there!! Planning girls weekends, laughing over funny voices and odd comments by summer campers, and talking about the adventures on which to embark in our new-found post grad years, these are my favorite summer nights.

Inspired by the Plenty cookbook her family gave me for graduation, it was appropo for us to test a recipe for once for my “recipe guy,” or rather, her mom. We decided that since this recipe is all fresh and veggies, it was “healthy.” Well, once you forget the butter, feta cheese, and FRIED eggplant, it is, right? It’s so beautiful too!!

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The first good thing about cooking with Cessie is she’s always thinking ahead and has a knack for thinking intuitively in the kitchen. Sometimes I forget the details when they actually ARE necessary. The second thing is that when we are together, our personalities fuse to spit out alternate personalities, weird voices, and unclear jokes that trigger the cycle over again into new alternate personalities, thus spinning everyone else into confusion. Mixing this with food can only make everyone happy 🙂

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If you haven’t bought Plenty, here’s the summary: Exquisite vegetarian recipes by a famed London writer, sometimes odd ingredients or those that you just wouldn’t buy a whole bottle of, fresh, very DETAILED recipes which is great, and amazing pics. This was the second recipe I’ve tried, and so far I love it!

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This recipe involves making homemade polenta out of sweet corn pureed in the food processor, cooking an eggplant sauce with tomatoes, white wine, salt, sugar, and oregano (we substituted fresh basil which we agree was better!) While a bit time consuming, it’s fairly simple to make. The only thing we forgot was to add cooking liquid from the corn back into it once pureed to make the sauce creamier. But it still turned out great! Enjoy, mes amies.

On to NYC this weekend!! Where should I eat??? I’ve already got Momofuku Milk Bar on the list…

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