Showing posts with label comfort food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort food. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fried Sausages and Apples + #Giveaway

Nothing goes better with fried sausages, especially ones made with pork, then apples. The recipe for this classic combination comes from the newly released book, chock full of information, The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World by author Laura Kumin.

Hamilton the Musical debuted on Broadway in August 2015 but by Christmastime that year, both of my daughters were completely smitten and knew every single word. Each time we got in the car to go somewhere, Bluetooth automatically hooked up to their phones and the sing-along began. The tunes are catchy, the story engaging and I was drawn in as well. I can’t sing along as rapidly or as accurately as they can, but I thoroughly enjoy the music and lyrics.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this past August my daughters and I traveled the width of the United States in a rental car, from the east coast of Massachusetts to the shores of the Pacific near Los Angeles. The Hamilton soundtrack accompanied us along the way.

Much to our delight and surprise, when we reached LA, we were able to buy last minute tickets to a performance of Hamilton at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre where it had just opened. Sure, we were in the very back row, but who cares? We were ecstatic to be in the audience at all!

This is all to explain why I jumped at the chance to review Laura Kumin’s newly released The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World. With her background in research and skills in the kitchen, I knew that Laura would be the perfect author to combine two of my favorite things, cooking and Hamilton.

Aside from the 30 recipes, Laura shares a whole lot of historical information on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton. If you are a fan of the show, or the man, you are going to love this book. The publisher did send me one book but (keep this hush-hush, please!) I had already preordered another for my son-in-law as a Christmas gift way back in October. I was that excited about this book!

Fried Sausages and Apples

From The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World. Recipe reprinted by permission. The Hamilton Cookbook takes you into Hamilton's home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how to prepare and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed. It's on sale now at Amazon (<affliliate link) or your favorite bookstore.

Adapted from “Fried Sausages,” Hannah Glasse,
The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
Serves 2 (as a main dish)
This dish is great for a weeknight dinner; it is quick to prepare and uses just one large pan. It makes a full meal with just a salad and a loaf of crusty bread.

1/2 to 3⁄4 pound thick country or other similarly spiced chicken, turkey, or pork sausage (about 1-inch in diameter) 350g German Weiss sausage

4 to 6 apples, preferably of mixed varieties, peeled and quartered. Any apples that keep their shape will work (e.g., Granny Smith, Yellow and Red Delicious, and Fuji). Quarter, and thinly slice half of the quartered apples.

1. In a large, heavy pan, start the sausages cooking under medium-high heat. As soon as the sausages begin to render their juices, add the thin apple slices. Turn both the sausages and the apple slices so that they brown evenly.

2. Once the apple slices begin to brown, add the apple quarters, and stir occasionally. After 2 to 3 minutes, cover the pan for a few minutes. That helps the apples soften and brown. It will also allow a bit of liquid to accumulate in the pan. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the sausages are fully cooked. (The time required to cook the sausages depends on their thickness, typically about 10 to 15 minutes. You can ensure that the middle cooks thoroughly by cutting the sausages down the middle vertically to butterfly them after 10 minutes, laying them flat to continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes.) The thin apple slices will slightly disintegrate into a chunky applesauce, while the quarters will remain whole.

3. Serve on a platter with the sausages in the middle along with the applesauce, surrounded by the apple quarters.

Want to win your own copy? Enter below. Entrants must be 18 or older with a shipping address in the continental United States. The winner will be randomly chosen at the close of the entry period. He or she will be notified by email and must respond in 48 hours or an alternate winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist the cheesy goodness!

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

We talk about eating the rainbow for optimum health, which seems to imply that only the most colorful vegetables are high in nutrients. But despite its bland appearance, cauliflower is actually one of the most nutritious vegetables, with one serving supplying more than 70 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C, along other vitamins and nutrients. It makes the top 30 list compiled by the Center of Disease Control.

For this cauliflower mac and cheese, I like to choose macaroni that is a bit bigger than your average elbow variety. Then I chop the cauliflower florets into pieces about the same size as the macaroni will be when it is cooked. This gives the dish a more homogeneous look and texture, so if you are feeding picky eaters who would normally try to separate the veggies from the pasta, they likely won't even notice the cauliflower. The sharp cheddar sauce makes it all taste like deliciously normal mac and cheese.

Love cauliflower? You might enjoy my Cauliflower Cheese Pie with Potato Crust, Cauliflower Cheese Waffles and Cauliflower Leek Roquefort Tart. All three are seriously good. 

Variations on Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Sometimes I make this cauliflower mac and cheese with bacon, as outlined below; sometimes I make it without. Either way, it’s delicious and filling enough to be a main course. It’s also very tasty with some chopped frozen spinach thawed then added to the cheese sauce. Serve it alongside a fresh green salad, or with some sun-ripe summer tomatoes simply seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

8 oz or 227g pasta
1 small head cauliflower (about 11 1/2 oz or 325g florets), divided into florets and chopped
6 1/3 oz or 180g smoked streaky bacon, chopped – about 5 thick-cut slices (or 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil)
4 tablespoons flour
1 small onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups or 480ml cold milk
12 oz or 340g extra sharp cheddar or cheese of your choice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne - optional
1/2 cup or 35g fresh bread crumbs

Boil the pasta according to the package instructions, setting the timer for half of the recommended al dente cooking time. Add in the chopped cauliflower when your timer goes off. Cook pasta till al dente.

Drain and set aside, still in the colander, while you make the cheese sauce.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and all but three tablespoons bacon fat. If you don’t have enough fat, make up the difference with butter, canola or olive oil.

If you don’t want to add bacon, start with three tablespoons of butter, canola or olive oil.

Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to make a roux.  Cook the roux for a few minutes to get rid of the floury taste.

Add the minced onion and garlic into the roux. Cook over a low fire until they are softened.

All at once, whisk in the milk, whisking quickly so that the flour and milk don’t form lumps.

Cook until the sauce thickens and reduces in volume, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350° or 180°C and butter or grease a baking pan or casserole dish.

Add in three quarters of the grated cheese and stir until melted. Add in the dried mustard and stir.  Season with salt, black pepper and a little cayenne, if desired.

Pour the cauliflower and pasta back into the pot with the bacon, saving a little of the bacon to sprinkle on top.

Pour on the sauce and fold to combine. In case you are wondering why it isn't orange, my favorite extra sharp cheddar is an Australian brand. They don't tend to put the coloring in it that many American cheesemakers do.

Spoon the mixture into your prepared baking pan or read note below.

Note: If the pan you cooked everything in is ovenproof, you could skip transferring the mixture to a baking dish, and move on to the next step - the topping- but for me, the best cauliflower mac and cheese is all about the crunchy, chewy top covered with extra cheese and bread crumbs, baked till golden. So I like to spread mine out in a wide dish to maximize the square footage of that top.

Combine the reserved cheese and bacon with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the cauliflower mac and cheese.

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy on top.


Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that while my husband and I will fight over the crispiest bits, our younger daughter would have you skip the last step altogether. She likes her mac and cheese straight from the pot, unbaked and sans crunchy pieces. If your kids feel the same, the last step can indeed be skipped.

After all, today’s Sunday Supper event is all about getting kids and other picky eaters to eat their veggies. If you are looking for delicious recipes that will add more healthy vegetables to your family menu, check out this week's kid friendly vegetable recipes for picky eaters. Many thanks to our event manager, Cricket of Cricket's Confections and our host for this event, Anne from Simple and Savory for all of their work behind the scenes.

Kid Friendly Vegetable Recipes for Picky Eaters






Pin this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese!

Food Lust People Love: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a delicious twist on a family favorite, adding extra nutrients to our comfort food. No one can resist this cheesy goodness! #SundaySupper


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Almond Pear Bread Pudding #BundtBakers

This Almond Pear Bread Pudding is a delightful twist on traditional pudding, made with thinly sliced crunchy pears and sweet almond croissants.

I’m just gonna put this out there. I don’t like pears. It’s not so much the flavor, which is nice, but the texture. Why would I eat gritty fruit when there is so much I can eat that isn’t gritty? When our Bundt Bakers host for this month proposed pears for our theme/ingredients, I groaned quietly to myself. Pears!

This was a job for The Flavour Thesaurus, (<affiliate link) a handy little book I got for Christmas last year. I flipped to Pears and there in the first paragraph, it said “Pear and Almond: A natural couple: classy and restrained. Save them from an excess of tastefulness by making an unctuous pear and almond croissant pudding.”

What a splendid idea! As you all probably know, almond croissants were originally created as a way for French bakers to offload day-old croissants by filling them with sweet almond paste, topping them with sliced almonds and syrup and baking them again. Which also makes them perfect for making bread pudding, a creation traditionally made from day old (or older) bread.

Here’s what I discovered after baking this almond pear bread pudding.
1. I like cooked pears!
2. Pears and almonds are a natural couple.
3. I should have chosen a different Bundt pan in which to bake it. The swirly pan seemed to trap all the buttered almond slices in the little edges. Next time, I’m going to use my classic Bundt pan with the nice even, open curves and I suggest you do the same.
4. My husband's colleagues love almond pear bread pudding. I send food in with him All The Time. This bread pudding was the first time he forwarded me two emails thanking me!

4 large almond croissants
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup or 200g sugar
1 cup or 240ml whole milk
1 cup or 240ml whipping cream
5 small Coscia pears – about 12 3/4 oz or 365g whole - or sub your favorite pear
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare pan:
Light coating of butter or shortening applied with pastry brush
4 tablespoons melted cooled butter
1/4 cup or 20g finely sliced almonds

Slice the croissants in about 1 inch or 2 cm pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your eggs and vanilla. Add in the cup of sugar and whisk again until the sugar starts to dissolve and the eggs lighten in color and get a bit frothy.

Add in the milk and cream and whisk again.

Add the sliced croissants to the egg bowl and push them down into the liquid.

Core and slice your pears thinly. Unless the peels are tough, there’s no need to remove them. A melon baller makes the coring much easier, if you have one.

Toss the sliced pears in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt and Amaretto. Set aside.

Prepare your Bundt pan – preferably one without many nooks and crannies – by using a pastry brush to coat the inside with butter or vegetable shortening.

Drizzle the melted, cooled butter all over the pan and sprinkle in the thinly sliced almonds. Set aside.

Give the croissant bowl a gentle stir and add the pear slices to the top. Cover with cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to give the croissants more time to soak up the sweet egg mixture.

When your hour is about up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Stir the pudding to mix in the pears. Spoon the pudding into the prepared pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and cover the Bundt pan tightly with it, buttered side down.

Put your prepared Bundt pan in a larger deep pan and fill the bottom pan halfway up with water.

Bake for 2 hours, checking occasionally and adding more water to the bottom pan, if necessary.

After 2 hours, remove from the oven and remove the foil. Return the Bundt pan to the oven, uncovered, without the pan underneath. Bake for another 30 minutes.

The almond pear bread pudding will puff up beautifully, high above the edge of the Bundt pan, but then will slowly sink back down as it cools.

Leave to cool for about 10 or 15 minutes on a wire rack. Use a non-stick surface safe spatula to loosen the bread pudding from the pan. If bits stick inside your pan, just scrape them off and sprinkle them back on top of the pudding.

Serve warm with a generous pour of thick cream. With a little more amaretto on the side, perhaps.


Many thanks to our host, Lauren of Sew You Think You Can Cook both for her behind-the-scenes work this month and for pushing me into realizing that I do like pears after all.

Check out all the other pear Bundts our Bundt Bakers are sharing this month:

Bundt Bakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the Bundt Bakers home page.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Irish Lamb Stew

Lamb shoulder is one of the tougher cuts so it is perfect for stewing, becoming melt-in-your-mouth tender as it simmers, creating its own rich gravy flavored by thyme, onion and garlic. Add in some Irish whiskey and lemon juice to brighten the whole pot. 

This week my Sunday Supper group is throwing a Spring Fling to celebrate spring recipes and my thoughts went immediately to lamb. It is the meat of choice in many cultures and countries for spring, as the weather starts to warm and the lambing begins.

We eat a lot of lamb at our house, whatever the season. It’s funny because in my growing up home, we never ate lamb. My grandmother thought it was too strong in flavor and she passed that prejudice on to my mother. It wasn’t until I started dating my British husband, that I discovered the delight of lamb and embraced the baaaah, as we used bleat when discussing lamb. Mom also didn’t like goat cheese for the longest time because she said she could taste the goat. My mother is a most adventurous eater, as I’ve written about here, so I am pleased to say that she got past her own childhood embargoes and will now eat both goat cheese and lamb chops. I am still working on her for leg of lamb or shoulder.

This stew starts with browning the lamb shoulder then adding onions, garlic and celery, along with Irish whiskey and lemon juice to the sticky pan. Then a long slow simmer makes sure that the meat is falling off the bones. When the nights are cold, as they still are in the frozen north of the US - never mind that we have passed the first official day of spring and it’s still SNOWING as I type this in Providence, Rhode Island - this dish will fill the kitchen with fragrant aromas and warm you, body and soul.

2.25 kg or almost 3 1/2 lb lamb shoulder, cut in thick slices
Flakey sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion
2-3 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
Handful sprigs fresh thyme plus more for garnishing before serving, if desired
1/4 cup or 60ml Irish whiskey
2 tablespoons or 30ml fresh lemon juice
3 medium sized potatoes or more to stretch your lamb to feed more people
1-2 medium sized carrots or more to stretch your lamb to feed more people

Season your lamb shoulder on both sides with a good sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Dice your onion, celery and garlic.

Pan-fry the lamb in a little olive oil, just a few pieces at a time, so you don’t crowd the pan and they can brown well.

Remove them to a plate and continuing pan-frying until all the lamb is well browned on both sides.

Add the onions, celery and garlic to the pan and give it a good stir.

Cook for a few minutes over a medium flame and then add in the whiskey and the lemon juice. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure all the sticky bits on the pan are loosened.

Add the lamb back to the pan, along with any meat juices that have accumulated on the plate.

Toss in a few sprigs of thyme and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.

Simmer, covered for at least an hour, but, really, you could leave it for two, checking the liquid level occasionally and adding in a little water if it looks like the stew is going dry.

Meanwhile, peel your potatoes and carrots and cut them into chunks. Keep them in a bowl of cool water until you are ready to add them to the pan.

When the lamb is tender, drain the potatoes and carrots and add them to the pan. Give the whole thing a good stir to coat the potatoes and carrot with the pan juices. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and add some water to almost cover the meat, if more liquid is needed.

Cover your pot again and simmer another hour or so. Check the salt and pepper and add more if necessary. Garnish with a few more sprigs of thyme, if desired.

I always serve my lamb stew over white rice because I may not have been raised on lamb but rice and gravy was a childhood staple. In this, my grandmother would have been in complete agreement. Nothing better for a still chilly spring Sunday Supper than rice and a rich gravy.

I must confess that I also chose to share this recipe because lamb stew is one of my husband's favorite dishes. It's our 29th wedding anniversary today and although I am in Providence making new memories with our daughters, it is never far from my mind that I owe all of this to him. All of it.


Are you ready for spring? I’ve got plenty of recipe inspiration for you today, along with our fabulous hosts, Valerie from Lifestyle Food Artistry and D.B. from Crazy Foodie Stunts and the Supper Sunday crew.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef and Guinness Stew - or Pie

When weather turns chilly, my thoughts turn to my slow cooker and a nice beefy stew with Guinness. Serve the warming bowls of deliciousness as is or top the stew with puff pastry and bake for a beautiful beef and Guinness pie. 

Whenever we are traveling and have the chance to eat a pub lunch, my husband almost invariably orders the beef and Guinness pie, if there is one on the menu. He loves the filling and the flaky puff pastry top. When decent pub grub is not available, I make my own. For stew beef to become tender, slow cooking is the way to go, so I like to use my crockpot to make the filling. After browning the meat, everything goes in the pot and I can get on with other projects like baking his favorite apple rhubarb strawberry pie. Pie for dinner and pie for dessert and he’s a happy man.

For the stew:
5 slices streaky smoked bacon
2 lbs or 950g braising or stew meat
1.1 lb or 500g marrow bones (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons or 15g flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large onion (about 7 oz or 200g)
1 large carrot (about 5 1/2 oz or 155g)
1 large parsnip (about 5 1/2 oz or 155g)
1 can (14 oz or 400g) chopped tomatoes with their juice
1 can (12 oz or 355 ml) Guinness stout
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper

For the pie:
1 sheet puff pastry (8 oz or 230g)

Cut your meat into bite-sized pieces, removing any gristle you can see.

Lay it out in a single layer on your cutting board and season it with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle it with the tablespoon and a half of plain flour and toss it around with your clean hands until well mixed.

Peel and cut the parsnip and carrot into pieces. Cover the parsnip with water in a small bowl until ready to use, to stop it from turning brown. Chop your onion roughly.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy in a non-stick pan. Remove the crispy bits from the rendered bacon fat and set aside.

Fry the meat in the bacon fat until browned on all sides, in two or three lots so that the pan doesn’t get crowded.

If you put too many pieces in at once, it will just steam instead of browning. As the batches get browned, remove them to a bowl.

Now you are ready to put everything in the slow cooker.

Start with the meat, then add the onion, parsnip and carrot. Top with the bacon, thyme and bay leaf. Pour the canned tomatoes in and then the can of Guinness.

Tuck the marrow bones down into the vegetables, if using.

Cook on high for three to four hours or until the beef is tender. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.

This can be served exactly as is or it can be baked as pie topped with puff pastry.

If you cooked your stew with the optional marrow bones, these can be put under the broiler or grill in the oven to brown. They are lovely served as an appetizer with toast on which to spread the marrow.

To make the pie, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Spoon your beef and Guinness stew into a baking pan and allow it to cool a little while your oven preheats. I like to use a small pan that holds the beef and vegetables with a good amount of the broth that is created while the stew slow cooks. Then I thicken the rest of the broth with a little flour and serve it as extra gravy with the pie.

Slice the outside edges off of your puff pastry sheet and cut a few slits in the middle.

When your oven is up to temperature, cover the filled baking pan with your puff pastry. Fold the sides up so they don't hang over the edges. Press down all around the edges to seal the crust to the pan. You can use the trimmed pieces to decorate the top, if you want.

Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden.

To serve, cut a piece of the puff pastry off the top and fold it back. Scoop the stew into your bowl and top with the puff pastry.