January 2, 2017

Italian Sausage with Lentils and Kale

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
2 shallots peeled, halved and sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz kale, stemmed and chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 (15-oz) can lentils, rinsed
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 Tbsp water

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add shallots and garlic to now-empty skillet, and cook until vegetables start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add kale, broth, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; cover and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Stir in lentils. Arrange browned sausage on top of lentil mixture and transfer skillet to oven. Cook, uncovered, until sausage registers 160 degrees, about 12 minutes. Whisk yogurt, mustard, and water together in bowl; drizzle over top. Serve.

December 17, 2016

Mary Ellen's Whole Wheat Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup dry milk
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seed
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Stir together flour.

In large bowl, mix 3 cups flour mixture, dry milk, wheat germ, sugar, salt and undissolved dry yeast.

In a saucepan, stir together water, milk, honey, and vegetable oil. Heat over low flame until liquids are very warm (120-130°). Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat with spoon about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and beat 2 more minutes. Add sunflower seeds and enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough, reserving at least 1/2 cup. Spread 1/2 cup flour on pastry cloth or board. Turn dough onto floured cloth. Knead dough until smooth and all flour has been worked in - at least 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and cut into 2 pieces (3 small). Form into loaves and place in 2 large or 3 small loaf pans (greased). Cover - let rise until double (about an hour). Bake in 400° oven about 25-30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Split Pea Soup

Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (7 oz) dried green or yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups (32 fl oz) chicken or vegetable broth
6 slices bacon
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp finely chopped marjoram (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp finely chopped thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large, heavy pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and sauté just until slightly softened, 3 minutes.

Add the split peas, broth, 2 slices of the bacon, parsley, marjoram, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook until the peas are tender, 50-60 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bacon, and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, fry the remaining 4 slices bacon over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool, then crumble.

Coarsely puree 2 cups (16 fl oz) of the soup in a food processor and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, return the soup to medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve, garnished with the crumbled bacon.

December 8, 2016

Farfalle with Crispy Prosciutto and Peas

Serves 4

12 oz farfalle
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 Tbsp salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add prosciutto and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer prosciutto to paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet to medium heat; to fat left in skillet, add onion, pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

3. Add peas, 3/4 cup Parmesan, sauce and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water to pasta and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed. Serve, sprinkled with prosciutto and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and drizzled with extra oil.

Note: Brighten up this dish with the addition of fresh basil.

November 26, 2016

Mediterranean Shrimp

1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
salt and pepper
2 lbs jumbo shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss potatoes, 2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer on rimmed baking sheet and roast until just tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Toss shrimp, oregano, lemon zest, remaining 1 Tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper together in bowl.

3. Using spatula, flip potatoes so browned sides are facing up. Scatter shrimp and feta over top. Return to oven and roast until shrimp are cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over top and drizzle with extra oil. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Gillian Gunson