Archive for December, 2013

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Sweet Italian Sausage Sauce

December 13th, 2013

Sweet Sausage Sauce6 links of sweet Italian Sausage

2-3 T oil

1 large onion, medium dice

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 16-ounce can of tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

 

  1. Remove sausage from casings and chop raw meat into small chunks; keep chopping as you brown the sausags. The sausage meat “chunks” and your goal is to break it up,  but don’t get too obsessed with this because in the end the entire recipe will be pureed.
  2. In a cold frying pan with a lid, combine the oil, onions, celery, carrots and garlic and “sweat”, over low heat until soft and flavorful.  Add to sausage meat and stir to combine.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs and continue to break up the sausage meat to help the herbs & tomatoes penetrate and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
  4. Cool until easy to handle, then puree in a food processor or a Vitamix blender.

Serve over well-done linguine or a white bean mash. This is another picture that’s not nearly as appetizing as the dish itself really is. It’s absolutely scrumptious, so do try it!

Pureed Sweet Sausage Sauce

Broccoli and Potato Mash

December 11th, 2013

potato & broccoli mash

This is not the most appetizing photo, I admit, but it’s the best I could do under trying circumstances such as being late and wanting to get one decent shot of this really yummy dish. After it’s put through a Vitmix it is light and airy and tastes so..oo good!

Ingredients

  • 3 large broccoli crowns, cut into small florets
  • 1 large , 1 medium russet potato, cut into 1 or 2 inch dice
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 Tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation:

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into  1 or 2 inch chunks and add them to a large pot of boiling water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and boil until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes
  2. Roughly chop the the broccoli crowns into small florets. Place in a steamer over a pot of simmering water and steam covered for 10 to 12 minutes until broccoli is soft and well done. The color is likely to be an unattractive green.
  3. When the potatoes and broccoli are done, place in a Vita mix or food processor. Add the butter and cream and puree until thoroughly mixed and there are no chunks or particles remaining.
  4. Serves 4-6.

How to Thicken Soup, Sauces, Gravy and so forth

December 6th, 2013

In the interest of not re-inventing the wheel, I’d like to point out that there are many marvelous websites with directions on how to thicken. The Wikihow sites  are quite instructive (you could learn to cook by following their step by step illustrations) and the comments afterward add even more tips. Do take a look:

http://www.wikihow.com/Thicken-Soup

http://www.wikihow.com/Thicken-Sauce

http://www.wikihow.com/Thicken-Gravy

http://www.wikihow.com/Thicken-Liquids

 And there are more: how to thicken stew, spaghetti  sauce, etc. And remember this: what is thickened can be thinned. In other words, if your recipe ends up thicker than you wish, add water, milk, cream, or broth to thin it.

 

Butternut Squash (with Miso)

December 2nd, 2013

butternut maskToday while I’m on the subject of butternut squash,  I should point out that it’s perfectly fine all by itself, not as a soup, but as a dish of squash! This recipe is adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He’s called “a British iconoclast and sustainable food champion” in the blurb on the back of the book. All of his books are excellent. In this one, he’s really into mashes: mixed mashes, three-root mash, celery root and potato mash, rutabaga and potato mash, thyme and caramelized onion mash, you get the idea. All of which really reinforces the point that there’s a huge array of food and recipes that are delicious for  persons with swallowing problems without the need for any special adaptation.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon canola or olive oil or coconut oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

One butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces*

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 to 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Miso (optional)**

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt the oil with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (if you have one, use ceramic).
  2. Add the squash and simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the squash just barely begins to brown.
  3. Now add the garlic and sage and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water.
  5. Cover the pan and let the squash steam in the water for about 20 minutes.
  6. Check after 10 minutes and add more water if it seems dry.
  7. Now put the squash and liquid into a food processor or Vitamix with the rest of the butter. Add the optional Miso (highly recommended) and process until smooth and airy.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ad more butter or cream if you want it thinner.

***Miso adds a wonderful, rather mysterious, taste to this dish. It’s a umami sort of mystery. Try it. I bought my Miso from Amazon.

Butternut Squash Soup

December 2nd, 2013

This is a delicious soup, a perfect consistency for swallowing–it can easily be thinned with a bit more chicken broth or cream, it’s heart-warming, and it’s filling. The only thing negative about butternut squash in general is peeling it. It is, indeed, infuriatingly difficult. A very sharp knife helps, of course. But you can also not peel it, at least not until it’s soft. Simply put it in the oven or microwave until it’s soft, then let it cool enough to cut in half (length-wise), scoop out the seeds, and then scoop out the meat and there you have it!

 

whole butternut squash

 

It’s mushed up anyway once it’s in the soup, so that’s not an issue. Of course, you can also buy the squash already cut up. At my local Eataly, you can buy a vegetable, pay for it, take it a counter where very skilled lady is prepared with very sharp knives and an excellent cutting board, to cut your vegetable to your specification. I do this all the time, particularly with vegetables that are hard to peel and/or cut up, the aforementioned butternut squash, eggplant, celeriac root, etc. But enough. Here’s the recipe

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil or regular cooking oil

1 medium onion, cut into a rough dice

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced

1 medium apple or pear, peeled and diced

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (or if you’ve roasted it and then peeled it, just add the squash)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (or powdered ginger)1 teaspoon salt

4 cups of chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup cream or milk

Directions:

Simmer onion and celery in the oil for 5-10minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and apple or pear and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the squash and ginger, stirring all ingredients together. Add the chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. Check to see if all vegetables are tender by poking them with a fork.Cool. Pour all into your Vitamix, blender, or food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add milk or cream and process to blend. Taste for seasonings and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot with a twirl of cream on top

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