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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Ahh finally the reason I made Italian Sausage the other day! A hardcore craving for Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana... how creamy and potatoey and delicious! I had to wait until the weather cooled down, so as soon as I saw rain, I grabbed my sweater and started making this.
I'm not proclaiming this is THE OG recipe, but the taste is exactly the one I remember.... dreams in a bowl. Even Eric, Mr. "I don't like soup" loved it and licked the bowl clean.
This serves 6.
  • 1 lb crumbled Italian sausage
  • 1 Tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3-5 large potatoes
  • 2 knobs frozen spinach or a bunch of fresh
1. Sautée the sausage and drain the fat. Please do drain, I forgot to, and my grease floated to the top. It was still fabulously delicious, but I scraped the fat off my leftover portion... it's psychologically better. Take out the cooked sausage.
2. Sautée the onions and garlic a few minutes, then add the potatoes and crushed red pepper (use to your spice level.. I usually go easy and then add the heat in my own bowl) and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring.
3. Pour in the water and cubes chicken bouillon and cook for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. I used a pressure cooker and did 10.
4. Add the cooked sausage and spinach. Cook until it wilts (or your frozen cubes come apart) and stir in the heavy cream.

Serve with parmesan and fresh ground pepper.. and good bread!

My picture is kind of orange-ish.. that's because I forgot to drain the fat. Please drain the will still blow your mind, but there is no need to ingest extra calories for nothing.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Carnitas Plate

MMM... Carnitas. I've been eating leftovers of this for 2 days now and it still makes me drool! I really didn't think it would be so easy, but alas, it is!
2 lbs pork shoulder or butt
juice from 1 Orange (1/2 cup)
juice from 1 juicy lime (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup beef broth
7-10 peeled but intact cloves garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt/fresh pepper to taste

1. Mix all the dry ingredients and rub all over the meat.
2. Dump everything in the crock pot and cook on low for a looong time... or high for about 4 hours.

I would have served this with corn tortillas, but I didn't find any that were reasonably priced or appetizing around here... they definately need more Mexicans in France. I served over shredded cabbage with sour cream, swiss cheese, chopped tomatoes (lazy pico de gallo), avocado slices, and of course, loaded my plate with red pepper flakes.. because I'm the only one that can handle it =)
Needless to say, it might not be the real mexican way of making carnitas, but it definately is delicious and the taste was exactly what I was craving. It is also the healthier alternative to frying the meat!

I have to find some corn tortillas so I can make tacos out of this... I seriously feel like I found a hidden treasure with this recipe!! It's cheap and delicious, and feeds like 10 people!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fresh Mozzarella Tomatoes

I love fresh mozzarella! Little did I know I could buy it and didn't have to make it, and also, that it was quite inexpensive!
So this little salad was really easy, but it was so refreshing that I wanted to post a pretty picture of it. One thing I didn't have, but hope to have soon was fresh basil leaves. I think it would have been PERFECTISSIMO with fresh basil.
2-3 vine tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella (200g)
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp basalmic vinegar
fresh herbs.. I used mini scallions, but use basil!!!
salt/pepper to taste
1. Slice and position your tomatoes and mozzarella
2. Add the EVOO, vinegar, and herbs on top
3. Sprinkle some salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Eat as a side or appetizer... mmm!!!

I have also tried fresh mozza in a hot dish, melted... it is so sublime, I scarfed it down before photographing it... again!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Carrot and Cheese Flan

Sounds kind of crazy, but it's not bad...not bad at all
5-6 large peeled carrots
3 eggs
1 pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 handful chopped cilantro
1. Cut carrots into chunks and boil in salted water for around 30 minutes. Drain and mash them.
2. Preheat your oven to around 300°F
3. In a separate salad bowl, beat the eggs with the nutmet, cilantro, and cheese, then add your mashed carrots, mix well and season to taste.
4. Pour the mix into a buttered oven safe dish and cook for around 30 minutes, checking in at 20 to make sure it doesn't burn.
I didn't have a cupcake shaped tin, but it would have been cooler like that...

Serve as an appetizer or however you want. I had some fresh green beans from my MIL's garden, and Eric had fries... because he always is in the mood for fries!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Italian Sausage and Artichoke Penne

Ahh that looks so crazy with black Penne!!! I've been craving Italian sausage and OG's Zuppa Toscana lately, and then I realized... THERE IS NO ITALIAN SAUSAGE HERE =(
I decided to make my own.. It's too hot to eat soup these days, and then since I had an artichoke waiting to be consumed in my fridge...I decided to use it! I know an artichoke isn't something one would usually have on hand, but I found some beautiful ones on sale for 2/1€50 and I jumped on it... how much are they in the US? I steamed one the other day and ate it with lemon butter... it went down so fast and I forgot to photograph it, so maybe next time.
So I found black penne and thought it would be cool to freak out my FIL who's not used to "out of the ordinary" food... he liked it though.. 1 point for me!!
Italian Sausage:
1 lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked fennel seeds
1 Tbsp paprika
3 cloves minced/mashed garlic
1 tsp sugar
1tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

Mix it all together with your hands... then fill casings if you want to. Let rest a few hours in the fridge.. I left mine overnight. I didn't use casings.. I kind of rolled them into little meatballs and used a little less than half for my pasta, and froze the rest. How easy and spot on. I didn't put in red pepper flakes for heat because most of the people I feed can't handle it.. but I always add them into my plate =)

Italian Sausage and Artichoke Penne: Serves 6
2-3 Italian sausages or 1/2 lb mixture rolled into balls
1 fresh (or frozen) artichoke heart, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped tomato (or sub in handful of sundried)
1/2 cup vegetable stock (I used chicken)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 bag (500g) penne or other pasta
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
Parmesan and/or swiss cheese

First of all, start your pasta water...
1. Sautee garlic and sausage until browned.. drain the grease, please.
2. Add the artichoke heart and stir around for 5 minutes, then add the bell pepper and tomato and let cook 3-5 more minutes.
3. Add the vegetable stock and cook for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates.
4. When your pasta is done, add the heavy cream and parlsey to your sauce, and toss your pasta in it.

Serve with parmesan on top and enjoy!

Btw.. too hot to eat soup usually doesn't figure in my vocab, but alas I am We, and I will make my Zuppa Toscana as soon as the weather cools. I have to remember that if I made it, I would be the only one to eat it, sadly.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Lasagna Remix!

I made my lasagna again... always so good. I added a little nutmeg in the bechamel and it did have a little plus...
Served with a basalmic vinegarette salad.. delicious!

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