Ali’s Slow-cooked Rustic Pasta Sauce

Ali brought this over the other night and Kumy and I had it over pasta with a little fresh parmesan. It was soooo good. Ali said it’s fairly time-consuming, but for this sauce it is totally worth it!

1 lb. bulk hot italian sausage (or use sweet if you don’t like things too spicy)
little water
1 red onion, diced
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
1/2 glass dry white wine
1 14 oz can whole San Marzano Tomatoes with liquid
1 can tomato paste
4″ rind of parmesan cheese, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
salt & pepper to taste  (1 tsp and 1/2 tsp?)
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
1 cup chicken stock

In a good sized frying pan, cook sausage in a little water, stirring often. Once cooked through, remove from pan and add onion. Saute onion until translucent. Add the garlic and stir a minute more, then add the white wine and stir to deglaze the pan.

Crush the whole tomatoes with your hand to break them up and cook them down until the liquid has reduced.

Add tomato paste, salt and pepper, bay leaves, cheese rind and anchovy paste. Cook down until quite thick.

Add reserved sausage meat and one cup chicken stock and simmer on low heat for 2 hours. You can add more chicken stock if it’s getting too thick.

It has this ridiculously rich, complex flavor that is just amazing!!

Grilled Flank Steak with Charred Eggplant and Mint

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Eggplant by Deviyahya on Unsplash

This is another great recipe from the Slow Food Fast column in the Wall Street Journal,  from chefs Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hersheimer.

We made this with the last of the eggplant from the garden tonight and it was easy and good. It’s also a great way to use mint before the first freeze.  Makes enough for 4 hungry people.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. flank steak
6 tbsp Olive Oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 small globe or Japanese eggplants, halved. (If you use regular size eggplants, cut them into 1″ slices, lengthwise.)
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, smashed or 1/2- 1 tsp garlic powder (use more if you love garlic!)
a good pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Pat steak dry and use a sharp knife to lightly cut a crosshatch pattern on both sides. Drizzle with Tbsp olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

In a big bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the eggplants and stir until everything is well coated. Remove the eggplants to a plate and to the remaining sauce in the bowl, add garlic, red pepper flakes and mint leaves. Stir gently to blend.

Grill steak on high heat until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, then remove from heat, cover and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

While steak is resting, lay eggplants cut side down and grill 4-5 minutes. Then flip and grill 4-5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add back into the bowl with mint sauce. Toss gently to coat.

Slice steaks thinly across the grain, and serve with eggplants and mint sauce. So delish and so fast!

Note: this recipe would also be wonderful with lamb, or for a vegan version, with cauliflower steaks!

Eggplant, Tomato and Onion Pie

Made this for supper last night and it was so good! Based very loosely on a recipe I found online – it is super satisfying and requires no meat.  I used a really good Tillamook Cheddar cheese, but any good sharp cheddar would do.

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled and diced into 3/4″ pieces
4 big Roma tomatoes, sliced (other tomatoes would be fine, too)
1 onion, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic,crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried basil
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to the boil and add eggplant. On medium-high heat, cook eggplant, stirring frequently,until eggplant is very soft and water is mostly evaporated. (Took about 8 minutes for me.)

Heat olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Add onions and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes. Make a well in the middle of the pan, add a little more olive oil and add garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Add onions and garlic to eggplant mixture and allow to cool slightly. Add salt, pepper, basil, breadcrumbs and egg to eggplant mixture and stir well.

Lightly oil the bottom of a pie pan, and layer 1/2 of the sliced tomatoes on the bottom. Pour the eggplant mixture over the tomatoes and smooth the top. Layer the rest of the tomatoes on top, and sprinkle cheddar cheese over.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then turn on the broiler and heat another 4 minutes so cheese is well melted and just starting to brown in spots.

Remove from oven, allow to rest a few minutes and serve. So delish!

Ground Turkey Fried Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cup grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1-2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked brown rice chilled in the fridge (or 1 packet frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s, thawed)
1 tsp sesame oil

Garnishes

cilantro, rough chopped
green onions, sliced into little rings
sesame seeds
Sriracha
fresh limes, quartered
Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise (optional)

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble fairly quickly, chopping them as they cook. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add in turkey, onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, and black pepper and saute for a few minutes, stirring to break up the meat.

Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce. Continue cooking until meat is no longer pink.

Stir in peas, scrambled eggs and brown rice and cook until heated through.

Drizzle with sesame oil and serve with garnishes. (Kewpie is our addition – Samir puts Kewpie on everything and I have to admit it was pretty delicious – but not strictly necessary.)

Note: I used an Indian Chili Garlic sauce which is hot, garlicky and a little sweet. If you can’t get Chilli Garlic sauce, substitute a blend of 1 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha, with 1/2 tsp brown sugar and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed. If you have fish sauce, add a 1/4 tsp of fish sauce, too.

Lemon Poblano Shrimp

Picked up some beautiful Poblano chile peppers from a farmer’s market while on vacation, which had great flavor and color. Poblanos are a mild, sweeter Mexican pepper and you could substitute red bell peppers if you can’t find them. But if you can get Poblanos – try them. They really add amazing flavor

Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 fresh Poblano chile peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 12 Tbsp butter

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium size pot. Add peppers and saute 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and shrimp and saute for 7-8 minutes until the shrimp is pink.

Add butter, lemon juice and Cilantro and saute another minute until warmed through. Check seasonings.

Serve over hot rice. Super quick and so good – Kumy loved this dish!

One Pan Oven-fried Chicken, Pork Chops or Cauliflower Steaks with Veggies.

Southern Living Magazine has done it again.  Another recipe that I am not entirely certain how I lived without.  I made it a few weeks ago and then again the other night when the kids were over for supper, and it is ridiculously good!

You can make it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork chops, or even cauliflower “steaks”. (Just slice a cauliflower in half, and slice the halves into 3/4″ slices, without removing the stem.) I do love a meal that comes together in one pan, and this one is really cleverly done.  You can substitute almost any veggie as long as pay attention to cooking time, so use whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp dijon mustard (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp chopped dried rosemary, or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs
7 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs or 4 good sized porkchops, or 4 big cauliflower steaks.

1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 shallots, halved
12 oz fresh green beans, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.

Mix first five ingredients in a medium bowl, and save 2 tsp out. Add meat/cauliflower into bowl, and gently with remaining mustard mixture.  Place in a lightly oiled baking tray.

Mix panko bread crumbs with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Scoop the panko bread crumbs on top of the meat, dividing equally and patting gently on top.

In a the mustard mix bowl, toss together all veggies except green beans with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Scatter the veggies around the meat.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Mix the green beans with 1 Tbsp olive oil and scatter over the veggies. Bake another 5-10 minutes until the green beans are slightly tender and all the vegetables are cooked.

Mix the 2 tsp of mustard mix with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. Drizzle over the veggies and serve.

Alternate veggies:

1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 lb. baby potatoes, cut in half
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 lb. green beans

Southern Shrimp & Grits Casserole

shrimp-with-gritsThis recipe was in the latest Southern Living Magazine and is a real keeper. Of course I tweaked it a bit (lightened it up a little) but in general I followed the recipe pretty closely. It’s pretty rich but so delicious. In fact I went in and grabbed a little spoonful of it from the dish in the fridge and it was good – even cold from the fridge! Like I said – it’s a keeper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 12 baking pan.

Ingredients for Grits

4 cups whole milk
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or one clove garlic, crushed)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Heat milk in a large saucepan until just starting to boil. Add grits, butter and seasonings and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly, until grits are softened and mixture has thickened. Take off heat and add beaten egg and cheese, stirring in well. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan, smoothing as needed and then cover and bake 35-40 minutes. Cook longer if you want the edges browned a bit.

Ingredients for Shrimp Sauce

1 cup chopped bacon, or turkey bacon (add 3 tbsp olive oil if using turkey bacon)
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup flour
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley)
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In a large saucepan, saute bacon until crisp and remove. Pour out all but 3 Tbsp of bacon drippings or oil. Add onions and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Have all the rest of your ingredients ready, because you will be stirring constantly from here on out.

Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds, then add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, then add broth and seasonings. Cook a couple minutes more until warmed through.

Spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and green onions.  Serve warm.