Friday, September 30, 2011

Notes From Nikki-Happy Birthday Nikki!

Today is Nikki's birthday, hopefully someone else will be cooking for her this evening.  Happy Birthday Nikki, thank you for your great recipe ideas.

Potato, Kale, and Sausage Chowder

Fall is the perfect time of year for soups and stews and chowders. The following recipe is a hearty blend of potatoes, kale, and sausage. Topped with a bit of cheese, and served with a hunk of artisan bread, you'll have the makings for a stick-to-your-bones kind of meal. Enjoy!

1/2-1 lb sausage of your choice (I used mild Italian pork sausage this time around, but have also used smoked kielbasa with excellent results. If you decide to use a low-fat chicken or turkey sausage, you'll probably need to add a splash of olive oil to the pot while you're sauteing the onions and garlic along with the sausage. You can also cook the sausage on the grill or roast it in the oven, slice it, and add it to the chowder at the end when you add the kale, although again, you'll need a splash of olive oil to saute the onions and garlic in.)

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
About 1 dozen small-medium new potatoes (around 2 lbs.), scrubbed and cut into 1/8ths or 1/16ths
1 bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into smallish pieces
8 C chicken or veggie stock (you can also use 1/2 stock and 1/2 water)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Grated parmigiana reggiana for topping (or other cheese of your choice; I use cheddar when I use smoked kielbasa)
1. Remove the casing from the sausage and cook over medium heat in a large soup pot, along with the onions and garlic, breaking up the sausage into bite-sized pieces.
2. Once the sausage is cooked through, add in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
3. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are firm tender.
4. Add in the kale and turn off the heat.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
6. Smash up some of the potatoes a little with a spoon to thicken a bit (optional).
7. Serve topped with a sprinkling of cheese and a side of artisan bread.
Serves 6-8

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter, Honey, and Sage

One of the many things I love about winter squash is that it can live on my kitchen counter for quite a while before I have to do anything with it. This is a welcome trait in the midst of our hectic fall schedule. In the following recipe I used spaghetti squash because it was what I had on hand, but any roasted winter squash will work. The carnival squash from our Inverbrook share would work beautifully here (and would be much more beautiful). Just halve the squashes, seed, and roast until tender, then add the brown butter, honey, and sage mixture directly to the squash halves, and serve them as little bowls of buttery goodness. Yum! Enjoy!

2 roasted spaghetti squash (Halve the squashes, seed, and roast on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until tender and browned a bit. Once the squashes are done and slightly cooled for handling, scrape the meat from the skin with a fork creating spaghetti-like strands. Set aside and keep warm.)
4 T unsalted butter
Pinch or two of nutmeg
1-2 T finely chopped fresh sage leaves (plus more leaves for garnishing)
2 tsp honey plus more for drizzling
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Add in the nutmeg, sage, and a pinch of salt.
3. Simmer over medium-low heat until the butter starts to brown. (Watch very carefully! Butter can go from yummy, toasty brown to burned in an instant. I've learned the hard way. ;-))
4. Stir in the honey.
5. Toss the squash with the brown butter mixture and a bit more salt.
6. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
7. Serve drizzled with more honey and garnished with a sage leaf and some fresh ground pepper.
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

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