I saw this recipe for Mushroom-Sausage Ragu in the October issue of Food & Wine and thought it would be a nice alternative to my usual shrimp and grits…and we all know I’m a sucker for shrimp and grits.
Since we were out of town this weekend, we weren’t able to make it to the farmer’s market and were limited to what we already had on hand and what wasn’t totally disgusting at the local Safeway. Thus, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe…but it still turned out great!
I sliced and fried up 3 chicken jalapeno sausages (from Trader Joe’s; 2 would have been fine in retrospect) and set them aside. Sauteed half a white onion and several cloves of garlic, threw in the mushrooms with some cajun salt & fresh ground black pepper and tossed in a splash of chicken broth since I didn’t have any reconstituted mushroom juice that the real recipe required (in retrospect some sake would have been good too). I didn’t have tomato paste but I did have three tomatoes that were about to turn so threw those in. When everything was almost ready, I threw in chopped swiss chard and some leftover grated yellow squash from the previous night’s dinner (tofu jap chae). Once the vegetables were cooked, the sausages went back in and everything got a little sprinkle of black truffle salt (I put it on everything–you should too!).
While I was working on the vegetable-sausage mixture, Joel made the grits: chicken broth, quick grits, frozen white corn kernels and quattro formaggio cheese. A couple dashes of Frank’s and we had a nice dinner. For dessert, we had the last of the plums from our CSA box.
This was a quick and easy weeknight meal. We went for an after work run, showered and had dinner ready by 8pm!
One of the first dishes I ever learned to make on my own was red shrimp coconut curry with pineapple. This is basically the same recipe but I no longer stick just to shrimp and pineapple because the curry is so accommodating! On our Saturday trip to the farmer’s market, I found okra (I love okra and would welcome new ideas for cooking it), (a short green) squash, eggplant, tomatoes, thai basil, kaffir lime leaves and shiitake mushrooms. I had half a can of bamboo shoots left in the fridge as well as a package of firm tofu. Cook all of that together with some red curry paste, garlic, coconut milk, brown sugar, a squeeze of lime and a few dashes of fish sauce and you’ve got a curry that goes great over a bed of brown rice!
This curry wasn’t purposefully vegetarian but the produce from the farmer’s market was so good and the tofu absorbs the flavor of the curry so well that I never miss meat in this dish.
The curry definitely had a bite so dessert was some young coconut (buka) ice cream from Mitchell’s, which just happens to be around the corner from us, and some chunks of dragonfruit from the farmer’s market. A cool, creamy end to an already coconutty dinner.
This is so simple, yet so perfect. The produce is fresh from the farmer’s market and all we did was dress it up with a little olive oil and red sea salt. Joel had never had Japanese cucumbers before so we added it to our salad. Instead of Italian sweet basil, we used Thai basil since I bought a bunch (only $1!) for Thai curry.
The week before, it was tomatoes with Italian sweet basil, olive oil and several different types of salt (red sea salt, kosher sea salt and truffled salt).
Too bad tomatoes will go away soon…or will they? Maybe people grow them in tents around here and I’ll have them year-round at the farmer’s market?
p.s. It is so much easier to eat fresh and healthy in San Francisco! Last year at this time, I was making heavy dips and washing it down with beer.
Sam’s Chowdermobile served lunch near my office last week and my $15 lobster roll did not disappoint. That’s a lot to spend for lunch but I’ve been craving lobster rolls for the last 18 months.
I travel about 2 days a week for work and earlier last week found myself stuck in Dallas for several hours. Luckily, they had a Red Mango.
Not so luckily, I had a choice of McDonald’s (again) or TGIFriday’s. The last time I was at DFW, I had a surprisingly tasty steak salad at TGIFriday’s so thought I’d try my luck again. No dice, but my waiter was a smart and friendly kid.
Why does airport food have to be so awful?
Our cleaning lady in Chicago is from El Salvador. A few months ago, she brought over chile rellenos for us and I have been thinking about them ever since. I have never actually ordered chile rellenos because they’re usually stuffed with copious amounts of cheese that would spell digestive disaster for me. However, I’ve had bites of other peoples’ chile rellenos and always liked them. However, Nellie’s was stuffed with a tuna mix which I really enjoyed and have been craving ever since.
I didn’t get a chance to satisfy that craving until we moved to San Francisco and my kitchen finally arrived. As soon as we unpacked, I went out to the Allemany Farmer’s Market and picked up fresh eggs and poblano chiles and got to work. I halved this recipe with the following modifications:
- Used an 8×8 pyrex for the halved recipe which fit perfectly
- Used Soyrizo instead of chorizo. Soyrizo has a good flavor but a weird mushy texture. I’d maybe try some sort of tuna mix next time?
- Skipped the cotija cheese and just used the same mexican mixed cheese that I did on top. Cotija probably would have been better, but I didn’t feel like buying a second cheese
- Served with warm corn tortillas
Roasting the poblano chiles directly over the stove was kind of fun. However, peeling them was not so fun–it took a while. I’d never used fresh oregano before but really enjoyed the flavor–and fresh herbs are so cheap at the farmer’s market! Some of the reviews mentioned that the casserole was too “brunchy” but I didn’t think so! I would definitely make this again.
Finally, I’m still figuring out how to work in my new kitchen but I definitely miss my Chicago kitchen!
I am incapable of cooking for just two so we always have leftovers. Sometimes, inspiration hits and leftovers get a new life. Joel made pasta with red sauce and turkey meatballs for dinner the night I got in from a four-day East Coast trip. After a long, cross-country flight it made me so happy to return to a home-cooked meal.
A few days later, we had a bit of pasta left over so I doctored it up with sauteed onions, chopped banana squash and one meatball left over from our dinner at Beretta the night before. I topped it with some leftover cheese and baked it in the oven for a little bit and lunch was ready.
This started as our usual roasted cauliflower with garbanzo beans and olives. I added some chopped swiss chard from the Sunday Civic Center farmer’s market and some drippings from the chicken we roasted and we had a nice side of colorful veggies to go with our roast chicken.
Stay tuned for a Chile Relleno Casserole…its on my digital camera and my new laptop doesn’t have an SD card reader (I know, weird, right?).
I’m currently stuck at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for a much longer period of time than I would care to be–definitely a reality I didn’t miss about the working world.
Anyway, I made this when our stuff was still en route and all we had in the kitchen was borrowed tools from my family. I’d been craving eggplant and I always love tofu, so this was a nice and simple way to combine the two. We live two blocks from a great butcher so Joel picked up a half pound of ground chicken and when I got home from work, I just sauteed everything together with a little spicy bean paste and we had dinner! I would have liked to add something green as a side dish but we wouldn’t have had enough pots to cook them. Instead, we shared a delicious peach for dessert!
Joel’s experiencing his first Indian summer in the Bay Area and we’re taking full advantage by going to the farmer’s market and seeing some Giants baseball and Cal football:
Our kitchen is finally unpacked and I am still cooking based on what we find at the farmer’s markets…I just don’t have as much time these days to promptly document everything but hope to get everything up at some point! When I finally get home tonight, I am very much looking forward to the CSA box full of fruit that was delivered to us today.