I made a delicious stew the other day with pumpkin, kale, Great Northern beans, and chicken sausage.
It’s a bowl full of comfort and goodness.
Head over to my blog’s new home for the recipe.
If you haven’t noticed, I have an affection (obsession) for cheese. I have a drawer in my fridge dedicated to cheese. I buy little chunks of flavorful cheeses and use them frequently in my cooking. Some sweet soul at Arla (the maker of Dofino cheeses) noticed my affinity for cheese … and sent me several “samples” of Dofino cheeses. Ironically, these “samples” are the same size as the little chunks I normally buy at the store … and there are six different kinds … some of them I can’t even find at my local stores. I’m in cheese heaven! They did ask that I share my recipes that I make with their cheeses. Are you kidding? There’s no way you could shut me up!
On to the recipe: if you’ve never had a really good chorizo with eggs and potatoes, it’s a sublime experience. Those three ingredients together are simply magical. Add a little cheese and it’s heaven on a plate. My dad makes this wonderful chorizo (one of these days I’ll get the recipe for it!) and I found some in the freezer, so I cooked some chorizo with eggs, potatoes and cheese while my sis was here. I had about 3/4 cup of the cooked chorizo left after they left, so I decided to make it into a breakfast boat, using one of those gorgeous Italian zucchini that my sister brought me. It made such a beautiful boat I was tempted to add a mast with a little sail just for fun, but I didn’t want to mess up the perfection of the melty cheese …
Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats
This filling will stuff two medium (14-inch) zucchini if you cut the tops off lengthwise, or two halves if cut in half lengthwise and both halves are stuffed … or even more if your zucchini are small!
- 3/4 cup good quality lean chorizo, cooked
- 1 cup potato, cut in small cubes, cooked
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used about 2/3 cup shredded Dofino Gouda cheese, plus about 1/3 cup Mexican fiesta blend I had in my fridge that I needed to use up … I mixed the two to make my own amazing cheesy blend)
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise to make two boats and with a grapefruit spoon (or other scooping device), scoop out the insides to make boats. (Save the seedy inside part to make Zummus.)
- Cook up the chorizo in a frying pan over medium heat, chopping it up into little crumbles as it cooks. When the chorizo is done, remove it from the pan and drain off the excess fat from the pan. Fry up the potato till it’s cooked, then add the zucchini, sweet onion and jalapeno and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the zucchini is tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water till smooth. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt.
- Add the chorizo back into the frying pan and stir to mix, then pour in the eggs, scrambling them just for a few minutes. Fold in about 1/2 of the cheese mixture as well. You want to leave the eggs very moist, not quite done, because they will finish cooking in the boats.
- Spoon this lovely mixture into your zucchini boats, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (or broil briefly) until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
- Serve hot. Plates are optional.
I am sooooo excited! It’s mulberry season! I have this beautiful beautiful mulberry tree in my back yard … well, really, there are several in my yard, but the one that grows over my pond is the most prolific. I was worried she wouldn’t make any berries this year because it was a very unusually warm spring, followed by a hard frost. The mulberries usually wait to come out till later, but this spring it was so hot that she had started making berries when the big frost came. All the berries were dead. I thought for sure I would get no berries this year.
My little tree was not going to give up, though … she came back and made more berries. TONS more berries. Oh how I love my mulberry tree.
So this year I want to try some new ways of using these beautiful little purple berries. I was craving something substantial today, thinking salad, but for some reason I wanted sausage … I went digging through my freezer and found some “mystery” sausage. The package was opened, but unlabeled. I cooked one up and discovered, much to my delight, that it is some sort of sundried tomato and cheese sausage. Yes, that fit right in with my diabolical plan. And then I found a bit of couscous in the cupboard. Just enough for a salad. This turned out to be an insanely simple, yet delicious salad. The sweet-tart-juicy berries mixed just right with the smoky sausage, sharp cheese and crunchy onions. The vinaigrette smoothed it all out. It was just exactly what I wanted.
Mulberry, Sausage and Couscous Salad
For each meal-sized salad, you will need:
- 1/3 cup of uncooked couscous (I measured it before I cooked it … it’s better if it’s whole wheat … or you could use quinoa!)
- 1 cooked sausage, chopped (I used a sundried tomato and cheese one, but other flavors would work too)
- A few tablespoons of chopped sweet onion (like Vidalia)
- About 1 oz. of Dubliner or other sharp cheese (like Parmesan or Romano), sliced, then chopped into small squares
- About 1 cup of fresh mulberries (or other berries … raspberries or blackberries or even blueberries would be good)
- 2 Tablespoons of Tequila Lime Vinaigrette salad dressing (recipe is at the end of this post … I am sure other vinaigrettes would work fine with this salad)
- Snipped chives
Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package. I let my couscous cool to room temperature before making my salad. You could set it in the fridge or freezer to cool faster.
Cook the sausage. I put mine in the toaster oven at 400 on bake for about 10 minutes and that did the trick (and it started out frozen!). Once your sausage is done, chop up the sausage into whatever sized bits you like.
Mix the couscous, sausage, onion, cheese, mulberries, and vinaigrette in a bowl. Top with snipped chives and a few fresh berries and serve.
Post #5 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …
I made my daughter a plain cheese one and she ate the WHOLE thing. Holey moley girl! I think she’s going through a growth spurt again because I could only eat about half of mine. She eats like crazy when she’s growing.
First I got the dough started in the bread machine. I used my beer pizza dough, the same one I used in the thai chicken pizza. Recipe for the crust is here.
Then I got to work on the sauce.
Homemade Pizza / Pasta Sauce, Two Ways
- 2 small onions
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
- 1 quart of canned tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped roasted eggplant (I know what you’re thinking: Eggplant? Trust me … it thickens the sauce and gives it a nice buttery taste. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 for about 5 – 10 minutes or until it’s soft. Use the tender little ones if you can find them. If you have a big one, peel it first before you roast it. I had some that I froze last summer so I used that.)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper & fresh herbs to taste (I didn’t use anything but the Italian seasoning and my daughter said it was delicious just like that!)
- 2 – 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (to your taste)
- Fresh basil & oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
Peel the onion and garlic, chop the onion into large hunks and put in a food processor or handi chopper with the garlic to chop it finely. (Or chop it the old fashioned way, with a knife.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sautee for about 5 – 10 minutes until the onion is very soft and starting to sweeten/caramelize. Add the wine and cook until the liquid from the wine has mostly evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and eggplant and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked down and the sauce is getting to be about the consistency of a tomato sauce. You don’t have to stand over it stirring the whole time, but you do want to make sure you stir it fairly often.
Put the sauce into a blender and blend till smooth. It will turn out this lovely orangey red color.
Now you have a choice. You can make one or both of the sauces. I divided mine up in half so I could make my daughter her Italian cheese pizza and me my spicy Cajun one.
So for the Italian sauce, I added Italian seasoning and asked my girl to taste it. She said it was perfect just like that (and I agreed).
For the cajun version, I added cajun seasoning, some fresh basil and oregano, some smoked paprika, and then just to kick it up a little more, some cayenne and a bit of salt.
Now it’s time to assemble the ‘za!
Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Jambalaya Pizza
- Pizza crust, pre-made or fresh (I used my beer pizza crust and made this on the grill … see this grilled thai pizza post for the crust recipe and grilling instructions)
- Tiny shrimps … I thawed some frozen ones
- Andouille sausage, sliced thin
- Bell pepper, chopped (or sliced)
- Red onion, sliced or chopped
- Jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional … if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a pepper-head … I like things VERY spicy)
- Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- Italian blend of shredded cheese
- Oregano leaves, for garnish … I think some chopped green onions would go well on top too.
Slather the crust with the cajun sauce, then sprinkle with the toppings and top with cheese. Cook the pizza in the oven or the grill till the cheese is melted and bubbly, then top with fresh oregano leaves and … it’s time to EAT!
I’m thinking some of this Cajun Lemonade from La Belle Cuisine would be fabulous with this spicy pizza …
A nearly wordless Wednesday post …
“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
~ Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
Cajun Andouille Sausage & Vegetable Stew
A hearty, healthy, and spicy soup to warm your bones
- 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2/3 cup chopped), with leaves removed and set aside
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes in juices, with the tomatoes chopped into small bits
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cup sweet corn (frozen, thawed)
- 1 cup chickpeas (or other beans)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (optional–add more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup)
- 1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup chopped Andouille sausage
- 1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice (or basmati or whatever kind you prefer)
- 1 cup water (or more to get the desired “soupiness”)
- About 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- About 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chop the vegies, removing the leaves from the celery and setting them aside for later.
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, and celery and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add tomato, bay leaf, bell pepper, corn, chickpeas, jalapeno, cajun seasoning, broth, sausage, rice and water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Right before serving, chop the basil and celery leaves and add the herbs and celery leaves to the soup. Garnish with fresh basil and/or oregano leaves as desired.
What vegetable is more beautiful than an eggplant? I revel in the color and beauty of all vegetables, but really, in my opinion, the eggplant is the Aphrodite of vegetables. She is the vegetable goddess of beauty–royal purple, elegant, and oh so tasty.
This Lebanese eggplant dish is supposed to be a vegetarian dish. At least that’s how it is presented in my Mediterranean cookbook. And that’s how I made it, at first. But when I tasted it, while it was delicious in its own right, I felt a little sausage would make it even better. So after the first meal of it, I cooked up a couple bratwurst, peeled them, chopped them, and tossed them in. Oh my. That was EXACTLY what it needed. I’m totally guessing on the amount of sausage to throw into the whole batch–if you want yours more meaty, throw in more. If you want a vegetarian stew, it’s lovely like that too.
This dish literally took me about 10 minutes to throw together. I didn’t make it at all like they described in the cookbook … I just tossed everything into my crock pot and let it cook all day. The smell of this dish cooking will fill your home with Mediterranean love.
I used the 7 little lavender eggplant from the picture. If only they would retain that gorgeous color when cooked! I remember it though–with every cherished bite, I remember the purple.
Lebanese Eggplant, Sausage and Chickpea Stew
- 7 baby eggplants (about 3-4 inches long), chopped
- 2/3 c. dry, uncooked chick peas
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 1/2 t. cumin
- 2/3 c. water
- 1 quart canned tomatoes, juices included
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lb. low-fat sausage, cooked and chopped
- Cooked basmati rice (other types of rice would work too … I just really love the flavor of basmati rice and it goes SO nicely with this stew!)
- Toss all the chopped vegies, chickpeas, water, and spices into the crockpot. With the tomatoes, squeeze them in your hand as you add them to break them up–or whir them briefly in a food processor for a minute before adding. Stir briefly to mix everything
- Turn the crockpot on low and let it cook for a good 8 hours or until the chick peas are tender. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook up the rice. Brown the sausage or if it’s sausage links, boil it in water, then chop and add hot to the stew.
- Serve the steaming hot flavorful stew over the hot rice with cilantro or parsley for garnish.
Adapted from the cookbook: Mediterranean, a taste of the sun in over 150 recipes, by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow
This recipe was submitted to Cast Party Wednesday.
I am not a very good gardener. I try, but the weeds just get away from me … and sometimes my plants bloom, but never bear fruit. I planted some pumpkins one year and the blossoms were so beautiful, but never made a single pumpkin. The flowers would just bloom, then fall off the vine. The same with my tomatoes this year. I have 6 big healthy tomato plants that made lots of blossoms, but produced only three tomatoes.
This is one of them:
It was my first tomato. I let it ripen on the vine until it was just perfect, then I wanted to find something really good to make with it.
Then I saw the Wicked Noodle’s 3- minute Breakfast Hash. The name doesn’t sound all that exciting, but her picture was so adorable. I was inspired. I got out my little ramekins, chopped up a bit of my tomato (reserving some for later … oh could I get TWO dishes out of this precious little tomato?), added some onion and cheese and egg and voila! I confess I didn’t use her microwave method–I much prefer to use my toaster oven and let it bake. Baking things has a lovely way of creating a delicious smell throughout the house …
I made two ramekins because I was making this just for myself. One ramekin with toast was breakfast and the other became my lunch. (I have a small stomach! I’m sure a guy could polish off several of these …)
Simple Savory Little Breakfast Cups
- Frozen hash browns (or shredded potatoes)
- Chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno or other vegies as you please
- Shredded cheese of some kind and/or crumbled goat cheese
- Crumbles of bacon or sausage if you please (today I added some lovely low-fat, nitrate-free free range chicken-red pepper sausage)
- 1 egg
- 1/8 c. milk
- Seasoned salt (I like to use Red Robin Seasoning) & fresh ground pepper
- Fresh herbs if you like
- Spray 2 little ramekins with cooking spray and cover the bottom of each ramekin with hash browns.
- Sprinkle the hash browns with vegies and meat.
- Beat the egg with the milk and season with the salt, pepper and herbs.
- Pour about half of the egg mixture into each ramekin.
- Top with cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set. If they spring back when you touch them lightly, they are done.
- Top with fresh herbs if you like and enjoy!