Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chorizo & Roasted Pepper Sausage Gravy over Herbed Biscuits

This isn't a summer produce recipe.  In fact I made it in the cold weather, but I really thought it made a great weekend breakfast and don't want to lose it.  Biscuits are one of my favorites.  I also discovered I love sausage gravy over biscuits.  Definitely not something I grew up with.  It isn't always easy to get good sausage gravy and biscuits in northern  restaurants.  This recipe steps it up a notch and adds herbs to the biscuits and chorizo to the sausage gravy.  If you aren't able to get chorizo, Italian sausage also works well in this recipe.

Herbed breakfast biscuits (12)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose flour)
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 to 3 teaspoons sugar, to taste
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons trans fat-free vegetable shortening, very cold
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or chives (or a combination)
¾ cup whole milk or half-and-half, very cold

 Milk for brushing on top

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put flours, baking powder, sugar and salt into a food processor or into a large bowl. Pulse or stir to mix. Drop diced butter and shortening randomly over the flour mixture. Pulse or use two knives to cut the butter and shortening into the flours until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in herbs. Sprinkle the milk over the mixture. Pulse or stir until the mixture barely gathers into a ball.
2. Remove from food processor and gently roll or press into an even 1/2-inch thick circle. Use a floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter or drinking glass to cut into circles. Place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Very gently gather up the scraps; roll into a 1/2-inch thick piece and cut more biscuits.
3. Brush the tops with milk; bake until tops are golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm.

Chorizo and roasted pepper sausage gravy
1 package (12 ounces) Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed (1# bulk Italian sausage also works well in this recipe)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cups whole milk or a combination of skim milk and 1/2 & 1/2
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup diced bottled roasted red bell pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

1. Crumble chorizo sausage into a cast-iron pan or nonstick skillet. Add onion. Cook until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer sausage and onion with a slotted spoon to a plate.
2.  Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings. Mix 1/2 cup of the milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into pan drippings; stir in remaining milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in sausage, diced red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Heat to warm through, 1-2 minutes. Serve over biscuits; sprinkle generously with cilantro.

Adapted from the Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Squash Casserole

At this time of the year you will probably consistently see either summer squash or zucchini in your CSA share.  I can never get too much of either one because it is so versatile.
You can use zucchini or yellow summer squash to make this squash casserole.  It is a very basic casserole but to me it is really comfort food.

  • 2 pounds squash thickly sliced (7 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (about 1/2 of 8 ounce package)  I prefer Pepperidge Farm brand

    Cook squash with onion in boiling salt water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Combine soup and sour cream. Stir in shredded carrot. Fold in drained squash and onion. Melt butter; toss with stuffing mix. Spread half of the stuffing in a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish (about 1 1/2 to 2-quart size). Spoon vegetable mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining stuffing mixture. Bake at 350° until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    French Potato Salad

    We went to my son and daughter-in-law's for the July 4 weekend.  I was asked to bring potato salad, but my son doesn't like mayonnaise.  I found this recipe for French Potato Salad on the Food Network.  It was originally a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  I made a few adaptations. This is a great salad for picnics because you don't have to worrry about keeping it cold. It is good at room temperature.

    I love the variety of fresh herbs in this version.  I have an herb garden on my deck so at this time of the year fresh herbs are readily accessible.

    If I made this recipe again I would double the recipe.

    2# white or red potatoes or a mixture (if organic, no need to peel)
    2 tablespoons dry white wine
    2 tablespoons chicken stock
    3 tablespoons white wine or tarragon vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
    3/4 tsp. black pepper
    1/2 cup good olive oil
    1/4 cup green onions (white and green parts), chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
    2 tablespoons chiffonaded fresh basil

    Cut the potatoes in chunks and cook in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until just tender.  Drain potatoes.  Toss gently with white wine and chicken broth.  Allow to soak into potatoes before proceeding.

    Combine vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk in olive oil.  Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes.  Add the green onions, dill, parsley, basil and additional salt and pepper as needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This can be made the night before.

    Strawberry Bread

    Unfortunately we are coming to the end of the strawberry season.  It is so short, at least here in Wisconsin.  If you still have a few berries available this is a great recipe to use them.  I brought a sample to work today and the response was, "I must have that recipe!" 

    1 1/2 Cups fresh strawberries, sliced
    1 Cup granulated sugar, divided
    1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon from Penzeys if available)
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract 
    1/2 Cup melted butter (1 stick)
    1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional but good)

    Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour a standard glass (8x5”) loaf pan. Rinse, core and slice the strawberries, place in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 Cup sugar. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then add the vanilla and melted butter. Make sure the melted butter isn't too hot-just barely melted. Stir in the strawberries. Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the pecans (if using) and blend.  Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the bread from the pan.  It is delicious served warm.

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    Cottage Cheese Pancakes

    I found myself with some leftover cottage cheese in the frig.  I'm not a cottage cheese fan, but I like it in food where I don't have to deal with the strange consistency.  These pancakes sounded promising and they turned out to be very good, especially after I added some fresh strawberries to the batter.  I also added some coarsely chopped pecans, both are totally optional. I know that some people don't like "stuff" in their pancakes.  The cottage cheese also adds some protein to the pancakes.

    1 cup unbleached flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons sugar
    4 eggs
    1 cup cottage cheese
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons oil (canola or sunflower seed)
    1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, milk and oil.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk just until blended.  At the this point you can add the strawberries and pecans if using.

    Spray a griddle with cooking spray or brush with oil.  Be sure the griddle is hot.  Use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.  Cook until the top begins to form small bubbles.  Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on both sides.

    These pancakes are very tasty spread with a little butter and sprinkled with Penzeys vanilla sugar.

    Adapted from Whole Foods