Sausage and Fennel Seeds Pasta

This a delicious pasta dish that makes for a difference on a tomato sauce based dish. Packed with flavours and reheats well.

Ingredients:
1 box of rotinis
1 portion of sausage mix
2 sweet yunnan peppers
2 table spoon fennel seeds
1 cup vermouth
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 table spoon dried oregano
1 package of frozen spinach
Parmesan, to taste
Olive oil
ingredients

***

1. In a mortar and pestle, combine the yunnan peppers and the fennel seeds.
spices

2. Crush until the peppers are broken apart and the seeds start breaking up. Set aside.
spices2

3. In a large skillet, heat some of the olive oil. Add the pork and break any large clumps. Get your pasta started.
sausage1

4. When all of the pork is getting colour, add the fennel seeds and peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, you want the meat to caramelize.
sausage2

5. Pour the vermouth and lemon juice over the meat. Add the lemon zest. Cook down until the liquid reduces by half.
liquids

6. Add the dried oregano and spinach. Cover so the spinach thaws faster.
spinash

7. Your pasta should be ready so drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Stir the thawed spinach in with the meat.
cooked

8. Stir in the cooked pasta. If it looks dry add some of the cooking water. Grate parmesan on top to taste.
pasta

9. Serve with more grated parmesan
serve2

Advertisements

Sausage and Spinach Risotto

Ok, so I totally took this recipe from my friend’s husband (the same who does the amazing drinks). Easy recipe, easy to scale if you’re having people over. Satisfying and filling. And for those who know me, it has *gasps* mushrooms! And I eat it willingly, it’s that good.

Ingredients
14g dried mushroom
6-8 cups water
2 table spoon butter
1 onion
2 italian sausage
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 block frozen spinach
Parmesan, to taste
ingredients

***

1. Pour the water in a pot and add the dried mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
mushrooms1

2. After 10-15 minutes the mushrooms will have reconstituted and you’ll have flavorful stock to use. Keep it warm but not boiling.
mushrooms2

3. In a different, larger pot, melt the butter. Dice the onions and stir into the butter. Cook for a few minutes until translucent.
onions

4. Remove the casing from the sage and add to the pot. Break any lumps as it cooks.
sausage1

5. When the sausage is cooked, add the rice. Stir well to coat. If you have white wine (or vermouth) add about 1/2 cup here and stir until fully absorbed.
rice1

6. Start ladling in the stock, I add it a bit at the time, stirring a lot until absorbed, to coax the starch out of the rice.
rice2

7. When the rice is just shy of done add the spinach. Fish the mushrooms out of any remaining stock and add to the pot as well.
spinach

8. Grate in cheese (to taste). I don’t use all that much.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
cheese

9. Rest for a minute or so then serve.
Enjoy!
serve

Brunch quiche

All the goodness of brunch in a single item. And by goodness I do mean artery clogging combination of ingredients. But it is very good and satisfying. Though next time I might try the ice water rinse technique with the potatoes and skip the flour, to see if I can make a slightly crunchier gluten-free crust.

Ingredients
2 vidalia onions
2-3 large russet potatoes
4 cups baby spinach
Most of a pack of bacon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
4 eggs
5 table spoon butter + more for the tart pan
2 table spoon flour
a handful of grated cheese
salt and pepper
* optional : 1-2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar.
ingredients

***

1. Thinly slice the onions. In a large skillet, combine with 2 table spoon of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow to slowly cook on medium-low heat until deeply golden.
Deglaze with a bit of water once in a while, to remove any stuck on sugary bits at the bottom and incorporate those back into the onions.
onions1

2. When the onions are just about done, you can add a table spoon or two of white balsamic to amp up the sweet note, but this is optional.
Remove from heat and set aside.
onions2

3. Melt the remaining 3 table spoon of butter. Peel and shred the potatoes. You need about 4 cups of shredded potatoes.
From this point on you want to move fast. The potatoes will oxidize fast, first taking on a pinkish hue then going grey. Doesn’t change the taste but looks less appetizing.
shred-potatoes

4. Turn the potatoes over unto a clean dish towel. Gather into a bundle and squeeze out as much water as you can.
towel

5. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the melted butter and flour.
combine-shreds

6. Press unto a buttered tart pan (one with the removable bottom). Use a flat bottom glass to press the shreds down as compact as you can.
press-crust

7. Bake in a 400F oven for 35-40 minutes.
Take out from the oven and allow to cool.
See the places where we can see the black bottom plate of my tart dish? Don’t do that. So really pay attention when packing in the shreds at the previous steps. It’ll become evident why in the next few steps.
cooked-crust

8. Add a thin layer of caramelized onions.
add-onions

9. Cook the bacon, but you want it a bit chewy.
Take a bit of the rendered bacon fat and use it to cook the baby spinach until just wilted.
spinash

10. Whip together the eggs, milk and cream.
eggs1

11. Cut the bacon into chunks and add to the eggs with the wilted spinach and a handful of grated cheese.
eggs2

12. Pour into the crust.
The eggs will immediately find all those empty spots in the crust and seep everywhere. This is why the tart pan is sitting on a cookie sheet.
pour

13. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or so, until the filling is set.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes when out of the oven.
bake

14. Set the pan on a small ramekin and gently remove the outer rim to unmold the quiche.
unmold

15 Serve warm and enjoy!
cut

Chickpea and spinach salad with marinated chicken

Simple, low effort and tasty. The left overs make good lunch, this is great of week-night cooking.

Ingredients
2 cans of chickpeas
1 pack of boneless, skinless chicken thigh 
1 small jar roasted peppers, in oil not brine
3 capers, quartered
Baby spinach (a good handful per plate)
Olive oil
4 lemons
salt & pepper
Dijon mustard
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh basil, to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine together the juice of 3 lemons, a good amount of olive oil (1/4 to 1/3 of a cup), the garlic, pressed of finely minced, a bit of salt and plenty of black pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Massage a bit to make sure everything is coated, then allow to marinate for an hour or so.
chicken-in-marinade

3. The marinade will make the chicken look paler. This is normal. Get the chicken cooking, and discard the marinade.
marinated-chicken

4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
chickpeas

5. Remove the roasted peppers from the jar and drain the excess oil. Cut into strips and add to the chickpeas.
add-peppers

6. Add the capers. They add a salty/briny/crunchy element. Skip them if you don’t like them or don’t have any on hand. Olives would probably work instead.
add-capers

7. In a small jar, combine the juice of the remaining lemon, some olive oil and about a tea spoon of Dijon mustard. Add black pepper. Shake until emulsified.
dressing

8. Add the chicken to the chickpeas. Drizzle with the dressing and mix everything together.
mix

9. Serve over a good handful of spinach. Add cut or thorn basil on top. 
plate

Chana Masala

Not exactly the delicious food that I tasted in a group picnic, but a good enough interpretation that I’ll keep it around… I probably need more practice.

Ingredients
1 can of chickpeas
1 3/4 cup of peeled, diced tomatoes
2 handful of baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tea spoon cumin
1/2 tea spoon curry
1/2 tea spoon ground coriander
1 tea spoon garam masala
1 table spoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1.  In a large skillet, cook the onions on medium heat until translucent then add the chopped garlic until fragrant.
onions

2. Grind together the spices. You can toast the spices before hand, for more flavor.
grind-spices

3. Add the spices to the skillet, heating until fragrant.
add-spices

4. Add the chickpeas, with the water from the can. Stir well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
add-chickpeas

5. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
tomatoes

6. Add the spinach. Mix in so that the spinach wilt. Simmer uncovered until the chick peas are done.
spinach

7. Serve warm with the side of your choice (I went with rice)
serve

Chèvre Chaud

A delicious appetizer, with just enough variation on the theme to be interesting, yet simple enough that it can be scaled up with ease.

The pictures and quantities below are for one portion, scale up as you require.

Ingredients
1 coffee spoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 coffee spoon Port
1/2 tea spoon Sugar (optional)
1 Fig
Baby Spinach (to taste)
Baby Arugula (to taste)
1 tea spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon Cider vinegar
1 table spoon Olive oil
1 pinch Ras el hanout
1 small Baguette
Goat Chesse (to taste)
Sliced almonds (to taste)
1/2 tea spoon Honey
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

ingredients

***

1. In a small pot, pour about 1 coffee spoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 coffee spoons of port. Allow to reduce on a very low heat. To make a thicker syrup you can add about half a tea spoon of sugar.
port

2. In a sealed container mix the Dijon mustard with the cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Shake until uniform in texture.
dressing

3. Cut the baguette on the bias. Lightly rub olive oil on both side of the bread.
bread

4. Toast the baguette slices.
toast

5. While the bread is toasting, wash and slice the figs. Grind the spices if you bought them whole.
prep

6. Assemble the croutons.

Left : Cheese topped with sliced almonds
Center : Figs, topped with the cheese.
Right : Cheese that has been seasonned on both sides with Ras el Hanout

Put back in the oven at broil until the cheese is warm and starting to melt.
assemble

7. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette. Drizzle a bit of honey over the crouton with the almonds. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the crouton with the figs.

Serve while warm.
final

Baby spinach salad with berberé chicken

I like this salad. It’s flexible enough to become a /everything left in the fridge” kind of meal. You can add celery. I’ve swapped the apples for some blackberries in the past. The fruit gives it an touch of sweetness to balance the spice on the chicken.

Ingredients
Baby spinach (about 3 good handful)
4 carrots, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 fuji apples, sliced
1 1/2 lemon,juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 small pack of pecans
3 teaspoon of berberé spices
2 chicken breasts, cut in strips
olive oil
1/2 tea spoon of dijon mustard
salt and pepper

ingredients

***

1. In a small bowl, mix the lemon and orange juice, the dijon mustard and a good dollop of olive oil. Mix well and add salt and pepper.
vinaigrette

2. Rinse the baby spinach. Put in a large bowl with the carrots and bell pepper.

3. Put the pecans in an oven safe dish and put in the oven at broil for a few minutes. Remove when fragrant and allow to cool.
pecans

4. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet (add a bit of butter if you want). Add the  chicken and the berberé spices. Mix well to ensure all the chicken is covered.
spiced-chicken

5. While the chicken is cooking roughly chop the pecans and add to the bowl with the spinach. Slice the apples and add the to bowl as well. Mix together.

6. Put the salad in shallow bowl and spoon some of the vinaigrette over. Add a few strips of spicy chicken.
plate