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Friday, August 9, 2013

Sausage, Peppers and Pasta


This dish is inspired by my friend Dan.  I went to visit him back in the day (long ago in a galaxy far far away and a time in my life when I still had A LOT of learning to do…) and he made this for me while I was there.  It surprised me because at the time he didn’t strike me as much of a cook (sorry Dan…), but it was pretty dang good!  Fast forward a few years and I thought it would be a perfect addition to my blog.  I had never made it before and further more I didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to improvise and make it my own, both of which are reasons for this blog. 

The original recipe used real sausage, canned and seasoned tomato sauce, and no basil leaves.  With the addition of the wine and the basil along with the homemade tomato sauce I found it added a deeper more whole flavor to the dish, not to mention a healthier option.  An added plus to this dish, it makes a ton of food and it is filling.  I ate on it for four days after I made it, which make it an A+ in my book.    

Enjoy!   


Sausage, Peppers and Pasta 

By: Dan Higgins adapted by Ann Marie Ely


Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic diced.
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 small red onion
1 cup of small cherry tomatoes
6 Basil Leaves
3 servings worth of pasta of your choice (note: spaghetti like pasta would not work well here)
3 links of chicken sausage (I used Spicy Jalapeno, but any kind would work)
½ C. tomato sauce
¼ C. tomato paste
2 tblsp Pino Grigio wine
Cumin/Oregano/Pepper/Salt to taste
Parmesan cheese (if desired)


Directions: 
Cut peppers and onions into large bites, roughly ¼ inch X ¼ inch squares and sliced the tomatoes in half.  Dice basil and add to vegetable mixture.  Cut the sausages into coin-sized slices and them split them half ways for more manageable bites. 

Combine the tomato sauce and tomato paste with the white wine and stir until well mixed.  Add cumin, oregano, pepper, and salt to taste or experiment with whatever spices you have a taste for. 

Set water to boil for pasta while the garlic simmers in olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Once garlic is browned add sausage and allow for all slices to get a golden crispy texture.  Next add the vegetables to the mix, shortly followed by the drained pasta.  Then pour the tomato sauce over the mixture combining until mixed through the dish.  Serve and top with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Daddieo



This afternoon I had some serious writers block when it came to my dad, so I did what I always do when I need to think, I run.  This turned out to be a great metaphor for the substance I was looking for and as I was trudging along I came across a thought that sparked a million tangents of conversation with one unifying theme, I am my fathers daughter (my mothers too, but for sake of argument I’m going to stick with the theme…).

Some of my earliest memories of my dad were of me on a stage playing while he played in a city league basketball league.  I would climb all over the stage, no doubt getting myself into lots of trouble (Believe or not I was a trouble maker, I know…shocking!).   After the games he would show me how to dribble.  One poininent memory I have is of him bouncing the ball really close to the ground while dribbling and then resurrecting the dribble to a more resounding bounce, I was awe inspired.  It was my dad who also signed me up for my first sport (t-ball) at the age of 7.  I asked him, when he told me he signed me up, what sports were!  Little did I know that it would change my life. 

I have always identified with my dad and his level of activity and often as a kid tried to keep up with him.  He rarely sat down, unless it was for lunch before his mid-day nap, and doing whatever necessary to keep our farm, home and lives running at full speed.  I always think about him when I bemoan getting up in the morning, when I know he is already up, despite the three-hour time difference.  I reminding myself he already has breakfast up and cooking. 

My dad is a family man, man of God, and in my eyes The Man!  He is visiting his father (and mother) this weekend in the hills above the Snake River where they are buried.  I know it is cliché to say MY dad is the greatest, because isn’t that what this day is all about!?  He is for me a role model, pride, family, intelligent, worldly, hard headed, and to me he is love.  My dad is without a doubt, one of my most favorite people!

In my dads honor I did two things, made his famous eggs, hash browns, salsa and toast breakfast and more deliciously, made elk burgers on the grill from the meat he let me bring home on my last trip west.  I added to the burger your normal condiments, but included a spread of dill goat cheese, the dill from our garden at work.  It was delicious!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Banana Ice Cream

It is probably one of my most favorite things.  With just three ingredients, this one just can't be beat.





Banana Ice Cream

By: Userealbutter.com


4 bananas, just slightly overripe
2 tblsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp coca powder (Dutch process)


Peel the bananas and slice them up into ¼ to ½ inch thick disks.  Place the banana slices in the freezer for an hour or until they are frozen solid.  Put the frozen slices in a food processor and pulse (I skipped this step and took ripe bananas and mashed them with a pastry blender until mashed).  First they will start to resemble gravel, but keep going.  The bananas will soon turn into a frozen mush- at this point, start scraping the sides down  (you will do this a lot) .  Or you could add a dash of milk since the liquid will help the blending.  I’m lactose-intolerant, so after a few minutes of stopping to scrape the sides down, the banana begins to blend into a creamy texture.  When the bananas look like whipped ice cream, you can add your mix-ins like peanut butter and/or coca powder, chocolate chips, toffee, raspberries, anything goes. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mother's Mother's Day



As I sit here trying to start a sentence that describes my Mom it is impossible for me to think of a word, words, or sentence that pinpoints exactly what she means to me or what she embodies to those around her.  One of the best quotes from Elizabeth Stone about having kids is, “Choosing to have a child-it’s momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  To me, my Ma is strength, beauty-both in and out, integrity, peace, and above all else and many more things, Love.  My Mother has taught me to thrive in independence, to know that I am beautiful no matter what the world says, and shows grace everyday that I hope one day I can pass on to my kids and future family.  This beautiful lady, my Mother is my one of a kind Mom. 

Since my mom is so far away and I can’t celebrate with her (she is spending the weekend with equally amazing women, my grandma, aunts and cousin) I decided to make her most favorite thing!  I asked what her most favorite thing to eat was and I should have known it would have been something sweet.  Since she gave me the creative license to go in any direction I wanted I decided to make a pie that she made and I absolutely love!  Though I’ve added new components to the pie to make it extra special and new.  Instead of the chocolate cookie crust I crumbled up stroop waffles and lined the bottom of the pan.  Stoop waffles is two thin wafers with a caramel filling between the two.  Upon serving I plan to whip strawberries within the whip cream to add a fruity overtone.     
 
I love you Mom, I hope you enjoy!



Chocolate Truffle Pie

By:  Unknown



2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup confectioners; sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 chocolate cookie crust (8-9 inches)
Whipping cream and chocolate covered candies optional

Ina microwave safe dish, combine the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of cream; cook on high for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Stir in sugar and vanilla, set aside. In a small mixing bowl, beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Beat in chocolate mixture on high, one-third at a time; mix well. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with shipped cream and candies if desired. They put the whip cream in little dollops around the perimeter of the pie so each serving had a little dollop and a candy on top. I don't usually do this.