Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sauteed Chicken Sausage and Apples

I bet I have 15 different similar recipes on this blog of sauteed chicken sausage & apples because it is one of the fastest and most satisfying recipes in my repertoire and it is never exactly the same.  Today we took a field trip to Trader Joe's - a store we don't love as much as everyone else.  After browsing the rather crowded store (that they were stocking at the worst possible time!) we were still at a loss for dinner. I grabbed some sweet chicken & apple sausages and an apple and called it a day.

2 apple chicken sausages, sliced into coins
1 large apple, thinly sliced (the thinner you slice them the less time it takes)
1/8 t cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 T olive oil
1/4 C apple cider

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausages and brown 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to plate.
2. Toss apples with cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the hot pan. Pour over cider (it may pop and splatter!)
3. Cook apples 10 minutes or until soft. Add sausage back in and toss together. Serve with bread on the side.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fastest Pumpkin Soup

Joey & I made his famous pumpkin cranberry scones again last weekend and we were again left with half a can of pumpkin.  What do you even do with leftover pumpkin? You certainly don't eat it by the spoonful, yuck!  So I searched the web and stumbled upon this list of 50 things to do with canned pumpkin on the Food Network!

Pumpkin soup seemed like a good idea, so I gave it my own twist and now I have soup for lunch and it took 5-10 minutes tops!

1 generous C canned pumpkin
3/4 C chicken broth
1/4 C apple cider + extra if needed
1/4 C cream
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t ginger
1/8 t nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
dash of salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot and whisk on the medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
2. Let simmer 10 minutes
3. Serve.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roasted Rack of Pork

At Sprouts on Saturday, I was intrigued by French cut rack of pork! I've never cooked French cut of anything but this seemed like the time to try it!  This roast was only $5 and was obviously enough for two so I bought it.  Roasting this was a breeze just like roasting always is and the result looks fancy, good for a crowd with a larger roast of course!

I didn't use fresh herbs because I didn't have them but I think that a nice herb-garlic paste would be delicious on this. Think chimichurri with rosemary, sage and oregano.  Next time that's what I'll do. This time I put some dried herbs and garlic on it and the flavor was nice but the stabs of rosemary into my gums was not.

I served this with roasted black grapes and asparagus. A new flavor profile? Maybe so.  Also this is a 5-ingredient recipe.

1 2-lb rack of pork
1 clove garlic
1 onion
salt, pepper and herbs of your choice

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Meanwhile cut some slits into the fat of the pork and push in slices of garlic
3. Try making a paste of herbs with garlic and salt. Salt and pepper the roast and then spread with your paste.
4. Roast 1 1/2 hours or until roast reaches 160
5. Let sit 5 minutes

Roasted Grapes & Asparagus:
1. Toss asparagus and a scant bit of olive oil and salt. Lay flat in a small pan
2. Slice grapes in half, or don't.
3. Place grapes & asparagus in the oven for 15-20 minutes

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mini Caramel Apples

 This past Sunday my parents were in town and we decided to visit the Hollywood Farmer's Market. This market is four streets large plus a spice alley and is always an adventure.  While there, I spotted some tiny apples and I just knew I had to get them. After tasting them--slightly tart, crispy, still sweet, I bought the bag.  I already knew I wanted to make mini caramel apples with them, I just had to navigate the timing of the day.

These caramel apples took no time at all! When looking for recipes lots of people complained that caramel takes too long to make from scratch. But do you know what takes a long time? Unwrapping those caramel candies!  I hate those wrappers anyway, the grating sound of them, gross.  But what is really easy is making caramel! And the flavor difference is night and day.  My sister used to make caramels to give to people for gifts and this recipe was definitely the same (although I didn't know it at the time). This caramel just melts in your mouth and has that buttery touch of deliciousness.  I made 12 tiny caramel apples and halved the original recipe.

Original recipe, mine halved below. I had a little extra caramel but we weren't sad to eat it ;)

12 mini apples
3/8 + 1/8 cup heavy cream (divided)
3/8 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter (I used salted)
1/2 t vanilla
chopped peanuts, optional
Special Equipment: Candy Thermometer, skewers or popsicle sticks

1. Wash and completely dry the apples. Chop nuts and place them in a flat bowl.
2. Poke sticks (I used these cake pop variety) into the top part of the apple near the stem. Push hard to make sure it is sturdy
3. Prepare a sheet pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper or a silicon mat.
4. In a heavy bottomed small pot (actually I just used a small pot), attach a candy themometer to the edge and combine butter, syrup, sugar and 3/8 C heavy cream over high heat.
5. Boil until temperature reaches 246 degrees, firm ball stage and remove from heat. Caramel will be golden, don't step away this hardly takes any time at all.
6. Stir in remaining 1/8 C heavy cream and vanilla. This will spurt and splatter, protect yourself!
7. Carefully dip apples and spoon caramel over. Let excess drip off, swirl into nuts if using and then place in the prepared pan. Work quickly because the caramel will start to get more solid and be harder to use.
8. Refrigerate and the caramel will harden so that it is easier to get it off the pan. Serve.