Category Archives: Includes Meat

Soup with Escarole, White Beans and Sausage

When I saw that we were getting escarole from Tecolote Farms in our Local Box, I was excited for two reasons: (1) I have been craving sausage and escarole soup something fierce (2) I was already planning to visit Tecolote Farms on Saturday for a food swap. It seems silly when I write it down, but I felt like seeing the farmers who grew my Local Box escarole would be like seeing celebrities!!

Tecolote farmers Katie and Dave did not disappoint when I saw them last Saturday.  Their fields are about half an hour east of my house in Austin, flanked by live oak trees and dirt roads.

At the food swap, I managed to keep my celebrity-farmer-worship in check long enough to trade Farmer Katie some muffins for some Tecolote mustard greens. After the food swap Farmer Dave was kind enough to give us  swappers a tour of the farm.

Dave discussed some of the challenges of organic farming in Texas (draught, wind, heat, politics) and gave us some delicious, fresh-picked samples of the crops they’re growing at Tecolote this spring. Here he is, picking some peppery micro-greens for us to try.

As I had hoped, I got to see some of the Local Box escarole while it was still in the field! Dave didn’t seem to mind my paparazzi farm photos too much.

Visiting the farm in person really helped me appreciate how many hours of work local farmers spend providing food for us each week in the city. I left Tecolote Farms with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for locally sourced produce. And a renewed craving for that sausage and escarole soup.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I sourced the sausage in this recipe from Meyers’ Sausage in Elgin. Any sausage would work fine, but I am partial to either Meyers’ smoked sage or Richardson Farms‘ brats because their rich flavor complements the creamy beans and bitter greens in this hearty soup.

Escarole, Sausage and White Bean Soup (serves 4-6)
4 links sausage
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 head escarole
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
1-3/4 cups cooked white beans, such as cannellini (2, 14.5 ounce cans)
1 cup cooking liquid from the beans (or liquid from the can)
1 quart chicken broth

Cut off the tough bottom stem of the escarole, then wash the remaining leaves in cold water to get rid of any grit. Set the escarole leaves aside to dry. Slice spring onions and mince garlic; set aside.

Slice sausage into rounds and place in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally. Once the fat from the sausage starts to render, add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until tender. Add Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of water to the pot as the sausage mixture continues to cook. Meanwhile, slice the escarole leaves into thin ribbons and mince the parsley. Add these to the pot along with the red pepper and stir. Continue sauteing greens until they lose half their volume, for about 5 minutes.

Once there’s enough room in the pot, add the cooked beans, 1 cup of bean liquid, and 1 quart of chicken broth. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and allow soup to simmer for about 15 minutes before serving.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Bacon Wrapped Dates, Amelia Bedelia

Bacon wrapped anything is guaranteed to be a big hit at parties, and these delicious dates are no exception.  In this easy recipe, sweet dates are wrapped with Richardson Farms pastured bacon and baked until the bacon is crispy.  The basic recipe is

  • Package whole, pitted dates, about 30 pieces total
  • 1/3 slice bacon per date, about 10 slices total
  • blue cheese crumbles, goat cheese or almonds to stuff the dates, if desired

To make the dates, first stuff each date with a bit of cheese or almond, if desired. Then wrap each piece of dried fruit with 1/3 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place wrapped dates on a foil lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. (If you’re stuffing them with sweet goat cheese, a little brown sugar sprinkle is nice, too.) Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until the bacon is brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Turn the dates a few times during cooking to help them brown evenly.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Here are the step by step instructions with pictures (and my mom!) in a vintage post.

For my sister Beth’s baby shower, we taped paper due dates to the toothpicks of the finished appetizers.  I simply typed several January dates on a piece of paper, cut the separate dates into flags, and used a small piece of scotch tape to secure a flag to each toothpick. This tied in nicely to the children’s book, Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia, in which the ever-helpful Amelia Bedelia tries to make a date cake, using actual paper dates from the calendar instead of fruit in her cake!  It made for fun party conversation to discuss the literal-minded Amelia Bedelia, and to speculate on Beth’s actual due date.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Green Eggs & Ham / Spinach Deviled Eggs & Bacon

Deviled eggs are popular party food for good reason: they’re inexpensive and really easy to make ahead of time, plus they look great on a buffet. I developed this deviled egg recipe for my sister Beth’s book-themed baby shower, adapting the classic recipe in homage to Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

In developing the recipe, I drew heavily from Rachel Ray’s Green Eggs and Ham scrambled eggs, and Martha Stewart’s Spinach Deviled Eggs. In my recipe, sauteed, pureed spinach gives the yolk filling a greenish hue, and bits of bacon add flavor and garnish the dish. I also took care to use gluten free condiments and bacon so that the dish would be safe for all of our guests to eat.

Spinach Deviled Eggs with Bacon
12 eggs
4 slices gluten-free bacon
1 bunch regular spinach or 6 oz. bag baby spinach
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup gluten-free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon gluten-free Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

A day ahead of the rest of the prep, hard cook the eggs. Place 12 eggs in a single layer in large saucepan and cover with two inches of tap water. Cook over medium high heat until the water comes to a boil.  Once the water boils, remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit covered for 12 minutes.  After 12 minutes, gently add a few cups of ice to the pan, repeating as necessary until the water is cold. Remove cooled eggs from the pan and pat dry. Store in a closed container in the fridge for up to a week.

Peel the eggs. Slice them in half lengthwise, then remove the yolks and set them aside in a small mixing bowl.

Wash and dry the spinach. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook, tossing occasionally, until the greens are completely wilted and start to look a bit dry.  Transfer cooked greens to paper towels and squeeze out any extra moisture.

Next, cook the bacon in the saute pan.  Drain crispy cooked bacon on paper towels to remove any extra grease. Once bacon cools, crumble/chop it into fine pieces. Set aside.

Combine cooked, drained spinach with mayonnaise and mustard in a food processor.  Puree until mixture is well combined and tinted green.  Add egg yolks and pulse until yolk mixture is smooth.  Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste, pulsing until well combined. Pulse in half the crumbled bacon to the yolk mixture.  Transfer filling to a heavy-duty plastic sandwich bag.

Arrange egg white halves on a serving platter.  Snip off one bottom corner of the sandwich bag and pipe filling into each egg-half. Garnish finished eggs with remaining crumbled bacon.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

*Hint: if you’re preparing the deviled eggs to take to a party at someone else’s home, you’ll need an egg plate to transport the finished eggs safely. I don’t have –or want– an egg plate, so I just used ziploc bags to transport the component parts of this recipe to the party and assembled them on-site on a regular serving plate.  This is a great way to store the eggs, too, since the separate parts will stay fresher longer than the assembled eggs. A gallon-sized bag will hold the peeled, halved egg whites.  A snack-sized bag will hold the crumbled bacon garnish.  And a sandwich-sized bag will hold the filling. Obviously, you should wait to snip the corner of the filling bag to pipe the filling until you arrive at the destination and are ready to set up the eggs for service.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Yesterday I picked all the meat off our leftover Thanksgiving turkey and boiled the bones to make turkey stock.  I felt a little like Ma Ingalls making my own broth, but the whole process was just too easy for me to forgo. I followed Kalyn Denny’s instructions for making broth with turkey bones and it turned out great.  In the end, I netted 12 free cups of turkey stock for my troubles!  That much low-sodium, organic broth would cost at least $10 at the grocery store.

Besides saving money, it felt really good not to waste any parts of our Thanksgiving turkey. I had previously portioned out the leftover meat and froze it for use it for dinners in the next few weeks.  Of course, the bones went into the soup pot.  And the skin, tendons, and other leftover boiled meat bits?  I whizzed those in the food processor along with a few tablespoons of wheat flour and made 3 cups of meat Kong filling for Barclay. (We’re trying to help him gain some weight and free treats make this much easier!) The only downside to all this thrify fun is that I have 12 cups of turkey stock sitting in my refrigerator, needing my attention!

This butternut squash soup recipe is adapted from a vegan version published on Allrecipes.com, and it is one of Rami’s and my favorite winter comfort foods.  Its spicy-sweet flavors are very forgiving, and I’ve made it with mashed  sweet potatoes, canned pumpkin, and roasted butternut squash, depending on what’s handy.  To save time, I always roast the squash or potatoes ahead of time and add them to the broth cooked and mashed.  However, another option would be to peel and chop raw squash or potatoes and cook them in the boiling broth until tender. Since the soup goes through the blender at the end, either way would work just fine.

Finally, a note about the light coconut milk in this recipe: it’s a must-include.  In a pinch, you could substitute heavy cream, but the coconut milk’s sweetness enhances the buttery squash and spicy red pepper flakes.  I used half a can of coconut milk in a red lentil sweet potato soup recipe I made last week. I froze the leftover coconut milk right in the can and it kept just fine until I needed the remainder for today’s recipe.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry
2 cups mashed roasted butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato
3 cups turkey stock (recipe is vegan if you use veggie stock)
1 cup light coconut milk (1/2 of a 14 oz. can)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish

Saute onions and garlic in oil in a heavy bottomed soup pan over medium high heat.  Once onions are soft, add pepper flakes, turmeric, curry, squash, and stock.  Stir to combine.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer soup, covered, for half an hour.  Add coconut milk in the last five minutes of cooking.  Blend the soup in the pot with an immersion blender, or allow it to cool some and blend carefully in small batches in a conventional blender.  Season finished soup with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.  This soup doubles easily and freezes exceptionally well.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Turkey & Radish Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

This salad combines leftover Thanksgiving turkey with crunchy daikon radishes, tender greens, and a creamy homemade green goddess dressing.   I used a food processor to slice the radishes and prepare the dressing, but the task could just as easily be completed by hand with a good knife and a mixing bowl.

Turkey & Radish Salad with Green Goddess Dressing (serves 4)
Salad:
1 bag salad greens, washed and dried
4 inch section of daikon radish, sliced very thinly
1 1/2 cups cold chopped turkey
Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup chopped parsley, thyme, sage, or other fresh herbs on hand
1 tablespoon minced onion (or sub. 1/4 c. chopped shallots)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more for garnish

Chop turkey into uniform pieces, if necessary. Wash and dry the salad greens and set aside.  Cut a four-inch section off of the radish and use the disc blade on the food processor to slice the radish very thinly; set aside sliced radishes.  Fit the food processor with the chopping blade.  Mince onion/shallots in the food processor, then add herbs and pulse until chopped.  Add mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, milk, salt and pepper and blend until dressing is well combined.  Toss dressing, greens, turkey, and sliced radishes.  Serve salad immediately.

If, after making this salad, you find yourself with half a daikon radish leftover, use it to make this easy radish dip and sandwich spread. Perfect for zipping up leftover turkey sandwiches!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Spicy Green Beans with Beef

When I was a kid my mom would make a healthy, simple meal with ground beef, green beans, and soy sauce at least once a month.  This dish was one of my favorites from childhood, and I started craving it soon after green beans came into season in Central Texas.

I found four versions of green beans and beef in my kitchen’s recipe box.  Gel’s Green Beans and Beef published by “Angelica” on Allrecipes.com most closely resembles my mom’s version.  It’s very mild and a great fit for kids’ tender palates.  I adapted that recipe to incorporate some spicier flavors, like fresh ginger and red pepper flakes, and a full pound of the wonderful bitter greens that are so readily available in Austin this time of year.  Although I had mizuna in the crisper, almost any combination of dark greens would work well here; the flavor is mellowed by the spicy sauce and beef.

A note about presentation: I enjoy eating this meal with brown rice or soba noodles. However, as you can see from my pictures, the result is overwhelmingly brown.  White rice or raw bean sprouts would make for a prettier presentation if you’re looking to impress.

Spicy Green Beans with Beef (serves 4; 6 if served over rice or noodles)
1 pound ground beef or venison
2-4 cloves garlic, about 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons water
heaping 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh green beans
1 pound mizuna, spinach, or other greens

Snap ends off green beans. Cut off the tough stalks from greens and slice remaining leaves into 1/2 inch ribbons. (The smaller you chop them, the less present they will be in the final dish.) In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat.  Peel and chop garlic and grate ginger, adding those to the pan as you go.  Break up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks; once meat is browned add soy sauce, honey, water, and red pepper flakes. Bring liquid to a boil and add green beans. Cook for about two minutes, until beans are bright green and starting to become tender.  Add greens to the skillet and stir to combine.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until greens have cooked down and are very tender.  Serve alone or over soba noodles, raw bean sprouts, ramen, or rice.

Spicy Green Beans with Beef

Cincinnati-Style Chili

I feel a little blasphemous writing about Midwestern chili on a blog titled “The Austin Gastronomist.”  Chili is the state dish of Texas after all!  Texans are rightly pround of their chili, but we could learn a thing or two from the adventurous Cincinnatians, who traditionally season their chili with cinnamon and cocoa powder.  This dish combines those sweet flavors with spicy peppers and smoky chili powder in a thick, hearty stew.

Cincinnatti-Style Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 bell peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Serrano pepper
1 pound venison, bison, or beef chop
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
pinch salt
1 tablespoon cornmeal

Chop onion and, wearing rubber gloves, seed and rib all peppers. Chop the bell peppers and mince the jalapeno and Serrano peppers. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and add onions & peppers.  Stir occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and start to caramelize (turn brown in places).  Meanwhile, chop meat into bite sized pieces.  Add meat to caramelized veggies and cook for about 2 minutes, until meat begins to brown.  Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne and salt to the pot, stirring to distribute; then pour in the apple juice and water.  Bring liquid to a boil, then turn heat to low.  Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.  Before serving, whisk in cornmeal to thicken chili.  Plate over mashed sweet potatoes, cornmeal mush, or serve traditional Cincinnatti style over spaghetti.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Although this chili was inspired by the Midwest, I  stayed true to my Texas roots by serving it over jalapeno cornmeal mush.  Next time I make this, I’m planning to take a cue from my friend Hilah and do it vegan by substituting mushrooms and beans for the meat.