Tag Archives: sausages


The assorted Foodways miscellany that is running around in my head…

Parade Magazine this Sunday had a story on

“Muffin Tin Magic”

muffin tin

No ordinary tin – MAGIC muffin tin!

  • Here’s a keeper: take 2 soft 10” tortillas -they used spinach. (Tortillas were on sale last week so I got – dear Lord, I shouldn’t shop before a meal – a high fiber/low carb one and a Light/fewer calories version. The Light ones are smaller than the Lowcarb ones. Neither says how big it is….   And they are between 7 ½ and 8 ½ inches, and they weigh in differently. The low cal one is 39 grams and the low carb on is 62 grams…..Regardless, I’m gonna try the tortilla cups for avocado and blue cheese salad next week) Cut 2 soft tortillas into quarters. Press each piece into a muffin cup. Brush the cups with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes at 350 ° or until crisp. Cool on a rack. Then fill with salad….you can figure out the rest.
  • Using them as freezer molds for broth or stock – freezer broth pucks would definitely work, measure first so you know how much (1/2 cup or so) and label the freezer bag you store them in.(the label it is a note to self)
  • Using them as a mold for cookie bowls….this would be great to serve individual portions of ice cream in, just make sure your cookie isn’t sturdier then your spoon.
  • But wait – there’s MORE
  • It also suggests using muffin tins as a mise en place. Don’t do this. After you carefully measure everything out into the cups, how do you get things out without spilling half all over the table/counter/floor? Unless it’s toppings for your taco bowl salad…
  • GrabNGo Granola Cups – Granola mixed with 1 large egg and ½ cup honey pressed into a muffin tin (the grated lemon peel was a nice touch) baked to make a little cup and then filled with plain yoghurt flavored with vanilla – how is this not gonna run down your arm after the first bite? 1 cup of yoghurt for 12 muffin cups and each get 1 raspberry – and how long before the bottom sogs out? This seems to be in the close, but no cigar category. It’s very close to something.
  • Spaghetti and meatball nests – cook spaghetti add sauce and mozzarella and 3 large egg whites, press into cups and bake. Place 1 packaged frozen meatball…Wait! don’t use packaged frozen meatballs this way. EVAH. If you must use frozen packaged meatballs, use them in a brown gravy (like Swedish Meatballs or Sweetish Meatballs, with the grape jelly and the chili sauce or the one with cranberry sauce where you mix it up and they sit in a slow cooker for a while. Frozen meatballs should NOT go in any kind of red sauce or red gravy.) Put an egg in instead, and bake a few minutes to shirr it….

Meanwhile in the New York Times Magazine….

  • A Winter’s Tale – Project cooking and cassoulets
casoluet NYT 24Jan16

This is the image that went with the story

Cassoulet is really the Mother of all Casseroles, and has become a high end Professional Dish, although beans and bits cooked slowly is the very definition of ultimate peasant food. The bits (pig) in this particular cassoulet include knuckles, belly, lard, ears, but no tail. I feel a little mislead by the title.

The adviser on this story was not an ancient grandmere somewhere in the South and West of France, but an ambassador of the Universal Cassoulet Academy…it also includes 3 pork knuckles (which is what you call the hock before it’s smoked, in most places, and pigs ‘round here have 4) and 3 duck legs (duck round here have 2 – and if you cook 2 ducks you won’t have to go shopping for duck fat, which is also listed). Anyhow – the reason you need to shop so much for this dish NOW is that you’re not using up the bits and bobs you would have left if you were eating seasonally. The ducks, the pig, the sometimes goose  – all part of what’s around for winter. All those different roots – celeriac, turnip, carrot, and rutabaga – would all be in your garden or root cellar, needing to be used up sooner rather than later. The carrots, anyhow. Turnips can stay in the ground even after a freeze, although a thaw may harvest them for you; rutabagas, ditto. Carrots don’t like freezing and don’t last as long as other things. Most people think they don’t like turnips because the cellaring does NOT improve them, but newly pulled from the ground they are sweet and not rank. It is also the second (or is it the third?) recipe I’ve read this week that refers to a slow cooked pork dish as ‘sticky’ as a selling point.

FC Jan2016

From the January Family Circle I had earmarked (actually dog-eared) a One-Pot Cavatappi dish.

cavatappi -

Cavatappi – the corkscrews a/k/a amori, serpentini, trivelle, stortelli….

I proceeded to make it not quite the way it was written…I wasn’t testing the recipe, it was a concept  I was trying out – put the sauce and the pasta in the pan together, and cook them up. No big pot of water.

Sometime back in December or November, Harold McGee had an article internet floating about the waste of water in cooking pasta, and experimenting with using less. Not entirely sold on this, and as much as I love McGee (I have both editions of On Food and Cooking because they’re each that good) I can’t help but notice that McGee is not an Italian name….so his pasta standard might be a little different than mine.


Blue is the first edition, red the second. Known as ‘McGee’

Anyhow – cook the pasta in the sauce.


  • I didn’t have cavatappi, so I used fettuccine;

Fettuccine are little ribbons, not corkscrews. Still good.

  • it called for turkey sausage, I had Hot Italians;
  • it called for grape tomatoes and chicken stock and I used a big (32) oz jar of tomatoes from the Web of Life Farm that I got at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market.
  • It called for 5 oz of fresh baby spinach; I used I package frozen chopped broccoli (I had some baby arugula that I thought I’d use, but I ate it all up in salads before the weekend and Baby Arugula always makes me hum the Raffi song Baby Beluga);
  • it called for ricotta and I used Romano.

Excuse me, I had to stop to laugh out loud. I should have labeled this recipe an inspiration piece, not really a recipe.


  • Using a Dutch oven, brown the sausage; the recipe called for 12 oz turkey sausage out of the casings and crumbled. I wanted some portion control, so I had 4 sausages from a 1 pound package and kept them whole;
  • add some chopped onion and garlic and cook a little more;
  • Because my green veg addition was a frozen block I could have run it through the microwave, which I didn’t think of doing until I was writing this out, I added the frozen brick to the oil, onion and sausage and hacked it around a little until it wasn’t one big frozen thing, 2 minutes or so.
  • Then stir in some broth (2 cups) or a large jar of last summer’s tomatoes and a little broth to make it soupyish (wine would have been a better choice at this point, a ½ cup or a full cup red wine)
  •  I used ½ box fettuccine (about 7 oz). This is the place to add some salt. It called for garlic salt (1/4 teaspoon) which I don’t usually have and I already had a pretty large onion in so I didn’t add more. It doesn’t call for salt in the recipe, but it was pretty flat, and I topped it with Romano cheese. A little salt
  • Bring it to a boil, stirring to keep it from sticking. 8 minutes. I had my colander ready….and then put it back away. Duh. Old habits die hard.
  • Mix in ricotta (which would make it creamy, but blander)
  • I divided the pasta into 4 servings, each serving got a sausage.
  • One for supper; one for lunch Tuesday; one for frittata, one for freezer.
  • Top with grated Romano. Enjoy!

The noodles were a little soggier then I really like them. The sauce really needs to full and rich to get away with this technique. On the try again list.



Leave a comment

Filed under Eating, Recipe, winter

For Calling Birds

When I was younger I thought they were collie birds – dog birds as it were …


Lassie – best collie EVAH – just add some wings to make her a bird…..

Hey – there are Catbirds and Bird Dogs, aren’t there?


Green Catbird of Australia


English Setter trained as a bird dog


Bird Dog was also a hit single for the Everly Brothers the year I was born


Calling birds isn’t much clearer


Tweety Bird on a combination phone/alarm clock.

In some versions of the song, they’re colly birds, which just might be a black bird, colly another word for black, being related to coal, which brings us back to the collie dogs who herded sheep with noses that were black like coal…


Colly or calling, these birds have it covered

There were no birds of any other kind at my sister’s table Xmas day. We just don’t do turkey or goose for Xmas; we’re a lasagna/stuffed shells/manicotti kind of crowd

There were 4 generations of family, all present and accounted for, 30 some odd altogether.

There was food, glorious food.

I had my list to pack and take:

Cinnamon Rolls (Grandma B’s recipe made by her grandson); Shrimp Rings; Sweet Potato Chips and Marshmallow dip and Dunkin Donuts  coffee & ½ and ½ (notice how much is store boughten – and I didn’t really make the cinnamon rolls, I just provided space and equipment, and there were issues with each this year, just to keep things interesting. The next time I make the dip I’mma gonna try cream cheese instead of the sour cream, a suggestion/variation that came up at the table, but with so many talking about soooo much, I’ve lost track of who, but sounds great.)

None of this food was lonely when it got to the party….

There were charmellas and cannoli, although the cannoli had chopped nuts on one end and mini chocolate chips on the other, so they seemed to be trying a little too hard. Not that it slowed down their consumption any.




Nuts or chips – or melted chocolate dipped in chopped nuts

There were sugar cookies made from the package because that’s what we used to make, back in the dim dark ages, and no one is particularly fond of them (there is one brother who is a noteworthy exception) but we all expect them to be there and we all had one. Or two as the afternoon wore on…because it would be not quite as Christmassy without them;


The infamous cut out sugar cookie of our youth. Which is why we still need to have it.

The Santas had spread out to almost life-size size in baking

sugar cookie santa Pillsbury

Much MUCH bigger then a hand…the heads were almost head size

and the candy canes were


sugarcookie candy cane Pills

These are what they were supposed to be – but they spread out MUCH MUCH larger. And still we ate them.

We’re blaming on the unseasonably warm weather…we had a serious conversation about turning on the AC Xmas day. We didn’t, but it was an option. Almost everyone mentioned that they weren’t wearing what they had planned, but something more LESS.

There were also oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies, and cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mixed together, a gingerbread house made for eating…..there was a point where I couldn’t see the other end of the table and I didn’t care…..Pies, lemon meringue and pumpkin and homemade  arrived and were made welcome.

It wasn’t all sugar….there was fruit, too. Covered in chocolate…..

edible arrangements boxes

Oh, yes.

But it wasn’t just sugar

Nonnie meatballs and sausages, made ahead and kept warm in a slow cooker.

Pulled pork (a new addition and very nice, very nice indeed) in a slow cooker – my sister is a genius! (She takes after me.)

Calzones – chicken, cold cut – something with peppers….I was saving room for the

Lasagna – and a bowl of sauce. Excellent Lasagna, not too cheesy, not to meaty, not too soggy noodlely – everything just right and very nice indeed. The sauce was also a good dip for the chips…..

This is just what I remember and not a complete list.

santa headband

It was not too hot for Santa headbands

and as for for calling turkey birds:


Hand made turkey call by Robert Clifft in Bolivar, Tenn. His Shop is called: ‘The Last Call’ . I read about him in my new  Xmas cookbook  Smoke & Pickles by  Edward Lee. More about Smoke & Pickles later……



Filed under Christmas, Dinner, Holiday

Are you going to Marlborough Fair?

Not to be confused with Scarborough Fair….or the song of that name.

Marlborough Pie is a rich, enriched sort of custard and apple concoction that is far too easy and good, good, good to have ever fallen out of favor.

And now seems to be having a teeny-tiny rebirth.

First – there are various historic sites that keep it alive, thank you Old Sturbridge Village

Here’s Ryan Beckman on  pie

and then a story on Eater : what-is-marlborough-pie

…which could be why I’ve been fielding Marlborugh Pie questions all week…

Here’s a recipe from OSV

Marlbor pud RX

There;’s a certain (tasty) place where pie and pudding intersect. Pudding Pie is a real (GOOD) thing.

marlbor pud OSV

Tastes like a million bucks! Don’t skimp on the sherry…

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn, Pie, Thanksgiving, Wicked Wayback

Sour Grapes.

Seriously Sour Grapes.

As ‘these can not possibly pass for table grapes’ sour.

Frans Snyders Grapes, Peaches and Quinces in a Niche 17th century

Frans Snyders Grapes, Peaches and Quinces in a Niche 17th century

What to do with grapes too  sour to eat????

Cook  them!


Italian Sausage with Grapes – right on the cover. Issue  #135 August 2015

Cook the grapes with sausages. I’d actually made this recipe before….December? January? It was before the Big Snows of last winter.

I’ve been a sometimes tester of recipes for  Cook’s Illustrated  for the last few years…..I don’t remember how I got on the notice list, but every now and again I get an e-mail as a Friend of CI and then I have an assignment, should I so choose.

It’s a little exercise that make me read the recipe and

do exactly what it says to do.

And then fill out the questionnaire.

Hmmm – follow directions and THEN have opinions. Not my natural order of business….

I don’t test every recipe. Just the ones I think I’ll like, which is actually one of the ground rules. Don’t make things you don’t eat. Actually, a pretty good rule in general.

Soooo  – here’s my totally casual, breezey easy take of the recipe. If you want to fiddle with 1/4 teaspoon of some seasoning or another, go to Cook’s Illustrated.


oil for the bottom of the pan

1 package hot Italian sausage

1 large onion

seedless red grapes (1# or 3 cups or whatever uses them all up)

salt and pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine (since I had no wine in the house, I used an old 17th century trick of using 1/2 white wine vinegar + 1/2 water and a little sugar = wine (ish)): OR  2 Tablespoon water and 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon sugar

a little oregano

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

perhaps another teaspoon or 2 of sugar

(a little chopped fresh mint)

12″ pan with a lid

  1. Cut the onion in half and slice thin.  Onion-Step-4-Version-4
  2. Cut the grapes in half lengthwise
  3. Heat a skim of oil in a 12 inch pan over medium heat. Sausages go in to brown, 2 stripes only, 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the sliced onions and all the halved grapes and 1/4 cup water to the pan with the sausages. PUT A LID ON IT.
  5. Let cook about 10 minutes at medium. Sausages should be 160° – 165° and grapes should have softened.
  6. Transfer the sausage out to a paper-towel lined plate – tent with foil  to keep warm.
  7. Turn the heat under the pan up to med-high. sat and pepper and spread the grape/onion mixture around the pan and cook without stirring until browned, 3-5 minutes.
  8. Start stirring about and continue cooking until the mixture browns and the grapes are definitely soft.
  9. Reduce heat to medium, add the water/wine vinegar mixture (or the wine, if you have it). Sprinkle in some oregano.Scrape any lingering goodness from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to meld into the sauce.
  10. Taste. Adjust. I had to add a little more sugar because the grapes were THAT sour.
  11. Take off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar.
  12. Put the sausages on a serving platter, top with the sauce. Optional: sprinkle with chopped mint.
  13. Good over polenta (Great over polenta!) or over pasta. I intend to eat a leftover sausage with onion/grapes in a roll for lunch this week, and the thought of that seems pretty good, too.
This is the photo from the Cook's Illustrated website of the nearly finished dish.

This is the photo from the Cook’s Illustrated website of the nearly finished dish.

Another grape was a topic of conversation this week, too.

Goofy Grape.

goofy grape

Goofy Grape was part of the Funny Face Gang – a whole family of cyclamate sweetened drink of my childhood. Once the cyclamates were banned, they had plain ole sugar. And some of the more racist flavors were re-worked .

Funny face gang

Goofy Grape. Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry. Jolly Olly Orange. Freckled Face Strawberry. With-it Watermelon.

My brother still has his With-It Watermelon cup.

My brother still has his With-It Watermelon cup.


Filed under Recipe, The 1960"s

A Fifth

of July.

In Plymouth we start celebrating the Fourth on the Third

flagrock wiki

Flag Rock in Manomet

Flag Rock back-story via a recent Boston Globe story

On the Fourth, Plymouth celebrates with

a big ole PARADE (wicked local photo gallery here)

and some Food For Thought

and of course …….



Then on Sunday the Fifth

Brother #4 fired up the grill for an impromptu cookout. There were

Burgers & Dogs


Buns and Cheeses



Potato and Green

Brother #2 came with his youngest, and on the distaff side there was a significant other, a spouse, Mamma and me.

And what was our conversation, our table talk, as it were?

With the spur of the moment nature of the gathering, there was no pie - but do not worry - WE DID NOT SUFFER

With the spur of the moment nature of the gathering, there was no pie – but do not worry – WE DID NOT SUFFER

What else?



  • Lots of hot dog talk

Uncle Al used to work in a hot dog factory – we remember it as Maple Leaf brand, but Old Tyme Kayem taste closer….the times are a -changing……. These were the dogs that were grilled for this Fifth. The BEST part of the Uncle Al dogs were that you got to pick one out that was just the right size for you. I used to pity the poor souls who could only buy packages where each dog was the same size, As if everyone wanted the same amount of hot dog. As If! …we never called them ‘ends’ or ‘remains’ – they were couture and just for us! We were lucky dogs! And they were fantastic without being cooked, too.

  • And we had the not right buns….becoming so common we didn’t even talk about them.
The right bun

The right bun – toploaders

These pill apart at the side - which are flat and can be grilled OR fried in butter when making a Lobster Roll

These pull apart at the side – which are flat and can be grilled OR fried in butter when making a Lobster Roll

The wrong bun.

The not quite right  bun – sideloaders.

See how the top is on the side when it's in the package

See how the top is on the side when it’s in the package

  • And what’s the deal with hot dog eating contests? Why would you want to eat 62 hotdogs with buns in 10 minutes?????? There are better ways to make a buck.
  • Nathan_2006_Kobayashi
  • I made frankfurters from Mrs Beetons recipe (c. 1900) a long time ago. The moment we added the spice, it smelled like HOT DOG. What was that spice? The real secret is to make a meat mousse and then put in the casings.
  • Potato Salad – ours was store bought BUT
    • Potato Salad can always be improved with a little pickle relish.
    • If you’re making Potato Salad pickle juice is the killer secret ingredient
    • Red Bliss potatoes make great potato salad
    • Onions should be avoided in Potato Salad – they should be sliced and put on the burgers. No discussion.

Potato Salad

  • What’s the big dealio with coconut water? It may be fashionable, but it tastes like drek (a polite substitute for the 4 letter word I would prefer to use). I just don’t get it. Perhaps I was born in the wrong zipcode code. I did Google it…..and according to Wikipedia (a quick source, not necessarily a through one…):

“The Documentation Center of Cambodia cited the practice of allowing untrained nurses to administer green coconut water during the Pol Pot regime as a crime against humanity.[7]” .


  • Olives and Mushrooms have Lovers and Haters, and no middle ground. They will always be on the table, they will never be on every plate. Which works out just fine.
  • More people ate the green salad at the end of the meal then a the beginning. There was salad, more salad and enough salad.
  • The table was cleared and bowls of fruit came out – pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon.

fruit bowls fresh cutand then………


Nothing says New England then a little something from Friendly’s.

Worth waiting for - they don't sell this in the Winter. Lemon sherbert,

Worth waiting for – they don’t sell this in the Winter. Lemon sherbert, watermelon sherbert and chocolate chip seeds. Glory days!

Leave a comment

Filed under Eating, Holiday, Summer

Souper Sundays

Since Winter is once more upon us, and Since that means colddddddd weather, and Since Soup is Good Food….

And a pot of soup made on Sunday is lunch and quick supper through the week. Or freezer fodder, to be mined and microwaved at nearly a moment’s notice.

Soups of Italy

Norma Wasserman-Miller Soups of Italy. William Morrow and Co 1998. I’ve had my copy since 2000.

130 soup recipes, each with a story…and sooo many happy endings

Soup for the year round, but I spend the most time with this book in the Winter

Norma writes:

Above all else, soup remains una cucina di casa, “a cuisine of the home.” Indeed, it was the homes and kitchens of so many gracious Italian friends and professional cooks that inspired the recipes and techniques for this book. The numerous recipes I came across had a notable lack of measurements and a heavy reliance on the words in stagione, “in season.” Perhaps this is what I love most about Italian soup cookery – a reliance on simple, good ingredients along with the inventiveness to effortlessly turn them into flavorful soups with character and individuality.

Itroduzione, p. 3.

Norma Wasserman-Miller

Norma Wasserman- Miller . She paints in London now.

Here are the component parts of the soup story:

Battuto – often soffritto – that is the aromatic/ soffritto just means ‘fried’. There are 3 universal solvents – one of them is oil – onions, garlic, celery, fennel, carrots, peppers, even parsley heated in some oil, smells good, tastes, good, this is the base

Sapori – the main ingredients, the big taste.

Brodo – the liquid – don’t overlook water as a broth ; broth, meat or veg  -Water is the second universal solvent…alcohol is the third, so a little wine can boost everything else up

Condimenti – the things added at the end, but also the garnishes and accompaniments – fresh herbs, slices of bread, freshly grated cheese; a dash of vinegar, balsamic or otherwise, or a squeeze of citrus liven things up nicely … also, the things you often add to the bowl and not the pot.

But the lentil soup I made on this first weekend of the New Year, was from somewhere else, but follows the Soups of Italy game plan.

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Tomato

3 Tbl olive oil

1# fresh Italian sausage, either sweet or hot

1 onion

2 carrots

2 celery ribs

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 Quarts low sodium broth (I used 2 boxes of the chicken broth with wine and herbs. You can also use homemade broth, just add a slug of wine (say 4-8 ounces)

1 28 oz can diced plum tomatoes (or whole, and then break them up)

2 C lentils – pick through them and rinse them

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

½ C chopped fresh parsley (the bunches in the grocery store have been all over the place this winter – I’ve had some bunches that were big enough to be a bride’s bouquet and others closer to boutonnière size – flat or curly, cook’s choice, and save the stems for soup stock)

  1. Heat 1 Tbl of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add the sausages and cook them until they are brown all over, 7-10 minutes.
  2. Mince the onion; peel and chop the carrots and chop the celery – you can include the leaves.
  3. Remove sausages to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  4. Add the remaining 2 Tbl of oil to the pot and then the chopped onion, carrot, celery. Add the bay leaves and ½ tsp salt.
  5. Stir frequently, until it is all light golden and fragrant.
  6. Mince the garlic (I confess, I use a press) and add to the pot, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the broth (wine if you’re using), the canned tomatoes (squeeze the whole ones through your fingers so they don’t turn into little red rubber balls bobbing along in the soup, and the juice of the tomatoes), and the rinsed lentils to the pot.
  8. Add 1 tsp salt and pepper (this salt is to season the lentils – if you are not using a low sodium broth you can skip this step)
  9. Increase heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, cover and reduce heat for a simmer.
  10. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  11. Meanwhile, cut the sausages into ½ inch thick slices.
  12. When the lentils are tender, remove and discard the bay leaves.
  13. Stir in the Dijon mustard, add the sausage slices and cook until the sausage is heated thoroughly, about 5 minutes.
  14. Add the chopped parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Adapted from Stand-Up Soups, Adam Reid in the Boston Globe Magazine, 2-2-2014, p. 22, which was adapted from New England Soup Factory Cookbook by Marjorie Drucker and Clara Silverstein.


Filed under Influencers, Soup