This is a fun and easy kid-friendly cooking project for your weekend breakfast. The best part about making this sausage is that you know exactly what goes into it. This is my mom's recipe. One of my earliest memories of my mom cooking is her making batches of this sausage and freezing it. I used 96% fat-free turkey, but she uses pork. Which is delicious.
Herbed Breakfast Sausage
Note: I use a food processor to chop the onions, garlic, and herbs, then I combine that with the ground pork (or turkey and egg white), salt, and chilis. Also, wet your hands before forming the patties to keep them from sticking to your fingers.
1 pound lean ground turkey or pork
1 egg white (omit if you are using pork)
1/4-1/2 yellow onion depending on what you like
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
8-10 chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tsp salt
crushed red chilis to taste
Combine all ingredients, form into 6 patties and pan-fry or grill (over medium heat), or bake until cooked through. (I baked the turkey sausage for about 30 minutes on a lightly-oiled foil-lined pan at 325º.)
My brother and I were talking recently about our childhood recently and about how much of it was spent outside playing absolutely, positively unattended by parents (or any adult for that matter).
When we lived in Hawaii, we lived near the top of a windy, rain-foresty, mountain road called Tantalus Drive. Our house overlooked a valley and was surrounded by acre upon acre of barely-tamed forest. (The view in the photo is similar to the view from our house.) Trails led up and away from the house into the woods and we would explore for hours. And hours. We'd drag our Big Wheels and bikes up up up those trails, which were lined with eucalyptus trees, carefully align them at the top of the trail and then ride them all the way down peddling as fast as we could. We'd do this over and over again. Sounds fun, right?
Last week I was a little, um, grouchy. All week. I wasn't sleeping well among other things and life has been extra-busy. But I felt better after getting a few things off my chest (ahem), and after witnessing Barack Obama sweep all the Democratic primaries and caucuses this weekend. Yesssssss.
Friday night we had our family movie night—a bath, some jammies, and a little Jungle Book and fondue: The dippers: boiled taters, green apple chunks, nitrite-free kielbasa, sweet gherkins, blanched cauliflower...and baguette, of course! (not pictured)
Grated emmenthaler gets added to the bubbly wine 'n cheese mixture.
Wallie shows us how it's done. Spear bread with the long fork and stirrrrrrrr...
...then push the cheesy bread onto the plate with the regular fork.
And while the cheese drips, catch a little bit of Jungle Book.
Then I took two Tylenol PMs and slept for 12 hours. I needed that.
On Saturday it was gorgeous and in the mid 60's here in NorCal so we went on a long bike ride. Then friends couldn't use their tickets to see a Children's Theater performance of Stuart Little so we did that. This is the third Children's Theater performance that I've tortured myself with taken the girls to this year, and I just gotta say, the performances would be 1000% better if the kids would just project and e-nun-ci-ate. Costumes, make-up, sets, I don't care. Perform in all all black in front of a black scrim. I just want to hear the frickin' lines. That is all. I'm too young for assisted listening devices.
J. wasn't feeling well (and neither was our sitter) so we cancelled date night and stayed in. I finished reading one of the best books I've ever read (Pleeeeease go read it, even if you don't like football. You will not regret it.). Then again with the sleep thing.
Today we went to hippie church where suddenly and surprisingly I find myself helping out with one of the CRE classes. Everyone always asks me if I am going to go back to teaching and I always say no, but this might be one way that I can keep up my teaching chops. Plus we do fun things like make Chinese dragons and stuff.
Later in the afternoon we went to a party thrown by Disneyland. They are trying to woo mommy bloggers and pride themselves on their mommy blogger outreach. They told us so. But when one of the Disney execs asked who I was, it was like I was speaking another language. ("Uh huh! Rilly! That's cute!") I've been one of Family.com's parent team advisors for a year and am featured on the Wondertime site...hello? Crickets. So much for doing their research on who was attending their party. Never mind, though, the kids had a great time and we took enough pictures that we should be able to convince them when they are older that yes, we actually did take them to Disneyland. It took Wallie 45 minutes to get up the courage to take a picture with Cinderella.
Now I wrap up this post in time to watch Cirque du Solame do a vomitous tribute to The Beatles on the Grammy's. And y'all know how I just love The Beatles. /eye-roll.
Nothing ruins dinner plans faster than forgetting to take whatever you were going to cook out of the freezer. Or maybe that's just me. My back up in this situation is usually eggs or PB&J's, but I am always disappointed with this option because—while my kids don't care—I'm never satisfied when dinner isn't what I planned it to be. Then I spend the whole evening grouchy and/or digging in the cupboards for something, anything to snack on.
Today, in a rare moment of clarity, I had my act together and defrosted not one, but two items: 3 lbs of ox tails and a package of chicken legs. Since today is cold and drizzly, I'm cooking up both, making two dinners at the same time. Boy does the house smell delish. (Photos to come as soon as everything is cooked.)
There was a time, during the mad cow scare a few years back, that we pretty much stopped eating beef, especially ox tails. And that was a major bummer. When I think about going completely vegetarian, one of the first things I think about is how much I would miss eating ox tail soup. And prosciutto.
Whenever go to Hawaii, ox tail soup is one of the meals I must have within the first 48 hours of toes touching sand. In Hawaii, it's done up Chinese style; the soup is garnished with grated fresh ginger (puh-lenty), cilantro, chili pepper, vinegared soy sauce, and chopped green onions.
If you like beef stew or pot roast or any dish made with tougher cuts of beef, I would venture to say you'd like ox tails, too. Below is a slight riff on the version my mom makes, and down the line I will post my recipe for tomato-y, red wine-infused Roman-style ox tails.
Ox tails are usually available from any old school butcher. You might also find them at Costco (mine carries them) and most definitely at larger Korean grocery stores.
the best cookie cookbook ever (my mom's from the 70's)
For the first time in a long time, we are staying home for Christmas. Since we never get to decorate, we're making the most of it. Within a week after Thanksgiving, the tree was up and decorated, a wreath adorned our front door and a cheery poinsettia was placed on the porch, the house was trimmed with colorful lights, and stockings were hung with care.
A week later, gingerbread houses (x2) were made and decorated. We've been opening up windows on advent calendars, and a Smithfield Virginia ham sits in the fridge ready to be cooked for Christmas (thanks to my Mom, my family's Christmas tradition can continue even though she won't be here to share it...though we will need to invite an army of guests to finish it). Slowly but surely, presents are being collected. (This is the one area where I am woefully behind; I've bought exactly one present.)
Today was all about making cookies and sweet treats for our upcoming open house. It's going to be a simple affair, a chance to share cookies with friends and sip cocoa and spicy, spiked apple cider (recipe will be posted).
Wallie decorating cookies.
I made Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan truffles from the December issue of Everyday Food, and because I don't care for nuts with my chocolate, I rolled half of them in toasted coconut instead of chopped pecans. Those were lovingly packed away in an airtight container in the fridge until our party.
keep these schwetty balls away from J.!
And, as if you needed more proof that I am a little off my rocker, here are the gingerbread cookies we made today (just one of the 3 or so types that I plan to serve). The idea of making them was more fun than the actual doing (there may have been some swear words in there), but gee, they sure do look purty, don't they?
Bunny, you are five, and Wallie, you'll be three next week. What I love about you both right now is how you play together, or, rather, how long it takes you to get ready to play together. (Which is actually the play itself.)
Wallie: Let's be grizzly bears. I'll be the baby grizzly, you be the mama grizzly. Bunny: No let's be sister grizzlies. I'll be the big sister grizzly, you be the little sister grizzly. Wallie: We can both be big sister grizzlies. Bunny: Or we can be big sister princesses. Wallie: No, I wanna be the queen. Bunny: No, I wanna be the queen. Wallie: I know! You be the queen and I will be the pwince. Bunny: Okay and I will be the dragon. Wallie: Okay, come on dragon, let's go play! Bunny: No! We can't be friends. You have to fight me with a sword and I have to breathe fire on you. Wallie: Nooooo! That's too scawy! Bunny: Okay then let's be horses. Wallie: Okay, what's your name? Bunny: Buttercup Wallie: Hi Buttercup, my name is Vinegar. Bunny: Let's go to the veterinarian, Buttercup, I think you are sick. Wallie: Okay, I will lie down in my pillow house and you can give me a check up. Bunny: Wait, I'll get the doctor kit. Lie down horsey. Wallie: Neigh, neigh. Bunny: Hi Vinegar. I'm the doctor, let's give you a shot! Wallie: Nooooo, that's too owie! Bunny: Well, you're sick, horsey, you need a shot. Wallie: No, I'm not sick. I'm better. I don't like this game. Let's play dogs. You be the dog, and I will the owner. Bunny: Woof woof! Wallie: What's your name, doggie? Bunny: Buttercup. Wallie: Let's go for a walk, Buttercup.
When she sees something she thinks might cause nightmares (like a lion or a moray eel) she rolls her eyes and exclaims, "Oh great. Now I'm going to dream about that for sure."
Tonight's bad dream was brought to you by leprechauns. And it was all my fault.
This morning, as I was making pancakes for breakfast, I told Bunny and Wallie that they had to wear green today or else the little leprechauns would pinch them. Bunny immediately regarded her outfit, which only had a speck of green, and ran screaming from the room to change. J. found her crying, opening all her drawers looking for an all-green shirt (which she has) and all-green pants (which she doesn't). "The leprechauns are going to pinch me!" she sobbed.
(Wallie looked at her outfit, looked at her pancakes, and commenced eating.)
J. carried Bunny back to the breakfast table, and by that time the leprechauns had come and gone. No pinching was had, just two glasses of green milk were left in their wake. And she was better.
Until 9:42PM when she woke up screaming about the leprechauns.
The one thing I love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is how March warms up and gives us a taste of summer. Every year I'm sweating as I cook corned beef and cabbage and if this weekend was a taste of what next weekend will be like, I'll be opening up all the windows while the brisket simmers.
Recently a friend from Portland stopped by for a short visit and he asked if we could see ourselves moving back there. As I looked out the window at the glorious sunshine, I realized that the answer was definitively and emphatically...