Posts from November 2014

Sourdough Stuffing with Kale, Dates and Sausage





Gary and I hosted Thanksgiving this year for our fabulous Florida friends who had family elsewhere. Around the table, our families live in Iowa and Illinois of course, Canada, Utah, Virginia, Maine, and Tennessee. Although we didn’t have my grandma’s butterhorn rolls or Iowa sweet corn, we had an insanely delicious potluck full of oyster stuffing and delicata squash and two turkeys (one baked and one fried), and we toasted to friendship, and our families afar.

Because we hosted, we got out of cooking the turkey; all I was tasked with was making a stuffing and setting the table for fifteen. I found this recipe on the NYTimes; they had an article last week and gave a dish to make from each state. This one hails from California, supposedly. I used our Italian boar instead of turkey sausage, and it was delicious! It’s a little time consuming to make, so I am glad I didn’t have to juggle making many dishes simultaneously like so many other Thanksgiving hosts do. However, I think it can be made ahead of time and baked right before the meal, or warmed up afterward.


1 lb loaf of sourdough bread
10 T olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1/2 sprig rosemary
2 t Herbs of Provence
1 jalapeno (or 1/2 t dried red peppers)
1 lb kale
2 oz dates (or about 8, pitted and chopped)
1 c dry sherry (or cooking wine)
2 c chicken stock
2 T butter
3/4 c almonds, chopped

Instructions (I’m using these verbatim from the NYTimes):

First, heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the crust off the bread and tear remaining loaf into 1-inch croutons. Place torn bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil, squeezing and tossing bread with your hands to help it absorb the oil. Transfer to oven and toast, tossing once or twice, until croutons are golden brown and crispy on the outside but still a little soft and tender inside, 12 to 15 minutes. When croutons have cooled, place them in a large bowl. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and crumble sausage into pan. Sauté, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon, until browned and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer sausage to the bowl with the croutons using a slotted spoon.

Return the pot to medium heat and add 2 more tablespoons olive oil, the onions, the rosemary sprig, the thyme and the chile. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft and starting to color slightly. Add half the kale and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Use tongs to turn the greens to coat them in oil and help them wilt and cook down. When there is room in the pan (from the greens wilting), add the rest of the kale and season with another 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. As soon as all the kale has wilted, transfer mixture to the bowl with the croutons and sausage. Remove rosemary. Add dates and stir well to combine. Return pot to stove over high heat and carefully pour in sherry. Boil until sherry is reduced by three-quarters, then add stock. Boil until mixture is reduced by half, then swirl in butter until melted. Pour hot liquid over crouton-kale mixture. Add almonds and toss well to combine; using tongs or your hands, squeeze and massage the stuffing to integrate the flavors and make sure bread has really soaked in all the liquid.

(At this point, I let mine sit for an hour or so before I baked it to make sure it was warm when we ate. I think it would be okay, too, if it was kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next morning, but I’m just speculating. Didn’t try it.) To bake, cover your Dutch oven and bake 20 minutes in the 400-degree oven. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 more minutes, or until top is golden and crisp. When eating, give love and thanks to loved ones both near and far.


Curried Carrot Soup with Parsley


carrot soup


Gary and I attended a wonderful Friends-giving yesterday evening hosted by our friends Byron and Whitney. We had turkey and oyster stuffing and pumpkin cake and venison tenderloin; it was a fabulous feast. I look forward to sharing more thanks with friends later this week as well.

I wish I could say I used our carrots to make this soup, but alas, they’re store bought. I planted seeds back in early October, but we got a hot spell that cooked my little seedlings. Then I replanted, and forgot to water them immediately after putting them in the ground–bah!! Take three of planting seems to (finally) be working, however, we’re a bit delayed. Everyone else’s gardens are bursting and beautiful. Mine, however, leaves something to be desired. Here’s to hoping we get a crop before the December cold temps set in.

Despite my pathetic carrot crop, my parsley is still growing strong.


2 T butter
1 onion, chopped
2 T curry powder
3 1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T chopped parsley for garnish


Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent, or about 5-10 minutes. Next, add the broth, carrots, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Next, blend the soup. (Be careful when blending; don’t fill the blender more than half full because the soup is extremely hot and can splatter if the blender is too full.) Stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with parsley, or cilantro, a dollop of yogurt.



Salmon and Dried Apple Salad





When I was back in Iowa a couple of weeks ago, my grandma gave me a bag of her dried apples to take home to Florida. The apples were from their tree. Dried apples are fabulous eaten plain, paired with cheese, eaten with oatmeal, you name it. I paired the dried apples with leftover salmon from dinner last night to make a quick and healthy salad for lunch. Here’s how you make both:

Dried apples:

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Combine 4 cups water and 1 c lemon juice in a bowl. Core and chop fresh apples, making the slices as thin as possible. Right after you chop the apples, put them in the water/lemon juice bath so they don’t turn brown. Once you’re finished, dump the water and dry the apples as best as possible. Put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 1 hour. Turn them over, and cook for 1 more hour. (If you’d rather use a dehydrator, at 130 degrees it will take around 6 hours.)

Salmon and Apple Salad:

1 lb arugula
1 lb cooked (or smoked) salmon
1/2 c dried apples
1/4 c shredded sharp cheddar


1 small shallot
3/4 c olive oil
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 t Dijon mustard
1 t honey


Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend well. Assemble salad in bowl, and top with vinaigrette.

Lemon & Ginger Tea




This time of year brings citrus, root vegetables, holiday goodness, and….the flu. While I was struggling to get over the crud, my friend Sally gave me this wonderful recipe. (And the beautiful lemons came from our friends Lauren & Jason.) This tea has helped soothe both my cough and my soul. Who needs chicken soup when you have lemon tea?


1 large Meyer lemon (or 2 regular lemons)
1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
10 c water
1 T honey


Add the water to a stock pot. Cut the washed lemon in quarters and take out the seeds. Squeeze the juice in the water. Add the rinds to the water, along with the ginger. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. The tea can be kept in the fridge and heated whenever necessary.

Chinese Cabbage Salad




Gary and I just returned from helping his parents move from their century farm to a nice big new house. It’s a bittersweet move, leaving behind the large garden spot and many memories, but I have no doubt that other vegetables and memories will grow there as well.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 12.39.44 PM

Gary’s dad, Melvin, is a proud farmer. His Chinese cabbage is just as legendary as his large sweet potatoes. This recipe is Gary’s mom’s standard. It’s quick and healthy, and the celery seeds give it some extra tang.


1 head Chinese cabbage, chopped
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1 T celery seeds


Chop cabbage and put in a bowl. Combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Dump over the chopped cabbage and toss. You can serve it immediately or the next day.

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