Food Porn – Episode 13


Yet another episode of photos of foods that my partner and I have been blessed to have tasted, if not consumed outright. Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

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Kielbasa with potatoes, mustard, baked beans and a kosher pickle.

42788081_253369915368591_1097165918502387712_n CMO AFWaffle Sausage

Almond flour waffles with Li’l Smokies sausages.

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Sliced sausage from Smokey Mo’s in Conroe, Texas.

37656581_10215091303609761_5789569383332315136_n Daves Smoked Brisket

Dave’s backyard brisket.

Kitchen Hash

What wonderful things come to mind when scrounging in the kitchen.

My grandmothers and theirs used to make their own hash, rather than
buying it pre-made from the grocery. The potatoes made leftover meat
go farther on a tight budget. I found what I needed in my own kitchen
one morning and whipped this little recipe up for breakfast.

Kitchen Hash

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Sausage leftover from brats and saurkraut.

Ingredients:

Tbs minced garlic
1/4 white onion, minced
Leftover sausage or other broken meats
2 medium potatoes, cooked, chopped
1/4 tsp pink sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp parsley
Cheddar Jack cheese to taste

 

Directions:
Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil
Add meat, sauté until hot
Add potato and spices, stir until hot throughout
Serve with cheese

 

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Garlic, onion, and sausage.

Directions:
Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil
Add meat, sauté until hot
Add potato and spices, stir until hot throughout
Serve with cheese

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Potatoes added

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I simply served on a plate with shredded cheese. You might toss some
of this hash into a tortilla for breakfast tacos, or pile some on a
split biscuit and serve it with gravy. The potential combinations are
limited only by your imagination, and may be served for breakfast,
lunch or even dinner.

– Chopped jalapenos will give it a bit of bite.
– Diced, pre-cooked carrots, turnips, and/or rutabagas might be used
with or instead of the potatoes.
– Any broken meat will work with this recipe, from chicken and turkey
to pork, beef, venison, goat or mutton.
– Any type of onions, shallots, or even leeks will offer a variety of
textures and flavors.

Give this hash a try at home, seasoned to suit your tastes, an leave
a note about how it turned out.

Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

I originally stumbled across this recipe at the Jimmy Dean website, and after playing with it, figured I would share my results since I took photos of the process and all. This recipe may be served “in a boat” (in the squash hull) or simply cooked up in a casserole dish. It’s all about presentation and preference.

The dish features flavors and colors redolent of the fall harvest, and is a great way to kick off the season of cooling temperatures and the glorious autumnal colors of nature.

 

SPAGHETTI SQUASH AND SAUSAGE
Prep time: 45minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 pound pork sausage

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Shredded Smoked Gouda

1 spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, shredded
1 med or small onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon, halved
2 cups baby leaf spinach
Cooking spray – I prefer olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

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Halved Lemon

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

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Removing cooked squash from hull.

Render your squash by slicing in half longways, removing the seeds, and applying olive oil to all the exposed meat surfaces. Roast or microwave until soft. Allow the squash to cool before attempting to handle it. Using a fork or large spoon, scrape the meat out into a bowl and allow it to rest. Be careful to keep the hulls intact. Those may be set aside for later use if desired.

 

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Meat and onion cooked in microwave rather than skillet.

Use cooking spray on a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft and slightly caramelized. Break up the sausage into the skillet with the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is mostly done. Add butter and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. This may also be rendered in a microwave rather than on a stove top, but be sure to use a large microwave safe bowl.

 

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If microwaving, as shown, layer cheese, spinach and squash over meat so that the cheese and spinach are heated between the meat and squash. This will cause nice wilting.

Add the spaghetti squash, spinach, and desired salt and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the squash is nicely broken up and the spinach has begun to wilt. Add the juice from the other half of the lemon, half of the grated cheese, and stir it all up.

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Mix it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are using the squash hulls, load them with the sausage mixture. If you are using a casserole dish, spray it with you preference of cooking sprays, then fill it up.

Top evenly with remaining cheese and bake at 375ºF until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown and dish is heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

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Allow to rest.

 

Allow to rest for five minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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Single serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the original recipe, but one that I fiddled with as I am wont to do. The original called for a panko-based topping, and no gooey cheese. It’s probably healthier that way, but in my house cheese is pretty much a necessity in just about everything.

There are lots of variations that spring to mind for this recipe. Using turkey sausage instead of pork, using kale or another leafy green with or in place of the spinach, and adding other spices to the mix all sparked right off. Toppings might be as simple as a sprinkle of parmesan, or bacon crumbles, or freshly diced parsley or chopped chives. Basing the dish on curry and using a ground meat rather than a pre-spiced sausage sounds tasty, as does a Cajun version.

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The big serving!

As with all the recipes I post, have fun with it! Try it out, twist it up and make it your own.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

 

Smokey Mo’s – Austin, TX

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, we rediscovered a BBQ joint that we first tried in Conroe: Smokey Mo’s. While I may have been enjoying them for a while and somehow never managed to blog about them, they are still producing very appetising and satisfying meals in multiple locations around Texas.

The run of side dishes is pretty standard, and everything is complimentary to BBQ meats, of course. Fries, potato salad, beans, fried okra, corn on the cob, right down to the self-serve bread, onions, pickles and jalapenos.

Trust me, I helped myself to the pickles.

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Two trays of pickles, just like this!

 

My partner helped himself to not one, but two chop sandwiches. The chop is loaded with sauce and chopped bits and pieces of meat. It’s mostly beef with the occasional turkey or sausage bits mixed in.

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Chop Sandwich before any fixin’s were added.

 

The three meat plate is an indulgent sampler of meats and sides. There’s plenty to choose from, too. I picked the turkey-sausage-sliced brisket combination with a double side of slaw. The second slaw was really for Christopher, but it sure makes the plate look as full as my belly got after eating all this.

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Three meat combo plate with two sides.

 

It’s always pleasant to find a bit of the familiar when travelling that’s not your run of the mill fast food. Visiting Smokey Mo’s was definitely a fit of comfort food in a weekend full of exploration.

Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

 

Slow Cooker Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya

I prefer to use slow cooker liners. Whenever I buy a box of them, there is invariably a little handout inside that includes a few recipes. They are great for folks starting out with slow cookers!

Reynolds produces liner bags for slow cookers. They, like Crock-Pot, offer recipes from their test kitchens. I rounded up a few more and will share them here, in a couple of fall posts. Why fall? Slow cookers are wonderful for making warm, filling meals that are especially welcome on cooler or cold nights.

Please keep in mind that some of my Cajun friends might take exception to this recipe, and that it’s from Reynolds’ kitchens, not mine.

CHICKEN & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours on Low or 3 hours on High
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken thighs, boned, skinned, cut into bite sized pieces
8 ounces smoked turkey or chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
Salt, to taste
1 can (14.5 oz) petite-diced tomatoes with onion, celery and green pepper
2 medium red, green or yellow bell peppers, seeded, cored and cut into 2 inch strips
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces
12 oz pre-cooked deveined and peeled shrimp
hot cooked rice
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Directions:
Set up your slow cooker by placing the liner bag inside, fitting it snugly to the bottom and sides.

Place chicken and sausage in the crock. Sprinkle with seasonings. Pour in diced tomatoes. Top with vegetables.

Cover and cook 7 to 8 hours on low OR 3 to 4 hours on high, until the chicken is done.

Carefully remove the lid to allow steam to escape.

Add cooked shrimp and stir gently.

Cook 10 more minutes on low.

Spoon jambalaya directly from cooker into bowls of cooked rice.

Sprinkle with chopped celery and serve

 

Note: Do not lift or transport liner with food inside.

Note: Allow crock to cool before removing the liner and tossing it.

 

–Ann Cathey

Slow Cooker Sausage Lasagna

I prefer to use slow cooker liners. Whenever I buy a box of them, there is invariably a little handout inside that includes a few recipes. They are great for folks starting out with slow cookers!

Reynolds produces liner bags for slow cookers. They, like Crock-Pot, offer recipes from their test kitchens. I rounded up a few more and will share them here, in a couple of fall posts. Why fall? Slow cookers are wonderful for making warm, filling meals that are especially welcome on cooler or cold nights.

SAUSAGE LASAGNA
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours on Low
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
1 lb uncooked ground Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz) crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
6 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken in half
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Set up your slow cooker by placing the liner bag inside, fitting it snugly to the bottom and sides.

Cook sausage and onions 8-10 monutes in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up meat as it cooks. Drain well.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and oregano; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of the sausage mixture into the slow cooker, spreading evenly over the bottom.

Arrange half the noodles on top.

Combine 1 cup of the mozzarella and ricotta cheeses in a medium bowl. Spoon half of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.

Repeat to add another layer.

Top with remaining 1/3 sausage mixture. cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low.

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape.

Mix the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; sprinkle over top of the lasagne.

Cover and let stand for 30 minutes until the cheese melts and lasagna sets up slightly.

Serve directly from the slow-cooker.

Note: Do not lift or transport liner with food inside.

Note: Allow crock to cool before removing the liner and tossing it.

 

–Ann Cathey

Spanish Flavor Highlights

Mexican cooking and Spanish cooking have a lot in common, it’s true. Spanish cooking, however, missed most of the New World influences so prevalent in Middle America.

Some of the particular flavors found in Spanish cooking come from regional availability of certain plants.

OLIVES
Spanish olives and olive oil are known for their high quality and unique flavors. While the olives generally available in the United States that are commonly known as Spanish olives are most often small, green, and stuffed with pimento. They are also extremely salty. Like the wines of Spain, true Spanish olives are distinctive in flavor and texture to their regions, raging from subtle and floral to robust and nutty.

Olives grown in Spain go through a rigorous grading system, with a larger portion being used for oil pressing. The remainder fall into four color/ripeness groups that then become many of the olives known in Spanish cuisine.

Green olives are harvested for their firmer flesh and smokey flavor. Semi-ripe olives have a mottled, pinkish color, and a vibrant flavor. Ripe olives are dark and robust. Ripe black olives are harvested before they fully ripen, and treated to maintain their color and to remove any bitterness.

WINE
As with any other wine producing country, Spain is known for it’s many regional vintages. Wine if often the drink of choice at meal time and topped off with sparkling water. Spanish wines come from grapes with names like Albariño, Tempranillo and Verdejo, and pair with regional spices like no others.

While I am not a wine drinker by choice, I know where to find the best in my area. I frequent Spec’s and enjoy perusing their selections.

MEATS
Jamon is an air-cured ham. It is a visual fixture in Spain as well as a culinary one. These hams may be found hanging everywhere form restaurants to home kitchens to meat markets. Thinly sliced, it adds a rich flavor to a variety of dishes from tapas to stews.

Chorizo in Spain is quite different from the more familiar chorizo from Mexico. Mexican chorizo is made from fresh pork, whereas the Spanish counterpart is smoked. The Spanish variety imparts is regionally spiced flavor to paella among other dishes. It can also be found sliced very thinly and served with a complimentary selection of cheeses.

SAFFRON
Among all the spices grown in Spain, saffron is the most outstanding of the lot. It’s origins trace back into Asia, but the majority of the world’s saffron in modern times comes from Spain. It takes thousands of Crocus sativus flowers to yield only an ounce of saffron. the spice is collected in “threads” which are ground and added to a variety of dishes. Saffron is also known for imparting a rich golden-yellow hue not only to foods, but to textiles as well. Along with cumin, tarragon, dill, sage, anise, thyme, fennel, mint, cinnamon, cloves, the Spanish have collected spices from around the world and embraced them as their own.

These are but a few of the outstanding ingredients found in Spanish cooking. For your edification, give this recipe a try, or look up one of the many recipes available online.

Fabada Stew
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 hours
Servings: 4-5

Ingredients:
1 large onion, peeled but still whole
1 head garlic, whole
4 cans (15 oz.) beans (cannellini or other large white beans), drained
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 large pinch saffron threads, crushed
1 (1 lb.) meaty  ham hock
½ lb. bacon, unsliced
½ lb. chorizo
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Drain beans and transfer them to a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, paprika, crushed saffron, ham hock, bacon and 12 cups cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer the stew, tucking the ham hock under the cooking liquid as necessary, about 1 hour.

Add the chorizo to the bean stew and cook until the meat and beans are tender and the cooking liquid is thick and slightly reduced, about 45 minutes longer.

Discard the onion and garlic and transfer the meat to a bowl. Pull the meat from the ham hock and cut it into large pieces. Cut the bacon and chorizo into pieces. Add the meat back into the beans and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Serve hot. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Enjoy a taste of Spain in your own kitchen!

–Ann Cathey