Tag Archives: tarragon

Sumptuous Saturday Night Sausage Sandwiches (serves 4, or as many as you like)

Sometimes there is nothing better than a lazy Saturday night, when you invite absolutely no one to your house and you hole-up with your family for the evening.

Sumptuous Sausage Sandwiches

Sumptuous Sausage Sandwiches

I had spent my saturday doing mundane stuff liking cleaning the house, helping with homework and then had to go grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a thing I either love or dread. This particular day, I was in dread-mode. I had let my pantry dwindle down to crumbs and needed just about everything. This meant having to jostle with every other person in the supermarket in the same predicament.

juicy Italian sausages

juicy Italian sausages

I made it out alive and when I got home and everything was safety stored away I plunked down in the kitchen and wondering about DINNER! I poured a hefty glass of wine and opened the fridge door to survey what I could put together without too much trouble. Right there was a pile of Italian sausages and the clear plastic bin on the bottom shelf was packed full with all kinds of wonderful greens.

fresh tarragon

fresh tarragon

I pulled out the sausages, spinach and tarragon. Tarragon is my favorite herb of the month. It tastes of winter with it liquorice-y and mildly peppery flavor and I use it at every opportunity. All I could think of was frying the sausages and from there was stuck? Then I spotted the lovely fresh, practically still warm, loves of bread and I decided on sandwiches, piled high with fresh everything!

yummy sandwich

yummy sandwich

They were amazing, fun to make and took any pressure of cooking dinner off of my tired shoulders. I love Sandwich Night!

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You will need:

Olive oil

unsalted butter

8 slices of wonderfully fresh bread

4 big mild or spicy Italian sausages

Thin slices of good cheddar cheese (enough for 4 sandwiches)

fresh spinach leaves (enough for 4 sandwiches)

bunch of tarragon leaves (about 24 or so leaves)

slices of tomato (enough for 4 sandwiches)

Strong mustard (Grey Poupon or Coleman’s Mustard)

1 – Put some oil (about 2 tbs) in skillet/frying pan and fry the sausages on medium heat, turning to brown on all sides.

Fry sausages

Fry sausages

2 – Slice sausages in half (vertically) and fry with the cut-side down for a few minutes to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.

3 – While sausages are frying, gather the rest of the ingredients and prep: slice cheese, wash and dry spinach leaves, slice tomatoes, wash tarragon and pull leaves from stem, butter bread on one side.

add cheese, sausage, tarragon

add cheese, sausage, tarragon

4 – Make sandwich: Place pan on medium heat (or a little higher) and place one slice of bread in pan, buttered side down. Immediately add a few slices of cheese, 2 sausages halves, greens, tomato, and lastly another layer of cheese.

end with a layer of cheese

end with a layer of cheese

5 – Add some freshly ground pepper and a little sea-salt. slather the mustard on the other side of the second piece of bread (a little tricky as it is buttered on the other side!) and place it, mustard-side down on top of the cheese layer.

turn sandwich and brown all over

turn sandwich and brown all over

6 – Check to see if the underside is browned by lifting a little of the sandwich with a spatula and turn gently when ready. Press the whole sandwich down with a flat spatula to get everything inside to meld together and become a nice solid unit.

7 – Fry until browned on the other side, then remove to a plate. Continue like this until all sandwiches are done.

Slice in half diagonally and serve with extra greens, or simply alone

Crispy Fried Pork (or tofu!) Medallions with Escarole Rice (serves 4)

Crispy Fried Pork Medallions with Escarole Rice

Crispy Fried Pork Medallions with Escarole Rice

Sometimes I am in the mood to make dinner as quickly as possible, and others, like last night, there is nothing I enjoy more than standing in my kitchen lazily chopping and stirring, in the company of whomever wants to watch the movie I may have playing and perhaps share my bottle of wine.

frying pork to lovely crispiness

frying pork to lovely crispy-ness

I am always trying to come up with interesting ways to cook pork tenderloin. It is such a delicate cut of meat with a tenderness that needs to be preserved for it to taste its very best. I sliced the pork and with a crowded counter filled with bowls of flour, an Asian egg mixture and another of panko crumbs I coated each piece of meat before frying to perfection. This was so good, and such a hit, I was sorry I hadn’t double the recipe!

Fresh herbs will always make your food taste better

Fresh herbs will always make your food taste better

I thought it would be perfect with a very aromatic rice, and since I was hell-bent on using up every last herb I had purchased for recipes over the Christmas break, I added chopped pungent rosemary and liquorice-y tarragon to the rice with a couple of mushrooms and sweet onions to make the best accompaniment ever. It was hard not to eat and say “mmmmm” the whole time we were eating!

By all means these two dishes can be made as part of other dishes. I think the pork with be great on a buffet table and the rice could go with so many other meat dishes, (and in the case of my dinner, crispy fried tofu).

Happy New Year’s Eve – Cook something memorable!

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You will need:

1 pork tenderloin, (try to find one that is about 1 1/4 lbs) cut into 3/8″ or 1 cm slices

OR tofu (instead of pork)about two packages of extra-firm, sliced into triangles or big squares (prepared as instructed below ingredient list)

2 large eggs

2 tbs hoisin sauce

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups panko crumbs (have more on hand)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 medium sweet or yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 medium head escarole, washed and roughly chopped

2 large mushrooms, diced

10 (or so) fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1 stem of rosemary leaves, pulled off stem and chopped (about 1 tbs)

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

sea-salt to taste

6 cups cooked basmati rice

Dipping sauce: 6 tbls soy sauce mixed with 6 tbs mirin. Divide between 2 or 3 bowls for the table.

*This can easily be a vegetarian/vegan or Blood Type A Diet recipe. Use extra firm tofu which you should squeeze of excess moisture (enough for 4 to 6 servings) and follow method below or follow method here.

Method:

1 – If you are going to cook rice, put it on right away and let it be cooling until you need it. If you already have leftover rice, take it out of the fridge and stir to loosen.

2 – Mix the eggs in a shallow bowl with the hoisin, soy and mirin. Place flour in a shallow bowl or a dinner plate. Put panko crumbs on a dinner plate. Place a big platter or plate on the counter beside the other plates and bowls.

3 – Make sure the pork is dry and then dip each piece in flour, then coat with egg mixture (by dipping), and finish by pressing each side into the panko crumbs. Place on the waiting platter or plate. When they are all dipped and rolled, place in the fridge. * I find they cook so much better when they are cold*

Prep pork and store in fridge until ready to fry

Prep pork and store in fridge until ready to fry

4 – Next make your dipping sauce (see method in ingredient list).

make dipping sauce

make dipping sauce

5 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes.

saute onions

saute onions

6 – Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 or so minutes. You may have to add more oil. Add the chopped herbs and some sea-salt (about 1/2 to 1 tsp) and stir into veggies.

add herbs

Add mushrooms, then herbs

7 – Cook until onions are nice and soft.

cook for several minutes

Cook for several minutes

8 – Add the chopped escarole and cayenne flakes (if using) and cook until the greens wilt (about 4 or 5 minutes).

add escarole

Add escarole & pepper flakes

9 – Add the rice and stir until it has completely warmed through. Cover with lid and keep warm on lowest heat (or turn off and reheat right before serving)

add rice

Add rice

10 – Put large saute pan on medium/high heat and add about 3 tbs oil. When it is hot add the pork in a single un-crowded layer. Cook until crispy on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Remove to a plate and keep warm in low temperature oven until you have fried all of the batches. You will need to add more oil as you go.

fry pork

fry pork

Serve pork alongside the rice and drizzle a little of the dipping sauce over the pork before serving. Each person may add more dipping sauce or hot sauce as they please.

serve with a drizzle of dipping sauce

serve with a drizzle of dipping sauce

The pork can be easily substituted for tofu (I did) and prepared exactly the same way. (Check above for further instructions)

I had exactly the same thing only with tofu

I had exactly the same thing only with tofu

Superb Lamb Stew with Herbs, & Winter-y Veggies (serves 6)

They say that self-praise is no-praise, but I have to pat myself on the back for this gem of a dish (pat, pat)!

Superb Lamb Stew

I wanted to make something splendid. My friend Bird was in from New York, and each day had to be full of fun adventures, and fabulous food each evening.

Sage, Bay leaves & Pearl onion skins (evidence of good food to come)

I took this dinner to my friend Tom’s house, and it became part of an even larger affair, with 4 different kinds of pizzas, cheese plates, and other side dishes too numerous to mention.

I thought after about 2 months of doing this blog, the food would run out. Now I find I cannot keep up with the amount of dishes to be documented and talked about. I will have to leave the pizza for another day, and give it the spot in this diary that it deserves.

Suffice is to say, I waddled home very contentedly.

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You will need: 5 or so tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 1/2 lbs stewing lamb, cut into large chunks (you can also buy it pre-cut), 2 tbs freshly chopped sage leaves, 1 large sprig sage (about 10 leaves), 2 tbs freshly chopped tarragon, 2 fresh bay leaves, 1 tsp sea-salt, 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, 5 cloves garlic, sliced, 1 lb whole white mushrooms, 2 cups pearl onions, (red, white or yellow), 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks, 2 cups baby carrots, 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks, 2 tbs all-purpose flour, 1 good quality bouillon cube ( veggie or chicken), 1 cup red wine, 3 cups water, 3 tbs soy sauce, 4 tbs mirin, 1 tbs sugar

Preheat 450*

1 – Put pot of water on high heat and when it comes to a boil, add the onions. cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, and, when cool enough to handle, remove the skins. You do this by cutting the end where it grew from and then squeezing until the onion pops out of the skin.

2 – Put meat into a big bowl and add the salt, pepper, herbs and garlic. Stir together and let sit for 10 minutes, (you can also leave in the fridge for up to 6 hours)

add seasonings to meat

3 – Put big saute pan or heavy casserole on high heat and add half of the oil. When it is slightly smoking, add the meat and sear on both sides until brown. You will need to do this in batches and add more oil as you go. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

sear meat

4 – Turn heat down to medium and add more oil if necessary. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and saute for 10 minutes. Add the crumbled bouillon, sage sprig, and flour, and mix into the vegetables. Add the red wine and water and turn heat up. Stir until liquid reaches a simmer and then add the lamb back to the pan.

saute pearl onions and mushrooms

5 – Cover pan and place in preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours. Take out of oven and test meat by piercing with a knife. If it goes through very easily,the meat is cooked.

* while dish is cooking, put the remaining veggies (parsnips, sweet potatoes, & carrots) into a pot with the soy, mirin, sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently (with lid) until vegetables are just soft. Drain and set aside until you are ready to add to the finished dish*

add liquids

6 – The moment you take the dish out of the oven, remove the lid and add the cooked root vegetables. Cover and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let the veggies warm up.

remove from oven and add cooked wintry veggies

Serve as is, or with mash, rice, pasta, bread or a salad. All I can say is, be prepared to fight over the last scraps in the pan!

Can be serves alone, or, with whatever else you fancy

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash (serves 6)

I’ll admit to being more interested in so many other things last night than in making dinner. That being said, I absolutely always make an evening meal.

I know there are more food options nowadays, but I think making dinner should be a cheerful obligation, not a choice. Of course there are nights I cannot cook because of one thing or another, but since I was the one who decided to have a family, I really want to BE a family, and make being together as much as possible the most important thing.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash

There will be plenty of nights in the future when I can read a book or watch a movie. I don’t want to look back on this time in my life and have regrets about something I had control over; like making a great dinner and all enjoying it together. So much goes along with this simple act. Do I have to state the obvious? 

So, being lazy last night just required that I make a lazy dinner! The preparations necessary took 10 minutes of my precious time. The squash I used was grown locally, as were the herbs (my garden) and the bacon.

As it turned out, it didn’t take much time or talent to make an amazing dinner!

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You will need: 6 chicken thigh cutlets, 3 chicken breast fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 lbs bacon, 1 winter squash, peeled, quartered & sliced, 5 sprigs thyme, 5 sprigs tarragon, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chicken broth, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning.

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Layer the squash in the bottom of a big saute or roasting pan. Scatter the herbs over the squash and sprinkle cream on top of everything. Season with several grinds of pepper.

squash & herbs in bottom of pan

2 –  Cut any excess fat from meat and wrap each piece in a strip of bacon. Add the broth and season with more black pepper.

ready for oven

3 – Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes, after which time, the bacon will cook and become crispy on top.

out of oven

4 – Take out of oven and cover pan for 10 minutes before serving. Taste broth for further seasoning.

you can also serve with rice

To serve; lay a portion of squash in the bottom of shallow bowls and top with whole chicken piece, or, slice the chicken and lay on top. This can be served as is, or, with a green salad, pasta, rice, or crusty bread.