Ravioli with Sausage & Brussel Sprouts

IMG_3196Hey all– We are finally having a real winter here!  After all the hot days of autumn when we were all longing just to slip on a sweater… It’s cold!  and even rainy!  My drought stricken yard has been gulping down all this water.  There’s fires in the fireplace and big pots of soup and sweaters, layers of sweaters!  I’m loving it.

And when it turns cold, pasta seems to be so warm and filling.  Loved this recipe for how quick it all goes together.  With a kale salad and a little tumbler of wine, it was just fine.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUSAGE & BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 pound fresh cheese ravioli
3 tab olive oil, divided
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage*
12 oz. Brussel sprouts, end cut off and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
Grated parmesan romano

Cook the ravioli according to the instructions on the package.  Drain and rinse.

While that’s cooking, heat a skillet with 1 tab. of the olive oil.  The drop in the sausage, chopping it to small bits as it browns– should cook about 5 minutes.

Then add in the chopped Brussel sprouts, garlic and and salt & pepper.  Cook one minutes more.  Pour in the chicken broth and simmer on low for 2 or 3 minutes.

Layer the ravioli on a pretty plate, topped with the sausage and Brussel sprouts.  Sprinkle on a dusting of parmesan and it’s ready to eat!

*I used mild turkey sausage, but you can go for the hot sausage if you’re braver than I am.

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Brussel Sprout & Kale Salad with Maple Dressing

IMG_2878Hi all– We’re slowly sliding into fall here– not exactly sweater weather just yet.  But the days of fruity summer salads are giving way to crunchy fall versions.  This one  has sturdy kale, crispy Brussel sprouts and a bit of sweetness from the currants and the maple syrup in the dressing.  And almonds– always up for the crunch of almonds in any salad.  I hope you might like simple, tasty bowl full salad this too…

BRUSSEL SPROUT & KALE SALAD
1 pound Brussel sprouts
4 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2/3 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons seedy dijon mustard*
2 tab. apple cider (or orange champagne vinegar) vinegar**
2 tab. maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut off the tough stems of the Brussel sprouts and cut the them to slivers.  Cut the stems and center vein out of the kale and finely cut it to bits.  Mix together the shaved Brussel sprouts, kale and currants.  Set aside

Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, mustard, sugar and vinegar until it’s all emulsified.  Season to taste with salt & the freshly ground pepper.

Mix the Brussel sprout mixture with the dressing and put it into the fridge if you’re not quite ready to serve it. (It’s a hearty salad– so dressing ahead won’t wilt it!)

Just before setting it on the table, mix in the almonds and parmesan.

*I know I’ve said it before, but I love, love the whole grain dijon from Trader Joe’s, but any mustard you love will be just grand.
**Orange Champagne vinegar also sold at Trader Joe’s and simply delish.

Fall Salad– Kale, Apples & Bacon

IMG_2882Hey there– This salad has so many yummy ingredients that I wanted to put all of them in the title– Hmmm.  So I narrowed it down to kale, apples and that bacon!  BUT– I would now also like to mention– the pumpkin seeds and currants– and the luscious poppy seed-mustard dressing bringing it all together.

We had it for lunch on Sunday and liked it so much it was on the table again tonight.  I think you might like a bunch too!

FALL SALAD– KALE, APPLES & BACON
2 cups kale, chopped fine
6 to 8 Brussel sprouts, cut to shreds
2 slices bacon, cut to bits
1 red apple, slides and cored
1/4 cup currants*
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar**
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. seedy Dijon Mustard***
1 tsp. poppy seeds
a couple shakes of salt & twists of freshly ground pepper

Cook the little bits of bacon in a skillet.

Then while the bacon’s on the stove, layer the kale Brussel sprouts and apples on a pretty platter.  Sprinkle on the currants and pumpkin seeds.

When the bacon’s cooked, drain in on a paper towel and let it cool.  Then sprinkle it over the salad.

Put he dressing ingredients, oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, poppy seeds and salt & pepper into a small container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it well until it’s all blended.  Pour it over the salad when you’re ready to dig in.

*The recipe I worked from called for dried cranberries, but currants are my fave.  Pick your favorite dried fruit…
**You can use any mild vinegar–cider, red wine…  Tarragon is my “go to” vinegar– mild and slightly sweet.
***If you live near a Trade Joe’s– check the Seedy Dijon mustard there– not too spicy and perfect in dressings, in sauces, on sandwiches.  Love that stuff!

Simple Brussel Spouts

IMG_8464Hi there– I have to admit, I’ve not always been a Brussel sprout lover.  On my first acquaintance with them, they were tough little balls, slightly bitter and just too much to chew.  But Larry, the vegetable lover convinced me over time to give these guys another chance.  I’m glad.

I like this recipe because it’s quick, tasty and colorful on your plate– easy to put together while you’ve got other parts of a meal to attend to.  I’ve changed my Brussel sprout ways…

SIMPLE BRUSSEL SPROUTS
12 plump Brussel sprouts
3 tab. olive oil
garlic salt to taste
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, chopped

Cut the tough stem end off the Brussel sprouts and slice them into slivers.  Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and drop in the Brussel sprouts.  Cook them in the oil, stirring and salting with garlic salt–just enough to wake up their flavor.  When they are tender enough to eat, but still a bit crispy (about 4 or 5 minutes), stir in the peppers and cook 2 minutes more.

Serve them up warm– We added them to plates of bar-b-qued chicken and roasted potatoes…  Enjoy!

Brussel Sprout Salad with Feta, Olives and Salami

IMG_7599Hello friends–  The years we lived in Seville we attended a small church near the center of town.  When we’d come out into the bright Seville sunshine on a Sunday at noon, there on the sidewalk would be a small cart manned by our friendly olive vendor– We’d peer into the tubs of olives, all shapes and hues– seasoned with garlic or herbs, lemon or red pepper…  We’d buy a plastic sleeve of our favorites and munch them on the way home to lunch.  I’m such an olive fan– and they were the best.  I’m wishing we could visit our olive man again.

So here’s a salad where the olives shine– against the gentle flavor of the Brussel sprouts, the saltiness of the cheese and that garlicky salami.  With a nice chunk of sturdy bread, it makes a flavorful dinner.

BRUSSEL SPROUT SALAD WITH FETA, OLIVES AND SALAMI

10 Brussel sprouts
2 oz. dry salami, cut to bits
1/3 cup mixed cured olives
1/3 cup feta with herbs, cut in cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. white balsamic vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. dried basil

Cut the Brussel sprouts into shreds and sprinkle them on a serviceable  platter.  Layer on the salami, olives and feta.

Then in a container with a tight lid, put together the oil, balsamic, salt and pepper to taste and the basil.  Shake it while you anticipate the beautiful salad– until it’s thoroughly blended and pour it over the plate.  Time to eat…

Brussel Sprout and Bacon Pizza

IMG_7889Hi there–  It’s been a comfortable couple weeks having my sis and her dear husband Ted in the house, home from China.  I mean who wouldn’t love having Lulu in the house.  She cleans, cooks, empties the dish washer and laughs at all my jokes!  She’s the best.  And my  favorite is chatting in the kitchen as we put together a little dinner.  Last night it was brussel sprout pizza.  Turned out pretty darn good.

BRUSSEL SPROUT AND BACON PIZZA (makes 2 pizzas)
Crust:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2 12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings:
6 slices bacon, sliced to bits
10 brussel sprouts, cut to shreds
8 oz. mozarella, shredded
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the bacon on the stove top and remove from the pan to a paper towel to drain.  Mix the olive oil and garlic and spread over the 2 pizza crusts.  Then sprinkle on the mozzarella, followed by the brussel sprouts and finally the bacon.  Cook at 375 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, until the crust turns golden around the edges.  Eat it hot!

*The water should be mildly warm, about the temperature you’d want to give a baby a bath!