Breakfast Sausage Ragu cooking from the gut.

Breakfast Sausage Ragu cooking from the gut.

We took advantage of a special that Butcher Box was offering bacon and breakfast sausage. My son had recommended the bacon so I figured what the heck. Now with the pandemic you have to make do with what you have. The first thing we had to do is figure out if it had maple syrup in it. Mike never got the sausage so he did not know but suggested smell it. Not a bad idea so I opened the package and smelt away and it did not. Good thing is I still had my sense of smell and taste, if you know what I mean. I cooked a tiny pattie just to make sure and the nose did not fail me. Anyway Lyn made her sauce and I cooked the sausage etc. It was a mild breakfast sausage and I added some Italian seasoning while browning. When browning I like to flatten it and let brown flip then start to crumble, rather than start to crumble as soon as you put in pan. In my opinion it produces a moister browned meat.

I added green pepper, mushroom, spring onion after the meat was browned cooked for a minute then added some of Lyn’s sauce

Cooked the pasta and served.

All in all it came out pretty good for a cook from the gut meal. I think the mildness of the sausage made it possible.

Steak Tips with Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce from the Boston Globe

Steak Tips with Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce from the Boston Globe

I’ve posted the Hill Top steak tips recipe before, I remember the Hill Top well, ate there 2 -3 times a week when I was a theater manager in Saugus and Peabody. There were three of us from local theatre and Big Rosie the waitress. We would take care of her with passes and she would come out halfway through the meal apologize that it was not made right and return with a new order for our take home leftovers.

From the globe: Steak tips are a distinctly New England cut. They’re sometimes called sirloin tips (because they can be cut from the sirloin, but also from the tenderloin, flank, or other tender beef), and families have been making them for weeknight suppers or backyard barbecues for decades. You can use steak tips, sliced thinly, for a stir-fry with vegetables, but they’re also a very quick dinner on their own with a little sauce. 

First let them marinate in fresh ginger, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard for an hour or a day. Then sear them in a hot skillet — this takes five minutes — and make a pan sauce with mushrooms and red wine. The downside is that the meat can be expensive, because you’re buying ends of high-priced cuts. The upside is that dinner is ready in minutes and though it’s a little retro, it’s delightfully familiar and delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1½ pounds steak tips (cut from sirloin or tenderloin), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound mixed mushrooms (shiitake, cremini or baby portobello, button)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

1. In a bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, mustard, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir well. Add the steak tips, stir well to coat them all over, and cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 1 day, turning several times.

2. Transfer the steak to a plate and pat it dry with paper towels. Reserve any marinade in the bowl.

3. In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the steak in one layer. Cook without disturbing for 3 minutes. Turn and cook the undersides for 3 minutes more. Remove from the pan and transfer to a clean bowl (not the marinade bowl).

4. Without wiping out the pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lower the heat, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

5. Add the wine and stock or water with any reserved marinade from the bowl. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let the mixture bubble steadily for 6 minutes, or until it is reduced and starts to look syrupy.

6. Return the steak tips to the pan with any juices that accumulated in the bowl. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, or until the steak tips are heated through. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.

Cats come for a visit.

Cats come for a visit.

Mike was moving in with Gail and we volunteered to watch the cats to make the move easier. They quickly settled in but being cats, curiosity was top on their list. They knew where to hide when I went out for the mail so many escape attempts were just that attempts. Lyn did say that if they got out all we had to do was open a can of food and boy do they come running, begging and demanding. If you listen to them, we never fed them and there was never a bowl of dried food always at their ready night and day.

I took to preparing their wet food behind closed doors and Lyn said that they would try to push the door open. Anyway I was preparing a cauliflower crust pizza last Wednesday and had to take extreme measures. See picture below

Another cook from the frig recipe. This time I had some delicata  squash, red, green and yellow peppers, made some red onion relish, goat cheese, grape tomatoes earlier so I decided to roast the squash and add the rest sorry no pictures of the finished product. 

I like this sqaush, no peeling you can eat the skin like acorn squash.
I like this no peeling you can eat the skin like acorn squash.

Roasting the Squash

Preheat oven to 425° convection. Cut ends off of squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into ½” half-moons.

On a large baking sheet toss squash with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread single layer on pan and sprinkle with cinnamon (not the sugared kind but I suppose you could)

Roast until golden and soft on the inside, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Meanwhile I thinly slice the peppers, diced some fresh mushrooms, and prepared a small hand full of fresh baby spinach, grape tomatoes in half and goat cheese

For the cauliflower crust, Lyn’s been into the paleo version, I spread pizza sauce the topped with all the above. As Colbert likes to say meanwhile I spun out my dough which is Portland Pie Company Beer dough, my store bought favorite. And topped with everything except the goat cheese, instead I used three types of Italian cheeses. I then baked for about 10 minutes each. Will vary depending on oven.

Anyway, to make this long story short I was forced to use what I joking call the cat guard to protect my cooking area from the curious duo.

Oh they are in their new home now and enjoying it.

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms

From Cooks Illustrated with minor Steve tweaks

Why this recipe works:

A classic Italian antipasto, foraged wild mushrooms are rich with earthy flavor. The right combination of bright acidity, heady herbs, and the nap of a fine olive oil should pack each bite with a punch. When we developed our marinated mushroom recipe, we liked cremini and white button mushrooms for their flavor and availability. Crowding the mushrooms in a 12-inch skillet generated, at first, an alarming amount of liquid; cranking up the heat, however, reduced the liquid down to a potent glaze with concentrated mushroom flavor.

Skillet size limits the yield of this recipe; if you would like to double it, cook the mushrooms in two separate batches but marinate them together. Thyme, parsley, or basil makes a good last-minute addition—use only one, however, not all three.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil , *plus 1 tablespoon for finishing
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt (Steve tweak not much of one they use table salt)
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms, cleaned, left whole if small, halved if medium, quartered if large
  • 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon for finishing
  • 1 medium clove garlic , sliced very thin
  • 1 large shallot , chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
    • I have some dried shallot around because I usually forget to grab one at the grocery store in that case use about ½ the call for amount
  • 1/4 small red bell pepper , chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 sun dried dried tomatoes minced (Steve tweak)
  • *Zest of one lemon (Steve tweak)
  • *1 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves (see note)
  • Ground black pepper

How

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add mushrooms and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice; cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms release moisture, moisture evaporates, and mushrooms have browned around edges, about 10 minutes. Spread mushrooms in single layer on large plate or rimmed baking sheet; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. When cooled, transfer mushrooms to medium bowl, leaving behind any juices. Stir garlic, shallot, and bell pepper into mushrooms, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 or up to 24 hours.

*Combine the olive oil, lemon juice thyme and zest in small jar cover and set aside. I shake it once in a while just because I see it.

Before serving, allow mushrooms to stand at room temperature about 1 hour. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, thyme and zest and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper just before serving.

Marinated Mushrooms prep  Marinated Mushrooms cooking
Marinated Mushrooms marinated  Marinated Mushrooms serve with cornbread, turkey burger and snap pea salad 

Per Serving:
Cal 110; Fat 9 g; Sat fat 1.5 g; Chol 0 mg; Carb 4 g; Protein 2 g; Fiber 0 g; Sodium 55 mg

Stuffed balsamic portabella mushrooms

I discovered grill portabellas at a friend’s house years ago at a BBQ thought he was nuts, grilling is for burgers but he made me try one and I was sold. What a great alternative to meat and I have tried many variations plain, stuffed, chop and stir fried. The other day we had these mushrooms and I was wondering what to do with them so… Lyn got us this 360 cookware 2 quart pan (need no oil or water) over the holidays and I thought what the heck I have left over cheeses from the holidays let’s see what I can do.

Stuffed balsamic portabella mushrooms

top down

Ingredients

  • 3 larger portabella mushrooms stem and ribs removed (mince some of the stems)
  • 1 –  8 oz. package soft goat cheese room temperature
  • 3-5 sundried tomatoes minced
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • Small amount of whole wheat bread crumbs you can judge on your own maybe 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Balsamic vinegar (I used my 18 year old for this)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

How

Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar on the mushrooms (top down) don’t be shy but don’t drown them and set aside

In a small sauté pan add ¾ to 1 Tbsp. olive oil sauté the shallots, minced mushroom stems and sundried tomato until the shallots are softened about 3-5 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper heat a little. Add to bowl with the goat cheese and thoroughly mix together. You can add some more breadcrumbs if you think it is needed at this point your looking for enough to fill the mushroom caps. Stuff the mushroom caps. Now I supposed you could do this with a nonstick pan and cover but I had a new toy (360 cookware) and wanted to try. So I heated the pan up as directed until water drops bounced across the pan, yes I dropped water in twice it was cool. Place the mushrooms, stuffed side up in covered and reduced heat to medium. Waited until the steam started turned the heat to low and spun the top and waited about 6 minutes. Yes I spun the top from time to time new toy was afraid the seal was not there. After 6 minutes they were done and put on plate and covered loosely. Then I then took some broccoli that we had in the freezer put them in the pan rinsed with water, dumped excess water out put on high cover until the steam started, spun the cover removed from heat for 6 minutes came out nice and firm not mush. You could also do the julienned poached veggies with this, kind of vegi pasta. Will post that later.

Comment: There are so many things you can use for stuffing that the dish can be different every time you make it. I was not planning this so I grabbed what I saw