Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sugar and Spice

I would like to thank my niece, Beth, for the wonderful desserts she brought for Easter dinner from her new business, Sugar & Spice Market.

We wish you much success in your new venture.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Cake Pops        

Coconut Cake

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sausage And Grapes

I feel as if I have been swirling in the vortex of life for the past few months. Time flies while my activities expand to fill the time allotted.  My creativity, particularly my cooking, has become stagnant. Tired of the repetitive dishes of winter, I search the markets for inspiration and find none. My anthem these days seems to be Anna Nalick's "Breathe".

Of course I am impressed by Tracy's bagel experiment.  I am enchanted by Denise's butterfly olive cookies. My sweet tooth is piqued by Kath's Kaluha and coffee ice cream, and I am amused by Valerie's adventures in Italy; but a couple of failures in the kitchen and my current funk have rendered me immobile.

As Spring turns Winter into a memory, I am hopeful that my stagnation will retreat as well.

The dish I made for dinner last night, although said to have originated during the fall grape harvest in Umbria, was a nice change of pace.

Sausages With Grapes--My Version
Serves 2

1 pound Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage--I like hot
3 cups seedless red grapes
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place sausages in a 10- or 12 inch  skillet, add 3 tablespoons water, and turn heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning often.

Remove cover, and prick sausages.  Remove excess fat from pan leaving about 1 tablespoon.  Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan along with the grapes.  Sprinkle grapes with a pinch of salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until grapes soften somewhat. Add balsamic vinegar and stir.

Serve hot and enjoy!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Rigatoni With Sausage Cream Sauce

This beastly winter shows no signs of loosening its grip, and Spring seems further away than ever. Having no alternative, I embraced the cold drizzle and made one last  hearty dish for dinner.  Spring just has to emerge soon--right?

This pasta dish comes from an old classic cookbook favorite of mine, Italian Family Cooking, by the late Anne Casale. Her book is full of family favorites from the Italian regions of Tuscany and Campania, as well as Sicily.  As usual, I made the recipe mine.

I sauteed 1/2 lb. of sweet Italian sausage meat in a little bit of butter until just cooked through. While 8 ounces of  pasta was boiling--in this case mostaccioli--I  added 1/2 cup heavy cream to the saute pan stirring to blend with  the sausage and cooking until slightly thickened. Next time I would add a bit more cream.  I then added a pinch of nutmeg and some salt and pepper.  After the pasta was drained, it went into the saute pan to be coated with the sauce.  Off heat, I tossed the pasta with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.  To serve, I added a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a bit more grated cheese.