Saturday, July 24, 2010

New baby herb garden!

One of the most exciting things about our new place is the space I have to grow herbs! It's a bit late in the season, so my options were a little limited when I went to the nursery but I managed to get my hands on a beautiful tarragon plant and two rosemary plants (I killed my last round of rosemary, so hopefully this one goes better). I also bought two "live basil" plants at the grocery store and planted them together.

So far, they look healthy and are getting lots of sun. Anyone have tips for keeping tarragon and rosemary alive? I'm hoping to bring them all inside this fall and keep them alive under lamps - which I was able to do with my chives, basil and parsley in my last college apartment.

Can't wait to start cooking with these little guys!

First cooking in Minnesota

I cheated a little for this meal. Jake and I "borrowed" his parents' kitchen last weekend while we were waiting for our things to be delivered. Rainbow had a special on the "grill pack" of Italian sausages, so I had planned to make meat sauce.

While the meat sauce was simmering, I also decided to try my hand at foccacia bread. I didn't have an exact recipe to go off, but it turned out pretty well.

We didn't end up eating the sauce for a few days, so the flavors had extra time to soak together.

Italian sausage meat sauce (makes 2 batches)
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
8-12 Italian sausages, cut into 1 inch and 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or minced
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c red wine
2 pinches of sugar
1/2 tsp-1 tsp red chili flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
6-10 leaves fresh basil (chiffonade)

In a large skilled with high walls, brown sausage pieces with the olive oil. If you like a mix of spicy and sweet, toss half the pieces with 1 tsp red chili flakes and half with 2 tsp brown sugar before browning.

When sausages have browned, add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and wine, and mix with browned bits in the pan. Saute another 2 minutes until wine reduces by half.

Add the red chili flakes, sugar and salt and pepper, then 2 cans of tomatoes. Increase heat and cook the tomatoes down, 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce, until thoroughly combined. Lower heat to a simmer, then cover for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. (you can also transfer to a crock pot at this stage)

Sprinkle in the basil or parsley in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Goodbye DC cupcakes

So we're finally moved into our new place and more or less settled in St. Paul.

I meant to post these before we moved, but never had the chance. The Monday of Fourth of July weekend, instead of packing up my belongings, I spent the day baking EIGHT dozen cupcakes - red velvet and mocha walnut. 

Luckily, I was able to drive to work, stacking these babies inside the cupcake holder. My co-workers managed to polish off the majority of them before the day was out.