This is the dish that sold me on the need to can tomatoes every summer. We tried canning them for the first time last summer, and I thought when we did it that it represented a colossal waste of time on a Sunday afternoon. But this dish highlights the sweetness of home-canned tomatoes, a sweetness that you can't buy. The kale was the best part of this. It had a tender, mild quality to it I've never tasted before except in perfectly cooked spinach. Maybe because it was home grown, maybe because it was simmered in the tomatoes and the sausage. Maybe it was just the butter, but I wish there had been leftovers.
3 cloves crushed and chopped garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
4 cups thinly sliced kale
4 cups home canned tomatoes
1 pound cooked sweet Italian sausage, either crumbled or sliced
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 pound penne or other pasta
1/3 cup grated parmesan
Begin with the sauce. In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil, the butter, and the chopped garlic together. When the garlic starts to sizzle a little, add in the pepper flakes. Give it maybe 15 seconds to warm up and flavor the oil, and then add in the kale. Salt the kale a little to break it down, and once it looks a little cooked add in the tomatoes and sausage. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer for a while. Taste it for salt and pepper and be sure the kale cooks down and the tomatoes disintegrate. As it simmers some of the excess liquid should evaporate so the sauce won't be too soupy.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, being sure to salt the water until it tastes good. After draining the pasta, stir it into the sauce. (I hope you used a REALLY big skillet!) Add in the shredded cheese and mix together. Pour the whole thing into a 9"x13" baking pan. Top with the parmesan cheese and put the whole thing in the oven until it looks a little browned and any cheese in it has melted, only about 15 minutes for me because it was all still hot from the stove and didn't require much time in the oven. If it had been refrigerated first maybe I would have cooked it at 350 for a half hour to forty-five minutes. Take it out and serve it hot.
The goats found a loose board in the fence and made a break for it.
I was running out to my car when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye and thought, "Oh, somebody has lost their goats."
Goats? Goats? I have goats too, but mine are locked up.
I had a tough time wrapping my brain around it. Fortunately, my dad, also my next door neighbor, happened to see the shadow of a fleeing goat running down the driveway and he came to my rescue. The problem for me is not catching the goats. I am a natural born sheep dog.
I chase the goat down the driveway and round her up from the neighbors ivy-filled front yard. Buttons and I make eye contact.
The problem is picking her up!!!! How do you grab a goat? My dad did it. My sister, my son, my husband have all done it. It seems I'm missing the goat pick-up gene. There is something slippery about goats. They have horns and hooves. I don't want to make contact with anything on the back end. I don't really want to hug the front end either. So I'm stuck. It's that awkward moment when you wish you hadn't gone in for a hug and suddenly you feel like you have extra limbs and you know before it happens that your heads will collide. So I pause, and the goat gets away.
"Pick up the goat," hollers my dad, who is under no small amount of duress and holding Calypso in a firm embrace.
So I try again, but I can't get past the geometry problem in front of me. My two arms, the goat's big squishy belly, the back end, the front end, the hooves. I'll never fit the pieces together. My son rushes over with a length of rope, and suddenly it all feels even more futile. More impossible geometry. A length of rope we had set aside for such emergencies. I start fiddling with it, because I'm pretty sure that if I can remember how to tie a slip knot this could be the first step toward success. Buttons bolts for the ivy.
"Pick up the goat," dad yells again, not sure why I'm just standing there idiotically while his arms are full of goat.
The rest is a bit of a blur, perhaps because my amazing sheep dogging skills all kicked in and I did some amazing goat herding right back up that driveway and into the yard, but more likely I stood there and waved my arms around (still like an idiot) while my dad rescued not just one, but two escaped goats. I really don't remember anything else until it was all over and dad looks over at me and says in the authoritative voice reserved for your grown children, "You have to pick up the goats! Just pick up the goats!"
Not gonna happen, I guess. It's a good thing my dad is also my next door neighbor, because I didn't get the goat pick-up gene.
I started off the new year fully prepared to swear off cooking forever. I don't have the time or the energy,and no one here wants to eat what I want to cook. But then after a trip to Costco where I invested in a ridiculously generous supply of every staple I could think of, I realized I had everything I needed to try nearly every single recipe in my collection of Afghani recipes. Surely the stars don't align this way more than once in a lifetime! It was a sign. At first I thought I'd just try a few simple selections, but with each sip of coffee my dreams and delusions grew.
This is how I ended up slaving over a meticulous, labor-intensive dish of stuffed chicken cooked in rice the very first week of the year. It was dry and disappointing. A "bitter" meal for me. I had been sure something that complicated had to result in greatness. It was SO bloody dry, and all the fried almonds and raisins and orange peel in the world couldn't fix that.
However, there was a cauliflower stew I made as well which was quick, simple, and though never destined for greatness, I intend to make it all winter long. I tried it with beef stew meat and ground lamb. Both times it was really good. I served it with basmati rice because we eat everything with rice, but I suppose it could go with anything you like. There is nothing in the stew which screams "Afghani!", so it would be equally at home with naan or mashed potatoes.
Happy New Year!
1-2 chopped onions
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound of stew meat, either lamb or beef
2 teaspoons ground coriander OR 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons split peas
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper
1 large head of cauliflower cut into florets
In a large pot heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are golden brown. Add the meat, a little bit of salt, and allow the meat to brown a little. Stir in the coriander or tomato paste, the garlic, the split peas, the turmeric, and some salt and pepper. Add just enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the meat is tender. Add the cauliflower, and when that is tender too season to taste with salt and pepper.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!