You might not know this about me but years ago I was a tall ship sailor--for a living. I know it seems almost impossible that people in the modern age could make a living wearing thirteen button pants and hauling lines to raise sails, but it’s a real thing--albeit not a very good living. Aside from a proclivity for randomly belting out sea shanties in socially awkward situations (I’m looking at you Steven Christie), my largest take-away from those years on the ocean is a sensitivity to the barometer. When a low-pressure system is headed our way, I feel it in my bones.
This last week, I suffered from a severe bout of weather affection disorder. As the mornings dawned dim, the warm light of the sun filtered through snow-bearing clouds, I snuggled deeper into my covers and resisted getting out of bed with all of my being. On days like these, the very thought of preparing an involved dish makes my soul cringe.
Fortunately, I found a couple of super-simple recipes that satiated my (weather-influenced) cravings for hearty fatty fare and sweet-warming heat. The first satisfying meal only involved one dish--a sheet pan. Roasted sweet Italian sausages served on a bed of caramelized shallots and apples. These sausages roast up plump and juicy with a pleasant crispy skin. They are brilliantly paired with fragrant tart-sweet apples, whole grain mustard, sweet shallots, and just a splash of vinegar.
The second recipe of the week represents a type of cultural and culinary fusion that is a bit surprising. When American pizza delivery restaurants first opened in Korean, they brought with them pizza ingredients opening the door for new and mind-bending dishes like Fire Chicken. Boneless chicken thighs are marinated in a mix of Korean Chili Flake “gochugaru” (now conveniently available at the Fallon Safeway), gochujang (a sweet hot Korean paste), soy sauce, and brown sugar. The whole lot is simmered together with a little water before being topped with sliced mozzarella cheese and finished in the broiler. I can’t begin to tell you why this flavor combination works… I can tell you that you will absolutely not regret giving it a try.
Finally, Facebook provided the inspiration for my third concoction. A friend posted a question about why we, in America, tend to be quite strict in our definitions of breakfast foods. It’s a legitimate inquiry. Our breakfast menus tend to be laden with sweets, meats, and eggs to order--lacking nuance and variety. Rising to the “widen your breakfast horizons” challenge, I simmered up a delicious Shakshuka (alright, I concede that this is also an egg dish) complete with swiss chard, avocado, and Sand Hill dairy queso fresco. Shakshuka is a simmered one-pot egg dish that originated in North Africa--while a traditional shakshuka involves a tomato pepper sauce, variations are found all around the world integrating a bevy of ingredients.
Try these tasties when you too feel like a one-dish meal.
Green Shakshuka with Avocado
Adopted from Sarah Copeland
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch of Swiss Chard, stems and leaves separated and chopped
⅓ c Sand Hill Dairy heavy cream
4 large eggs
Salt and Pepper
1 avocado, cubed
1 jalapeno, thin sliced
Sand Hill Dairy queso fresco, crumbled
•Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over
medium heat. Add onion and cook until
soft (5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook
until it smells delicious (5 minutes)
•Add the chard stems and cook until they
have released some liquid--you will no
tice that your onions and garlic will start
to turn a little red (5 minutes). Add the
chard leaves in batches, adding more as
the leaves begin to wilt, stirring regularly
until completely wilted (3 minutes). Sea
son with salt and add the cream.
•Reduce to heat to low. Make 4 small
indentations in the veggies and crack an
egg into each. Season each egg with salt
andpepper. Cover with a lid or a double
layer of aluminum foil and simmer until
the eggs are just set (about 7 minutes).
•Add in avocado, queso fresco, jalapenos,
and cilantro and recover for 2 minutes.
•Serve with lime wedges, tortillas, and
Sheet-Pan Sausages with Shallots and
Applies Adopted from Lidey Heuck
6 shallots, trimmed on both ends, peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise.
2 apples, cored and cut into wedges (I used one sweet i.e., fuji and one tart i.e. granny smith)
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound Italian Sausages - sweet or hot
3 sprigs Rosemary
2 T whole grain mustard
Apple Cider Vinegar
•Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Place
shallots and apples on a sheet pan,
drizzle with olive oil and season with salt
and pepper. Roast the mixture for 12
minutes, until the shallots are starting to
turn brown on the edges.
•Meanwhile, pierce the sausages in
several places with a fork and drizzle
with olive oil.
•Add the rosemary and mustard to the
sheet pan with the shallots and apples
and toss to coat. Spread the mixture
evenly around the pan. Arrange the sau
sages on the pan and roast for 25-30
minutes, flipping the sausages and
tossing the apples and shallots in the
sausage juice about halfway through.
•Discard rosemary sprigs transfer the
sausages to a plate. Toss the apples and
shallots with a splash of apple cider
vinegar, scraping to pick up any browned
bits from the sheet pan. Serve sausages
on a pile of the apple shallot mixture.
Missing my friend Leo 💜