Archive - May 2015

Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

Sometimes you just want some soup. Simple, fresh, soup. Today was one of those days. I was even able to use kale from our garden! I had to supplement it with some from the farmers’ market but they were both very good. I would highly recommend this soup for anyone who wants their house to smell magical. Now if only I could turn this soup into a candle.

Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup
2 10 oz packages of organic spicy chicken sausage
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 medium sized red potatoes, halved and sliced
2 cartons chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Chop up the chicken sausage (first remove casings if necessary). Place a dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook the sausage until fully browned. Remove it and set aside.

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2. Do not worry about the brown bits at the bottom, just add the butter and oil and scrape with the back of your spoon. Add the onions and garlic and continue scraping. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until translucent.

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3. Rinse and chop the kale and then place into the dutch oven. Stir until all of the kale begins to cook and wilt. Add the nutmeg and cook down for another few minutes until the kale is bright green.

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4. Rinse and cut the potatoes then add them, with the spinach to the pot.

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5. Stir the ingredients together and then add the chicken broth. Cook until it begins to boil then bring it down to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender then add the cream.

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6. Serve! But not to your landlord’s dog. He’ll get a rumbly tummy if you do.

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Cherry and Mascarpone Tart

I go to a potluck every month, hosted by someone I went to graduate school with. The food is always delicious and it’s just a nice way to meet new people in the area. It’s always tons of fun! Last night I brought over some homemade herb butter with two loaves of bread Jason picked up at the Ferry Building (one gluten free rye and one gluten-full levain bread). I also brought a cherry and mascarpone tart for dessert. Both went over very well and were big hits. This tart can totally be made with tons of different fruit toppings — I’ve made it with mixed berries before and it was just as good!

Cherry and Mascarpone Tart
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
5 teaspoons ice cold water
1 8-oz package of mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cherries, pitting and cut in half
2 Tablespoons apricot jam
1 Tablespoon maraschino liquor
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Combine both flours, salt, sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add almond extract to four tablespoons of ice water then add this mixture, one tablespoon at a time to the food processor. Only add enough until the dough begins to clump together. Remove the dough and form a flattened ball onto a dish then cover it with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least one hour.

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2. Remove dough and spread out on the bottom of a tart pan. Evenly distributing across the bottom and push the dough up at least a 1/4-inch up the side of the pan. Let the pan sit in the freezer for 30 minutes.

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3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take tart pan out of the freezer and poke a few holes in the crust with a fork. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove pie weights. Put back in oven for 10 minutes. Bake until lightly golden. Remove and let cool completely.

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4. In a stand mixer, beat together mascarpone, cream, sugar at high speed until peaks form. Scoop mixture onto the tart crust and spread across so it is level.

5. In a small saucepan, combine the jam, liquor, and sugar. Heat until it’s reduced to about 1 1/2 Tablespoons. Careful not to burn the sugar!

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6. Pour the sauce over the cherries and mix. Let them cool then place them over the tart.

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Black Forest Bars

This is another recipe that came from our Cherry Picking Day! I could eat an entire bowl of this chocolate-cream cheese-whipped cream concoction. It was really hard not to. The roasted cherry topping is yummy too, I think it would be great on top of basically any dessert. The gluten free Oreo crust came out a little crunchier than I would have liked but after sitting in the fridge over night it had time to soak up some of the cherry juice and turned it super-awesome.

Black Forest Bars
(Recipe credit to Just Putzing Around the Kitchen)
2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
10 gluten free Oreo cookies
3 tablespoons butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips + enough for sprinkling

1. Heat oven to 400. In a small bowl, toss cherries with sugar. Spread them over a baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove cherries from the oven and set aside.

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2. Place cookies in a food processor and pulse until they become crumbs then add melted butter. Pulse again a couple times until combined.dsc_03801

3. Place crust mixture into a baking pan lined with tin foil. Cook for 10 minutes (NOTE: This was too long or too hot for the gluten free oreos! Try 350 for 10 minutes or 400 for 7 minutes).

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4. While cherries and crust are cooling, whip cream cheese in a stand up mixer until smooth. Transfer into large bowl.

5. (Clean out the mixing bowl!) Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the cream cheese and mix until incorporated. (NOTE: there may be tiny chunks of cream cheese throughout. This is okay.)

6. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and let briefly cool. Add to cream cheese/whipped cream filling. Add Nutella and stir until uniform.

7. Spoon filling onto crust and then spoon cherries and juice on top. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

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Cherry and Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

One of the recipes that came out of the Cherry Picking Day was this coconut ice cream with cherries and chocolate. It slightly helped shrink down the 8 3/4 lbs of cherries we have.

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Inspiration to make ice cream came from my friend Deana, and what a delightful idea it was! First you have to clean and pit the cherries, which is a strangely cathartic process then get down to the actual ice cream making. I don’t have an ice cream maker or an attachment for my Kitchen Aid yet, so I got a bit old school and creative with it. It turned out very well, although time consuming. You have to stick around for about three or four hours before you can really enjoy it. That takes serious patience. It’s worth it, promise! It might be perfect for a rainy day activity / treat.

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Cherry and Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
2 cups whole cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 cups cream of coconut
3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Dash of tart cherry juice, for color

1. Combine the ingredients for the ice cream and place over an ice bath to chill.

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2. Place the cold mixture into a freezer safe shallow pan.

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3. Chill for about 30 minutes in the freezer. As the edges start to freeze, stir the mixture rapidly with a spatula to break apart the freezing ice cream. Return to the freezer and repeat about 6 or 7 times until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add a dash of cherry juice if you’d like to give the ice cream a pink color.

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4. Remove the ice cream from the pan and put into a covered freezer container until ready to serve.

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Cherry Picking Day

Cherry picking is so much fun. Jason and I drove about an hour away to Brentwood, California to go cherry picking yesterday. An hour from Oakland in that direction is about 20 degrees warmer and has a completely different landscape. The drought becomes very apparent out there with the rolling tan and yellow hills, covered in dried up tall grass and spotted with black and brown cows. When we made it to our destination we we were greeted by an adorable tortoise and then went about our cherry-picking way. It was such a great adventure, you pick a ladder and the trees that call to you, head all the way to the tippy top and grab the darkest cherries you can find. It was certainly helpful having a husband with a large wingspan to grab the ones no one else could get to yet. It kind of felt like cheating, but oh well! The Pease Farm we went to also has blackberry picking in a few weeks, which we might go back for. There are tons of other farms in the area with apricot, strawberry, and other fruit picking. Before heading home we stopped at a taqueria a few miles away which had some of the greatest fajitas I’ve ever had. It was quite a successful day… and now I have 8 3/4 lbs. of cherries to figure out what to do with 🙂

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