Tag Archives: skillet

3 years later, sausage.

For three years I did not eat sausage.

After I was diagnosed with severe food allergies to anything derived from a hot pepper (paprika, cayenne, chipotle, chili, etc) and tree nuts, I discovered that sausage is pretty much always made with some variety of pepper. No more Jimmy Dean or MickeyD’s breakfast sandwiches for me.

I’d had several people tell me I could make sausage, but I was convinced that the process itself would be so gross and disgusting that I would never want to eat it again. So I said no, thanks. (cue squinched-up face in disgust). Until my neighbor Liz decided that we could do it.

“I’ll handle the raw meat,” she said. “It’ll be easy.”

Liz is a force of bubbly nature when she gets an idea in her mind, so I knew this was happening. She texted me a picture of the meat she had chosen (ground pork) to make sure it was allergy-okay, and brainstormed ideas for fillings. She sent me a YouTube video. She told me to make sure I had Saran-wrap. I was confused and skeptical – since I hadn’t watched the YouTube video – but pulled out the Saran-wrap anyway.  There was a knock at the door.

“Okayy, let’s do this! Are you ready?” she asked, eyes wide with excitement.

“Yeah,” I responded. I grinned and made a face. “Is it gonna be gross?”

“I’ll handle all the meat, promise.” And she did.

We pulled out all the ingredients and got to work. It was no more disgusting than making meatballs! And it was really, really easy. I couldn’t believe it. Let it go on the record that I was wrong and Liz was right.  Here’s how you do it, with all credit going to Liz:

In a mixing bowl, place ground pork or turkey. Mix in spices you want (I did one version with basil, garlic, oregano, and a bit of parmesan cheese; one version with feta, dill, garlic, and basil). To make it all stick together, I’d recommend adding one egg.  We didn’t this first time but I plan to next time.

Take a big handful and roll it hot-dog style on a piece of Saran-wrap. Wrap the Saran-wrap around it and twist the ends. Do this for all the meat.

Par-boil the sausage by placing it (inside its Saran-wrap casing) in boiling water. Leave it until the meat turns white and the shape is solid; use tongs to remove from the water and let cool. Remove from the “casing” and either freeze it or cook it the rest of the way.

You can grill it or cook it up in a skillet. It wasn’t grilling weather the first time around, so I went for the skillet option, added some extra feta and carrots, and here’s what I got:


And it tasted as good as it looks. YUM. Thanks, neighbor.


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Kitchen Appliances – My Favorites (Part Two)

You thought I was done listing favorite things in my kitchen?  I have a lot of love to go around.  Here are a few more favorites:

-Corningware and serving dishes.  I host a lot more than I used to, because it’s easier for me to cook than explain my allergies to friends sometimes.  I also like to bring food other places sometimes (so that I know there is something safe to eat), so the kinds that come with lids are my favorites.

-TUPPERWARE.  I eat leftovers for lunch every day, and I freeze my own barbeque sauce and ketchup.  When there isn’t an abundance of spare Tupperware around, I feel sad.  (I’ve also been known to adopt Tupperware from friends and family… but when I do remember to return it, I try to follow the Golden Rule of Tupperware – you never return it empty.  This sometimes delays the return).

-My really big pot.  It’s exciting to cook something in a really big pot.  Makes me feel even more legitimate in my cooking endeavors than my cast iron skillet.

-My mandoline.  I make a lot of homemade snacks, and this baby makes all my chips a real possibility.  And my cheesy kale potato gratin (really, “SLI’s Potato Kale Gratin”).  Only warning: if you’re watching the Macy’s Day parade while mandolining your potatoes for Thanksgiving-potato-gratin, you should keep your eyes on your thumbs from time to time, or you may be wearing a new Bandaid on your thumb to dinner, and your dad will get you an durable cut-proof glove for Christmas.

Things I don’t have yet but may be my favorite someday:

-A pasta maker.  Homemade pasta is really fun!  (See “Ugly Ravioli”).

-A tortilla press.  I’ve started making my own tortillas, and this just seems like a good idea.

-An ice cream maker.  Someday I’ll have a really big kitchen that can fit this.  Not that I need another venue for eating ice cream…

-A Kitchenaid mixer.  Again, with the dreams of a big kitchen.

-And… a big kitchen.

What are your favorites?

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Kitchen Appliances – My new found favorites (Part One)

I’m a new cook.  A year ago, I could not make more than a cheese quesadilla or something frozen that requires unwrapping the plastic and sticking it in the oven.  Then, I started cooking, and I discovered a newfound love – for my crockpot, my skillet, and a really good knife.  Here are my newbie-chef favorites:

-My crockpot.  Starting off in the kitchen is intimidating, but throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pot is not.  My sister, who knows I’m a little grossed out by raw meat, suggested this one to me.  “Just wash some chicken and put it in the pot, and with a little crockpot magic it’ll come out cooked,” she told me.  “Really?!” I said, incredulous that I would not have to cut or really even spend much time touching the raw chicken.  “Really,” she said.  I came home after work, the first time I tried it, and when I walked in the building I smelled something good.  Somebody’s having a delicious dinner, I thought, walking into my apartment.  Opening my door, I was pleased to discover that the somebody was me!

-My cast-iron skillet. It can cook on the stove and in the oven!  And the flavor builds with time, and it also just seems so durable and there for me.  It’s also really heavy, and it’s a skillet, so I feel like a legitimate cook with it.  Only drawback: the handle gets hot.  I need to get one of those rubber covers for it before I burn my hand.  Remembering that the handle gets hot is not my strong suit.

-My little coffee maker.  Ok, so I’ve had this for a while, and it’s not a new cooking favorite, really.  But I love it!  It holds four cups and it’s not complicated, I just fill it and turn it on.  No fancypants espresso for me at home.  That’s why Starbucks exists.

-MY IMMERSION BLENDER.  This is what made ketchup possible for me!  I am a bit clumsy and I inherently dislike messes, so being able to just stick a blender in the pot and let it work it’s magic, rather than transfer in and out of my upright blender, is amazing.  Kudos to my brother on this suggestion.

-The really good knife.  I have to say, it sounds boring but it’s wonderful.  My boyfriend may appreciate this even more than I do, as he is the Salad Master and helps me chop things when I’m freaking out because I started cooking before remembering to chop a key ingredient.

-My mac’n’cheese pot.  Does this pot have a name?  For years that’s all I used it for.  (I’ve been told by my first reader that this is actually called a “saucepan”).  Now I use it to make quinoa, sauces, and… yeah I still make mac’n’cheese from the box sometimes.




P.S. I wish I could take pictures of smells, so you could smell my crockpot dinner too.  Since I can’t, I’ll just have to encourage you to make a crockpot dinner for yourself!

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