Turkey Sausage with Peppers and Tomatoes

It is cold and sleeting out today with a high of 27°F. A thin layer of ice coats everything.

Robert went out to do some foul weather errands before it gets really bad this evening.

Icicles

While he was out, I decided it would be quite nice to have a nice big pot of turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and tomatoes over some pasta for lunch. We just finished off a large pot of chicken soup last night so it was too soon to eat soup again.

English: Green, yellow and red bell peppers fr...

English: Green, yellow and red bell peppers from the capsicum annum plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used yellow and green peppers, onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. Everything got chopped into a large dice and set aside. Choose yellow and green peppers  because of the red in the tomatoes. This dish looks so good with lots of different colors.

A pound of turkey sausage (remove the casing if you want) gets sliced and sautéed, add the vegetables and simmer everything while you boil pasta and make a salad.

Add fresh garlic bread if you like.

A steaming bowl of sausage and peppers over some spaghetti is a perfect lunch for a day like today. Let’s eat by the fire!

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1  large diced yellow pepper
  • 1 large diced green pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds  peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
    (Canned diced tomatoes are a good substitute)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • kosher salt to taste

Method:

Prepare all the vegetables and sausage. Keep items separate until ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a deep saute pan, add the turkey sausage, toss to brown the sausage. When sausage begins to brown, add the onions, peppers and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Add the bay leaves and the herbs de Provence and garlic, stir to combine.

When the bottom of the pan begins to turn brown, add the remaining ingredients, stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can make a salad and garlic bread while the pasta is cooking or just pour yourself a glass of wine.

Enjoy!

DSC_0087Turkey sausage and peppers

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Pepper Jelly, Another Southern Staple

Chances are, if you live in the southern USA, you have seen and tasted pepper jelly. Pepper jelly is one of those staples that can be used in many things.

Hostess Saver

It saves a hostess when guests show up; pour some pepper jelly over cream cheese and some crackers and you have a marvelous snack with wine, beer or even iced tea.

It adds a special something to pan-fried pork chops and makes scrambled eggs amazing. Slathering some onto a biscuit or over some ham will leave you in taste bud heaven.

While pepper jelly is a bit on the pricy side ($4.99 USD for a small 6 oz jar) it can be made rather quickly and you can adjust the heat to make it hot or just make it sweet.

When you make this, set aside time to give it your full attention because it needs to be stirred constantly to prevent lumping and scorching.

As always, when working with hot sugar, be careful. Keep a bowl of ice water near your working space so if you get splashed, you can plunge it into ice water to prevent a bad burn.

There are many recipes for pepper jelly. This one does not use a large amount of pectin so it sets on a medium gel which makes it perfect for pouring over cream cheese, making a sauce or slathering onto a nice hot buttermilk biscuit.

Pepper Jelly Biscuit with herb and cheese scrambled eggs

Southern Pepper Jelly

1 1/4 cup of finely diced red and orange peppers (one large pepper of each color)

3/4 cup finely diced green pepper

2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno pepper OR 1 small Habanero

Wear gloves when handling hot peppers. If you get the hot peppers on your skin, soak the skin in milk, 1/2 & 1/2 or cream.

Do not rub your eyes or touch small children or babies with hands that have just handled hot peppers.

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1.75 ounce package of powdered pectin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Take your time cutting the peppers. The best jelly has lovely evenly diced cubes of multicolored peppers floating the jelly. If you just hack and chop, you see uneven strands and bits and pieces of peppers which isn’t so nice to look at through the jar or when you are eating the jelly.

Here is how to cut a nice looking pepper:

Wash the peppers and remove any sticky labels.

Trim the top and bottom off, remove the stem and save the trimmed ends for kebab or in a salad or stir-fry.

Remove the ribs and seeds, open the pepper so it lays flat, skin side down.

Carefully remove the membrane

See how much prettier the pepper is with the membrane removed?

Slice into julienne, cut even slices all the way down the pepper strip.

Turn the julienne and cut into dice. The cubes should be of even size.

Pepper Jelly, a southern staple and hostess saver.

Slice the pepper so it becomes one long strip. Lay the pepper out with the skin side down. Remove the seeds and ribs from inside the pepper.

Using a sharp knife, remove the membrane from the inside of the pepper, leaving the plump pepper flesh. Just take a very thin slice from the surface to remove the membrane.

Make long thin slices from the pepper (Julienne cut), then turn the strips and cut them into cubes. Do this carefully so you create a bowl full of nicely diced peppers.

Trust me, it really makes a difference to take the time to do it right.

Place the diced peppers, vinegar and pectin into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Be careful of vinegar fumes, turn your exhaust fan on so you don’t get all choked up.

When the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, add the sugar.

Return the mixture to another rolling boil, then boil it for 1 full minute while stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and skim off any foam that may have formed on the top.

You can process the jelly in canning jars, hot water bath etc to seal and make them shelf stable. (Great idea for gifts)

Or using clean, sterile jars, fill and invert them on the counter to cool. Once cool, turn them over and they seal will set, but you will need to refrigerate the jars.

This makes slightly over a pint.

Soften cream cheese, to fancy it up a bit, put it in a piping bag and pipe the cream cheese out in a decorative pattern rather than just plopping a chunk of cream cheese on a plate.

But if you want to, you can do it that way. Lots of southern folks do.

This Week in Garde Manger – Sandwiches

This week in Garde Manger class they learned about making pickles, condiments and sandwiches. While most people know what a sandwich is, very few can actually make a ‘really good’ sandwich.

Sandwiches draw odd emotions from people. Some love them and some actually get angry at poor little sandwiches. There is a blog where the host actually uses the ‘f ‘ word regarding sandwiches. He seems quite hostile towards them. Amazing.

Really? Get angry at a sandwich?

Some have sworn them off for life, some get sick of them after eating sandwiches day after day after day. (Remember, we always have a choice.)

Some eat the same one always. For instance whenever I go into a Subway or Quiznos, I always order the BMT or Italian, toasted. Hands down, that is my favorite sandwich where ever I go. At home I make a wide variety, but not the Italian ones. I buy those out. Why? I don’t know, it is just the way I do it. My sandwich quirk.

I love a good sandwich. Here is what makes up “good”.

The four sandwich elements:

  • Bread –  sliced varieties, artisan, rolls, buns, wraps, look around, choose what you love or looks great
  • Spread – mustard, ketchup, chutney, relishes, aioli, mayonnaise, dressings , tapenade, taziki
  • Filling  – sliced meats, cheeses, vegetables, bound salads, fruit, cured meats, tinned fish, fried chicken, fish or vegetables
  • Garnish – lettuce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, sliced apples or pears, arugula, spinach

All elements contribute to either a great sandwich eating experience or one that simple stops the growling in your stomach.

Choose great ingredients from each category and you will end up with a nice product. Shake it up and do something different.

Personally every time I eat, I want it to be an experience. Even if it is a snack. Since I have no desire to be fat, overweight or insolent, and considering how much I love food, there isn’t any time for poorly flavored or poorly prepared food.

Student assignments included: muffuletta, gyros (with grilled lamb leg), Italian hoagie, Maine lobster roll, Rubens, open face French radish and ham, Cubans and more.

We did an “Ultimate Dog and Burger Day” but I forgot my camera that day so no photos, sorry. If anyone sends me some of the Dog and Burger Day, I’ll add-on to this post.

Students made mustard, different ketchup styles: mushroom, yellow pepper and tomato – none like Heinz, pickles, aioli, and side things like vegetable chips and Greek fries.

Turkeys and prime ribs were roasted, cooled and sliced. Lamb legs were roasted and grilled. Whole pork loins, seasoned, marinated and roasted for the perfect Cuban sandwich with ham, mustard and pickles. Students made pita for the gyros. (The week after next they start making their own cheese.)

Our kitchens smelled so good!

Next week they start hors d’ oeuvres, canapes and carving skills. Wait till you see what happens to simple vegetables. They also have their first event: “Grazing with Student Chefs” with 125 guests showing up to graze. Come back next week and see what happens.

The students did a fantastic job this week. See the photos of their work and tell me what you think!

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