Sunday, January 5, 2014

postheadericon Hearty Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I am back!  I guess I needed some time away this fall...I didn't post for a week and then a week turned into a month, turned into a few months.  Thanks for hanging in there with me!  What did you miss?  Not much with me; I took a few short trips this fall, which am sure will show up here eventually.  

One of my frustrations with the blog is how time intensive it is to create posts with high quality photography.  I am just not the greatest photographer, which is fine.  I happen to be a much better cook!  Recently Bill said he would help me with photography...so here we go with our first blog post collaboration...

Hearty Sausage Stuffed Peppers...I kind of made these up...I did go online and learned that cooking the peppers in advance really helps the end product, so thanks for that, internet!  Otherwise, this recipe is all mine!

We ate these during the Packers playoff game...unfortunately, they didn't win, but the peppers were game winning!



Hearty Sausage Stuffed Peppers

5 peppers
2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage
8 oz. tomato sauce
4 tbls grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350.  While the oven is preheating, slice the peppers in half and core the inside, removing the seeds and soft membranes.

Place the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

While the peppers are baking, spray a saute pan with cooking spray.  Add the onions and zucchini and saute until soft.  Add the sausage and saute this until no pink remains in the meat.  Add the tomato sauce and make sure the mixture is thoroughly combined.  

At this point, the peppers should be cooked.  Remove from oven and let cool until you are able to handle them.  Using paper towels, remove any moisture from the peppers.  

Now, stuff the peppers are full as you can with the meat/veggie mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.  Placed the stuffed peppers back on your baking sheet and slide them into the oven for 10 minutes.  



I served these with a light salad...delish!

Until next time, 



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Sunday, September 29, 2013

postheadericon Sausage Caprese Bites


I was excited to try the SA Braii line of sausage, as I had seen them at my local farmer's market and had read about the line here, but I had yet to try them.  So when a blogger friend asked if I wanted to be a part of a fall recipe challenge for the brand, I jumped at the chance.

I picked up the sausages at the Wauwatosa Farmer's Market.  They came frozen, which was very convenient, as I didn't end up cooking them until later in the week.

The sausages are not precooked, so as I thought about how I might want to serve them, I did need to keep this in mind.  Being this was the case (and that it was pouring outside the evening I wanted to cook them), I decided to boil the sausages instead of grilling them.  

I was surprised at how little fat the sausages released while being boiled; I was excited to give them a try! 

I am constantly on the search for tasty, hearty and easy appetizer recipes.  I play in a tennis league where the home team hosts after-match treats for the opposing team.  I decided to make a variation of a caprese appetizer.  I really liked them (warm or chilled) and I think you will too!  






Sausage Caprese Bites
featuring SA Braii Sausage 

4-6 links of SA Braii Sausage, defrosted
2 cups beef broth (you could swap out the broth for beer if you would like)
water
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
approximately 30 toothpicks

Place the sausage in a large sauce pan.  Add beef broth and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  

While the sausages are cooking, slice the mozzarella into bit sized pieces.  

Drain sausages and cut into slices (approximately 6-8 slices per sausage).  



Carefully stack a slice of sausage, mozzarella and cherry tomato.  Secure with a toothpick. This can be served warm or is equally as good if chilled and served the next day.  

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This post is sponsored by SA Braii Sausages, which is a Milwaukee-area, South African sausage company.  Although I was given sausage to try as part of this post, all opinions are my own.  



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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

postheadericon Kelley's Country Creamery (Wisconsin Cheese-cation Part II)

It is almost Labor Day here in Milwaukee.  I know we will have lots of visitors to Milwaukee given it is the 110th Anniversary Party of Harley-Davidson this weekend.  You know what would make a GREAT bike (motor bike, that is) ride from Milwaukee?  A trip to Fond du Lac to visit Kelley's Country Creamery!  

We visited Kelley's as a part of our Wisconsin Dairy tour sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  I had never been there before (actually, I am not sure I had ever been to Fond du Lac before), but boy was I missing out!

I really like ice cream...it is one of my favorite desserts.  I especially like hard ice cream (custard is more popular here in Wisconsin, it seems), so Kelley's was a real treat.  


So many choices in the freezer.


Kelley's was fantastic!  I tried a flavor called Wedding Cake...it was vanilla ice cream, with chunks of white wedding cake AND a raspberry swirl.  





Usual?  Yes, but Kelley's is known for its unique flavors...more than 230 in all.  

And the best part?  You can look out the window and see the cows that were milked to make the ice cream!  It doesn't get much better than that, folks.  

So, if you are in Wisconsin this weekend or anytime in the near future, visit Kelley's Country Creamery...you will be so glad you did!  

I have one more post regarding my Cheese-cation...last installment coming soon!

Posting here:


Until next time,

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The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sponsored my Wisconsin Cheese-cation.  All of the thoughts regarding the trip are my own!
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

postheadericon Wisconsin Cheese-cation (Part I)

Hello all,

As you know, I live and work in Wisconsin.  One of my favorite things to do is to combine travel and food and recently, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board gave me the opportunity to spend a weekend touring some of the best of Wisconsin's dairy producers.  Not only was it a great way to get to know my home state, I hope it will convince you to seek out Wisconsin dairy products wherever you may live or even consider visiting Wisconsin to take your own cheese-cation!



Our first stop was at one of Wisconsin's only urban cheese making ventures...Clock Shadow Creamery.  Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the creamery produces its own cheese and also serves as home to several local food producers; one being a local ice cream maker (Purple Door Creamery) and another being an award-winning pimento cheese maker (Martha's Pimento Cheese).  Things have gone so well that Purple Door just announced they are moving down the street to a larger facility..way to go!




Quark with Maple Syrup
Clock Shadow is really well known for reviving a traditional cheese called quark.  You haven't heard of quark?  Well neither had I until this trip.  It sounds like quark is a little like a high-quality ricotta; it can be used in sweet or savory dishes and seems to easily take the flavors of the ingredients in the dish. We didn't happen to try it, but I hear it is great!












My little catered breakfast from Braise...yum!




At Clock Shadow, we had the pleasure of having breakfast catered by Dave Swanson, the owner/chef of Braise, a Milwaukee restaurant in the popular Walker's Point area.  Breakfast was awesome and I enjoyed every bite.  Dave has been a part of the farm to table movement here for quite a while, so it was great to be able to talk in person.












Next we traveled about an hour to the north of Milwaukee to the small town of Theresa, Wisconsin.  This little village is home to the Widmer's Cheese Cellar.  We were able to speak with Joe Widmer, a third-generation cheese maker.


Master cheese maker Joe Widmer telling us about his cheese

Widmer's is well known for its traditional brick cheese.  I have to admit, I thought "brick" cheese just referred to the shape of the cheese.  I now know that traditionally, bricks were (and still are at Widmer's) used to press the cheese.  So I felt pretty silly not knowing that.


Traditional brick cheese in process at Widmer's


Widmer's sells its cheese throughout the US, so look for it in your neck of the woods!




We weren't done yet!  Next was another bus ride about 30 minutes north.  Waiting for us was the Gouda Girls food truck, which specializes in sandwiches featuring cheese.


Is that a cute name or what?!?

What do you think I ordered for lunch?  A mac & cheese stuffed grilled cheese, of course!  OMG it was great!  AND I realized that they are oftentimes stationed for lunch near my office...double score for me!


I must try and recreate this.  So good!


And the trip was just beginning!  We aren't even done with day one!  Can you believe it?  Stay tuned for the rest of my weekend featuring Wisconsin dairy and cheese!

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Until next time,

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In full disclosure, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board generously hosted me on this trip, but all opinions are my own.





Sunday, July 21, 2013

postheadericon Quick Swedish Meatballs

Hello Everyone!  I went to the Madison Farmer's Market yesterday (more about this later) and bought these wonderful frozen, handmade meatballs.  They were precooked, so I knew all I needed to do was defrost and reheat them.  

I wanted to cook them tonight, so I thought, "why not cook Swedish meatballs?"  Here is the thing; many Swedish meatball recipes include mushrooms and Bill doesn't like mushrooms.  So I looked at a few recipes and came up with something that I hope would have some depth, but wouldn't include them.  

The resulting recipe was a hit, so I wanted to share it with you!




Quick Swedish Meatballs
by Milwaukee Kitchen

20-25 precooked meatballs, defrosted
1 14 ounce can of low-sodium beef broth
2 TBLS flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and peper, to taste
3/4 cup sour cream

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and cold water, set aside.  In a medium saute pan, heat the beef broth to a boil.  Whisk the flour mixture into the boiling broth; reduce heat.  Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Add the defrosted meatballs and allow them to heat in the broth mixture.  When the meatballs and heated, add the sour cream and stir to combine.  Reheat to taste.  

This meal took maybe 15 minutes and was good enough to serve to company.  Give it a try!



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Saturday, July 13, 2013

postheadericon Paris Wine Day Tour

Hello All!  Some of you know that I have been so fortunate to visit Paris the past two summers.  This year, I was able to visit Paris May 20 to 26 and wanted to share with you some of my adventures!

As I had been to Paris before, I really wanted to have some new experiences that would allow me to better understand french culture.  I also wanted to spend more time focused on food and wine this trip, which lead me to looking around Trip Advisor for wine tours near Paris.

I happened to stumble upon Paris Wine Day Tours, which provides English-speaking tourists an authentic wine experience in the Sancerre area of France.  Jean-Bernard is the owner and operator of the company and he seems to accompany all of the tours.  He is very knowledgeable and so sweet/funny...he immediately put me at ease and I didn't feel at all uncomfortable being the "party of one" in the tour.

Jean-Bernard met us at an easy to find bistro in Paris and we loaded up into the Paris WDT van.  Off we went to the south of Paris...even stopping for breakfast and a comfort break on the way!



Our first stop was at a local goat cheese producer, where we sampled different versions of the cheese to get a feel for how aging impacts a cheese.  We were also able to shop in a little shop of locally produced food products.


Tasting how the aging process impacts the taste of goat cheese.


Next we were on a way to one of two wineries in the area, where we met one of the wine makers and, importantly, sampled the wine!  It was great and Jean-Bernard was a great interpreter.


I look like a professional,  no?


In between the two wineries we had a traditional lunch at a local bistro and also spent time at a small (but very informational) wine museum in the small town in the area.


Overlooking the country side. 


 After more wine at the second winery, we were off in the van back to Paris.


Jean-Bernard (in yellow) listening to a wine maker educating us on his craft. 


What a day!  I can't speak highly enough about Jean-Bernard...he was kind, witty and even sent us some photos from our day to download after we got home.


Our group with one of the wine makers...every tour is small enough for you to ask questions, etc.

And most importantly, I learned quite a bit about modern wine making and the issues facing wine makers today.  Although the area we visited is not often times imported to the United States, I brought some wine home with me and continue to feel much more informed when ordering and buying french wines.

So, if you are headed to France, please make arrangements with Jean-Bernard to take a wine tour; you will not regret it!

PS...I used Trip Advisor quite a bit to help me plan my trip.  If you would like to follow me on Trip Advisor, my "handle" is MKEKitchen.

Until next time,

Sara


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

postheadericon Couscous Tabbouleh

Hello All!

Well it was a hot day here in Milwaukee, but I did manage to spend some time outside in the sunshine.  

This time of year is the perfect time for a cold salad.  I think I have told you, but I am in LOVE with Wini Moranville's cookbook, the Bonne Femme Cookbook.  It is just terrific and every dish I have made, Bill has said it is a keeper!  

Tomorrow is tennis and I needed to bring a treat/snack for after the match.  So I pulled out my trusty Bonne Femme Cookbook and found this great recipe for tabbouleh.  Although the original recipe calls for bulgur, I couldn't find it, so I had to mix it up and use couscous.  




Couscous Tabbouleh
Adapted from the Bonne Femme Cookbook

2 cups precooked couscous*
2 cups boiling water
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup diced green onions
3/4 cup diced parsley
3 Tbls fresh lemon juice
3 Tbls olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pour the boiling water into the measured couscous.  Cover and let come to room temperature.  This took about 30 minutes in my kitchen.  Fluff the couscous with a fork.  

Add the tomatoes, green onions and parsley and mix well.  Add the lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  

This will taste better the next day, when all of the flavors can combine.  




* I found precooked couscous at my grocery store.  I am not sure it is any different than any other couscous; maybe someone will give me a shout out and let me know!

I think you will find this is an easy and refreshing salad for summer.  Enjoy it!  

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Until next time, 


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PS...there are affiliate links in this post.  

Sara

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