Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cooking The Breakfast Book: Chapter 10: Breakfast Sausage Patties with Applesauce

As we've worked our way cooking through this book for the past five months, somewhat unintentionally the chapters have been lining up nicely with the seasons and the weather.

It's starting to really feel like fall is here lately in San Francisco (we spent this evening weatherproofing our old Victorian flat windows, for example), so a heartier breakfast is just the thing.

When contemplating what to serve this savory sausage with, simple seemed best. Whole grain sourdough toast and homemade applesauce is a menu pairing that will absolutely be repeated. And, I froze most of the patties from this batch, so it will be extra easy to whip up again.

The simplicity of the sausage is key too; by not over-complicating the ingredients, they truly shine through. I used fresh thyme, but had recently dehydrated sage from the last food swap. It still had a sharp and strong odor and flavor, so I was happy to put it to good use here.

Breakfast Sausage Patties
Twelve patties
Adapted from from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham  

This recipe can also be made into links if you feel so inspired. Instead of buying pre-ground pork, ask the butcher to grind it for you on the spot. If the pork is too lean to provide the necessary proportion of 1/3 fat, ask to buy additional fat and have it added in. If you are grinding the meat yourself at home, make sure it is well-chilled.

2 pounds pork butt (1/3 fat to 2/3 pork), coursely ground

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, or 2 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly but gently mixing together. You want to avoid having the meat become to "creamy", which won't pose a problem if the meat is chilled. If it is too sticky to form into patties, wet your hands slightly with cold water.

For each patty, use about 1/4 cup of sausage and pat into a round, flat patty. 

In order to brown the meat, place the patties in a hot pan and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Then reduce the heat and finish cooking for another 4-5 minutes, or until done. Blot off excess fat with paper towels and serve hot.

I highly recommend applesauce as a classic accompaniment to these pork sausages. I just happened to have made some a couple days prior from gifted apples off a friend of a friend's trees. (Thanks Pamela!) They were so perfectly flavorful, I didn't even add any sugar, so the applesauce was an ideal compliment to the richness of the meat.

My Cook the Book partner-in-crime Natasha made the Trout Fried with Oatmeal, a recipe that had also caught my eye. It looks beautiful! If I ever do this again, need to figure out a way of sharing the meals we make among the chefs, or at least inviting more friends over to eat.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Swapper Profile: Patricia Algara + Tía Paloma's Sopa de Calabacita Recipe

It's swapper profile time again! It is my enormous pleasure to introduce Patricia Algara. If you are a swap regular you undoubtedly already know (and love) Patricia as our swap benefactor, who provided the free swap locale on Harrison Street for close to the entire first year of our existence. You also will recognize her infectious smile and generous spirit. Watch out, it's contagious! Patricia was the very first person to reach out to us when we started our swap, and her enthusiasm has never waned. She's shared her garden smarts and bounty, her passion for landscaping and community connection, and of course her love of growing, making and sharing food. She often brings piles of sunshiny Meyer lemons, herbs, and veggies from the Algarden, but has also busted out kombucha mother, mini pumpkin pies, hummus, and more for the swap. Since soup weather is upon us, her Tía Paloma's recipe is perfectly-timed, and assuredly delicious!

Name: Patricia Algara

Home (+ hometown swap): San Francisco - hometown: San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Profession: Landscape Architect

How did you first get involved in food swapping? How long ago? 
I got involved in the food swap last year. I believe it was the second swap. 
I have a small urban farm in Berkeley (1/5 of an acre) the "Algarden". It produces more than enough food for the 5 families that live next to it and myself with lots to spare. I had been thinking that a food swap would be an excellent way to share the produce. I was so happy to find the SF food swap and I have been participating and helping host the event ever since.

What did you make for the last food swap and what inspired your choice?
I don't really make anything. I bring fresh produce from the garden, whatever is in season and fresh herbs. Sometimes honey on the comb from my bees.

What’s your favorite thing about swapping?
Learning about new recipes; Building a community of like minded people who share a joy in connecting to their food and sharing it; Reducing the amount I spend at the grocery store. I'm all about exchange of goods and services rather than money and the swap allows me to do with some items that otherwise I would have to buy.

Who or what most influences your cooking?
The Algarden, whatever is in season at the garden. I try to eat most of my meals from the garden. It has pushed my creativity for new recipes, especially for Kale and Zucchinis.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
The Blender. I would be very happy with a Vitamix... some day!

Your current flavor or ingredient obsession?
Turmeric and bee pollen. So good for you!

Biggest food surprise?
Fava greens, they make delicious salads

If the Rapture came tomorrow, what would your last meal on earth be?
My mother's chilaquiles and pastel de tres leches

When I'm not in the kitchen… I'm at the Algarden.

Favorite local food experience:
Oysters at Tomales Bay

Recipe from Patricia
La Sopa de Calabacita de la Tía Paloma. My aunt Paloma's zucchini soup.
This is my California adaptation of my aunt’s original recipe. My version is dairy-free and low fat, her's is heavenly!

3-4 zucchini
1-2 sweet onions
4 cloves of garlic 
Coconut oil (use butter for the original version)
½ gallon rice milk (use milk and cream or half and half)
Fresh Rosemary
Lots of fresh black pepper
Grate the onion and the zucchini.
Sauté the onion and garlic with the spices. When the onions are transparent add the zucchini. Sauté for a little. Add the milk. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cooking The Breakfast Book: Chapter 9: Oven Fries for Happy Times

French fries are my power food. Looking back I think it's because growing up we never really ate out at restaurants very frequently, nor were we allowed to eat anything remotely like junk food...except while traveling. Which luckily for me was pretty much every summer, all summer. So when in Germany visiting my mom's side of the family, oh how I loved to say "Mit pommes frites" when placing my own order! And while summers in Montana visiting my dad's side were more likely to feature Indian fry bread, french fries made regular appearances too: at the Havre Dairy Queen after swimming, or while on the road of course.

They remain one of my favorite foods, and probably my ultimate comfort meal. But making them at home for breakfast? OK, Marion, I'm with ya.

Oven Fries
Serves 3
Adapted from from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham  

These are identical to french fries, but made in the oven instead of by deep frying.

2 russet potatoes, peeled

1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and lots of pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. 

Cut the peeled potatoes into pieces measuring 1/2 inch wide by approximately 3 1/2 inches long. Pour the vegetable oil into a 10-inch square pan. Toss the potatoes in the oil, coating the completely on all sides. Apply salt and pepper liberally. 

Put the potatoes in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Turn them over and apply more salt and pepper on the second side. Pour off any liquid, and return them to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes or until the fries are golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and eat them while they're hot.

Top your breakfast fries with an egg! It will taste excellent even if you do a crap job of cooking said egg because it's election day and you're trying to both cook and get out the door to vote before work. (I ended up voting after work, but at least I started the day right, right?)

For more potato goodness from my Cook the Book pals visit: EmilyNatasha and Claudie.