Archive for ‘Noodles’

August 17, 2012

Sausage, Tomato, and Kale Recipe

I had grand plans to share recipes with you in the past couple weeks.  And then the plans fizzled.

First I planned a peach cheesecake – I’ve been on a peach kick all summer, so when a neighbor stopped by with fresh, hand-picked peaches from a local orchard I kicked into gear.  I’d just gotten a German cheesecake cookbook from my mother for my birthday, and I decided the stars had aligned for me to make a peach cheesecake.

But it flopped. Quite literally.  While it tasted delicious, the juiciness of the peaches (the original recipe was for a berry cheesecake) was too much for the poor cake to handle and the bottom third just oozed peaches and the remains of the crust.  David’s mom called it “Peach Delight” and we all gobbled up the flavors of summertime. But the sad dessert was not photogenic, and certainly not something I’d recommend to others before tweaking it a bit more so it holds its shape.

Then yesterday morning around 8am, I beat the heat and did some gardening. I had some pruning to do in the tomato plant section and ended up with a bunch of small green cherry tomatoes as collateral. Almost immediately (it was early after all and I hadn’t had my coffee yet), a light bulb went off in my head: fried green cherry tomatoes!

We had them for dinner, crisped with flour, an egg/yogurt mixture, and panko. They flopped too. At first I thought the first batch was bitter because the oil was too hot. I turned the oil down and cooked the rest of the pint of tomatoes, heaped them up on a serving plate, and dug into them for dinner. The whole batch was so bitter we couldn’t eat them. And everything else tasted bitter, including the rib-eye steak we served with it.

I’m so glad we didn’t have guests over. Those fried green cherry tomatoes look way too innocent.

So, with photos that look deceptively delicious but don’t have good recipes to go along with them, I had a conundrum on my hands for a blog recipe.  Which brought me to this tried and true favorite.  Unlike the peach cheesecake, it’s supposed to be a bit a bit soggy, and the kale cooks long enough that the bitterness dissipates and the whole dish just tastes amazing. We used to blanch the kale separately, but we recently started just throwing it in with the liquid washed and chopped up. There’s enough liquid to “blanch” the kale, but you still keep all the nutrients in the liquid that turns into the base of your sauce (and you spare yourself making a third pot dirty).

So here you go: this week’s recipe.  I worked hard on this post, so you better go out and try it. Besides, these vegetables are all in season right now, so you don’t have any excuse not to. And did I mention it was easy? It’s really easy.

Sausage, Tomato, and Kale Linguine

1 lb pork sausage (pick your favorite flavor, you can also substitute for chicken or turkey for a healthier option. I usually buy bulk sausage, but you could also use link sausages chopped up or removed from the casings)
1 lb linguine pasta
1 cup leeks, washed thoroughly and minced
1 cup onions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch kale (somewhere between 6 and 10 stems), washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups water or broth
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup cheese, finely grated (I like using a mix of Jarlsberg and Parmesan, though also use Gruyere when I’m feeling like splurging. Other Swiss cheeses such as Emmenthaler would be good too)
red pepper flakes to taste (optional) for less spice but still peppery flavor, consider using aleppo peppers
parsley and/or chives, chopped (optional)

1. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, brown the sausage and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the grease.

2. Meanwhile, set a pot of water on high on the stove to boil for the linguine. Season it liberally with salt.

3. Drain any left-over grease out of the now-empty saute pan. Add a dash of olive oil (if needed) and the leeks and onions. You want the vegetables to pick up the sausage bits and flavor on the bottom of the pan, so do not clean the pan between cooking the pork and the alliums (=members of the onion family, aka leeks and onions – maybe you learned a new word today!).

4. Add the kale and the liquid and cook covered for about six minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all the kale gets “blanched.”

5. By this point your pasta water will likely be boiling, so add your linguine and stir, cooking to package directions.

6. When the kale is cooked down, check the level of the liquid.  There should be a bit left coming about a quarter inch up the pan. If not, add a bit more liquid. Then add the cherry tomatoes, sausage, cheese, and pepper flakes.  The cheese will thicken the leftover liquid enough to coat the vegetables and linguine.  Bring the vegetables and sauce to a light boil, then turn off the heat almost immediately. Taste and correct seasonings (notice you haven’t added salt or pepper until now, because the sausage is flavored enough and the cheese also provides salt – I rarely add pepper unless I’m not using pepper flakes).

7. Drain the noodles and gently pour them into your saute pan and carefully mix them into the vegetables.  If your pan is too small for this maneuver then mix everything together in a large serving bowl and top with the parsley/chives.  Voila! Your meal is done.  Guten Appetit!


November 18, 2008

Gluten-Free Spätzle


Picture courtesy of No Gluten Required

Last night a good friend of mine and I decided to make spätzle.  I love spätzle, as you all know, and when I heard that she can’t eat them because of her gluten allergy, I thought “There must be a way.”  I cannot imagine a world without spätzle.

I did some research on the forums of and found a promising recipe.  We got together last night for an impromptu dinner, both incredibly skeptical of the project.  However, it turned out fabulously.  We prepared it in my favorite way with lentils and saidenwurst (real gluten-free German hot dogs from Golden, Colorado!).  My friend also prepared delicious green beans with lemon that we nibbled on as we sipped our white wine for hours as we chatted about life into the wee hours of the night.

It was a delicious and fun time, and my friend has posted all about it – with picture documentation! – on her blog, No Gluten Required

June 20, 2007

Linguine with Date Pesto, Lamb Filet, and Radicchio

I know I have already declared my love of dates on this blog, but they’re so good I want to revisit this declaration. I love dates of all kinds: first dates, dates with longtime friends, romantic dates to dinner and a movie, and not to forget first dates with a future good friend at Ikea (you know who you are). It may seem depressing, but I get more exposure to, and I especially like, sweet edible dates that come from desert regions. Do not despair though, my number of dates I will go on will jump up dramatically as David is coming tomorrow!

But, back to the sweet dates at hand. When Nathan and Sarah visited this past week, having dates in the house was an obvious choice. We decided we would cook dinner together, and looking through my cookbooks found a recipe one of my teachers at school had given me. It seems sort of “Neue Deutsche Küche,” Germany’s fusion cooking of sorts. It combined lamb with radicchio and a date pesto made of parsley, pine nuts, and various seasonings. While the pesto took a bit to prepare (we doubled the recipe and had no cuisinart) it was worth it: the sweetness of the dates played with the bitter radicchio leaves, and the flavor of lamb went along perfectly. We tossed it all together with linguine and since we made so much of it, I have frozen a good portion for the next time I’m invited to bring something to a potluck with my friends.

Linguine with Date Pesto, Lamb Filet, and Radicchio

500g linguine
1 clove garlic
60g pine nuts
125ml vegetable broth
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp parmesan
1 Tbsp fresh, chopped oregano
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
6 dates
½ tsp cumin
dash of sweet paprika powder
1 small radicchio*
500g lamb filet
salt and pepper

Cook linguine in saltwater until al dente. Peel garlic and chop together with pine nuts (cuisinart is ideal, but chopping by hand is also an option). Add broth, olive oil, parmesan, oregano, and parsley. Remove pits from the dates and chop coarsely. Stir into pesto and add cumin and paprika to taste.

Wash the radicchio, removing it from the stalk. Cut the leaves into strips. Wash the lamb in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper and sauté in olive oil about six minutes each side. Slice the lamb into strips. Toss the noodles with radicchio and pesto and lamb.

Serves: 4 people

Time: ca. 25 min (with cuisinart)

*Note: This may seem like a lot of radicchio, but the bitterness is needed, and disappears a bit, to offset the sweetness of the dates.

March 2, 2007


This is a dish that is comfort food for me. I grew up eating this frequently at home, as it was part of our rotation in Spätzle-based meals. This picture shows it with spaghetti, and I have to say it documents probably the only time I have ever had it without Spätzle. This is not because it’s not good with spaghetti (it’s quite good actually) but because the sauce is so good there usually are only Spätzle left over after the meal. Though in my family, we always calculated with extra Spätzle because we all loved them so much.

The name, Geschnetzeltes, actually refers to the way the meat is cut. The dish comes from Switzerland, but is prepared in southwest Germany as well. I always thought of it as “traditionally German” though it doesn’t seem to be as traditional as I thought. But it’s still well-liked among Germans as well!

It’s a really easy meal to prepare, one I actually prepared while teaching my friend Ben some cooking techniques. Many butchers will even cut the meat in small strips for you, so you don’t have to do it (if you’re lazy, like me, or don’t have great knives, like me). This saves a lot of time in the cooking process, and you can make the Spätzle while making the sauce.


for each person use:

1/4 cup finely chopped Onions
ca. 200g (just under a half a pound) Pork Chops, cut into thin strips
1 tsp Flour
100-150ml (1/2 to 2/3 cup) Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper
finely chopped Parsley (garnish)

On medium-high heat, sauté the onions until clear (don’t brown!). Add the pork and continue sautéing until meat is browned on all sides. Dust with flour and add cream, stirring to loosen the flavors left on the bottom of the pan from the pork. Let simmer. During this time prepare Spätzle. Season the sauce and put into serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley garnish and serve hot over Spätzle. Very good accompanied with a green salad that’s been tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette (to eat on same plate, because the flavors mingle and taste excellent!).

February 27, 2007

A Glimpse Into Other Blogs

This post is not so much about German or American cooking, but about cooking in general and the joy of finding new recipes and techniques. It’s part of a new section of this blog that I am starting, to embrace the wonderful food blogging community and give my readers a glimpse of what I find interesting going on in the blogosphere.

I spend a lot of time reading other blogs online. Probably too much time. But with my job only keeping me busy for about fifteen hours a week (not counting lesson planning), I have the time. My sisters make fun of me for not appreciating the “sweet life” I have, but I have to say: it gets old quickly. My parents, and my time at Smith College, have trained me to embrace being busy and multi-tasking. This is the first time in a very long time that I have not been busy, and I don’t know what to do with myself.

So, I try to keep myself busy by reading a bunch, including food blogs. I have quite a few favorites (see the blog roll in the navigation bar, which lists all the blogs I read regularly) and I enjoy reading their stories and recipes. I realized one day that I hadn’t ever actually tried a recipe from the one blog that got me into the blogging world, Clotilde’s “Chocolate & Zucchini.” How can this be, you ask? Well, I’ve always gobbled up her beautiful pictures, her sweet, down-to-earth, and incredibly good English prose (she’s actually French!), and when I first started reading her a year and a half ago, I didn’t have a kitchen in which to try out her recipes. So, earlier this year (it sounds like a long time ago, but this was only about two months ago!) I felt that after waiting much too long, it was time to try her recipe. I gave her absorption pasta a go and let me tell you: if her recipe for absorption pasta is anything to go off of, I have been truly missing out!

This pasta is incredibly easy, incredibly flexible (great for improvising to create fancy dishes or to just empty out the contents of your fridge), incredibly delicious and (the best part) perfect for a person living and eating on her own. It’s not so much a dish as it is a technique (think rice risotto but for pasta and you’re getting the idea). Like Clotilde, I tend to use water instead of broth for a liquid, but I add a bay leaf and some spices (usually a mix of coriander, cumin, and nutmeg). Sometimes I make it spicy and add a bit of crushed hot peppers. I love throwing a dash of cream and a handful of grated parmesan in just before serving, which mixes with the starch and makes for a wonderfully creamy, flavorful pasta. As for other ingredients, the pasta is as flexible as risotto: I’ve only made a vegetarian version using on occasion zucchini, broccoli, and/or red peppers. I’m sure it would be excellent with salmon or chicken, perhaps even thin strips of beef, cooked with some tasty spices and stirred in just before serving. In any case, it’s perfect to give your improvisational cooking techniques free range. I have yet to eat a version of this that has gone bad, and believe me, I have had this dish more times than I can count since I discovered it.

Now, for the the next project: David Lebovitz’s mixed nuts.