Southwestern Kale & Sausage Soup

Life has gotten busy and thus the blog has been neglected. Morgan and I had a wonderful anniversary celebration in Asheville, which I have been remiss in posting about. I’ve also participated in one of my favorite events, the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Atlanta. Just this past weekend, Morgan and I were in a community theatre production of “The Bad Seed.”

It’s been a fun fall so far, but sadly all the activities have left me run down and battling a bit of a cold.

Lucky for me I have a wonderful husband to swoop in and save the day with the most wonderful soup to help me get over my cold!

Morgan’s Southwestern Kale & Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 large or 2 small links chorizo sausage

• 1 small onion, diced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• half pound of kale, chopped

• 1 carton beef stock

• 1 large can diced tomatoes

• 1 can pinto beans, drained

• 1 Chipotle pepper, chopped

• dash of crushed red pepper flakes

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin

• teaspoon oregano

• salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Brown chorizo in a large soup pot. Once sausage is browned, added in diced onions and saute until translucent. Add in minced garlic and kale and saute a few minutes more. Add tomatoes, broth, beans and seasoning and bring to a boil. Boil for five to 10 minutes then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

img_9490

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini!

zucchini bread | The Lush's Blush blog
Homemade zucchini bread

Garden season is here at last and we’ve got tons of zucchini and yellow squash coming in. I’m on a mission to incorporate these fresh veggies into as many meals as possible.

So far, we’ve had zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, chicken stir fry with zucchini and squash, fried squash, pasta Primavera, zucchini risotto and a concoction I put together with the left over stir fry rice which included sauteed zucchini, squash and onions, a can of black beans, diced tomatoes, green chilies and cheddar cheese. It was very tasty.

The zucchini fritters were Morgan’s creation and they were delicious. We served them with a London Broil we coated in a dry rub and seared on the grill.

Morgan’s Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

• One large zucchini, grated

• 1/4 of an onion, finely minced

• 2 eggs, beaten

• about 2/3 cup flour

• salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Grate zucchini into a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let sit for about 10-15 min. Then put the grated zucchini in cheese cloth or a kitchen towel that you don’t mind turning green, and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Place grated and drained zucchini into a large mixing bowl. Add to the bowl two eggs beaten, onion, flour, salt and pepper. You may need more or less flour depending on how loose the mixture is. Mix every thing together then spoon into a preheated nonstick pan with a couple table spoons of butter melted in it. Cook until golden brown on first side then flip and flatten with a spatula. Once they are brown on both sides they are done. Season with a little extra salt and pepper immediately after removing from the pan.

London broil and zucchini fritters | The Lush's Blush blog
London broil and zucchini fritters

 

 

Luckiest girl in the world

Country fried steak | The Lush's Blush blogI often tell my husband that I am the luckiest girl in the world because I have him in my life. He usually smirks and says that he’s sure there are other girls who are luckier than I. I used to say, yeah, maybe Kate Middleton. She is awfully lucky.

Last week, however, I changed my mind about even that. My husband made the most delicious country fried steak, creamed potatoes, and garlic green beans. It was a classic country dinner. I bet that Kate Middleton’s never even had it before. And so, therefore, I have concluded that I am, indeed, the luckiest girl in the world.

The funny think about my intense love of this meal is that country fried steak has never been one of my favorite dishes. I was either super hungry that night or Morgan did something extra special to the steak because I gobbled it all up and went back for more.

The recipe, he said, is very simple. He dredged the cube steak in flour seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder and fried it up. Using some reserved seasoned flour, he made a delicious gravy, which we ate on slices of bread after all the steak was gone.

The green beans he sauteed in olive oil with lots of minced garlic. He cooked the garlic just to the point of it being crispy, but not overcooked. It was so good!

Lettuce and onions

Lettuce and onions | The Lush's Blush blog
Lettuce and onions, also known as a wilted salad.

If I say “lettuce and onions” that likely means the start of a salad, or maybe toppings for a burger to most people. Where I’m from in Yadkin County, NC, it means something a little bit different. This time of year, in the early spring, lettuce and onions is a special treat.

When that early lovely light green lettuce and spring onions come in the garden, Yadkin County folks pick them and serve them sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, vinegar and piping hot oil poured on top. It seems like such a simple thing, but there is something about this dish that just tastes like springtime and it is so delicious. Some folks choose to use bacon grease to create this wilted salad.

I did a quick survey of some friends near and far and sure enough, those from outside the Yadkin County area just thought lettuce and onions are burger toppings. My Yadkin County friends were quick to answer though on how to prepare lettuce and onions as described above.

We typically serve lettuce and onions with pinto beans and cornbread. I remember my Mamma making this when I was little. It was always one of her very favorite meals. She’d always shoo me out of the kitchen when she was heating up the oil in the cast iron skillet. She didn’t want me anywhere near the hot oil though she wasn’t afraid of it herself. I think maybe that’s when I really felt like a true adult myself, is the first time I made lettuce and onions my own self. There is something so satisfying about the sound of that hot oil as it sizzles on the lettuce.

Cookbook Review: Man Made Meals

The Lush's Blush blog
BBQ Pork Burgers from the Man Made Cookbook

My husband’s birthday was last month and I got him a copy of Steven Raichlen’s cookbook called Man Made Meals. Truthfully this was a pretty self-serving present for me to give my husband as I will benefit greatly from it when I get to eat all the yummy stuff he makes.

We have already enjoyed two delicious recipes from the book. The first recipe Morgan tried was the BBQ Pork Burgers. Instead of using ground beef, these burgers are made from ground pork and bacon, topped with slaw and BBQ sauce. Morgan also made homemade sweet potato fries to accompany the burgers. It was delicious. Did I mention there’s bacon in it??? Yum!

This morning for breakfast, Morgan whipped up the drop biscuit recipe from Man Made Meals, to accompany our bacon gravy and cheesy scrambled eggs. Another big hit!

If you have a man (or anyone in your life) who enjoys cooking, I would highly recommend this book. It has tons of great recipes and tips on cooking and prepping techniques.

A lot of the “man” type cookbooks I’ve come across seem more geared toward men who don’t like to cook or know to cook. While this book does have plenty of tips on basic food prep, it also has some pretty advanced meals. I would definitely recommend this book for the person who really likes to cook.

the
Drop biscuits from the Man Made Cookbook

Bacon is the ultimate Super Bowl food

Bacon, the ultimate Super Bowl food | The Lush's Blush blog
Bacon, the ultimate Super Bowl food

There’s a big football game coming up soon.You may have heard about it. You may care a whole lot about the game, or not at all. But, if you’re like me, you’re at least excited about the opportunity for a party.

A big dinner party with fancy fixins is always fun, but a party with snack and hors d’oeurvres is one of my favorite kinds of parties. The Super Bowl is just perfect for hearty and fun snack foods.

For the past several years, my husband and I have watched the game at a good friend’s house. Our friend typically makes chili and hot wings, both great Super Bowl foods, and we usually bring some additional snacks as well.

I contacted him last week to see if he was planning to have his annual gathering. He said he was and he made a special request for what he wanted me to bring for the party. This item he requested is perhaps the most quintessential football party food, it’s called pig candy.

Pig candy is a most delightful concoction that I learned about from one of my favorite authors, Jill Connor Browne, author of the “Sweet Potato Queens Big Ass Cookbook (And Financial Planner).” I have spoken about the merits of this book before and will continue to do so. In fact, if you don’t own a copy of this book yet, I’d recommend you stop READING THIS RIGHT NOW and get one. Not only is the book hilarious, but it is full of delicious recipes.

So back to the pig candy. Pig candy is simply candied bacon. Since first learning of pig candy in the Big Ass cookbook I have seen multiple recipes for it. The most basic incarnation of pig candy involves coating bacon in brown sugar and baking it in the oven. I also have done it by adding in a little bit of crushed pecans or you can always kick it up a little more with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Pig candy is salty and sweet and chewy and, well, it’s bacon. How much yummier can you get?

So here’s how I make my pig candy.

Start with a pound of your favorite brand of regular bacon then cut it into about one inch pieces. Roll each bacon piece in dark brown sugar until well coated. The Sweet Potato Queen suggests using dark brown sugar and I always follow her advice. I have done it with light brown sugar once when I ran out of dark and it turned out just fine though. Once you’ve coated the bacon piece in the sugar, place it on a cooking rack on a foil-lined pan. Once you’ve got all the bacon coated in brown sugar, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, depending on how done you like your bacon.

If you want to jazz it up some, try adding finely crushed pecans to the brown sugar before rolling the bacon, or simply sprinkle a little bit of crushed pecans on top of each bacon piece. Or, if you like a little spice, add a pinch of cayenne to the brown sugar and mix it up well before rolling the bacon in the sugar.

If you’re going to (or hosting) a Super Bowl party this weekend and you make this, I promise you will be the hero of the party! You can check out my Pinterest board here with more snacky food ideas. Below are some additional links to other recipes that sound pretty good for a Super Bowl Party! Notice how they all involve bacon or cheese?

Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite Super Bowl party recipe is!

Super Bowl Party Recipes

Cheddar Bay Sausage Balls

http://www.plainchicken.com/2014/09/cheddar-bay-sausage-balls-football.html

Bacon Ranch Beer Cheeseball

bacon-ranch-beer-cheeseball-recipe

Bacon Wrapped Pimento Cheese Jalapeño Poppers

bacon-wrapped-pimento-cheese-poppers

Spinach Artichoke Dip

spinach-artichoke-dip-12

It’s National Chocolate Cake Day

Serendipity Blackout Chocolate Cake | The Lush's Blush blog
Serendipity Blackout Chocolate Cake

I love how these random “days” just come about. I don’t know who decides on them. Can I suggest a few? National Mimosa Day? National Stay in Your PJs All Day? National Leave Work Early and Go to the Beach Day? National Drink Wine (or beverage of choice) at the Beach All Day Day? Clearly you can see where my mindset is today.

Alas today is none of the above, but rather it is National Chocolate Cake Day. Around the holidays, my sweet husband made two of the most amazing chocolate cakes EVER! Both recipes are from the Sweet Serendipity cookbook from the famous Serendipity 3 in New York City.

Both recipes are pretty involved, in fact my husband swears he’s never making anything out of the Sweet Serendipity cookbook every again. But they are amazing cakes, Mad King Ludwig’s Chocolate Cake we made for my dad and godmother’s birthday and the Blackout Chocolate Cake we made for Christmas Eve. Yum!

What is your favorite cake? Leave a note in the comments!

Mad King Ludwig's German Chocolate Cake | The Lush's Blush blog
Mad King Ludwig’s German Chocolate Cake