Sausage bake with Tomatoes

Aren’t you tired of grilling sausages? We were by mid July, so we put the grill away and started eating avocado and tomato sandwiches like it was nobody’s business. But now our freezer is full of beautiful sausages we want to eat..but not grill.

So a sausage bake: whole sausages baked in tomatoes, spices, and balsamic. They are delicious with a side of green beans, and roasted potatoes. And you can prepare the dish the night before, and bake the next day.

Sausage bake with Tomatoes – 6 servings
Olive oil
6 pork sausages
1 can diced canned tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly oil a deep baking dish, lay sausages snuggly. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Pour over the sausages. Shake the baking dish to evenly distribute. Bake for 30 minutes, check the sausages, turn if needed, and bake for 20 minutes longer.

Pull out of the oven, serve with the baked tomatoes, and a chilled beer.


Dark Chocolate Cherry Tart

This dessert was inspired by our trip to Michigan this summer – cherries were everywhere, and they were amazing! I actually bit into one and it burst all over, it was fabulous. And we all know I love chocolate, so it just seemed to come together on its own.

This also looks impressive and requires very little work…especially if you have a cherry pitter.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Tart – 6 servings

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 2/3 cups flour
8 ounces 70% or darker chocolate, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 lb cherries, remove stem, pitted, chopped
Cherries, pitted, stem on

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 1lb loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine butter, white sugar and salt. Mix well and add egg yolk, sift in flour and pulse to bring together. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. Line the 1 lb loaf with the crust, I found that the easiest way to do this was to fill the bottom with the dough, then work up the sides. Place another piece of parchment within the crust, fill with pie weights and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pie weights and let cool completely.

To melt the chocolate, place a bowl over a pot of simmering water on medium low heat. Combine the chocolate, brown sugar, cream and salt in the bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Pour a bit of the ganache into the crust, spread some cherries, and repeat. For the top, pour the last bit of chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes, then garnish with the stemmed whole cherries.

Place in the refrigerator overnight, enjoy with rich espresso!

Shrimp & Quinoa dressed in Soffritto

Soffritto is a delicious Italian/Spanish onion based dish. The tomatoes add depth, and allow you to use this in lots of dishes and sauces.

We always make a big batch in the winter to keep as our go to on nights we aren’t up for doing too much work. This can be halved, doubled, tripled, anything you need! It’s great to dress pasta with, or John loves to use it on pizza, instead of traditional sauce, we use this.

While I’m working on my thesis I haven’t had much time to cook, but John has been craving soffritto! For tonight we are sauteeing shrimp, cooking our quinoa in chicken stock, and tossing it in soffritto…John will sneak in pepper flakes on his dish!

Soffrito – makes 1/2 cup
1/2 lb white onions
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 lb tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine the onions, olive oil, pinch of salt, in a deep saute pan, over medium heat. When the oil begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low. The onions need to stew, but they will caramelize. Continue to cook for about 2 hours, the onions should be a golden raisin color.

Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl with a strainer. Dice the tomatoes and place in the strainer, try to remove majority of tomato seeds. Discard of the tomato juice collected in the bowl. Add the tomatoes to the caramelized onions, and cook for another hour, or longer, until the onions and tomatoes fry. Gently stir, turn off the heat when the tomatoes and onions separate from the onion. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Let mixture cool in the pan.

Use immediately, or store in a clean jar and refrigerate for 2 to 3 weeks.

Shrimp & Quinoa – 2 servings
12 shrimps, shells removed, deveined
Oil from Soffritto
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup Soffritto

Prepare quinoa according to package instructions, using chicken stock.

Prepare a saute pan with a tablespoon of oil from soffritto, over medium-low heat. Saute the shrimp until lightly browned. Add the quinoa, and 1/2 cup of soffritto to the shrimp, and mix well.
Divide into 2 bowls, and serve with a glass of wine.

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