A kid-pleaser: pasta with sausage and kale

  This excellent, simple recipe from Mark Bittman was a huge success at dinner time tonight: Pasta with White Sausage Sauce. I got Bittman’s excellent How To Cook Everything app for free (!!!) a few years ago and have really enjoyed it — I would buy it all over again if I had to, as it’s super-handy to have a high-quality cookbook on my phone. 

In the app, Bittman offers a variation on the above dish in which you blanch greens in the pasta water before you cook the pasta, then chop them up and add them to the sausage after its done sautĆ©ing but before you toss it with the pasta. We had some youngish Tuscan kale from the farm stand in the fridge, and it balanced out this simple dish like a dream. For the meat, I used Trader Joe’s sweet Italian chicken sausage. The sweetness of the sausage smoothed out the bitterness of the kale, and the kale cut the richness in this otherwise very mild, buttery dish.  

This meal might only be a kid-pleaser in my house, as our kids have an unusual fondness of kale and other dark leafy greens (as long as they’re not overcooked), but if your kids are odd like mine, I highly recommend trying this recipe. I only used two of the 5 sausages in the package, so I can get another whole dish from that $4 meat purchase. Yay, frugality! šŸ˜‰ Also, there are at least two adult meals in the leftovers from tonight — win!

Oh, and it was all extra tasty with Trader Joe’s vinho rose Espiral, which sells for the very attractive price of about $4.50 per bottle and is a juicy, refreshing thirst-quencher that you’ll be happy to drink all summer long. Check out their yummy vinho verde, too! 

 
Now all I need to do is figure out what to do with that giant zucchini that Amelia brought home yesterday. Recommendations welcome!

Egg and pepper chicks admire the quiche

  

“She baked it this morning?”

“Yeah, I don’t know how she does it.”

“The crust too?”

“Nah, that came from Grand Cenrtal.”

“What’s in it?”

“Salami and broccoli and a metric ton of heavy cream.”

“Hope the kids eat it.”

“Me too; it’s anybody’s guess with kids and quiche these days. Tastes change daily.”

“Smells great, anyway.”

Chocolate cream pie

  
I was in enough of a hurry to serve and eat this one that I forgot to take a picture before we cut into it. šŸ™‚ And as you can see, it was quite popular; from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I’ve done a lot of baking lately! I don’t think we’ll have much time for that during the rest of July, so maybe it’s good that I got it out of my system a bit. 

Hibiscus mint tea

A friend recently asked me how I made this delicious iced hibiscus mint tea, and I rattled off some directions a little too quickly. šŸ™‚ So here’s the actual recipe and instructions, through the magic of WordPress!

Iced Hibiscus Mint Tea

  • Servings: 32
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cup dried peppermint
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 10+ cups of water
  • enough ice to fill half of a 2-gallon pitcher

Directions:

  1. Put the hibiscus and peppermint into a 4-cup glass measuring cup (or any microwavable container) with 4 cups of water and microwave on high for 6 minutes.

     

  2. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Fill a 2-gallon pitcher about half- to two-thirds-full with ice cubes.IMG_5932
  4. Strain the tea concentrate into the pitcher over the ice, using a fine mesh strainer. Discard the herbs.IMG_5934
  5. Add another 4 cups of water to the pitcher.
  6. In the same measuring cup, mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

     

  7. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved.

    Dissolved!
    Dissolved!
  8. Add the simple syrup to the pitcher and stir.IMG_5941
  9. Add cold water until the pitcher is full, if necessary.
  10. Enjoy a cool, refreshing glass of iced tea anytime!Ā IMG_5951