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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eat My Sausage

Historically, there have been a lot of dick jokes on Crass Cuisine...... AND HERE'S ANOTHER ONE!

I love the dish sausage and peppers for two equally compelling reasons:

First, being neither Italian or American, I am naturally very interested in Italian American cuisine. I love Italian food and I love American food, but the classics that are created by Italian immigrants making a new life and new foods in America will always have a special place in my heart. These are comfort classics that warm you up from the inside out. Which is especially good if you happen to live in Vancouver right now, enjoying our daily 6 inches of rain and skies that look like 8pm at 10am.

Second, handling a sausage has always, ALWAYS had the same effect on me: I immediately pretend it's a dick. I do this in precisely two situations: When handling sausages and when pumping my own gas. Since I don't have a car and haven't for years handling sausage is pretty much my only chance to exercise my latent penis envy. I guess that's not really a dick joke, it's more a dick-related story. Plus I think it comes up so much because I love the word. Dick. DICK DICK DICK.

This particular dish is an Italian-American staple that can be served for almost every meal:

Sausage and Peppers

serves 4-6

1 large or the equivalent of about 1lb of sweet or spicy Italian sausage
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips
1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried oregano
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Bring sausages, 3 tbsp oil and 1/3 cup water to boil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cover and simmer until sausages are half-cooked, about 8 minutes. Uncover and cook, turning until sausages are browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside. Return skillet to heat along with remaining oil. Add onions and bell peppers; cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add chile flakes and garlic, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return sausages to skillet along with stock, oregano and salt and pepper, boil. Cover and cook until sausages are cooked through, about 10 minutes; uncover and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


Oh fuck yeah. And you know what else? This dish tastes even better the next day. Get some. Sausage and dick, preferably.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First, you start with this

Sorry I've been gone so long. Christmas, New Years, and a sudden and tragic death in my family has left this homegirl this side of distracted.

I'm not going to get into it, because although it is a personal story, it's not just personal to me and I respect my family's privacy, even though this blog is as much about human experience as it is about food. I will say that my family and I have been grieving and learning a little more today than we knew yesterday about each other. I have a new and greater appreciation for my grandmother.

Because I care about the people I love through food, my first instinct was to start cooking. Turns out it was my grandmother's first instinct as well. Without collaboration she made turkey soup and I made chicken noodle. We kind of gave each other a little cock-of-the-head sign of appreciation in the kitchen. We both thought we had absolutely nothing in common. Turns out we are more alike than either of us is comfortable admitting.

So this is what you do. You love the way you know how. And in my case, you start with some homemade chicken stock from your uncle:


Round it out to 6 cups with a little Knorr and add a heaping teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add two chopped carrots (peeled), two chopped celery ribs, a whole medium yellow onion, minced. Press in a clove of garlic and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Boil a pot of egg noodles (for 8 minutes) and grill some chicken until completely cooked in some olive oil, salt and pepper and chop into pieces. Add both to the broth and let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.


This freezes really well, so it's good if you make large portions to freeze some so you don't get sick of it and you can have it later.

Chicken noodle soup is the culinary equivalent of a hug from the mother you miss or the mother you wish you had. Amen to that.

It's funny when you have a new appreciation for someone that has been in your life since you had a life. I find myself calling my grandma now to check on her and to chat. We have a warmth and affection for each other in our voices that didn't exist before. We have recognized something in one another. And that is a gift.