Friday, June 29, 2012

Smoked Gouda Grits and Sausage

Back in 2009 I made the New Year's Goal of following a new recipe to the T on a weekly basis. I wanted to build a collection of meals I could create from scratch. My whole life I had been a sous chef, helping my family out in the kitchen, but I didn't really know how to prepare entire meals. Over the years I have learned a variety of techniques and food combinations by following Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten and other celebrity chef recipes. Many of my initial posts were modifications of their work. I now have been more focused on creating recipes that are 100% my own. A few weeks ago I was craving creamy food, rummaged around the kitchen and found grits, some onions, and sausage in the freezer. I ran to the store to buy some chicken stock, cheese and tomatoes, and this is what I came up with. I've made the meal for several dinner guests, all resulting in bowls being licked and requests for the recipe. I think you'll enjoy :)


Ingredients:
5 Italian Turkey Hot Sausage Links
1 Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, slivered
1 can Low Sodium Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Stone Ground Grits (now avaliable at trader joes!)
4 ounces Smoked Gouda, shredded
4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
Bring water, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then add grits gradually, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat and cook at a slight simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is absorbed and grits are thickened. This should take about 15 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup water and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally to keep grits from sticking to bottom of pan, 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup water and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and grits are thick and tender, about 35 minutes more. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese and pepper. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the pan. Keeping the pan over medium heat, onions and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Last, add the tomates and stir. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve grits in a bowl, topped with the tomato sausage mixture and enjoy!

Other 100% thirdculturefoodie recipes:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nutella Bundt Cake

Five years ago I packed up my car, and drove from Michigan to California to teach in Los Angeles. I wanted to impact the lives of inner-city students, and put them on a path to college. I was warned of the challenges that lay ahead, but nothing prepared me for what I face in the classroom. After five years, most stories don't even faze me. I used to come home overwhelmed because of books being thrown across a room, forced urination on the floor as an act of defiance, students swearing at me, teachers quitting halfway though the year, or mice running interrupting my lesson. Five years of experience has not only taught me to be unemotional when ridiculous things happen, but has given me the tools to manage and lead a classroom to high quality work. Years 2, 3 and part two of year 4 were especially rough, but it feels so good to be at a point where I can teach and kids will listen to me! My classroom is far from perfect, and there is still much growth to be made. I don't, however, have daily panic attacks on the way to school, my heart doesn't start racing when I see my students walking down the hallway to my class, and I don't hold back tears in class because the entire class refuses to sit down and be silent. Sometimes I just stop and smile when I see all my students silently reading, working collaboratively, or listening to me while I speak. It seems silly to appreciate focused students, but it is a reflection of four years of hard work.



This year was my first year teaching reading, and after the mentorship of Lelac at KIPP DC, I was ready to recreate her structure in my classroom here at KIPP LA. Alaina tested all 105 of our students to determine their reading level, as a school we rallied them around the goal of making more than one year of reading growth during this academic year, I stocked my classroom library with high interest books, and committed to the reading workshop model of teaching that included thirty minutes of reading in class everyday. It took time, but our apathetic readers turned into avid readers. As a final event to celebrate our hard work, and class average of more than two years of reading growth, we planned a reading marathon for students to take on the challenge of reading two hours straight without looking up. We were mean, and tried to distract them periodically during the marathon. Below is a video of them reading to The Beach Boys. The event concluded with a victory party. I made this Nutella Bundt Cake for the party, and kids were going crazy over the cake. Some of my favorite cake quotes include, "This is better than cakes from five star bakeries," and "Can you make recipe cards to hand out in class? Nutella cake is the bomb." I have to agree with them. Fluffy, nutella-ie, moist. This stuff is good!

video

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup Nutella
1 cup milk (whole milk will make the cake super moist)
Powdered sugar for dusting


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer cream sugar into the butter until light in color and fluffy in texture, about three minutes. Add one egg at a time, then the Nutella. Pour in half the dry ingredient mixture, half the milk, the rest of the dry ingredients and the rest of the milk; mix until just combined. Spread the thick batter into a prepared bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. Top with powered sugar.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sesame Peanut Soba Noodles

I love Runner's World magazine for keeping me up to date with running news and trends, but they don't usually wow me with their recipes. No hard feelings. It's not like I read the magazine expecting food blog inspiration. Their April issue recipe, however, caught my attention. Recently I've been thinking I need to experiment with more Asian flavors. I spent four years of my life in Japan, and have not blogged a single Japanese inspired recipe! My poor wok had been hiding in a dark corner of my kitchen, waiting to be used. Luckily Runner's World provided me with this "you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry" sesame peanut sauce recipe. This sauce, along with soba noodles and stir-fried mixed vegetables has become a staple in the Lowry household. Depending on our mood we add chicken, or keep it vegetarian. Besides the versatility, what I love most about this dish is it takes twenty minutes tops to prepare. My personal record is fifteen minutes. Sesame Peanut Soba Noodles definitely do not look, or taste like they were thrown together in fifteen minutes. 


Directions:
Sesame Peanut Sauce-
6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1-2 tablespoon unsweetened peanut butter
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced

Everything Else-
10 ounces soba noodles
2-3 cups fresh mixed vegetables (I use the Trader Joe's Asian stir-fry mix of bok choy, snap peas, peppers, broccoli, water chestnuts)
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts, optional
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
1-2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped, optional

Directions:

Boil three quarts of water in a large pot.

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk the tamari, sesame oil, peanut butter, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, ginger, and garlic. Set aside.

Then, using a wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add vegetables and cook until tender, yet still firm. About 5 minutes.

Add noodles to the boiling water and stir. Cook until tender (5 minutes). Drain in a colander; run warm water over the noodles until the water runs clear. (If the noodles aren't washed, they'll be starchy and sticky.) Drain thoroughly again. Add sauce to the vegetables in the wok and toss to coat evenly. Add chicken and noodles; toss again. Garnish with sesame seeds, peanuts, and/or cilantro.