Good morning. Hope you all are staying nice and warm. What’s on the menu for breakfast? Though I’ve got some oatmeal at my desk (same as it ever was), I’m sort of wishing it was this concoction I enjoyed over the weekend:
Once upon a time, I thought breakfast came in a brown paper packet that you added hot water to. Learning how to make basic rolled oats at the ripe old age of 23 was kind of a game-changer. Since then, things have only gotten better—and weirder.
Of course, I know there are plenty of you out there who are, like, eggs & rice, nbd, Jess. But when you add caramelized onion, kale, and goat cheese to said eggs (or egg whties) and rice, it really makes the morning meal that much more special. That’s a lot of “m”s, huh?
This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea of a recipe—a delicious, nutritious sketch, if you will. All you need for this is some cooked brown rice, some kind of protein like cooked eggs or egg whites, and whatever cooked veggies your little heart desires. Next time I’m throwing in some mushrooms because this umami tooth is not f***ing around. Just please don’t forget the onions!
What’s your favorite breakfast of late?
Sunday morning, I had the pleasure of dining and chatting with the ladies of Women Who Brunch and enjoying Life Coach Caroline Zwick‘s presentation on how to make goal setting effective and fun. Perfect for late January, when we’re still in the beginning stages of formulating and carrying out New Years Resolutions! So yes, brunch + resolutions = bresolutions.
The group met up at cozy Soho spot Jack’s Wife Freda. The menu was full of delicious things (green shakshuka, Mediterranean breakfast, rosewater waffle…), but I eventually decided on the soy-glazed fish a la plancha, which came over sautéed kale. It was definitely the right choice-probably the best thing I’d eaten all week.
Caroline gave us each a handout of 7 guidelines for making and meeting our goals, and the one that resonated with me most was the last: CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS!!!! This has always been a really hard one for me—by the time I’ve reached a goal I set, I’m already onto climbing the next mountain. It had never occurred to me to make celebrating my successes a rule, but damn—how could I have spaced on something so important?
When we ordered a round of drinks (cava for me, of course) after eating and wrote letters to ourselves, to be sent in a few months. You’d better believe I started off with a friendly reminder to take a sec to celebrate. And to say thank you to yourself for not giving up on…yourself. For not laughing at your “crazy” ideas or “impossible” goals.
I had been planning to treat myself to a reflexology massage after the busy two weeks I have where my two clinical jobs overlap as I transition from one to the other, but instead, when I got home from brunch, I called up the Chinese bodywork place I go to and made an appointment for that afternoon. So. Damn. Good. I asked the massage therapist to focus on my scalp and shoulders. Why don’t I always do that? Also, I can’t say I’d ever had my hair pulled during a massage before, but, um. Wow. It was kind of awesome.
What is the hardest part of setting and achieving goals for you? How do you celebrate your successes?
One of my favorite jokes of all time goes something like this:
Two sausages were sizzling in a frying pan. One sausage said to the other, “It sure is hot in here!”
The other sausage said, “Oh my god, it’s a talking sausage!”
No matter how old I get, the word “sausage” will probably always make me giggle a little bit—for obvious reasons. There’s really no way around it. I have accepted this about myself.
I first got the idea for this soup from a recipe I saw on How Sweet It Is, which calls for spicy Italian sausage and whole wheat orecchiette. However, instead of pasta, I decided to use up some brown rice that had been in my cupboard for well over a year.
I actually decided to throw out the orecchiette in there because it finally dawned on me that almost all of the not very many relationships I’ve had in the past few years ended within days of sharing a meal that contained said orecchiette, and well, f*** that. It’s 2014. I need a new pasta shape in my life. Energetically speaking, I’m sure there’s something not good about eating pasta that looks like ears, maybe to do with hearing/listening/being heard. I don’t know—I’m over-thinking this, clearly. Let’s just say I’m ready to actually learn from my mistakes by not making bad-karma-pasta anymore. Maybe I also should enforce a new rule about not making pasta too early in a relationship, since the one that did not end with orecchiette ended with ravioli.
But back to the soup…To up the fiber content, I added some green lentils and used less sausage. Speaking of sausage (let’s see how many times I can say “sausage” in one post), I went with a couple Trader Joe’s roasted garlic chicken sausages for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you want. Turkey sausage, beef sausage, pork sausage, mystery sausage…
You can also play around with using different greens if kale’s not your thing or if you got spooked by that article you read a few weeks ago.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 2 cooked sausages, cut into half-moon shapes
- ~8 cups water or broth
- 1 bunch kale or other greens
- Heat oil in a large stock pot. add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and leek. Cook until onion is translucent and veggies begin to soften.
- Stir in spices, lentils, rice, and sausage. Cook another minute or two before adding liquid.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in kale. Allow to simmer ~30 minutes.
What’s your favorite joke? Does “sausage” make you giggle? Which pasta shape should I try next?
So I know I said I was going to ease off the orange veggies for a bit, but then I decided to wanted to make gnocchi with butternut squash, and, well, yeah…
The guy at the butcher counter looked at me like I had two heads when I asked for a quarter pound of ground lamb, but a little goes a long way. This was the perfect blend of fall flavors and came together without too much fuss. The recipe makes enough for 2 servings but can easily be doubled if you’ve got 4 mouths to feed or want more leftovers.
- 3-4 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (you can also use pre-cubed, like I did)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 lb ground lamb (if you prefer to do a meatless version, try a few tbsp of toasted walnuts)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- a few sage leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 small bunch kale, trimmed and torn into small pieces
- ~1.5 c gnocchi (aka 1/2 of a 17.5-oz package potato gnocchi—you can freeze the other 1/2 of the package for future use)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss butternut squash with 1-2 tsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake until squash is soft and begins to brown (~25-40 minutes). Set aside.
- Brown ground lamb in a skillet and drain over paper towel until ready to use.
- On the stovetop, heat remaining 1-2 tsp olive oil over medium heat and add garlic. Sauté until fragrant (~2 minutes). Add sage leaves. Add kale and red pepper flakes and thyme. Cook until greens have wilted. Add butternut squash to greens and mix well.
- Add lamb to squash & greens mixture. Lower heat and stir well to incorporate.
- Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.
- Toss cooked gnocchi with greens and butternut squash. Add ~1/2 pasta water. Raise heat a stir well for a minute.
- Serve hot and topped with grated cheese, if desired.
Do you like gnocchi? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it? In college, I went through a weird phase where I combined gnocchi with canned crab meat, gorgonzola, and steamed broccoli. I have no idea why I thought that tasted good (so many strong flavors competing with each other!), but it was my “fancy” dinner of choice—hah!
Just when you think you’ve heard everything, here’s a list of pickup lines for kale lovers.
A few that made me chuckle:
- Are you a Lacinto or Redbor kind of girl/guy?
- If you were a stalk of kale I would eat you raw.
- I love varietals that flourish in the cold of winter.
So anyway. Happy Tuesday. Onwards and upwards!
Really F***ing Good
*Sub tempeh bacon, real bacon, or whatever damn bacon you damn please
What’s your favorite weird dinner?
Once in a while I get a recipe idea in my head that takes me months to get around to trying. Kabocha squash risotto has been on the list for quite some time, but it was only this past weekend that I got around to making it.
It’s not the most traditional recipe, as I was out of a lot of things (i.e. butter), but I was so happy with how this came out. The squash practically melts into the risotto, and the splash of green balances out the orange-ness really well.
- ~1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c aborio rice
- 1/2 a kabocha squash, steamed (I did mine in the microwave )
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1-2 c water (could sub extra vegetable broth)
- 1/2 c dry white wine
- 1/2 c green peas (frozen & thawed is fine)
- 1 big handful chopped kale
- salt & pepper to taste
- cooked shrimp (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a sauce pot or stock pot.
- Add garlic and rice. Cook until well coated, about 2 minutes.
- Add broth. Add wine and bring to a rapid boil. Lower heat once half the liquid has cooked off.
- Add squash. Begin to add water gradually, breaking up pieces of squash and stirring well as you go. Wait until liquid is absorbed before adding more.
- Add peas and kale. Fold in and continue cooking a few more minutes.
- Fold in shrimp.
- Serve warm, preferably topped with cheese and with salad and wine on the side.