Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Sausage and PeppersIngredients:

8 (4 ounce) links sweet Italian sausage or other sweet/mild sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 (796ml) can of diced or crushed tomatoes
⅓ cup wine or beer
½ tablespoon of corn starch

Directions:

In a large pot, add the canned tomatoes and herbs, then cook on low while preparing the remaining ingredients. Place the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown on all sides. Remove from skillet, and slice. Add the sliced sausage and any drippings to the pot with the tomatoes.

Add the oil to the same skillet that you used for the sausages. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers, and then stir in the wine/beer. Continue to cook and stir until peppers and onions are tender.

Once tender, add the vegetables to the pot with the tomatoes and sausages. Let everything simmer on low for an hour. If you find that the sauce is a bit too watery, take about 3 tablespoons of liquid from the pot and mix it with the cornstarch. Once dissolved, add this cornstarch slurry back to the pot. It will thicken up the sauce. Serve hot.

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Fajita Spice Mix

Fajita SeasoningA fajita is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.

So I call this a Fajita seasoning mix, but it can be used with tacos, chilies or anything that you want to give a south western flair to. You will notice the addition of two ingredients that may seem a bit out of place. First, there is the cocoa powder; you won’t taste it in the finished product, but the subtle chocolate flavour helps round out the other spices and notes of the blend. The second it the starch. I add this to help thicken, ever so slightly, the sauce/gravy that is created when using this blend, especially in fajitas or tacos. When it comes time to using the blend, other than as a dry rub, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (more to taste), 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. This will give you the slight saucy consistency you want.

This recipe will make about a cup of spice mix.

Ingredients:

¼ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon corn starch/potato starch/flour

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Can be kept for one to six months (depending on how airtight your container is).

Crisp n’ Crunchy Stir-Fry

Stir Fry

Serve this with short grain brown rice which has a really nice nutty flavour and pleasantly chewy texture. Add tofu or shredded chicken if you like, though it will no longer be vegetarian if you do. Some tips regarding the ingredients listed: If you do not have rice wine, you can always use Gin or Dry White Wine instead. If you do not have Coconut Oil, you can use Vegetable, Canola or Olive; just as long as it doesn’t have a strong flavour. With regards to the broccoli, I do not recommend using fresh, as it is close to impossible to check for insects. Instead, frozen florets are available with reliable hechshers at your local grocery store.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup stock or water
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoon coconut oil
½ cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon chili flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1 cup finely sliced carrots (1-2 medium sized carrots)
2 cups broccoli small florets
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

Directions:

Remember the number one stir-fry rule: prepare everything before you start cooking. Wash, dry and trim all of the vegetables and then slice and chop them as described above, keeping them in neat separate piles, perhaps in small bowls. Portion out the cashews and chili flakes.

Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients but the cornstarch. Mix a little liquid with the cornstarch to make a smooth paste before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.

In a wide skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cashews and toss and stir until browned; remove pan from heat and cashews to a kitchen towel. Return the pan to the heat add the other tablespoon of coconut oil, when hot, add the garlic, ginger and chili; cook quickly for not even a minute, briskly stirring. Add the carrots, broccoli and celery, stir several times. Add the mushrooms and pepper; stir fry for a minute or two and then pour in the sauce; bring to a bubble and cover. Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes, until the liquid has thickened and coated everything well. Add the cashews back in, stir to combine and serve on rice.