Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash

Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash
Rise and shine! It’s November and it’s time to start eating some hearty, wholesome meals.

This weekend I was bored of my typical post-Saturday-morning-gym egg-and-vegetable scrambles so I decided to change it up a bit and really embrace some fall produce. If you don’t have butternut squash readily available, you could definitely use sweet potatoes instead, for a more traditional hash. I really want you to use good sausage in this – none of that frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast patty stuff. I used an all-natural chicken-apple-gouda sausage from the local grocer.

Smoky-Sweet Autumn Breakfast Hash

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From Sardines to Sausages: Exploring Portuguese Cuisine

ES guest writer Faith brings us the food travel lowdown on the savory land that is Portugal.

From freshly caught grilled sardines and salted dried cod dishes to hearty smoked sausage stews and the famous piri-piri chicken, Portugal has some seriously flavorful food. Paprika, garlic, bay leaves, chili and olive oil are popular additions to many Portuguese dishes, and the resulting flavors will leave you coming back for more. These popular dishes make this a culinary destination that deserves to be better known.

1. Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts

Pasteis de nata

The Pasteis de Nata is a creamy, flaky, egg custard tart, topped with sugar and cinnamon. The tart originated in Lisbon in the 18th century at a bakery in the Santa Maria de Belem parish, and the bakery itself has now become a popular tourist attraction, serving over 10,000 tarts a day. Lines are inevitable, but it’s well worth the wait to try this distinctive treat from its original source.

2. Pão – Bread

Traditionally, Portuguese meals were served on a slab of crusty bread to soak up all the juices and to provide a filling meal. Today, plates have replaced this method of serving food, but bread is still an integral part of most meals. Bread also varies widely from region to region, with each having its own speciality. Pão de Centeio is predominantly found in the North—this is a rye bread, which is dark and dense. The sweet Bolo de Ferradura loaf can be found in the Ribatejo region, combining unusual flavors such as star anise and lemon. It is often horseshoe-shaped and served at weddings to bring good luck. Pão com Chouriço is the Portuguese substitute for the American hotdog, but more delicious as it is made with Portuguese smoked sausage and fresh dough.

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Southern BBQ Brisket Hash

Southern BBQ Brisket Hash

I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Well, actually, I don’t really like pancakes or scrambled eggs or anything for dinner…. let me rephrase. I’m a big fan of adding a fried egg on top of whatever I’m having for dinner. That’s more accurate. (I think by this point, most of the culinary world can all agree that a runny egg yolk makes anything better, any time of day.) Anyway, even though this recipe is pretty dang breakfast-y, I like it for dinner because it’s hearty and balanced.

Take your run-of-the-mill hash – potatoes, onions, shredded beef – and give it a southern twist. We’re talking a hash made of sweet potatoes, collard greens, caramelized Texas sweet onions, and smoked brisket, topped with a fried egg and drizzled with BBQ sauce and Louisana hot sauce. Giddy up.

Southern BBQ Brisket Hash

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Stuffed Shell Weekend

When the temperature drops there are a lot of people who enjoy preparing and eating soups, stews and chilis. Me, I go straight for the Italian dishes! Pasta in a good meat sauce topped with cheese is my cold weather comfort food. So when the weekend arrives I like to prepare meals that will provide me with multiple nights’ worth of dinner options, like my stuffed shells in a vodka cream sauce.

This will make enough extra sauce that you can either freeze it or use it later in the week over rigatoni or spaghetti. And these shells are so filling that you’d better invite some friends over to help you eat this; otherwise you’re going to have it as leftovers for a good week!

Katt’s Stuffed Shells in Vodka Cream Sauce

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The Turducken of Meat: Meatloafenstein

Maybe it’s because of Halloween, or maybe it’s because of the alcohol, but whatever the reason, like my old buddy Dr. Frankenstein, I’VE CREATED A MONSTER! You might think me mad but it came to me while I was enjoying a bottle of scotch and wrestling with the concept of a ‘Turducken.’ You know, the bird stuffed inside a bird stuffed inside a bird. Although I could appreciate the premise, I’m not that much into eating fowl. But wait, I thought! What if I could take my favorite meats—chopped steak, veal, sausage, prosciutto and bacon— and combine them together in a similar fashion? What if I took a pork kielbasa, wrapped it in bacon, and stuffed that inside my favorite meatloaf? What if………

MMWOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!! (That’s supposed to be crazy, maniacal laughter). Igor! Ready the kites! There’s a storm approaching and I’ve assembled the parts! Lock the doors! Shield your eyes! Throw the switch – NOWWWWWWW!!

Katt’s ‘Meatloafenstein Monster’ with Igor’s ‘Hell-Fire Hot Sauce’

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When Inauthentic Is Delicious: Weeknight “Gumbo”

Ok, let me preface this by saying that this is not authentic gumbo.  No need to point it out to me.  I am aware.

I set out to make authentic gumbo with the brown roux and what not, but if you know anything about gumbo, it’s pretty labor intensive and time consuming.  That’s not my bag, baby.

I am going to tell you a little anecdote (if you can even call it that) from my week, so you get a feel of how I work in the kitchen.

I went to three different stores looking for fish sauce for this gumbo recipe.  Not sure why.  I read it in a cookbook, so I figured it’s important.  So, 3 stores and nothing.  Then my Dad found it and got it for me (love you, Dad!)  It was such a huge bottle of fish sauce, so I  suppose I was set for many future gumbos.

Except, I couldn’t get it open.  That dang top would not come off.  I guess this would be where an extra set of (not weak old lady) hands would have been beneficial.  Honestly, I probably could have gotten it open, but I have no patience or perseverance for such a task.  Don’t I sound like a fun person?

Long story short: no fish sauce made it into this dish.  So sad.  But true.

Here’s how it all went down.

Weeknight “Gumbo”

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Only in Germany: Meat Vending Machine

I don’t know about you, but the best thing I can get out of a vending machine in my neighborhood is a bag of cheetos and some advil. Not to discount the stuff; the atomic green powder and pills of goodness are my saviors when I’m hungover, but here’s something better.

Enter: the sausage vending machine, which is now gracing the streets in (not surprisingly) Bavaria. Owned by a butcher, he says the inspiration behind the machine came from when he and his friends wanted to have a cookout after the stores were closed (read: drunk barbecue).

I want to go to there.

(Photo: The Local)

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