Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maple Pureed Yams & Apples, Cheesy Cheddar Cauliflower and Chicken Apple Sausage

This morning I discovered the joy of sauteing vegetarian Italian sausage slices. I was convinced they tasted almost like the real thing. But maybe, just maybe, I've been denying myself the pleasure of real sausage for far too long. With only myself to feed this week, I had ordered some Aidell's Chicken Apple Sausage from Fresh Direct. It was a compromise of sorts, since I didn't want to go all the way with the pork variety in my first relapse of sausage gluttony. They were absolutely heavenly grilled with a bit of olive oil. I'm not sure the apples were even necessary with the wonderful salty sausage flavor and the crispy pop of the casing. My husband often asks me to describe what meat tastes like, but it's so hard to describe the faint fatty flavors and the texture when you bite into it. Alongside the pre-made sausages, for which I can take no credit for, I experimented with some sides that may be worthy of a Turkey-Day appearance. I steamed the cheddar cauliflower to balance the calories in the cheese sauce I was topping it with. God forbid I consume 700 calories and add unnecessary oil for cooking. Steaming is the most respectful way to cook, for both the vegetable, and your body - remember 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or even margarine) equals about 100 calories. I was tempted to roast or grill the sweet potato and apple, but I figured it was easier and healthier to boil. This was truly a 3 burner meal, no oven required, and was complete in about 30 minutes.


Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
(2 servings)
1/2 head cauliflower
1 T unsalted butter
1/8 tsp arrowroot
6 T heavy cream
½ C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp paprika
4 grinds black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
(plus salt & pepper to taste)

Separate the cauliflower into florets and steam in a bamboo steamer about 15 minutes, until tender. Set bamboo basket aside and use the saucepan to make the sauce. Add butter and arrowroot to the hot pan over low heat. Arrowroot dissolves easier & smoother than flour, but 1 Tbsp all purpose flour can be substituted. Add balance of ingredients and continue to stir over low heat until creamy. Drizzle over cauliflower and sprinkle with paprika. Salt & pepper to taste at the table.

Maple Pureed Yams and Apples
2-3 servings
2 medium yams, peeled and cubed
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Add the apples and boil 5 more minutes. Drain and transfer to food processor. Add a little salt and pepper, turn the processor on, and add the maple, sugar and butter through the feeder. Blend until smooth. Serve garnished with a little dried parsley or fresh grated nutmeg.

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