Time for this week’s “blast from the past” off my old Myspace blog. Particularly relevant, since after today’s lunch with the parents, I’m off to pick up some green and red peppers and make a batch for tonight!
Oboy. Full day here at JDville. In between shopping at the fresh market, fixing door knobs and doing laundry, I also had a whole mess of sausage to cook…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Excuse me, crew…could you set those mood lights for bright, turn the dial on the way back machine for about a month and cue the Italian music?
No Italian music? Hmm, alright, I suppose I can leave something to my loyal readers’ imagination. Whaddya mean “both of them”? I think I’ve got 4 or 5 at least, so watch your smart mouth or you’ll find yourself lighting for Menudo again (oooh, dated reference!).
This year, a new grocery store opened up about 10 minutes away from my home. Despite some familial ties to shady figures in its past, supposedly the Western Beef operation here is free from all impropriety. Being a firm believer in giving the benefit of the doubt, I stopped in a couple of times and was impressed with some of the sale items, particularly in the meat section. They employed an in-store butcher to help trim or cut your meats, which was fortunate since they sold a good portion of their meat in “bulk”, that is 8-10 lbs. at a time.
Among my many trips to them since, I picked up a large package of hot Italian sausage. I love Italian sausage. I love hot foods. Can you ask for a better combination? No, I didn’t think so either. I took the package home and immediately froze the whole thing, imagining I would pull them out for a BBQ or guest dinner.
Days passed. Then weeks. Then a month. Still the sausages beckoned. You could almost hear them mewling late at night: “Grill us!” they called. “Brown us up crispy!” Don’t look at me that way. You put a huge package of Italian sausage in your freezer and see if you don’t hear the same thing. I dare you.
Finally, I resolved I would answer their siren call and cook them up with some nice peppers and onions. No sauce, just some extra virgin olive oil and a mixture of spices. Peppercorn, red pepper, garlic, oregano and a dash of a few other spices. I had planned to cook them for dinner last night, so I zipped out to Publix to pick up two fresh red and two fresh green peppers along with a couple sweet onions (to counterpoint the hot sausage). Alas, a headache knocked me down for the evening until it was darker than I preferred for grilling.
After popping out to the fresh market this morning, which required me to untape my door knob (details in a post for the future), I returned ready and charged for a home-cooked Italian sausage, peppers and onions lunch. If I was daunted by the fact that I had never actually cooked one myself before, I did not let that stop me! Fortune favors the bold!
Preparation was simple enough. Poke the sausage a few times on both sides; brush on some olive oil prior to cooking and fire up the grill at high. Since I was only going to cook them for about 10 minutes, I initially thought I needed to babysit them the entire time. As I watched them cook, I determined I was able to slip back into the kitchen and cut up a vegetable or two at a time before heading back out to the patio to turn the sausages.
They seemed to be cooking a bit slower than I imagined and I ultimately found out why…my propane tank expired just as the sausages were MOSTLY done. Ah well, I had an extra tank, but I didn’t feel like loading it on for only a minute or two. That could be taken care of in the saucepan, I reasoned.
Putting the sausages in a large tray, I carted them back to the kitchen. There, I finished cutting up the red and green peppers and sliced the onions. In the super large saucepan rarely used since it was given to me by some friends, I threw all of the veggies the extra virgin oil and set the stove top up to medium-high.
Covering the dish, I went back to the sausages and started slicing them into small pieces. It occurred to me that I did not have the best knife to accomplish this task, ultimately using a vegetable knife. I will need to look at something for that task on my next Bed, Bath & Beyond trip (I think I still have money on a gift card).
About 5 minutes in, I added the spices to the peppers and onions. Another 10 minutes later, I added the cut up sausage. Then I let the whole mess cook for a while at the same setting, tying to ensure I both cooked any remaining sausage well enough and made sure the spices blended well.
Finally, stomach rumbling from the smell in the house (which lasted a few hours, to my surprise), I drained a little of the excess off and scooped a heaping helping on a plate and sat down to watch a video. And then, I scooped ANOTHER heaping helping on my plate and watched more video. I sure hope I cooked that sausage enough, because if not, tomorrow morning could be painful!
In case you couldn’t tell, the dish came out awesome. Because I only used olive oil, the peppers and onions could be tasted almost as well as the sausage. Nothing was overpowered. Not too shabby for a first time preparation. And the overall food prep and cooking time was not that long. I gotta say yum!
Despite eating two large portions, I have a TON left. I originally thought I had too much pepper and onion when I dumped it all in the saucepan, but it turned out it might even have been too little, there was so much sausage. Key safety tip when buying bulk and cooking for single: break open the package and freeze smaller portions. Otherwise, you may find yourself like me…bulking up the wrong way.