Yeah, that’s not me. A good friend of mine writes the Fucking Badass Recipe Box, and he’s genuinely hilarious (that is, if you don’t mind four letter words, and you obviously don’t, since you’re reading this now…) I’m borrowing him as an inspiration for my post tonight.
I hate snotty foodies. They’re entitled and obnoxious, and more often than not, they consume shit that my cat would turn his nose up at. Seriously. In what alternate reality does Escargot with shallots and dry vermouth sauce sound appetizing? It doesn’t. Escargot is French for ‘snail’, for Christ’s sake. Around here, we call that shit bait. We use it to fish, not as an amuse bouche.
That being said, I do love to cook. And I’m good at it, if you don’t mind me tooting my own horn. I learned out of necessity. At some point during my first year at OU, I could no longer subsist on Taco Mayo and Sbarro. My boyfriend at the time had an apartment off campus, and that’s where most of my culinary training took place.
That year at Thanksgiving, I begged my mom to write out every single recipe she could think of, just so I would have somewhere to start. I slowly worked my way through our church’s cookbook–most of which was recipes my mother had compiled. There were some high points, but a great deal of what I cooked ended up being complete and utter shite. My boyfriend’s roommates ate it all, even if it did look like and oil slick covered in cat litter.
That’s the beauty of cooking, though. You can throw out your mistakes and start all over again. I’ve come a long way since those first, ahem, experiments, and now I’m proud to say that I’m a good cook. I’ll never compete on Top Chef, but at least my family will not be forced to live off of toaster streudels and pizza rolls. Which is a good thing, since my oven is still black and soul sucking and sets off the smoke detector every single time.
Tonight I made a version of a soup my mom (Hi, Mom!) made last week when we got together for our traditional Sunday family dinner. It’s inspired by Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, but I can honestly say that my version is A LOT tastier. (That’s partially because I use a metric shit-ton of minced garlic. More on that later.)
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
- 1 large diced white onion
- 2 tsp prepared mustard
- 1 package Recipe Size Real Bacon Pieces
- 2 Tbsp (That’s TABLESPOONS, yo) minced garlic
- 1-16 oz container of Swanson Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 chicken flavored buillon cube
- 1 cup Reduced Fat Half and Half
- 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
- 1/2 of a bunch of kale, coarsely chopped
- a dash of garlic salt
- pepper (to taste)
The prep is incredibly easy, but I wasn’t creative enough to take pictures during that process. I was more concerned with trying to keep Boo’s fingers away from my hooker killing knife. Here’s how you do it:
- In a large soup pot brown the sausage until it’s done. (Cook it thoroughly. Undercooked pork is how people end up with worms, and that ain’t pretty.) Reserve about 1 tsp of the grease in the pot, toss the sausage into a colander to let it drain, and set it aside.
- Cook the onion in the grease until it is semi-translucent. Add the bacon, saute for two to three minutes, or until it starts to smell like (Jeramy’s phrase) angels having sex on your stovetop.
- Add the garlic and mustard, cook for an additional thirty seconds.
- Add chicken broth, potatoes, and crushed chicken buillon cube. Cook until the potatoes become tender.
- Mush the potatoes against the bottom of the pot with a potato smasher until there are no large chunks. (Trust me. If you skip this step, you will hate yourself. Smushing the potatoes releases starch into the broth, which make it thicken beautifully. And we all know watery soup is gross and should only be served to British orphans.)
- Add the half and half, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, and kale. Cook until the kale is tender, or until the soup looks like this:
A few notes: If you choose to cook your own bacon, make sure to dice it very finely and caramelize the fat. If you don’t the bacon will get soggy and taste like a rawhide bone your dog has been gnawing for a week. Also, since I’m Italian, I use garlic in everything except (most) breakfast foods. Your palate may not be as, shall we say, used to this amount of flavor, so may want to half the amount of garlic.
This recipe is delicious when served with chiabatta bread with butter and (more!) garlic. I didn’t have any on hand, so I just used a plain Italian loaf and lubed it up with enough Country Crock to push a fat man through a pet door. It was awesome.
Boo decided he would rather dine on cereal, garlic bread, and (of course) cookies. This is what he thought of the whole affair later:
Meh. He’ll learn to love garlic, too, since there’s enough guido in that boy to get him on the next season of Jersey Shore.