Chicken Apple Sausages on the Grill, Baked Beans with Maple and Molasses & A Birthday Snapshot

TUESDAY

Chicken Apple Sausages on the Grill  |  Baked Beans with Maple and Molasses

But first, a {short}Birthday Dinner recap…Yesterday was so very warm here {I dare say even hot}…temperatures peaked around 82°F.  There was absolutely no breeze and a dull haze hung over the Bay all day.  Needless to say, the birthday dinner I had planned…namely this Lobster Bisque, followed by these Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes…were about the last things I wanted to prepare in my 80°F kitchen yesterday.  But it was my birthday and I really still wanted lobster, champagne & a sweet treat.  With the champagne & four beautiful lobster tails chilling in the fridge, the dinner menu turned into this…

Champagne  |  Baguette Slices with Garlic-Chive-Goat Cheese Spread  |  Buttery Lobster Capellini with Preserved Lemon  |  A Pretty Little Birthday Cake

Birthday Dinner Collage

The Garlic-Chive-Goat Cheese Spread {click for recipe} couldn’t have been easier & served atop baguette slices made for a lovely accompaniment to the champagne as an appetizer.  I parboiled the lobster tails and then chopped the tail meat which was then sautéed in some butter, preserved lemon and lemon juice and then served  atop capellini noodles ~ truly a lobster dish for warmer weather {recipe follows below}! A lovely pinot noir accompanied our dinner. Finally, resigned to go without a sweet treat, Michael arrived home with favorite blooms in one arm and my favorite, little cake {from Miette in San Francisco} in the other.  A very Happy Birthday for me.

Buttery Lobster Capellini {adapted from Canal House Cooks Everday, by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton, 2012}

  • 4 lobster tails, parboiled & meat roughly chopped
  • 1½ sticks salted butter, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • peel from ½ of a preserved lemon, finely diced
  • freshly-squeezed lemon juice {from 2 lemons}
  • ½ pound capellini
  • finely chopped fresh chives {½ – 1 bunch, depending on taste}
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1.  Click here to learn how to parboil lobster tails & click here to learn how to remove lobster tail meat from the shell.
  2. In a large skillet melt 1 stick of the salted butter over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, the preserved lemon, lemon juice and the lobster meat to the skillet.  Heat until contents reach a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, cook capellini according to package directions.  When finished drain pasta and return to warm pot, adding the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.  Toss noodles until butter has melted.
  4. Serve pasta on individual, warmed plates, topping with spoonfuls of the lobster mixture from the skillet & garnishing with lots of chives.

Serves 5-6 as a main entrée

Now, back to tonight’s show…Chicken Apple Sausages on the Grill  |  Baked Beans with Maple and Molasses

The wind howled all night last night {after a breezeless day} signaling a weather change was coming.  Sure enough, despite a very warm morning, fog was pouring over the Golden Gate shortly after lunch and by the time I picked up the kids from school, and headed to this afternoon’s baseball game, the temperature was 64°F!

Tonight, we are simply grilling organic, chicken apple sausages {from Whole Foods}, serving them in toasted buns with fresh spinach leaves and a drizzle of mustard.  If you tune in to this site on a regular basis, you may remember that this evening’s mustard was supposed to be homemade via a recipe from David Lebovitz and, while I had good intentions…

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See, there are all of my ingredients, ready to go!  But, I was stopped in my tracks at step 1:  “Combine all of the ingredients…in a stainless-steel bowl.  Cover, and let stand for 2-3 days”…uh-oh.  I made a mental note of that when I added the recipe to this week’s menu but…you know how that goes.   So the mustard is steeping and I will let you know how it turns out.

Moving along…with sausages going on the grill, the only other prep work for tonight were the beans.  Now, I am a die-hard Boston Baked Beans fan, but I was given a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good…{Grand Central Life & Style, 2013} recently as a Thank You gift and had yet to try any of her recipes. This bean recipe looked easy and, while it did not include bacon {oh my}, the addition of sweet pimenton intrigued me.  I prepared all of the ingredients earlier in the morning and cooked them in my slow-cooker.  Beans were ready and waiting for us when we arrived home post baseball game.

Baked Beans with Maple & Molasses {adapted from It’s All Good…, by Gwyneth Paltrow & Julis Turshen}

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ sweet pimenton {or Hungarian sweet paprika}
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 {14-ounce} cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality maple syrup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon molasses
  • ½ cup water
  1. Melt the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just begins to soften and becomes translucent {do not brown}, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Turn heat down to low and add the pimenton and a pinch of salt, stirring constantly, and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir until combined, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard, maple syrup, molasses and the water to the pot, stirring to mix well.  Add the beans and stir to fully coat beans with sauce.
  4. Transfer bean mixture to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve warm.

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These beans were good.  Will they replace the “Boston Baked” version as my favorite…No.  But, if you want beans for a last-minute barbecue and you don’t have the luxury of time to soak your dried beans overnight, this is your recipe.  The pimenton added a nice smoky flavor to the finished dish {but I still missed the bacon}.

Our dinner plate…

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