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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

For most people, getting good sausage is as easy as going to the local store and grabbing a package of bulk sausage.

Some people like to make their own or are curious what it takes to make tasty sausage. So here we go, a short tutorial on this breakfast treat.

First you need trim with enough fat content. Roughly 30 percent. The range for acceptable fat content is fairly flexible but it is necessary to have some fat in sausage. It adds to flavor and texture as well as allowing the meat to hold together in patties for cooking. This isn’t like ground beef where you can select extra lean grind at about 7 percent and get a good result. I would guess anything below 20 percent would be unsatisfactory for most people.

Second you need seasoning. These seasoning can be mixed by your own hand or you can use a good premix. I hope to have list of seasonings you can mix for your own sausage before too long. For now I will give you a couple of good options. For breakfast sausage All American Seasoning has a seasoning for breakfast sausage that has been the standard for meat rooms around the West for decades. It can be a little difficult to come by though. They don’t sell retail. You can find it at meat markets that use the mix. Otherwise there are more brands of seasoning available than I could list. Zach’s have a long list of sausage seasonings as do Vecchi’s. For breakfast sausage, you are looking for country style sausage seasoning. This is a seasoning featuring sage and other spices. There are also fine Italian seasoning available from these outfits. The meat and the process are the same for these two varieties.

Once you have selected your desired flavor there will be a ratio of seasoning to meat. For example 1 lb of seasoning per 25 lbs of meat. For most seasonings I prefer to add a bit extra seasoning. About 5 to 10 percent. The limitation is the salt in the seasoning and how spicy you want your sausage.

  • First, I add the spice to the meat spreading it out fairly evenly.
  • Second I grind the meat and spice mixture with a course plate.
  • Third, I add a little water to the ground meat and mix by hand. The amount of water varies. The meat should be able to absorb the water, so don’t get carried away. If you are running the sausage through a stuffer to make links you will want to add a bit more water.

That’s it. You’ve made sausage. Fry it up or freeze it for another day.

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Ok, so my sister sent me Williams-Sonoma frozen croissants for Christmas. They arrived a couple of weeks ago and have been languishing in the freezer, with the plan being to serve some of them as the bread entry with our makeshift Christmas dinner. Our friend Toni was coming for dinner, finding herself kidless and working that day until 7 p.m. I had to work in the afternoon, and also was to get off at 7, at which point I’d come home and cook us all pasta for dinner.

Prior to leaving, I got the croissants, the pound cake, the fruit topping for the pound cake, some chicken and some other odds and ends out of the freezer to thaw while I was gone.

I get home at 7:20, and open the croissants. Now, somehow, it had escaped my notice that these were unbaked frozen dough. That’s fine — it’s pretty cool, actually –except now I finally read the directions. And I discover that they’re supposed to rise for 9 hours. And I have no idea at what point they progressed from “thawing” to “rising” — or if they’ve even made that transition yet, and, now that I think of it, I can’t even remember what frickin time I took them out of the freezer!

Drop 14 and punt to plan B — garlic bread with dinner. And on the theory that when I get up early tomorrow morning it will have been 9-hours-ish, I’ll bake them first thing.

Well, things didn’t work out exactly that way. First of all, Toni was here until one a.m. Then we stayed up ourselves till nearly three. Then I couldn’t sleep for some reason — rare for me but there you go — so by the time I finally got up today, it was about eleven. I go out to the kitchen and the croissants are HUGE. Just MOUNTAINOUS. They form one solid piece of articulated dough from one end of a 13×9 cookie sheet to the other, and are hanging a little bit off one edge.

I thought, you know what? What the hell. Cook’em anyway. I patted them down a little bit — just enough to release the more gargantuan of the bubbles, and popped the whole tray into the oven and cooked as directed. And we got lucky — we wound up with the croissant equivalent of monkey bread — golden brown, had to be pulled apart in chunks to be eaten, and absolutely delicious. And I got my Christmas lesson in the wisdom of reading directions.

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This was a standard for Christmas breakfast when I was a kid. First of all, this makes your whole house smell wonderful while it’s cooking. Second, it’s so quick to make that it will actually take me longer to post the recipe than it will for the one that’s currently in my oven to finish baking. And it takes all of 10 minutes’ work to get it ready for the oven, so for a very small investment of time, there’s a big payoff. Serve it warm with butter, or eat it plain — excellent either way.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Grease a 10.5 x 7 x 1 pan. Preheat 375.

Cake:

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 egg

1/2 c milk

1.5 c flour

3/4 c sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix and spread in pan.

Topping:

3 tablespoons butter, melted

mixed with

3/4 c brown sugar,

3 tablespoons cinnamon and

2 tablespoons flour

Sprinkle over batter. Bake 375 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Also works in an 8×8 square pan, or, doubled, in a 13×9 (but obviously for this last, it will have to cook longer).

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