Sunday, January 15, 2006

signs & portents & sausage

I celebrated actually spending a Friday night in Santa Cruz by inviting Eleonora & Roger over for dinner. Since it was a work day, I tried to pick things that would cook quickly.

I got very lucky with an impulse buy of lamb and feta sausages at New Leaf. Absolutely delicious, and I've never had anything like them. To go with them, I bought some very large white button mushrooms. I painted the sausages and mushrooms with a mix of olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, and chunky French sea salt (the last thanks to Julie) and baked them (with a little broil at the end to brown the tops). Topped with a sprinkle of sunflower sprouts for contrast. If I Do Say So Myself, this was a really nice dish, and very easy and fast.

To go along, I made Israeli couscous (if you haven't had this, they're round and lightly toasted pearls of pasta, and would make a better substitute for orzo than couscous). The instructions say to simmer them in water and let them absorb it all (like couscous), but they turn out a little starchy -- I think next time I'll try to boil them in a lot of water and drain them, like pasta. Once they were cooked, I stirred in some baby spinach and let it wilt, and added olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a lot of black pepper. Finally, for a salad, I diced some cucumber with a little white vinegar, sugar and mint. Next time I'll add some rum and call it a mojito (Google it, Mams).

We eventually had a 4th guest. Halfway through dinner (this Friday the 13th of January), there was a bang and the front door flew open by itself, revealing a totally black cat yowling on the doorstep. I wish I could report a clap of lightning and other effects, but of course it was just Nero the Buurkat, who could tell that feeding was going on, but not of him. I guess the door didn't latch well. Nero was served his usual kitty tuna.

It was a good week for native Santa Cruz produce. In addition to New Leaf's own house lamb sausages, I picked up an apple cake from Emily's Bakery as a visiting gift, and it was incredibly delicious, particularly the crunchy part on the edges. Certain parties should anticipate my bringing one around. Maybe Santa Cruz is home after all. (Emily, by the way, is on the city council. Good sign for any town when a baker is on the city council).


At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Mams said...

Sounds lovely. Glad you had a good time. Did you check the fat content on the sausages? ;-)

I know what mojitos are, even though I have never met one in person. Its one of those things that appears all of a sudden in every newspaper and on every TV show. Bet it has a common ancestor with mint julips, which we used to make with our own mint in OK.

So very touching that you find SC may be home.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Mams said...

"Buurkat?" Google thought that might be Chinese or Dutch.

At 12:42 AM, Blogger nightquill said...

Pseudo-Dutch. "Buurman" is neighbor man, so "buurkat" is neighbor cat.

Considering how much grease came out of the sausages, we don't want to know.

Another relative of the mojito is the Brazilian Caipirinha (q.g.).

(q.g. = "quid Google")

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Mams said...

I saw this done on the food network:,,FOOD_9936_23881,00.html

I don't think this link will be live here. You will need to copy or type it in to the URL line.

PS. I don't actually sit and watch the food channel. I am not THAT retired. I keep it on in the corner of the kitchen and listen to it while I am doing MY thing.


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